Best and Worst Shampoo Ingredients to Look for

Skeptical Woman Considering Her Shampoo Ingredients Pixibay Image
This beauty is carefully considering her options when considering shampoo ingredients.


Shopping for shampoo can seem like an easy task with all the available choices at your disposal.  Therefore, how do you decide which formulas have the best and worst shampoo ingredients for your hair?

First of all to sort out the best and worst shampoo ingredients, you have to be careful on how you read a product label.  Certain words could appear larger because companies want to appeal to you, but it is not always totally accurate. For example, “natural” and “organic” doesn’t always mean the shampoo has the pure formula that you may be lead to believe.  Instead, manufacturers are allowed to use it even with just a small percentage of natural or organic ingredients in the formula.  To understand how to distinguish between “natural” and “organic” on a label, you might want to read my earlier post for clarity.  The important thing to remember is to read the smaller print with the ingredients because those words are the ones you can trust.

Look for a plant or natural surfactant (byproduct of an animal) over a chemical surfactant that is common in sulfates that can strip hair of natural oils due to its foaming agents.  Some excellent plant surfactants to keep in mind are avocado, kukui nut, grapeseed oil, macadamia nut oil, meadow foam seed oil, wheat germ oil, sunflower oil, borage oil and cocoglucoside (from coconut and fruit sugars).

Parabens are the preservatives in the formula such as the following chemical ingredients of methylparaben, ethylparaben, butylparaben among others.  These are suspect in playing with estrogen levels and their possible link to cancer so watch out for any of these when reading ingredients.

Phthalates are synthetic fragrance compounds commonly referred to as “plasticizers” that could risk your health to toxins from what they could possibly do to your endocrine system. These often are used in formulas to mimic the authentic essence of the essential oil, which was replaced to save costs. Phthalates could hide in the formula labeled just as fragrance.  Common phthalates include BBP butyl benzyl phthalate, DBP (di-n-butyl phthalate), DEP (diethyl phthalate), DEP (diethyl phthalate), DiDP (di-isodecyl phthalate), DnHP (di-n-hexyl phthalate), and DnOP (di-n-octyl phthalate) among others.

A safer choice is a formula with an essential oil as the fragrance.

Your health is everything so consider the formula of the product when determining the best and worst shampoo ingredients you use carefully.  Good bets are looking for a USDA Organic Seal, Natural Product Association (NPA) seal or an Ecocert seal to guarantee purity of ingredients.



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