5 Shampoo Ingredients That Are Bad For Your Hair – and You

Shampoo-hair

When you pick up a shampoo from the supermarket shelf, it is usually because you expect it to do good things for your hair, whether that is to moisturise it, make it shiny, more manageable and of course, clean it. Shampoo is made up of many different ingredients – the trouble is that most people don’t fully understand what those ingredients do, whether they are safe and why they are put into the shampoo to start with.

If you are having trouble with your hair, or if your scalp feels itchy or irritable, it could be some of the ingredients in your shampoo that are at fault. Here are 5 shampoo ingredients to avoid.

  • Silicone – this is put into some shampoo to make the hair shinier. The only trouble is it is not water soluble so it builds up over time, especially around the shaft of the hair. This causes the hair to feel greasy and weighed down, especially if it is fine hair. The sulphate in shampoo is put in to help dissolve the silicone, but that ingredient is best avoided.
  • Sulphate – you’ll see this as sodium lauryl sulphate or laureth sulphates. They are used to create that nice, frothy lather that everyone likes. However, they do more than that. These are one of the most irritating compounds anyone could put on their skin and they are very drying as well. Worse still, they are a proven carcinogen that is absorbed easily into the skin and the bloodstream. And people wonder why cancer is such an epidemic these days.
  • Synthetic fragrance – many people love their shampoo due to the fragrance, but if it’s synthetic, it’s highly likely to cause itch and irritation to the scalp. Always look for natural fragrances that use essential oils rather than synthetic ones.
  • Isopropyl Alcohol – this seemingly innocent shampoo ingredient found in so many shampoos is also used in anti-freeze. Another name for it is rubbing alcohol. Not only is it very drying to the hair, it’s highly flammable and the fumes are toxic. Remember that next time you take a big sniff of your shampoo.
  • Proteins – are not exactly bad for your hair as it strengthens the cuticle, but sometimes you just don’t need it. If you keep on using it and get way too much, it can disturb the hair’s natural balance, causing damage such as breakage. It’s good to alternate between a shampoo with protein and one with just moisturiser, because it is possible to overdo the moisturiser as well.


It is difficult to find a natural shampoo that doesn’t contain any of the above ingredients. Try the hairdresser a pharmacist or online to find more natural shampoo and conditioners. Or try making your own from online recipes.