Saturday, July 12, 2014

Toxic Ingredients to Avoid in Hair Care

Since going natural, I am much more aware of what goes into the bottles I am using. Sadly, this means I am throwing away most of my old products. But I am finally figuring out which ingredients strengthen & moisturize my hair, as well as which ones are destroying my precious locks.

THE PROBLEM: How are we supposed to avoid nasty ingredients if we don't know how to recognize them! Reading the ingredients label on the back of a bottle is like reading Icelandic (The Worlds' Hardest Language To Learn).

It may sound exhausting reading the label of every bottle you own (It does to me!) But all you have to do is find a brand that claims their products are free of these chemicals and check for the bad ingredients yourself. Once you find a brand that you can trust, it's easy to rid yourself of your old products!

Soak up the knowledge with my researched list of The Most Dangerous Ingredients To Avoid!

#1)   Parabens
This is number one on my list for a reason!! Recent studies have shown Parabens are heavily linked to breast cancer. They are inexpensive preservatives that are used for their antimicrobial properties and to prolong the shelf life of products.  Parabens are known to interfere with hormones within your body. They are not only detrimental to human health, but also destructive to animal hormones and development.

What to look for on the label:
Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben and Ethylparaben

#2)   Sulfates
Sulfates (SLS, SLES) are chemicals found in floor cleaners, and other cleaning products for their foaming/lathering properties. Sulfates strip the hair of it's natural oils that are essential to hair growth. SLS is a harsh detergent that strips color from your hair over time, leaving the hair dull, lifeless and brittle.

What to look for on the label:
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Ammonium Laureth Sulfate, Ammonium Xylene Sulfonate,
TEA Lauryl Sulfate, Sulfur (in dandruff shampoos), Selenium Sulfide (in dandruff shampoos)

#3)   Ureas
Ureas are synthetic ingredients added to hair products for their antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties and are used in the production of many other products, such as teeth whiteners, baked goods and cigarettes(I need to find out which baked goods!!). I also found that these ingredients emit formaldehyde when heated above 10 degrees (not sure if it's Celsius or Fahrenheit!). Formaldehyde is a big no no, being  a known human carcinogen (cancer-causing) ingredient.

What to look for on the label:
Diazolidinyl Urea, Imidazolidinyl Urea

#4)   Phthalates
Phthalate is a common ingredient found in hair products that should be avoided due to their ability to disrupt the human endocrine system, possible link to cancer, and link to birth defects. Phthalates are "plasticizers": substances added to plastics to increase their flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity. This ingredient is the hardest to avoid. Phthalates are used in the ingredient listing, ‘Fragrance.’ Because companies are not required to disclose what is in their fragrance, you may never know the exposure levels of phthalates in the products you are using.

What to look for on the label:
Most common will be Fragrance/Parfum,
Dimethyl phthalate, Diethyl phthalate, Diallyl phthalate

#5)   Petrochemicals
Petrochemicals are chemicals made from crude oil and natural gas. Initially it will leave your skin feeling smooth; however, it traps in toxins and keeps oxygen out. Petrochemicals and their byproducts, such as dioxin, are known to cause many serious health problems, including cancer and interferences with hormones within your body, which affects growth, development, intelligence, and reproduction.

What to look for on the label:
 PVP/VA Copolymer, Propylene Glycol, Petrolatum, Mineral Oil, Lanolin, Paraffin

Time to practice!
Can you spot the nasty ingredients in the label? Go ahead, feel smart.

What are in YOUR hair products?

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