9 Chemicals in Shampoo You Should Know About

Written by andy

Did you know about all chemicals in shampoo?

There are all kinds of chemicals in the food you eat, the beverages you drink, your lipstick, your makeup, even the soap you use to wash your hands! Chemicals are everywhere, as they are used by manufacturers to add scents, thicken creams, and increase the penetrating power of your skincare products.

Your shampoo is one of the most chemical-filled items in your bathroom! You’d be amazed by how many chemicals are found in hair care products, and here is a list of just a few of them:

  1. Sodium lauryl sulfate — SLS (or simply sulfate) is one of the chemicals added to shampoo, and it’s there to make it all nice and foamy. When you get a thick lather from your shampoo, that’s the sulfate at work. But SLS is a pretty harsh ingredient, and it will strip the skin oils from your hair–leaving it exposed to the environment and much more easily damaged. It can even break down proteins and slow your hair growth.
  2. Sodium Chloride — Thankfully, this is a chemical that won’t do too much harm. It’s present in shampoos to thicken the liquids, but it won’t damage your hair.
  3. Polysorbates — This is used to thicken the liquid and bind the oils to the water in the shampoo. It also helps to dissolve the fragrance into the shampoo. It can cause a nasty skin reaction on your scalp, as it will leave a residue that can disrupt your skin’s pH.
  4. Glycol — Many glycols are fairly innocuous and no cause for concern, but polyethylene glycol (listed as PEG) is one that can do a lot of harm. Thanks to the fact that the glycol is ethoxylated, it can potentially cause cancer when absorbed into the body. They are known carcinogens that are best avoided!

READ MORE: The Dangers of Shampoo

  1. Cetrimonium Chloride — This is a compound of quaternary ammonium, and it’s designed to act as a preservative to keep the natural ingredients in the shampoo from rotting. But it’s a well-known fact that many preservatives can be harmful for your health, so it may be a good idea to look for a product free of this ingredient.
  2. Behentrimonium Chloride — This is another form of salt that is added to your shampoo as a preservative, but it’s a known irritant. The reason for this is that it’s designed to attack the bacteria and viruses that would cause the shampoo to decay or degrade, so it may end up attacking the beneficial bacteria in the body.
  3. Hydrolysed Collagen — This isn’t an ingredient that is harmful to your body, simply a waste of money. Your skin cannot absorb collagen due to the fact that collagen molecules are too large, so any shampoo that claims to give your scalp collagen is just using marketing hype to make you buy their products.
  4. Hydrolysed Soy Protein — This is usually a fairly harmless ingredient in your shampoo, though it can be dangerous for those who have allergies to soy products. You should also be concerned, as it’s very likely that GMO soy products were used to make this ingredient.
  5. Amodimethicone — This is an ingredient added to make shampoo feel silky-smooth on your hair, and it’s mean to seal moisture into your hair and scalp. But that can actually be a bad thing, as it won’t allow your hair and skin to breathe. This could possibly lead to hair thinning–definitely not a good thing!

Know what’s in your shampoos and be a smart consumer.


About the author


Some people get lucky and are born with fit, toned bodies. Andy Peloquin is not one of those people... Fitness has come hard for him, and he's had to work for it. His trials have led him to becoming a martial artist, an NFPT-certified fitness trainer, and a man passionate about exercise, diet and healthy living. He loves to exercise--he does so six days a week--and loves to share his passion for fitness and health with others.

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