What’s Really in Your Shampoo

Your hair will thank you once you stop using these

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Many hair brands claim that their products are sulfate, parabens, silicone, dye and other ingredients free. But that is not true. You might be wondering why would they even lie, and it’s simple, FDA doesn’t require beauty brands to do list their actual ingredients even it’s harmful to you. 

I have no used sulfate, silicon, parabens, nor dye on my hair for about four months since I started my curly hair journey. Now, don’t get me wrong, when I was using products that contained all that I loved them. I loved using drug store brands and some high end. But after switching and doing more extensive research I realized that most if not all brands are lying to their customers. 

But first, let go over what those ingredients are and what they actually do. 


According to Healthline, Sulfate can found in shampoos, toothpaste, soaps, dishwashing soap, and laundry detergent. Sulfate is a strong chemical that is meant to remove oils. But sulfates also have other names like SLS, SLES among other names. 

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)

This sulfate is used to later your shampoo and get that squeaky clean. If you have hair color, you want to avoid this as it can strip your hair color after a few washes. Working at a hair salon, most of the clients go for the sulfate-free shampoo. Use a sulfate-free when you are getting your hair colored and a few weeks after. There are many products that are actually color-safe and sulfate-free.

Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate

Sulfates are very strong detergents that bind with the sebum on the scalp and with water. When the shampoo is rinsed out the sulfates take the oils and residue as well. The hair will feel cleansed, but this can be damaging to stressed or weak hair which can make it brittle and increase frizz. 2

Sodium Chloride

Also, another form of salt that is used to make your shampoos and conditioner thicker. Salt can make an already sensitive scalp dry and itchy, which can cause hair loss. You want to look at products and make sure that they don’t have this ingredient if you already have a sensitive scalp. 

Synthetic Fragrances

Products that contain fragrances can cause irritation to the scalp and skin for those who are sensitive. If you have a sensitive scalp or skin, avoid using fragrances in products. This can cause you to lose hair as it starts to itch a lot. You can find fragrance free products online through Target or Amazon.


Yes, we all want soft hair, but silicon actually blocks moisture from getting through the hair. It does help tame frizz but when you wash your hair those silicone are not going anywhere unless you use a sulfate shampoo that drys the hair and strips the hair from its natural oils (not good).


Dimethicone is another type of silicon found on shampoos. This causes buildup on your hair, it acts as a barrier and collects dirt, residence and eventually causing a build-up that you have you’ll want to wash your hair more frequently.


According to Shampoo Tree in order to preserve the shelf life of many shampoos, parabens are used. Parabens preservative and it is used to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungus in shampoos. There are many different types of parabens, namely, butylparaben, ethylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben, and isobutyl paraben.


This is added to shampoo with color. You might notice shampoos that have different colors or shampoos that help keep your hair color intact. Shampoos and conditioners use a synthetic color that is not good for your hair. 

Diethanolamine (DEA) and Triethanolamine (TEA)

TEA, DEA help to form emulsions by reducing the surface tension of the substances to be emulsified so that water-soluble and oil-soluble ingredients can be blended together. 


Most alcohols are very drying whether it’s in shampoos, skin-care products, hand sanitizer and so on. When companies add alcohol to your shampoos, it will cause your hair to get really dry mainly on the ends. If you have dry hair already avoid using shampoos or any hair product that contains “prop” in the name, like Isopropyl alcohol or propanol.


This ingredient was banned in 2016 by the FDA along with 18 more ingredients. Triclosan cannot be used in antibacterial soaps. But this product is still being used in our shampoos, toothpaste, and in our deodorants. This chemical is known to cause cancer and another kind of illness. 

How to find out if your products have any of these ingredients? Grab all your hair care products and start looking for the names I have mentioned. You can also do Google search on the ingredients you see.

Now if you do have curly hair you can go to Curlsbot and paste the ingredients but if you don’t have curly hair that is fine. You can still copy and paste the indents on there and it will let you know if those are safe for the hair. If it’s not safe, it will say “Not curly girl approved” since curly hair has more restrictions. 

You can also customize your own hair care product by using Prose. A new way to make your own shampoo, condition and hair care product with healthy ingredients that you can understand and read. 

When using Prose you have to answer some questions that will take about 5 minutes and it will customize your products based on your answers and based on the area you live in. 


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