Here are many of the chemicals you’ll find in standard salon products:
are manufactured from man-made materials such as petrochemicals (petroleum-based chemicals) and are among the top five known allergens. They contain a high volume of phthalates which have been linked to hormone disruption and affect the immune and nervous system.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate/Sodium Laureth Sulfate
are harsh detergents used in shampoos for their cleansing and foam-building properties. Often derived from petroleum, these synthetic ingredients can cause eye irritation, scalp irritation, and tangled hair. SLS and SLES are used in car washes, as garage floor cleaners, and as engine degreasers.
Parabens (methyl, propyl, butyl, and ethyl)
are preservatives used as inhibitors of microbial growth and to extend the shelf life of products. These chemical preservatives have been identified as estrogenic and disruptive of normal hormone function. Estrogenic chemicals mimic the function of the naturally occurring hormone estrogen, and exposure to external estrogens has been linked to breast cancer.
is a preservative that’s made from known carcinogens formaldehyde and sodium cyanide. It is also a penetration enhancer, meaning it breaks down the skin’s protective barrier, going right into your bloodstream.
Propylene Glycol (PG) or Butylene Glycol (BG)
are derived from petroleum. They penetrate the skin and can weaken protein and cellular structure. Commonly used to carry extracts into formulas, PG is strong enough to remove barnacles from boats. Also used as a surfactant or wetting agent, propylene glycol is an active ingredient in industrial antifreeze.
readily breaks down in the product or on the skin and releases formaldehyde. It’s an endocrine disruptor, a possible neurotoxin, a known immune system toxicant, and has a possible link to cancer.
Synthetic Colors and Dyes
are used to make cosmetics “pretty,” synthetic colors and dyes are labeled as FD&C or D&C followed by a color and a number. Example: FD&C Red No. 6 or D&C Green No. 6. Synthetic colors are made from coal tar and contain heavy metal salts that deposit toxins onto the skin, causing irritation. Animal studies have shown almost all synthetic colors and dyes to be carcinogenic.
Diethanolamine (DEA) and Triethanolamine (TEA)
are synthetic emulsifiers and/or foaming agents. They are highly acidic and can cause allergic reactions, eye irritation, and dryness of hair and skin. DEA and TEA are ammonia compounds which are potent carcinogens.
CAUTIONARY NOTE: Most hair care manufacturers are still using the above synthetic ingredients in their formulations.