Sleek, Shiny, + Safe: All Things Shampoo

Since shampoo merely sits on the surface of your hair + is quickly washed off, it is easy to forget that its ingredients can be just as harmful as other hygiene products. However, shampoo is still touching your skin, an organ that readily absorbs ingredients. We are providing you with some basic ingredient knowledge + brands have your best interest in mind!


There is, of course, a large list of ingredients that one should try to avoid. We are going to focus on the four most prevalent//harmful:

Sulfates // Although there are no real health risks in sulfates, they are known to cause brittle + dry hair, which can lead to eczema. These include sodium laureth sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate, + ammonium laureth sulfate

Phthalates // Most commonly disguised as *fragrance,* which really can contain a multitude of other *proprietary* ingredients, phthalates have been made illegal in various products in California. Additionally, they are listed as high hazard by the EWG. They can cause cancer + endocrine disruption. If you want your hair to smell good, look for essential oils, not *fragrance*

Parabens // According to the Ecology Center, parabens imitate estrogen, “an effect that has been linked to both the development of breast cancer and the early onset of puberty in girls.” Most parabens are rated as *high risk* by the EWG, but some are *moderate*

Formaldehyde // Formaldehyde sneaks into shampoo from a few different ingredients: DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl, Quaternium-15, diazolidinyl urea, + bronopol. Formaldehyde can seep into our bodies via skin, but also by inhaling it. The FDA states that formaldehyde may cause cancer only after “excessive exposure,” which may be your nightly lathering in shampoo. Further, the EWG has this product listed at the highest possible ranking for bodily harm


All ingredients are extracted from the brands’ most popular products.


These brands are not recommended, but do not need to be immediately trashed.


  • Ogx, contains fragrance, + diazolidnyl urea
  • Head + Shoulders, contains fragrance, sulfates, + artificial colors, which are discussed in this blog
  • Suave, contains fragrance + DMDM hydantoin
  • Herbal Essence, contains fragrance, sulfates, + artificial colors
  • Neutrogena, contains DMDM hydantoin, sulfates, + fragrance


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