Surprising Ingredients Found In Your Hair Products

The next time you feel the need to work your hair up into a lather while you wash, you might want to reconsider that thought. While we'd all like to think that the toiletries we have in formation like soldiers in the bathroom are ready to make us look and feel better, a close look at the ingredient list may make us realize otherwise. In addition to making sure you're using the right shampoo for your hair, there are a few ingredients in hair products that you might simply want to avoid. 

Alec Batis, a former research chemist at L'Oreal group, tells Business Insider that while not all formulations are dangerous, consumers need to be aware (and possibly concerned about) chemicals that are being used to make soaps, shampoos, and perfumes. "It's not about hating chemicals," Batis says. "Let's understand what this stuff really is."

What's in your hair products?

While some of these ingredients have the potential some level of damage to your hair, others actually affect your body by interfering with your system in some way. 

Some of the ingredients to look out for include:

Sulfates. EcoWatch says this ingredient is great for getting rid of dirt and oil, but it can be almost too efficient. Sulfates are not kind to hair or scalp, so they can eat away at natural moisture that might otherwise leave your hair shiny and soft. But sulfates are also suspected to carry dioxane, which is a known carcinogen and can disrupt kidney function.

Parabens. EcoWatch says parabens seem to be universally despised as a possible hormone disruptor and for their potential links to cancer. But before their possible side effects were widely known, parabens were used as a preservative in cosmetics and toiletries to prevent mold and bacteria from setting in (via FDA).

Polyethylene glycol. Also known as PEG, EcoWatch says chemical has already been red-lighted by the state of California because of its potential to interfere with human development.

Other chemicals to watch out for in your hair products

There are a couple other ingredients you should be on the lookout for.

Fragrances. EcoWatch says the term "fragrance" is used to cover up ingredients they don't want you to know about, so if you see that on a product, you might want to give that one a hard pass.

Triclosan. It started out as an antibacterial agent, but EcoWatch says it now appears in personal care products as a preservative. Do we know enough about it? No, but some doctors suspect triclosan might actually hurt our bodies the same way parabens do. So no, no, and no.

It doesn't sound like we're left with a lot of options, but if you want to get to know your toiletries better, go through the list of ingredients located at the back of your shampoo or conditioner and make a note of how they are listed. While that's not always the case, Canadian hairdresser Natalie James says (via Best Health), "Some products will list ingredients from top to bottom, with the highest concentrations being at the top of the list." 

After all, it won't hurt you to stay informed.