I’m thinking of starting a new series on my blog called ‘Ingredient breakdown’. Lately I’ve been so intrigued in the ingredients lists of the products I’m using. Particularly in my hair care items. It’s only quite recently that people have become cautious of the chemicals, such as silicones and parabens, in their products and I have fast become one of those people. I want to take a closer look at some of the things I have in my stash! Please let me know in the comments below if you’d be interested in this series.
For my first post in the series I’ve chosen to look at the popular Herbal Essences daily detox clean shampoo and conditioner. I have mine in the golden raspberry and mint scent. I have been really loving this shampoo as it leaves my hair feeling super clean and fresh. the label on the shampoo bottle boasts of ‘no silicones’, however the conditioner doesn’t have this claim. Some ingredients can be a little confusing, but for me its important I know what I’m putting on my hair. Lets get started!
*The higher the ingredient in the list, the more there is within the product.
Aqua – self explanatory, just water!
Sodium Laureth Sulfate – This is a surfactant found in many personal care products and products the lather in the shampoo, (because it breaks down the molecules to allow better interaction between the hair and shampoo). Although this is deemed as safe to use by many organisations, it is a known irritant to skin and eyes. So if you have a particularly sensitive scalp maybe steer clear. It has a very similar name to Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), however Laureth (SLES) is a gentler surfactant.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate – As I’ve just mentioned, SLS is a more harsher surfactant than SLES but it is found in an awful lot of shampoo’s and other personal care products. Again, it causes lather in the shampoo. There are conflicting reports on SLS and many people try to stay away from it due to a few reports suggesting a link between this chemical and cancer. However, there is no evidence that SLS causes Cancer. Lush has a page on their website all about this chemical which you can check out here for loads more information about where SLS is derived from etc.
Sodium Chloride – Also known as salt! This is used the thicken the product and is safe to use.
Parfum – The fragrance.
Sodium Citrate – This is an acidic component which is used the keep the pH balanced.
Sodium Xylenesulfonate – This is another surfactant which acts as a ‘wetting’ agent allowing the formula of the shampoo to spread easily. It is also a thickening agent. This is an organic ingredient.
Cocamidopropyl Betaine – Another surfactant which causes lather in the shampoo and it comes from coconut oil. Again, it is a thickening agent.
Sodium Benzoate – This ingredient is found naturally in cranberries, cinnamon and other foods. It is used is shampoo as a preservative.
Citric Acid – This can cause irritation however, since there isn’t too much of it in the shampoo it is safe to use. It’s found in citrus fruit.
Tetrasodium EDTA – A chelating agent which can improve the lather of shampoo. It has a low risk but some reports consider this toxic.
Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose – This is found in plant cells and bonds ingredients together. It is also used as a thickener. Once dried it can produce a film / coating on the hair to protect hairs.
Butylene Gycol – Another ingredient with a bit of a bad reputation. It can be irritating to people who have very sensitive skin so if that’s you maybe stay away, however it is generally considered safe to use. Since it is derived from petroleum, many people choose to opt out of using products containing this.
Hexyl Cinnamal – A natural ingredient used as a fragrance additive to make floral scents stronger.
Hydroxycitronellal – A perfume ingredient. Floral scent with notes of lily and sweet melon.
Mentha Piperita Oil – Basically peppermint oil.
Menthol – Used as a scent, also known to protect hair from damage.
Mentha Arvensis Leaf Oil – Mint.
Fragaria Chiloensis Fruit Extract – Extract of strawberry.
Magnesium Nitrate – Inorganic salt which is used for conditioning.
Methylchloroisothiazolinone – Perservative with anti-fungal affects.
Magnesium Chloride – used to increase thickness.
Methylisothiazolinone – Preservative. Some concerns with reports finding that exposure to this can cause damage to cells. Two studies on rat brain cells found that this chemical caused damage to those cells. However, the cosmetic industry deemed this safe to use as it is extremely low in cosmetics.
* Anything without a definition is already listed above in regards to the shampoo
Stearyl Alcohol – a fatty alcohol used to form emulsions and stop them from separating into its oils and liquid components. A conditioning agent that coats the hair. Deemed as safe but can be a human irritant.
Cetyl Alcohol – Similar to Stearyl Alcohol. Also acts as a thickener. Derived from petroleum or plants. (Used to come from Whale sperm oil, but thankfully it isn’t anymore). Again, worth avoiding if you have very sensitive skin.
Stearmidopropyl Dimethylamine – A conditioning agent which is a mild surfactant so a good alternative to SLS. Removes build up on hair.
Benzyl Alcohol – A natural, non volatile alcohol used as a preservative. However, in products, we often find a synthetic version rather than the natural version. It is safe in the quantity that it is found in hair care products.
Dicetyldimonium Chloride – A conditioning agent which also helps keep the product from separating.
Glutamic Acid – A protein composed of amino acid which creates a moisture film on your hair. This film can protect from environmental damage and pollutants.
Disodium EDTA – Similar to Tetrasodium EDTA, although Disodium EDTA is considered safer. (see shampoo list). Acts as a preservative.
Propylene Glycol – Has quite a bad reputation as it is potentially toxic and is found in anti-freeze. It is also known to irritate the skin. However, it is found in many cosmetics and is generally considered safe in these amounts. If you want more information about this ingredient, since a lot of people are wary of it, then you can check out this link.
Bis-Aminopropyl Dimethicone – Of course, dimethicone is a type of silicone. Silicones are said to weigh hair down and will eventually make hair dull, limp and lifeless, despite the initial illusion of shine. Can prevent moisture from penetrating hair shaft, therefore hair can become dry and brittle and start to break. This particular silicone is creates a protective barrier like other silicones, however this type is not considered a ‘build up’ silicone, so is easier to remove from the hair.
Fragaria Chiloensis Fruit Extract
Mentha Piperita Oil
Mentha Arvensis Leaf Oil
That’s everything! As you can tell, this post is very science based and I don’t even understand the ins and outs of it!
I am happy to continue using this shampoo and conditioner combo as it only contains one silicone in it and it is one of the least harmful silicones! There are no parabens. SLS and Propylene Glycol are potentially ingredients that I should watch out for but for now I am fine with using them.
What did you think of this post? Let me know in the comments if you found this helpful.
As someone who gets paranoid about anything and everything, being able to read a comprehensive list is very helpful! People always complain about bad things in the products we use but it’s a relief that most of it is in very small quantities.
Yeah! I get a little paranoid too so looking into this in detail has helped calm my head Haha. Thanks for your comment! X
I’m glad I’m not alone! Looking forward to seeing this as a series xx
I love this series! Very informative. As someone who suffers from a lot of hair loss, I switched to sulfate free shampoos and it really helped.
Thankyou! I think I’m going to watch out for a few of these ingredients when it’s time for new shampoo haha x
I have just tried this shampoo and conditioner and I absolutely love them! My scalp actually feels clean and my hair is soft and shiny. I found this after I tried it and found the article and ingredient break down useful.
They are great right?! I’m so glad you found this post useful 🙂
This is such an amazing idea for a series! Though I have sensitive skin and a sensitive scalp, I almost never look at the ingredients. Thanks for the info!
Thanks so much!
Very interesting Jaz xxx love it xxx