Ingredient Breakdown #5 – Herbal Essences Luscious Length Bee Strong Shampoo & Conditioner

Hey everyone!
I’m finally bringing you the fifth post in my ‘Ingredient Breakdown’ series. If you don’t know what this series is, it is basically going through the ingredients in my hair care products, just to see what is lurking in there & if these products are actually doing more harm than good to our hair.
So far I have covered these products:
#1 – Herbal Essences daily detox shampoo & conditioner (Golden raspberry & mint)
#2 – John Frieda Sheer Blonde Highlight Activating shampoo & conditioner
#3 – Garnier Ultimate Blends Shampoo & conditioner, The Delicate Soother
#4 – L’oreal Elvive Fibrology Air Volumising and Thickening Shampoo & Conditioner

Herbal Essences shampoo & conditioner

Firstly, I have been really liking this Herbal Essences ‘Bee Strong’ combo. The texture is quite thick and the honey fragrance is lovely. These products are intended to strengthen the hair, hence the name. I have used about half of both the shampoo and conditioner and I would say that my hair does feel in pretty good condition! My hair is quite fine, so it does seem to snap a lot. But I look after it fairly well, always using a heat spray and trying to limit the amount I use hair tools on it.
But, lets see what ingredients are in here!

*The higher the ingredient is in the list, the more there is within the product

Herbal Essences shampoo

Aqua – Water
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate – This is a surfactant found in an awful lot of shampoo’s and other personal care products. It causes the lather in the shampoo (because it breaks down the molecules to allow better interaction between the hair and 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, so it all comes down to personal preference.
Sodium Laureth Sulfate – This is a surfactant found in many personal care products and it again products the lather in the 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.
Cocamidopropyl Betaine – Another surfactant which causes lather in the shampoo. It is more natural as it comes from coconut oil. It is also a thickening agent.
Glycol Distearate – This produces the pearlescent effect in shampoo. It also creates a lot of foam. It is considered safe, but not natural.
Dimethicone – 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 is an ingredient that some people choose to stay away from.
Sodium Citrate – This is an acidic component which is used the keep the pH balanced.
Cocamide MEA – A foaming agent. A lot of ‘natural’ shampoo’s contain this as it comes from coconut oil. However, there is some controversy as to if this is actually a natural product since it is made with coconut oil and a chemical compound called ethanolamine. the FDA say this ingredient may lead to the formation of carcinogenic nitrosamines. Which is pretty scary since these compounds can induce cancer in animals… so who knows what its doing to us.
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.
Parfum – The fragrance.
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.
Sodium Benzoate – This ingredient is found naturally in cranberries, cinnamon and other foods. It is used is shampoo as a preservative.
Sodium Chloride – Also known as salt! This is used the thicken the product and is safe to use.
Glycerin – This binds water which is mainly derived from vegetable oil. It isn’t usually in shampoo’s and is more commonly found in conditioner’s. It is known to prevent breakage in hair and leaves hair feeling soft.
Tetrasodium EDTA – A chelating agent which can improve the lather of shampoo. It has a low risk but some reports consider this toxic.
Polyquaternium-6 – An anti-static, hair conditioning ingredient.
Limonene – Fragrance from citrus fruit. An irritant and toxic to wildlife and possibly humans. Has restrictions in cosmetics but in small amounts is allowed.
Hexyl Cinnamal – A natural ingredient used as a fragrance additive to make floral scents stronger.
Linalool – Used in floral fragrances. Occurs naturally in essential oils.
Benzyl Salicylate – A fragrant ingredient which is a known allergen and human immune system toxicant. There are some restrictions in use. Some people avoid this.
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.
Magnesium Nitrate – Inorganic salt which is used for conditioning.
Mel – An emollient and moisturising ingredient. No concern here.
Prunus Armeniaca Fruit Extract – This is extract from an ‘Armenian plum’, which is basically an apricot.
CI 19140 – This is used as a colorant. There aren’t really any concerns here as there is not much of it in the product. However, there are some limits due to the toxicity.
Methylchloroisothiazolinone – Perservative with anti-fungal affects.
CI 17200 – Colorant.
Magnesium Chloride – used to increase thickness.
Phenoxyethanol –
An alternate preservative to parabens. There is a lot of info about this online, some of which warns of it being a toxicant and links to cancer – however it is approved in the levels which it is found in cosmetics.
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.
CI 42090 – A colorant. Some concerns about toxicity.
Methylparaben – You may have heard of parabens, as it has become common for labels on products to say ‘paraben free’. They are a preservative that are widely used in cosmetics. There are some concerns about the links with cancer. A study found that in 20 samples of breast cancer tissue, 18 of them contained parabens. The study doesn’t prove that parabens cause cancer, just that they are found in cancer tissue. A lot of people now choose to stay away from them. If you want to read more check out this link
Butylparaben – Another paraben, preservative.
Ethylparaben – Another paraben, preservative.
Proplyparaben – Another paraben, preservative.


*Anything without a description is listed above.
Herbal Essences conditioner

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.
Behentrimonium Chloride – An anti static conditioning agent, can be a human allergen.
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.
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.
Isopropyl Alcohol – Anti-foaming agent and thickness controlling ingredient. Expected to be toxic (On the Environment Canada Domestic Substance list).
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.
Disodium EDTA – Similar to Tetrasodium EDTA, although Disodium EDTA is considered safer. (see shampoo list). Acts as a preservative.
Hexyl Cinnamal 
Benzyl Salicylate
Sodium Hydroxide – Controls the PH in personal care products. It is considered safe but can be an irritant.
Propylene Glycol
Magnesium Nitrate

Prunus Armeniaca Fruit Extract
CI 19140
CI 17200
Magnesium Chloride
CI 42090

That’s all! I’m quite disappointed after going through all the ingredients. I wasn’t happy that there are parabens within these products as I would like to avoid them. However, at least they are all really low down in the ingredient list, which suggests there isn’t much in the products. I was glad that there isn’t much silicone in these products, as some seem to have a whole lot more! This suggests that the strength this combo provides isn’t artificial.
I will continue to use these products until they are empty, but I don’t see myself repurchasing.

What do you think? Let me know! Thanks for stopping by.

Jazmin xx


  1. chantellechl0ex
    April 16, 2018 / 4:28 pm

    I’m not really on herbal essence as it’s not vegan/animal cruelty friendly, but this was an interesting read ! x

    • April 16, 2018 / 4:29 pm

      Ah yes! Well I’m not so sure on this one now since it has so many parabens in there! Thanks for stopping by x

  2. April 16, 2018 / 4:15 pm

    This was a really interesting read. Never seen a breakdown post like this before! X

  3. April 16, 2018 / 4:16 pm

    I love that you describe the ingredients! It’s so important to know what’s in your products! I personally stay away from sulphates as they make my scalp really dry (which contributed to my hair falling out a little) but you’re totally right. It’s all about personal preference x


    • April 16, 2018 / 4:17 pm

      Thanks!! Ah yes, I totally see what you mean about sulphates! X

  4. April 17, 2018 / 7:24 pm

    I usually don’t pay much attention the ingredients lists when buying hair products and this post definitely opened up my to the fact that I should! I am currently using the detox one from herbal essences and I really like, will definitely be checking the ingredients now! xx

    • April 17, 2018 / 8:37 pm

      Ah yes!! I never used to look either, but I agree it’s important to try! & ooo if I remember rightly, the detox one was better for your hair than this one! Xx

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *