5 Ingredients to Avoid in Shampoos



The African American hair is both beautiful and unique in appearance and structure. It is a standout feature that complements the natural beauty of black women. Sadly, this hair type is especially fragile and prone to damage and injury. A good number of black women continue to cite hair loss or thinning hair as a major problem.

What many black women and even hair care specialists in the black community may not know is, there are a number of hair care products containing harmful ingredients that have damaging effects on black hair.

Shampoos are amongst hair care products commonly used by black women, hence this article will briefly look into some of the most harmful ingredients in shampoos that black women must avoid.


In no particular order, here are 5 ingredients in shampoos to avoid:


Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)

SLS is a surfactant that is present in many cleaning products. It is typically used as a foaming agent in shampoos, soaps, and detergents. According to findings by the American College of Toxicology, SLS can penetrate the skin and stay in the body for several days. SLS can also dry up the hair and skin moisture, and this can lead to hair damage.



Triclosan can get stored up in fat cells and leave your body in a state of toxicity. It can result in endocrine disruption, organ system toxicity or eye, lung, and skin irritation. Apart from having damaging effects on the hair and skin, there are studies that have linked this chemical to heart-related problems.


This chemical is a type of silicone that is used in a ton of hair products like shampoos. The build of this substance on your hair can make it feel greasy. Since it serves as a protective cover on the surface of the hair, it prevents nutrients and moisture from going in; instead, it allows dirt and residue to gather. It can block the pores on the scalp and cause hair and skin damage.



Fragrances can come from over 3,000 chemicals, many of which are harmful. Many of these chemicals can cause hair damage, allergies, headaches, brain fog, organ toxicity, and a host of other problems. As stated by the Environmental Working Group, fragrances are usually a blend of up to 14 chemicals. Since many of these chemicals are trade secrets, they are usually not disclosed on the labels of hair care products.


Cocamidopropyl Betaine

Cocamidopropyl betaine is another chemical that is used as a foam booster. Although this ingredient is derived from coconut oil, it can have some negative effects. It is a surfactant that is used in hair products along with dimethylaminopropylamine, which can cause scalp irritation, rosacea, allergies, and eczema.