What are the Bad Ingredients in Hair Products?

Hair care products are not all created equal. Some contain high quality ingredients that are great for your hair and scalp - others contain low-quality ingredients that can leave your hair in worse condition than it started. If you want to avoid bad ingredients in your hair products, this article is exactly what you need. In it, we’ll reveal several ingredients that you should avoid like the plague. Let’s get right into it! 


If you’ve ever taken a glance at your shampoo ingredient list, you may have noticed ingredients ending in “sulfate.” Sulfates are a type of surfactant that cleanses the hair and gives shampoos their sudsy quality. The problem with sulfates is that they’re a little too good at cleansing the hair.
More often than not, when you use a shampoo with sulfates, your hair gets squeaky clean, and that’s not good for your hair. Any time your hair squeaks, it means that it’s been zapped of all moisture. When your hair dries after using a sulfate shampoo, you may notice that your strands look like straw and don’t have the shine that they had previously.
For these reasons, you should limit your use of sulfates.


Parabens have been used in countless hair and skin products for decades. But as of the last decade or two, parabens have gotten a bad rep for possibly being linked to cancer. In addition, it’s been discovered that parabens can mimic estrogen (the main female hormone) and cause various conditions as a result. It’s for that reason that you should try to avoid any hair products that contain parabens. Parabens can show up on ingredient lists as methylparaben, propylparaben, and more. 

Artificial Fragrances

We all love products with yummy fragrances. But all too often, these fragrances cause issues that you never would have expected. And their effects are unpredictable because hair product manufacturers don’t have to tell you what’s in a given artificial fragrance. It’s believed that one of the main reasons people have allergic reactions to their hair products is that they contain these fragrances.
We recommend staying away from products that contain artificial fragrances, regardless of how tempting they may be. Opt instead for products with natural fragrances.


Formaldehyde is commonly used in hair products that have smoothing properties, like Brazilian Blowout products and hair straightening treatments. When exposed to a high enough concentration of the chemical, it is believed that this ingredient can cause cancer other serious health issues. Formaldehyde is also known to cause scalp irritation that can lead to hair loss. In addition to formaldehyde, keep an eye out for formic aldehyde, methyl aldehyde, methanal, methylene glycol, and methylene oxide. You should also avoid any ingredients that release formaldehyde, like quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, glyoxal, and sodium hydroxymethylglycinate.  
We hope that this article has been helpful to you. Be sure to always read the ingredient list on any product you’re using or considering. That way, you can make an informed decision about whether it’s a good idea to include it in your product stash. Good luck!

Author: Andrea Reyes

Andrea is a mother, wife, writer, and natural hair enthusiast of 15 years. Currently on her natural hair journey, she’s been trying countless products and techniques to understand and embrace her natural hair. She is the creator of NaturallyTextured.com, a new website featuring informative articles that share tips, tricks, and techniques aimed to help others learn to love their hair through proper hair care. She writes with the hope of making hair care easier to understand and implement.

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