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Stop Harming Your Hair: 5 Bad Ingredients to Avoid

     What do Farah Fawcett, Rapunzel, Diana Ross, and Gisele Bundchen have in common? Each of them has beautiful, healthy hair. Everyone strives to have shiny, soft, and growing hair, but no one talks about how to get it. Fear not, you can make an easy but huge step to getting the locks of your dreams by getting rid of a select few ingredients in your hair care. 

1. Sulfates

     Sulfates are used in most products as foaming agents. They are in hair care to clean and remove oils, but really they are far too aggressive on the hair. Sulfates can cause scalp irritation and strip away all natural (healthy) oils from the hair. Your hair stylist will also tell you to stay away from this ingredient as it will quickly “attack” any colorant, removing it from the hair.

     Ingredients to watch for: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), ammonium lauryl sulfate

2. Formaldehyde Releasers 

     Formaldehyde Releasers are put into many hair care products to help preserve it and prevent spoiling. This ingredient is not only a known carcinogen, but it is also known to cause hair breakage and loss. 

     Ingredients to watch for: DMDM, Bronopol, imidazolidinyl urea

3. Parabens

     Parabens are another anti-spoilage preservative in countless shampoos. Like sulfates, parabens are aggressive, abrasive, and terrible for colored hair. 

     Ingredients to watch for: anything with the word “paraben”

4. Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)

     PEG’s encompass a number of ingredients- in hair care, they are used for thickening and softening the hair. These also strip the hair and can cause scalp irritation. 

     Ingredients to watch for: PEG followed by a number (ex. PEG 46)

5. Dimethicone

     Dimethicone’s use is to soften and retain moisture, but it does this by coating the hair in silicone. In using this, you will see a buildup of product and hair will be weighed down. Toss this one if you want to see your hair be fuller and bouncier!

     There are plenty of products that won’t put your hair at risk of dullness and breakage. I recommend Shea Moisture, Verb, and some Redken products. Make 2021 the year you commit to having healthy, beautiful hair. 

     Note: This list is specific to hair health and does not take ingredients that have been hypothesized to disrupt hormones, etc. As always, please do your own research on what works best for you.

Jacobi Reynolds is a photographer and senior Pre-medical Biology student at Baylor University. She is from Henrietta, Texas, just south of the Oklahoma and Texas border. When she is not studying or taking photos, she enjoys exploring new places, painting, and spending time with friends and family. Her favorite things are the color pink, dogs, pizza and going to the movies.
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