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If you are active on Tiktok, I am sure you might have heard about the ongoing controversy with TRESemmé and other major hair products. 


TRESemmé is currently facing a lawsuit regarding their usage of a chemical called DMDM hydantoin in their products. 


While it’s obvious there are many chemicals used within hair products, this particular ingredient can be extremely harmful as it releases formaldehyde, a toxic carcinogen. This chemical can cause cancer, and other less harmful reactions when absorbed into the skin. 


Below is all you need to know about DMDM hydantoin and similar ingredients so you can keep your hair and yourself safe. 


The concerns regarding DMDM hydantoin are not new. The chemical was primarily used in cosmetic products as they elongate shelf life by fighting microbes that can grow in water based substances. Therefore, it was used for hair products as well. 


However, the scalp easily absorbs such chemicals resulting in adverse side-effects such as hair loss and severe scalp irritation. The increasing complaints and the failure to warn customers about the use of such harmful chemicals in the product caused the class action lawsuit against TRESemmé. 


Now, how can consumers be aware of the ingredients in these products? It can be hard, especially with the not-so-mundane lists of lengthy words on the product’s labels. That’s why it’s important to highlight harmful chemicals. 


The most common chemicals listed are Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Silicones, and Parabens and most brands will emphasize their absence on the front of the bottles. 


For other chemicals, like DMDM hydantoin, you may have to hunt them down. 


It would also be helpful to watch out for other formaldehyde-releasers like Dimethicone, which has gained a lot of traction on TikTok. 


This particular silicone releases formaldehyde at high heats, similar to working with a hot tool above 450 degrees Fahrenheit. 


Some more formaldehyde-releasers are Quaternium-15, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Diazolidinyl Urea, Polyoxymethylene Urea, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol (bronopol), and Glyoxal.


To make it easier for yourself, here are some brands to look out for as they have been known to use DMDM hydantoin in their products:

Organix (OGX), Dove, VO5, Suave, Bed Head, Nexxus, SunBum, and Carol’s Daughter. 


Looking through my own cabinet opened my eyes to this. Infact, some products I frequently use like OGX Biotin and Collagen shampoo and conditioner include these ingredients as well. 


It is really all about taking advantage of the ingredient label to make sure we keep our hair healthy. 


The best thing you can do for yourself is really using organic products. Lush’s line of hair products has especially been a favorite of mine. Its ingredients are natural and the label clearly highlights these in green. 


While their products are a bit expensive, I would definitely encourage these if you’re looking for chemical free products.

I am currently a Junior at Penn State studying Biobehavioral Health. Besides school and writing for Her Campus, I love all kinds of music and am currently learning to play the ukulele! In my free time, I love to play with my dogs as well as watch my favorite shows, New Girl and Glee.
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