5 Shampoo Ingredients That Can Hurt Your Hair and Scalp + Which Ones Can Help

5 Shampoo Ingredients That Can Hurt Your Hair and Scalp + Which Ones Can Help

What’s in your shampoo?

At the most fundamental level, caring for your hair comes down to selecting formulas that support hair health, rather than those that could undermine your efforts, and contribute to poor condition.

If you’ve been under the impression that all products are formulated to be supportive, you might be surprised to learn that a number of harmful ingredients are still making their way into some of today’s most popular hair care staples.

With so many options to choose from, your best bet is to be in the know about which ingredients to look for on a label, and which ones to skip altogether. Here’s the scoop:

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Hair Care Ingredients to Avoid

  • Sulfates 1

    Commonly labeled as sodium lauryl sulfate or SLS, sulfates act similarly to a detergent, removing dirt, oil, and debris from the hair and scalp. While this is effective for cleansing, sulfates also remove the natural (and necessary) oils produced by your scalp. For many people, this effect will be too stripping or drying for the hair, and can even irritate the sensitive skin of the scalp.

  • Parabens 2

    Parabens are technically a preservative and are found under names like methylparaben, propylparaben, or really any ingredient that ends with “paraben.” They are used to prevent the growth of bacteria and microbes, which seems like a good thing. However, studies have shown that when absorbed through the skin, parabens can actually mimic estrogen and have a negative impact on the body’s hormone levels, potentially even increasing your risk of certain cancers.

  • Phthalates 3

    Phthalates are multi-tasking petroleum-based chemicals used in shampoos both as lubricants and as fragrance preservatives. Unfortunately, according to studies, they can be very risky to your health due to their ability to not only disrupt hormones, but also damage the kidneys, liver, immune system, and more.

  • Silicones 4

    At first pass, silicones can seem like a beneficial ingredient in shampoos because they’re what help the hair feel smoother and look shinier. This is accomplished by providing a protective coating for your hair strands, but unfortunately this effect is temporary. Over time, silicone will actually suffocate the hair to the extent that it can’t absorb moisture and other beneficial ingredients, leading to a buildup on the surface and unhealthy hair beneath.

  • Synthetic Fragrances 5

    Because a big part of healthy hair care is proper scalp care, you’ll also want to pass on any ingredient that irritates the skin. One of the most common of these in haircare is synthetic fragrances, which can cause dryness, irritation, itchiness, and other issues for your scalp. To avoid these, be wary of any ingredient listed as “fragrance” or “parfum” and instead look for formulas that only use natural botanical ingredients to scent the product.

Better Ingredients For Healthy Hair

So what should you be on the lookout for when choosing a shampoo? For designing a better, more holistic, yet effective line of hair care products, Hush & Hush formulates their DeeplyRooted Shampoo without any of the harmful ingredients listed above and instead infuses them with nourishing natural oils that support not only the hair but the scalp as well.

A few of these include:

  • Capisoothe- A trademarked ingredient designed to rebalance the ecology of the scalp, in turn reducing scalp dryness, itching, and flaking. Sourced from Chlorella, the active B12 carries oxygen and nutrients in the blood directly to the scalp.


  • Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil – Also known as argan oil, argan not only softens and deeply moisturizes the hair but also provides a protective barrier against environmental damage, making it a great alternative to silicone-based ingredients.


  • Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil – Rich in omega-3 fatty acids as well as Vitamin E, apricot oil is naturally anti-inflammatory, and works well to prevent hair loss and thinning, while also softening and smoothing struggling strands.


DeeplyRooted Shampoo provides a refreshing, energizing, unisex scent of peppermint and citrus with a slight hint of cocoa; finished with a soft floral essence. No artificial fragrance was used in the creation of this scent.

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