Over the past few years, parabens and sulfates have become huge buzz words in the beauty industry, but it seems like nobody ever talks specifically about why these ingredients are bad for you?
Parabens & sulfates are chemicals found in beauty products.
Parabens are a widely disliked group of chemicals that you’ve probably been told to avoid in your beauty and personal care products. They're chemicals that have been used since the 1950's to prevent bacteria and act as a preservative in deodorants, lotions, lipsticks, shampoos, scrubs, and more.
Parabens are xenoestrogens, which means that they have a similar composition to hormones found in the human body. Xenoestrogens are thought to disrupt hormones and could even pose a cancer risk.
Studies have shown that some parabens can mimic the activity of the hormone estrogen in the body’s cells, and while estrogenic activity is associated with certain forms of breast cancer, parabens have been found present in breast tumors. Sulfates are concerning because they were found to break down proteins, which can lead to a degenerative effect on the cell membranes. Sulfates have also been found to leave residue in the heart, lungs, and brain.
Sulphates are cleansing and foaming agents that can be found in toothpaste, shampoo, and body washes, among other products.
Sulphate is an ingredient that causes your shampoo to lather. For a foolproof way to know if your product contains sulphates, you’ll see 'sulphate' listed pretty high up on the ingredients label.
The main thing to keep in mind when thinking about sulphates is that they are chemical detergents. That in itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it means that sulphates are extremely effective at removing dirt and oil, in fact, they’re a little too effective! Sulphates are harsh on the hair and scalp, so they can strip away that natural moisture that keeps your hair shiny and soft.
They can cause a number of problems for your hair including drying, irritation, fading of colour, and even hair loss.
Sulphate-free shampoos are becoming increasingly popular and are great for those with dry or coloured hair. Sulphates can strip back some hair types, making it feel drier, so if you already have dry hair you might not need such a thorough cleanse. Colouring hair can dry it out too, and if you use sulphates on top of this the colour may fade quicker and dry it out even more, so you’re best sticking with sulphate-free shampoos.
Parabens are a little trickier to notice. While the most common parabens also have 'paraben' in their name - butylparaben, methylparaben, and propylparaben, they can also be listed as Alkyl parahydroxy benzoates.
There are alternatives though! If you’re looking to steer clear of products that contain parabens, opt for ones that use ingredients such as ethylhexylglycerin (which is plant-derived) or phenoxyethanol, another alternative to parabens, a naturally derived ether alcohol.
If you’re weary about taking a chance using products that contain these chemicals, then don’t! No matter what, chemicals are chemicals. Everything is best used in moderation so it’s always a good idea to switch up your beauty routine and incorporate some natural haircare products.
There’s a wide range of beauty products that are paraben and sulphate free, including our range of hydrating shampoos, conditioners and treatment masks!
All of the ingredients within our products are clearly listed on our packaging and they're surprisingly not too hard to decipher!
You can shop our sulphate-free propane-free products:
Shop our shampoo and conditioner duo
Shop our Shampoo and conditioner for Blondes Duo