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Top 8 Ingredients to AVOID in Your Personal Care Products

February 20, 2024 3 min read

Top 8 Ingredients to AVOID in Your Personal Care Products

Personal care items like cosmetics, shampoo, and conditioner often unnecessarily contain harmful ingredients. They are damaging to both you and the environment. 

We’ve made a list of 8 common ingredients to avoid that cause hair and skin damage, longer term health risks, and environmental harm. 

You won’t find any of these on The Earthling Co. labels, but you might want to double check your other products! 

8 ingrediens to avoid in your personal care products

  1. SLS/SLES (Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate or Sodium Laureth Sulfate and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate)

SLS/SLES are harsh surfactants used in shampoos to create a foaming lather that cause damage to the hair follicle and strip your hair of natural oils. They leave the hair dry, brittle and lead to color fading on color-treated hair. 
*Banned in EU

  1. Parabens 

Parabens are used as a preservative in cosmetics and shampoos, but are known to be harmful. They cause reproductive and endocrine disruption, irritate the skin, and have been linked to increased risk of breast cancer. They also have harmful effects to bodies of water when they are rinsed down the drain. Check your labels for common parabens like methylparaben, propylparaben, Isobutylparaben, butylparaben, and ethylparaben.
*Banned in EU (certain types of parabens)
  1. Silicones

Silicones are often used to prevent moisture loss, but they simply sit on top of the skin or hair causing clogged pores, breakouts, and masking hair damage. It is common for hair damage to become more noticeable when switching to a shampoo without silicones because of this masking effect. Silicones are also not readily biodegradable. 

  1. Polyethylene Glycols (PEG)

PEG is a petroleum derived thickening that is often contaminated with byproducts. It is known for stripping moisture from hair and causing breakage. It has also been classified as a developmental toxicant meaning it can damage or disrupt human development. 
*Banned in EU

  1. Formaldehyde
Formaldehyde is used as a preservative and commonly listed in shampoo as quaternium-15. It can also be found in chemicals used for blowouts at hair salons. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen that can be absorbed through the skin.
*Banned in EU

  1. Drying Alcohol

Most alcohols have a drying and damaging effect. These alcohols that cause hair and skin damage usually have a “prop” in their name like isopropyl alcohol. The higher up in the ingredients list they appear, the more alcohols the product contains. Not all alcohols are bad for your hair and skin health. There are fatty alcohols that don’t have any damaging effects and help hair retain moisture like Cetearyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol.

  1. Synthetic Fragrances

Synthetic fragrances can have thousands of ingredients that make up the fragrance, and many of them are petroleum-based. Many of these hidden ingredients in synthetic fragrance can irritate the scalp and skin leading to hair loss, disrupt the reproductive system, and lead to an increased risk for cancer or asthma.

  1. Phthalates 

Phthalates are plasticizers used to help the scent last longer on the skin and  hair. Research is limited, but studies have shown a negative impact on the reproductive system. 
*Banned in EU

The Earthling Co. is committed to sourcing natural, non-toxic ingredients that are safe for human use and have a minimal impact on the environment. You can find more information in our ingredient database

If you are suffering from hair loss, unhealthy hair growth, dry skin, or frequent breakouts and think chemicals such as the ones mentioned above may be to blame, try switching to our natural and effective hair care and skin care products.