Updated: Jun 17, 2019

We all wash our hair to clean dirt and to reduce the oiliness from our scalp. While the lovely lather and nice smelling shampoo we use might make our hair feel clean, the chemicals in it do more harm than good to us as well as to the environment.

Take a look at the list of ingredients on the label of your shampoo bottle. Like these:

The list reads more like chemicals in a chemistry lab, even for the shampoos that claim to be ‘herbal’ or ‘natural’. We are not just putting all these chemicals into our hair and massaging them into our scalp, but these chemicals are also flowing down the drain to pollute, contaminate and poison the environment.

Think about how many millions of people all over the world use personal hygiene products every day and you get an idea of how many chemicals get flushed into our water systems.

Research shows that the chemicals lurking inside shampoos may induce serious health risks like memory loss, eye and skin irritation, hair follicle damage that can lead to hair loss, and even cancer.

The descriptive “all-natural” has become a buzzword in the beauty world for environmental friendliness. What some shampoo makers leave out, however, is that they still use the lathering agents, emulsifiers and synthetic fragrances that contain hundreds of harmful chemicals.

Here are just five such chemicals found in almost every shampoo available commercially:

1. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)

It is an inexpensive detergent and surfactant that is widely used in shampoos and body washes. While its purpose is to create thick lather and cleanse hair, research shows that it actually strips moisture and oil from the hair and skin and may cause itching, hair loss, and a condition similar to dandruff. It easily penetrates the skin and can circulate in the body for up to five days, leaving residues in the heart, liver, lungs, and brain.

2. Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)

Known to irritate skin and eyes, SLES is a close relative of SLS. It is also frequently contaminated with 1,4 dioxane, a by-product of the ethylation oxide used to make harsh petrolum-based ingredients more gentle. It is a known carcinogen and has a long life in the body, primarily because the liver cannot metabolize it effectively.

3. Parabens