Healthy Hair Here We Come

Ladies (and guys), listen up! We’ve been mistreating our hair for too long.

I have a quick question for you all to pounder: Do you know all the ingredients in your shampoo like you do your food? Considering I’m not able to hear your response I’m just gonna go out on a limb here and say probably not. But not to worry, I’m here to help! We all want our hair looking the best it can be, especially for those gray hair days down the road. Unfortunately, the chemicals we are blindly exposing our hair to in our daily shampoo routine may be ruining the future outcome of our hair. So here’s my challenge: The next time you hop into the shower and reach for your regular trusted shampoo, turn the bottle and read the ingredients.

Not sure what to look for?

The shampoo you thought you trusted for a good hair day in fact might’ve been lying to you all along. To spot a shampoo liar, look for harsh chemicals on the bottle such as Sulfates, Parabens, Sodium Chloride, Formaldehyde, Dimethicone, and Triclosan. Confused? Not to worry, so was I when I read about these chemicals.

Here’s the breakdown…Sulfates strip the oils from your hair while robbing the natural moisture your hair produces, leaving your hair brittle, damaged, and frizzy. Finding a shampoo that says “paraben free” is a huge deal. Parabens are absorbed through the skin and are linked to an increased growth of breast cancer cells. Scary, right?

But it doesn’t stop there. Another harsh chemical most shampoos contain is Sodium Chloride, which many of you many already know is just salt. Yes, it may be “just” salt but, salt has a harsh effect on your scalp, drying it out and leaving an extreme itching and burning sensation leading to hair loss.

Still with me? Let’s hope so because I haven’t even told you about Formaldehyde yet! This chemical is the cause of hair discoloration, hair loss, scalp burns, and breakage. This sneaky chemical hides behind other names to work around the system and seem less intimidating. The most common name shown for Formaldehyde is Quaternium-15, which in fact is banned in Japan and Sweden.

Let’s move onto the next chemical, which in my opinion one of the most deceiving chemicals there are: Dimethicone. How is this chemical deceiving? Good question. The smooth silky hair we see in the shampoo ads are actually the result of a plastic wax like protective covering on the surface of the hair produced by Dimethicone. The plastic covering stops moisture and nutrients from producing and instead collects dirt and residue that clog up the pores on our scalp.

Last but not least, the scariest of these all is Triclosan. Triclosan was banned from being used in soaps but is still allowed in shampoos, toothpaste, and deodorants. This chemical is known to cause hormone disruption, cancer, and affect fetal developments.

Woah! That was a lot, but our hair has been waiting for the day we finally understand what we’ve been putting it through. You would be shocked how many popular drug store shampoo brands contain almost all of these chemicals. These chemicals may create a nice looking outcome on your hair for the first few months but long term use is when major side effects begin to occur.

Healthier, safer options.

Do your hair a favor and seriously go look at the ingredients in your shampoo. If you see these chemicals present stop using it now before the damage is too far gone. Throw it in the trash where it belongs! Now that you are shampooless (because I scared the crap out of you with all this chemistry talk), look for a shampoo brand with these words on their bottle: Sulfate free, Silicone free, color safe, cruelty free, Paraben free, and Phthalate free. I promise you your hair will love you more for it. And, hey…it might even stop punishing you with all those bad hair days you’ve been having.

Daisy Clark, '22

Your hair-care hero.