10 Scary Ingredients That Can Be Found In Your Shampoo

Many of us use shampoo at least a few times a week. Some of us will even use it every single day of the week.

No big deal, right? After all, shampoo is there to make our hair healthier, to eliminate grease, oil and dirt and restore its healthy glow.

Yay for shampoo!

The problem is, though, that shampoo is not quite as wholesome as the manufacturers would like you to believe.

Similarly in the world of cosmetics, there are a few questionable ingredients that are allowed into your beauty products.

Including your shampoo.

Shampoo is crammed with thousands of chemicals, lots of which are absorbed by your body. The companies who produce these products are pretty much allowed to use whatever they want without any kind of government approval.

If it keeps costs down and keeps the economy going, no big deal, right?

But so many of these chemicals are carcinogenic, skin irritants or endocrine disrupters. In other words, they can cause a lot of distress with your body, upsetting hormones or causing nasty rashes.

If you’re curious to find out more about what can really be found in your bottle of shampoo, here are ten of the scariest ingredients.


Lead?! I know right!

Lead is a particularly strange ingredient to be found in shampoo. Water pipes used to be made of lead, and if the pipe is old enough, lead can sometimes find its way into a homeowners water supply.

And if you drink too much of it, you could end up with lead poisoning.

Cosmetic companies clearly don’t think too much about that, and lead is often found in shampoos.

Annoyingly, it usually isn’t listed clearly on the bottle because it’s classed as an ingredient, as opposed to a contaminant.

Oh right.


Preservatives are found in TV dinners because they help to preserve the ingredients so that the product can stay on the shelf for longer. If preservatives weren’t present, the food would just rot and go mangy.

Yay preservatives!


Not exactly.

Preservatives are actually kinda harmful chemicals that, when used in shampoo, can irritate your scalp and skin, as well as disrupt your hormonal imbalance.

This can lead to hair loss.

Other preservatives used in shampoos can even cause cancer.

Sodium Lauryl Sulphate

Sodium lauryl is a sulphate that is responsible for the lather that you get from your shampoo. And we all love lather, right?!

Hmm, but sodium lauryl sulphate is not good news because it can seriously damage your hair follicles, while prevent new hair from sprouting.

Some studies have even demonstrated that if you apply pure sodium lauryl to your hair, your mane can actually fall out completely.

Seriously scary stuff.

Thickening Agents

Lots of shampoos use thickening agents. In fact, most of them do.

There are numerous thickening agents, and they include sodium chloride (which, yes, is table salt!!), polethelyne glycol and diethanolamine.

These thickening agents have ridiculously long and scientific names, and as such you probably just assume they’re totally a-okay.

Only, they’re not. They can actually cause allergic reactions, such as scalp irritation.

They can also destroy your hair’s natural goodness.


Parabens are classed as preservatives, but they’re worth mentioning on their own because they are so frequently used – and so harmful.

Parabens are not just used in shampoo – they’re also used in a whole host of cosmetic products.

They’re a really controversial chemical, though, because they have been linked to organ toxicity and reproductive cancer, and they may even be a cause of breast cancer.

They can also cause high oestrogen levels, which in turn can cause a whole wealth of skin issues.

Hair Sealants

Silicone is a hair sealant that is commonly used in shampoos. (Yes, it is also used to enlarge breasts).

Silicone is used in shampoos to make your hair shine, as well as to prevent tangling. It can also make your hair looser. Nice one.

Except there are some negatives, too: Silicone can stop your hair from getting the necessary moisture that it really needs.


Alcohol isn’t there just to drunk so much that you fall over, give a guy your number before forgetting what he looks like, as well as sing yourself silly on the karaoke.

It’s also used in numerous home products, from toothpaste to shampoo.

Although you might argue that a pinch of alcohol never harmed anyone, alcohol is not really supposed to be applied to your hair. When it is, it can cause your mane to dry out.

Which is really not cool.

When alcohol is listed as one of the first four ingredients on a bottle of shampoo, it means that there is a lot of it in the product. Avoid.


Fragrance sounds lovely. Who wouldn’t want fragrance in their shampoo bottle?

Problem is that “fragrance” is such a vague term and is actually always a conglomerate of around 3,000 different chemicals.

Yup, fragrance isn’t an entity all of its own – it’s a collection of some harmful and some not-so-harmful ingredients.

Hugely volatile, fragrance can wreak havoc with your body. It can cause brain fog, asthma, cancer, headaches, as well as inflame allergies.

Antifreeze Agents

What the funk is antifreeze of all things doing in a bottle of shampoo?! Doesn’t that, like, kill you?!

*raises eyebrows*

Yup, you might well be wondering why antifreeze is in your shampoo.

There is some logic, though. Just like you pour antifreeze into your car to stop its mechanisms from freezing over, cosmetic companies use it to keep their bottles nice and warm/cold during transportation.

Makes sense, but antifreeze can still affect your skin structure, as well as irritate your skin.


Triclosan needs to be avoided like the plague if possible. Highly toxic, it is widely used in the cosmetic industry, despite its links to sexual infertility, paralysis – and even brain haemorrhages.

The good news is that there are many natural alternatives available on the market. So, now, when you have knowledge, you really do have a choice.

Stay happy and healthy!

Leave A Reply