What Goes Into Your Favorite Hair And Body Cleanser?

Commonly Found Ingredients In Hair And Body Cleansers:

Have you ever wondered what those chemicals, preservatives and other ingredients are, that are commonly found in hair and body cleansers? Let us find out:


Soap And Shower Gels:

  • Triclosan: Treat it with caution. Known for its anti-bacterial properties, triclosan is found in detergents, dish washing liquids, soaps, deodorants, cosmetics, lotions, anti-microbial creams and toothpastes. Those with dry, flaky skin should avoid using a product that contains triclosan, as it may cause skin irritation.
  • Glycerin: Known through the ages for its beneficial properties. Glycerin is a humectant, which means it attracts moisture to your skin. Added to create a translucent bar, glycerin is soothing to the skin.
  • Lanolin: A blessing for your skin, lanolin is sourced from sheep’s wool and is used to help emulsify and moisturize the skin.
  • Cocoamidopropyl Betaine:An emulsifying agent and thickener, it reduces irritation that may be caused by other ingredients.
  • Sorbitol: Good for your skin, it re-hydrates the topmost layer of skin.



  • Sodium Laureth Sulphate: Great for getting rid of sebum on the scalp, this synthetic lathering agent cleanses the hair. However, avoid a product that has sodium lauryl sulphate and not sodium laureth sulphate. The former is a deep cleanser that can make the hair harsh.
  • Sodium Benzoate: A preservative, it kills bacteria, fungi and yeast, and helps keep the shampoo fresh.
  • Citric Acid: An organic acid derived from citrus fruits, it acts as a natural preservative and keeps the pH balance in check.
  • Glycol Distearate: Approach this ingredient with caution. It’s a fatty acid that’s added to make shampoos opaque and pearlescent. Since it is synthetic, it may not necessarily be the best for your hair.
  • Linalool: It’s good for your hair, as it occurs naturally in essential oils. It’s added to improve fragrance.



  • Cetearyl Alcohol: Used to emulsify products, it’s not harmful to hair when made from vegetable sources.
  • Behentrimonium Chloride: A synthetic compound, it’s not very good for the hair since it may cause irritation, despite its anti-static and detangling properties.
  • Palm Oil: Very good for your hair, it’s a nourishing and conditioning natural oil, that contains high amounts of glycerides, a natural conditioner that imparts softness to hair.
  • Limonene: The primary function of this chemical is to lend a citrus-y scent to the product. Anything used for smell is good for just that – the smell. It’s unlikely to be good for your hair.
  • PRO -18/18: This lowers the surface tension of a liquid, which allows the product to spread easily.

Organic Natural Products

Expert-speak: Experts prefer to use plant-based organic ingredients in hair conditioners. We should moisturize our hair in the same way we moisturize our skin – buy products with ingredients like sunflower oil, avocado oil, mango butter and Shea butter.

Advice on common shampoo ingredients:

  • For chemically treated hair, look out for ingredients cocamidopropyl betaine and sodium lauraminopropionate. These are non-irritating and foam well.
  • Selenium disulphide, zinc pyrithione and ketoconazole are anti-fungal agents and are key ingredients in anti-dandruff shampoos.
  • If you have sensitive skin, avoid shampoos that have parabens, formalin, miranols and hexachlorophene, as they can cause irritation or allergic reactions.
  • Watch out for acrylamide, ethyleneimine and acrylic acid. They may cause allergic reactions or irritation.

7 responses to “What Goes Into Your Favorite Hair And Body Cleanser?

  1. This is a great guide. Thanks for sharing! I try to buy products as all natural as possible, but with shampoos I’ve yet to find one I love so I may go for a happy medium and use this ingredients list as a guide.

  2. Yes I really have thought about what goes into the products I use and sometimes their not so pleasant, and they go through the recycle bin. That’s why we all need to be informed! Insightful post thanks

  3. Reblogged this on Feel and Look Amazing and commented:
    Great article, good to know. I can never understand the ingredients list but this is so well explained even I can remember it. I always make a point of checking the ingredients for any obvious nasties and this will help a huge amount.

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