Commonly Found Ingredients In Hair And Body Cleansers:
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.
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.