6 Hair Product Ingredients To Avoid

What hair product ingredients do you typically use for your hair?

Just like our skin, our scalp also tends to absorb whatever we use to clean it. This means that if we use harmful or toxic products, our scalp will also absorb those products, therefore affecting our hair and scalp health.

Sadly, a study on black women's hair revealed that 1 out of 12 beauty products contain dangerous chemicals that may pose some harm to our hair.

In this article, we've listed down 6 hair product ingredients to avoid if you want to keep your hair and scalp healthy!



Paraben is a kind of preservative that is usually found in shampoo and conditioners to prolong shelf life. They are typically labeled as benzylparaben, ethylparaben, and propylparaben, among many others.

Although it's very common, the truth is that parabens are extremely dangerous to your health. Possible issues include skin irritation, neurotoxicity, and even reproductive issues. Worse, parabens may even be associated with heightened cancer risk, specifically breast cancer.

If you want a good shampoo that doesn't contain any parabens, take a look at our shampoos here at ZALA. This includes our Froth on You Shampoo and our Cool Down Toning Shampoo!


Sulfates give shampoos their foamy lather, but did you know that it's one of those hair product ingredients to avoid too?

These chemicals can not only dry out your hair, but they can also damage your immune system. They can even cause skin inflammation, irritation, and rashes. This effectively slows down healthy hair growth, giving way to frizzy, dry, and brittle strands.

If you really want to give your hair, or your hair extensions, a nice rinse, it's best to use sulfate-free products like our ZALA Smooth Talker Conditioner!


Alcohol is everywhere, from your hair products to your skincare products. Manufacturers use it for its evaporation qualities. While there's nothing wrong about using alcohols in general, there are some alcohols that you should definitely stay away from.

These include SD, ethanol, isopropyl, porpanol, propyl, and ethyl alcohol. These types of alcohol can strip too much of the helpful oils on your scalp, leaving you with dry and brittle strands.

The only alcohols that are generally safe include cetyl, stearyl, and oleyl alcohol, because these are fatty alcohols that are typically used in hair care products to give them a thick and creamy consistency.


Dimethicone is a form of silicone that is typically found in hair care products like shampoos, conditioners, and serums, in addition to many others.

Manufacturers really like using dimethicone since it's affordable and it can synthetically smoothen and soften hair easily. Unfortunately, it creates a silicone coating that is so thick, water and other nutrients aren't easily able to penetrate it. This leads to dehydrated, malnourished hair over time.

If you're ever going to use silicones in your hair, only do so when you're about to do heat-styling. Silicone can give some additional protection to your hair so that it doesn't get damaged from the heat.

Mineral Oil

Mineral oil is a petroleum byproduct that is used to lubricate your hair to make it more moisturized.

However, just like dimethicone above, mineral oil can also suffocate your hair badly. This is due to the thick coating it creates over your hair cuticles. This ends up giving you acne, excesses sebum, and irritated skin. In addition to this, mineral oil is also extremely hard to wash out of your hair. You'll basically have to wash multiple times just to get it out.


Last but definitely not least is formaldehyde, one of the worst hair product ingredients that you should avoid as much as you can.

This strong chemical is often used in building products to prevent bacteria growth. When it comes to hair though, it's also used as an ingredient. This is order to help keep your hair smooth for a long time. Think keratin treatments. How do you think your hair stays so soft and smooth for so long?

Sadly, formaldehyde is linked to several issues, such as allergic reactions, headaches, eye problems, immune system problems, and even cancer. Of course, a brief exposure during one Brazilian blowout session is not enough to cause damages. But that's why you should take care of your hair well to lessen your need for such treatments.


Chemicals are around us everyday, and it doesn't mean that they're harmful or toxic outright.

However, we can't deny that there are some out there that are much better left out of your products. Before purchasing a new hair or beauty product, make sure to skim its ingredients list first for any instances of the hair product ingredients listed above.

What about you, what hair product ingredient do you tend to avoid? Feel free to share it with us in the comments below!

For more hair articles, please check out our ZALA blog!

June 21, 2020
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