5 Shampoo Chemicals to Avoid, 4 Natural Shampoos to Try

  • Social media users, including Cardi B, attribute her healthy hair to natural alternatives to shampoo.
  • Dr. Alexander Dane, a board-certified dermatologist, said that some natural alternatives like rice water can benefit hair.
  • Other items, like baking soda and castor oil, can cause more damage to your hair and skin.

Growing awareness of how ubiquitous toxic chemicals are in personal care products could be incentivizing people to buy shampoo made with fewer all-natural ingredients.

Indigenous peoples have used natural ingredients such as cassava roots Y chickpea flour wash your hair for centuries, but social networks sparked renewed interest in these shampoo alternatives.

cardi b jumped on the trend and told her Instagram followers this week that she washes her hair with boiled onion water.

“My last 2 washes I have been boiling onions and using the water to wash my hair,” she said in an Instagram post. “It’s odorless and I notice that it has been giving my hair a shine.”

A post shared by Cardi B (@iamcardib)

The shampoo’s detractors may be right, said Dr. Alexander Dane, a New Jersey-based board-certified plastic surgeon. The chemicals in shampoo can strip natural oil from your hair, and some have even been known to cause cancer or mess with your body’s hormones.

“People are becoming more aware of what they’re putting in and on their bodies, and we’re starting to see people looking to natural alternatives as an alternative to using these store-bought synthetic shampoos that can actually sometimes cause more harm than good,” Dane told Insider.

Shampoos can contain chemicals that strip hair of color, natural oils, and moisture.

The “clean beauty” trend likely has to do with Americans becoming more aware of the dangerous health effects chemicals in your beauty products may have, according to Dane.

“If you go to your local pharmacy and pick up any bottle of shampoo and turn it upside down to see the ingredient, you often see there are 20 to 30 ingredients on the list, most of them synthetic with numerous chemicals that are actually banned. in other countries,” Dane said.

The dermatologist said that some of these chemicals include:

  • Sulfatea foaming agent in hair care products that strips hair of natural oils and dyes and can cause irritation.
  • triclosana chemical added to prolong the shelf life of antibacterial products that can interfere with the body’s hormones and may be linked to cancer and reproductive problems.
  • parabens, a chemical that removes color from hair and can cause dryness and irritation. Researchers are studying the effects of parabens on breast cancer.
  • Benzenea known human carcinogen that may have contaminated Procter & Gamble’s shampoo products in 2021, prompting a recall.
  • Formaldehydea known human carcinogen that is still used in some shampoos.

Natural shampoos that damage your scalp

  1. Sodium bicarbonateAlthough promoted on social media as a way to exfoliate hair and scalp, it contains a high pH balance that can irritate the scalp and damage hair, Dane said. I would avoid using baking soda as a standalone hair treatment.
  2. Dane also warned against Beaver oil. According to a 2017 article in the International Journal of Trichology, an excessive amount of castor oil on the hair can lead to “acute hair caking,” or when the hair becomes tangled, twisted, and tangled so much that it looks like a nest of birds.
  3. The acidity in lemon juice can help restore dry or frizzy hair, but using too much can lead to excessive dryness and brittle hair. Also, if lemon juice seeps from your hair to other parts of your skin, the interaction with the sun can cause a rash or discoloration.

Dane said that while your hair can benefit from natural alternatives to shampoo, going overboard can cause negative effects on your skin and hair. “Just because something is natural, you don’t want to overdo it,” Dane said.

Must-try homemade washes, from eggs to chickpea flour, but in moderation

  1. Chickpea flour mixed with milk. Dane said research supports the use of this centuries-old homemade shampoo in India. Chickpea flour, like rice flour, contains protein that can help strengthen curb — the protein that keeps hair and nails strong.
  2. Rice water. Many people in China, Japan, and parts of Southeast Asia. use starchy water from soaked rice as a hair cleanser. Dane said it’s “packed with nutrients” like folate, B vitamins, vitamin E, amino acids and antioxidants that increase moisture in the hair and scalp, adding volume and definition. Limit use to once or twice a week, he said, too often can cause flaking.
  3. Eggs Whether applied topically or eaten as part of your diet, it can help produce shiny, healthy hair, says Dane. That’s because they contain biotin, iodine, and vitamins A, D, E, and B12. The sulfur in eggs works as an antimicrobial, and the yolks contain vitamins that can make brittle hair more resistant to damage. Apply and wash off an egg and water mixture once or twice a week, says Dane.
  4. coconut oil spray is rapidly emerging as a promising natural hair care product. A to study found that it can treat head lice better than chemical treatment. Studies They also indicate that coconut oil protects hair from sun damage by filtering UV rays. and a paper published last year found that it can treat dandruff. Dane said don’t use too much coconut oil, as the buildup can clog the pores on your scalp, but using it occasionally and rinsing it off completely can help keep your hair and scalp healthy.

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