The Real Reason You Should Check The Ingredient List On Your Shampoo Bottle

In a world where marketing jargon is our second language, many consumers have come to believe that more is always better. But, when it comes to hair care, that’s not exactly true. In fact, your hair may actually be suffering the consequences when your shampoo is loaded with filler ingredients and chemicals.

Gail Federici, co-founder of John Frieda, shared her thoughts on this trend with Goop. “We, the makers of shampoos — and I’m including myself in this category, because we did it a great deal back in the day at John Freida — have been putting extra stuff into shampoo for years,” she revealed. “Everything from panthenol, to conditioners, silicones, and pearlizing agents to make hair shinier, all sorts of beneficial-sounding things that have nothing to do with cleansing your hair — or, more importantly here, your scalp.”

In addition to just filling up the ingredient list, the excess additives also take away from your product’s ability to fully cleanse and may even lead to serious damage. Of course, synthetic ingredients aren’t great for you or the environment, but now, it’s becoming more clear that they aren’t spurring hair health, either. “No matter how ‘beneficial’ these kinds of ingredients might be to your hair, they’re 180-degrees opposite what a shampoo is supposed to do, which is cleanse. On the scalp, I believe they can block the hair follicle, and impede growth,” Federici adds.

Shampoos can use ingredients to counteract the harsh chemicals

Often these additives serve a purpose beyond the label — to counteract the harsh effects of various chemicals. “The detergents in most shampoos are drying and damaging to hair in general, but they’re really awful for colored hair. They leech and fade the color,” Federici explains to Goop. “So you can understand how we got the idea to add all that moisturizing, shine-enhancing stuff back in there, to try to add back in what the sulfates were taking away.”

To get a full cleanse without the drying effect, “clean” shampoos are likely the best way to go — ones that don’t dry out your hair and load up the rest of the bottle with chemicals to do the opposite. Don’t be fooled by the front label and the word “natural” plastered all over, turn the bottle around and check for ingredients like sulfates and parabens, Harper’s Bazaar suggests. Indeed, Goop recommends a lightly moisturizing option that doesn’t contain either of these ingredients as well.

Bottom line: be wary of a hair product that touts tons of benefits from reducing frizz to enhancing shine and moisturizing every strand. These additives can wreak havoc on your hair and scalp. Steer clear of these shampoos and find one that’s clean across the board.

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