We all know that parabens and sulphates are not good for fragile, damaged hair but do you know what these ingredients actually to do? Today we decided to focus on why these can be so harmful and why it's best to avoid them where ever possible.
WHAT ARE PARABENS?
Parabens are commonly used as the preservative in cosmetics. They are often used to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and mould, and have been widely used since the 1950s.
In fact, about 85% of cosmetics use parabens as a preservative because they have proven to be effective and inexpensive.
WHAT ARE SULPHATES?
Sulphates or sulfates are another kind of preservative that can be added to your cosmetic products, but they differ from parabens in what they do. Sulphates are a type of surfactant (detergent, emulsifier, and/or foaming agent) that attracts both oil and water. In other words, sulphates are what makes a shampoo sudsy. It’s also what’s in almost any washing up liquid you use, any bubble bath, even some toothpastes also contain SLS a common type of sulphate which is the reason you get all foamy in the mouth!
HOW ARE THEY HARMFUL?
Studies have shown that some parabens can mimic the activity of the hormone Oestrogen in the body’s cells, and while estrogenic activity is associated with certain forms of breast cancer, parabens have been found present in breast tumours. Sulphates are concerning because they were found to break down proteins, which can lead to a degenerative effect on the cell membranes. Sulphates were also found to leave residue in the heart, lungs, and brain (yuck!)
Having said that there is no scientific evidence to prove that parabens have any link to cancer, and The Cosmetic Ingredient Review recognizes sulphates as safe up to a maximum concentration of 50 percent if they are properly rinsed off the skin.
WHAT DO THEY DO TO YOUR HAIR?
Sulphates tend to strip the hair of its natural oils leaving your hair dehydrated, which can lead to dry damaged hair and breakage. While parabens allow products to last super long, they can also enter your body through your scalp!
And don’t be fooled by that lovely smooth feeling commercial masks give you either as they may well contain silicones which are synthetic ingredients made up of hydrogen, oxygen and carbon. They are widely used in hair products to give that feeling of a moisturized slip but in reality, it’s just coating the strands and acting as a filler. Using silicones on a regular basis can also cause major build-up thus weighing down the strands.
For a truly nourishing hair mask that is 100% sulphate, silicone, and paraben free check out Our Healthy Hair Mask designed to nourish and restore you locks with natural, ingredients that nurture not harm.
HOW TO SPOT THEM ON THE INGREDIENTS LIST
If your shampoo lathers, chances are it contains sulphates. For a fool-proof way to know if your product contains sulphates, you’ll see “sulphate, or sulfate” listed pretty high up on the ingredients label.
Some of the most common sulphates used in shampoo are:
Sodium Lauryl Sulphate Sodium
Laureth Sulfate Sodium
Lauryl Sulfoacetate Sodium
Sodium Lauroyl Taurate
While the most common parabens also have “paraben” in their name—butylparaben, methylparaben, and propylparaben—they can also be listed as Alkyl parahydroxy benzoates. When it comes to parabens it's best to google any ingredients you're not sure of to make sure you're not inadvertently exposing yourself to anything you're looking to avoid!
As always, with ingredients, the more natural you can get the better it is for your skin and hair!
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Find out more about our 100% Sulphate and Paraben Free range at gingerandpearl.com