The Truth About: Shampoo

The Truth About: Shampoo

Shampoos are stock standard household items these days with very little thought going into what causes of all those glorious suds. For most of us, those suds have been a delight since childhood often beginning with Johnson & Johnsons 'no more tears' baby shampoo. No more tears - that’s a good thing right? Keep reading…

Most of us are unaware that beauty and personal products are loaded with toxic chemicals. We have become more conscious of what we put in our mouths, but do we pay the same attention to the ingredients label on the back of our shampoo bottle?

Here are 5 nasties often found in shampoo we'd like to bring to your attention:


These are a group of chemical preservatives used in shampoo and other personal care products. Even at very low doses, parabens have been linked to reproductive damage and organ toxicity. Parabens have similar properties as estrogen, and have previously been linked with cancers fueled by excessive unbalanced estrogen.

Sodium Lauryl Sulphates (SLS)

SLS is an inexpensive detergent and surfactant that is widely used in shampoo, body wash, shaving cream, toothpaste, and other products. The American College of Toxicology found that SLS easily penetrates the skin and can circulate in the body for up to five days, leaving residues in the heart, liver, lungs, and brain. SLS can strip moisture and oils from the hair and skin, causing rashes, hair loss, and a condition similar to dandruff.

Sodium Laureth Sulphates (SLES)

SLES is a close relative of SLS. But the larger issue here is that it is frequently contaminated by 1,4 dioxane, a byproduct of the ethylation oxide used to make harsh petrolum-based ingredients more gentle. It is a known carcinogen and suspected of causing kidney damage. 1,4 Dioxane will not be found in the list of ingredients on your shampoo bottle because it is a byproduct and not part of the formulation. Dioxane has a long life in the body, primarily because the liver cannot metabolize it effectively.


It sounds nice and romantic, but the reality is that fragrance used in shampoo and other personal care products come from more than 3100 chemicals in the arsenal of the fragrance industry. These are highly toxic and can result in liver toxicity, damage to the central nervous system, allergies, brain fog, obesity, asthma, headache, contact dermatitis, organ toxicity, and cancer.

Seeing the term ‘fragrance’ listed on the label doesn't tell the whole story. The average fragrance product tested by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a consumer watchdog group, was a cocktail of 14 secret chemicals. These don’t have to be disclosed because they are considered trade secrets. Not great.

Polyethylene Glycol

Also known as PEG, this chemical is petroleum-based and widely used to create creamy texture. PEG may be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane and ethylene oxide, another known carcinogen. California has classified PEG as a developmental toxicant that may interfere with human development. It has also shown evidence of genotoxicity, and can cause irritation and systemic toxicity if used on broken skin.

A harsh reality

It’s bad enough that these chemicals are widely used in products made for adults, but the sad truth is they are also contained in products marketed for infants and children. This group is most at risk from chemicals in personal care products because of its under-developed detoxification capabilities and the highly porous nature of the skin.

An example, Johnson & Johnson has been previously targeted by health and consumer groups over harmful ingredients in items the company sells, including its iconic Johnson’s No More Tears baby shampoo. In May 2009, a coalition of groups called the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics began pushing Johnson & Johnson to eliminate questionable ingredients from its baby and adult personal care products. After three years of petitions, negative publicity and a boycott threat, the company agreed in 2012 to eliminate the ingredients 1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde, from all products by 2015. (Source)

According to natural health advocate Dr. Joseph Mercola, putting chemicals on your skin may be: “worse than eating them. When you eat something, the enzymes in your saliva and stomach help to break it down and flush it out of your body. However, when you put these chemicals on your skin, they are absorbed straight into your bloodstream without filtering of any kind, going directly to your delicate organs.” (Source)

Did you know

  • Nearly all salon and supermarket shampoo contain upwards of 5 toxic chemicals.
  • Salon grade shampoos generally contain dangerous chemicals, just like supermarket products.
  • The list of ingredients on the back of a product are listed in order of percentage of volume. The first ingredient is usually water that makes up bulk of the volume down to the last ingredient that makes up the least volume.
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) commonly found in shampoo and even toothpaste is also used as an industrial degreasant, floor cleaner and in paint stripper.
  • SLS is used in laboratory testing on humans and animals to induce skin irritation as a point of reference to measure the healing or modifying properties of other substances.

What next?

The best place to start looking for toxin-free shampoos, is to hit the internet. Places such as Nourished Life, have spent hours of research finding clean-green products. You'll need to be aware of green-washing -- just because something says it's natural, doesn't mean it is.

Toxin-free conditioner

When using your toxin-free shampoo, you're best to follow with a toxin free conditioner. Did you know Inverse is the world first Ice Conditioner, that uses our Patented Ice Core Technology to naturally condition your hair?

Like many of the companies above, we have spent many years researching and developing our product, to our part to play in the natural hair-care movement. We aim to say goodbye to the days where we lather unknown chemicals on our skin and hair in the name of beauty. You can get yourself an Inverse Hair Conditioning System here.

Previous post Next post

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published