top of page

Common Hair Care Ingredients That Are Harming Your Hair

DeCola Salon, Exton, PA

Hey guys, I’m Lizzie! I have always had a passion for hair, which led me into the industry in 2013. I am a versatile stylist, specializing in creating unique looks for each client. I love doing anything! From a sophisticated bob, beach balayage to an undone razor cut, I strive to provide my clients with perfect hair. To see some of my work, check out my Instagram page!

I want to explain how ingredients in shampoo and conditioners effect your hair health, and the difference between professional and drugstore products. You see and hear it from every hairstylist, “why are you using $10 shampoo on $200 hair!” We reiterate these thoughts to clients all the time, but rarely have the time to explain why it is so crucial. We recommend not to shampoo every day, and today I’ll be mentioning why your hair's natural oils are essential for the scalp’s health. To provide you with the best knowledge for scalp and hair health, be sure to check out this blog written by Pat, on why you should not shampoo every day!

Enemy #1: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate SLS

Have you ever wondered why color seems to fly out of your hair within a few washes? Meet Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, or SLS, which is most likely the culprit. This sulfate is what creates foam when mixed with water, which allows your shampoo to suds up. It's a popular ingredient in shampoos because it's inexpensive and effective by cleansing oils and dirt out of hair. If you have color-treated, dry, or damaged hair, stay away from this! It’s a strong detergent that will strip hair of color and natural oils. Spending $200 on color just to have a cheap shampoo strip it away is a vicious and endless cycle that your wallet will thank you for ending.

Enemy #2: Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate or Sodium Laureth Sulfate SLES

You see it on hundreds of shampoo bottles, “sulfate-free!” But what are sulfates? Sulfates are powerful detergents that bind with the oil from your scalp, as well as with water. When washed and rinsed, sulfates strip the oils that have accumulated in your hair. Your hair will feel clean, but over time using such a potent sulfate can cause your hair to become weak, and you will notice more frizz.

You will commonly see clarifying shampoos with these ingredients in them, but we recommended only using a clarifying shampoo sparingly. Usually, stylists recommend once a week, if you are a swimmer or have well water. If neither pertains to you, then bi-weekly should be more than enough. Make sure to follow up with intense conditioner after clarifying, to rebalance the Ph of your hair, and put back the moisture your hair that was removed.

Enemy #3: Parabens (Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben)

Parabens are a preservative they put into shampoos, conditioners, and makeup to prevent bacteria from growing. Nobody wants moldy shampoo! So why are parabens considered such a bad thing? Specific forms have been found to mimic estrogen, and high estrogen levels have been linked to types of cancer. When you use a shampoo on your scalp, the ingredients go through your scalp into your bloodstream, presenting a potentially harmful outcome. Soy is another ingredient that can also mimic estrogen, so if you are okay with drinking a glass of soy milk, you are okay to use parabens.

Enemy #4: Zinc Pyrithione

Zinc Pyrithione: The Dandruff Destroyer. Zinc pyrithione is all about your scalp, but not so much your hair. What this ingredient does is it slows down the production of skin cell growth, thus eliminating dandruff.

Let's talk about dandruff for a second, because it is commonly misdiagnosed. Dandruff results from a fungus called Malassezia, which naturally occurs in everyone. When this fungus is out of control, this makes the scalp overproduce skin cells, which leads to large clumps on the scalp.

Most people think that when they see their scalp flaking, they have dandruff. Then they run to target and purchase Head & Shoulders hoping all hair troubles will vanish, yet they never really see the flaking going away. That, my friends, is because you don’t have dandruff, you have a dry scalp! Dry scalp occurs from over-shampooing or using crappy shampoos that strip all your natural oils.

Enemy #5: Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen absorbed through the skin in animal testing. Manufacturers often add formaldehyde to ingredients as a preservative that released over. A common ingredient in shampoos is quaternion-15. For not only your hair health, but your overall health, avoid Formaldehyde at all costs! It can also be found in many hair straightening treatments, nail polishes, and more!

Enemy #6 Sodium chloride

Sodium Chloride (AKA Salt), is added in shampoo to make the consistency thicker, but it can make an already dry scalp more sensitive. If you are experiencing scalp flaking or itching, be extra sure to avoid sodium chloride in your hair ingredients.


The old saying is true-- you get what you pay for. The reason drugstore shampoos are so inexpensive is that they use cheap ingredients! Floor wax, silicone, and oven cleaner... just to name a few. They lay on top of the hair creating a barrier, or they can suffocate the hair follicle, causing hair loss. Not only can drug store shampoos damage your hair health, but they can also make hairstylists' jobs much more complicated when coloring.

For example, Pantene puts floor wax in their conditioner, which then lays on top of your hair to give the illusion of shine and less frizz. Sounds great right? But then, you want a balayage and to be this bright, beachy blonde. The lightener now has to break through this thick wall of residue, losing most of its power, so when it reaches your hair it's not going to get as bright as we hoped! This residue creates a never ending cycle of needing more color sessions, spending more money, and causing more potential hair damage.

Hairstylists examine the hair and scalp health, and prescribe what is needed to achieve your ultimate hair goals at your hair's healthiest state. Yes, professional products are expensive, but they carry ingredients that have integrity and solve problems, not just temporarily mask it. We're here to help you.


Call DeCola Salon in Exton, PA at 610-363-9554 to arrange for product parking lot pickup, or purchase our products online at

493 views0 comments


bottom of page