5 Ingredients to Avoid in Your Hair Products and Why

There are many ingredients that are used in hair products that might be doing the opposite of what we want from that product. This can include ingredients that are designed to smooth hair but leave it dry and brittle and also hair dye that damages hair – many products contain ingredients that we might not know are causing problems. We look into some of these below and find some alternative options. 


For many years, ammonia was commonly used in hair dye and was the only way to change your hair color. Ammonia is an alkaline solution that opens up the hair cuticle, which allows for hair dye to be absorbed into the strand. 

The problem with ammonia is that it can be irritating to the skin, and many people find they can have a reaction when using hair dye with ammonia. Due to the way ammonia opens up the hair cuticle, it can also damage the hair itself when used regularly. It can leave hair dry, brittle, and frizzy looking. 

Nowadays, there are more options for ammonia-free hair dye, so you can color your hair without the harsh chemical. You can also use a color glaze for hair in between using permanent dyes, to keep the color vibrant.


Silicones are often used in conditioners and conditioning hair treatments. They work by applying a thin coating around the hair strand, which helps to lock in moisture and keep hair smooth and shiny. They can also help to protect hair from heat styling tools. 

The issue with silicones is that they can weigh hair down, so they’re not always suitable for every hair type. Silicones can build up on the hair strands and scalp and can be difficult to remove, which can leave hair looking greasy or require harsh shampoos to remove it. The protective seal will also prevent moisture from entering the hair shaft which can prevent frizz initially but can lead to hair drying out when used regularly. 

Silicones can work fine on some hair types, particularly those with thick, coarse hair, as long as you cleanse them out regularly. Those with thinner, finer hair might find it best to avoid using silicones. Instead, look for conditioners that use oils to moisturize and nourish hair. 


Sulfates are used in many cosmetic products but for hair care, they’re primarily used in shampoos to create soapy, sudsy foam. They can also help to cleanse grease and dirt and wash it away. 

The problem with sulfates is that they can strip the moisture from the hair, leaving it dry and brittle. Sulfates can do the same for the scalp, taking away the natural oils and leaving it irritated and dry. Sulfates can also strip the color from dyed hair, leaving it dull. 

If you use a lot of products in your hair, the occasional wash with sulfate shampoo can be effective at removing the build-up. However, there are many options for sulfate-free shampoos that can be effective and cleanse hair without causing any damage. 


Parabens are preservatives that are used to extend the shelf life of cosmetics. The issue with parabens is that they can cause damage to hair and also irritate skin and scalp. They can fade the color of dyed hair and can even cause hair loss. They can also be absorbed into the body and have been linked with some health problems. 

Parabens are only used in very small amounts in hair care, but it can be best to look for products that are completely free of parabens. This will help to keep your hair looking its best.


Peroxide is the most effective way to lighten dark hair and will be used in most hair bleaches and lighteners. Whilst it will be formulated in a safe way for hair, it can still cause problems. Peroxide can cause skin irritation, predominantly on the scalp when it’s used to lighten hair. Peroxide will also damage the hair cuticle, which can result in frizzy, dry hair. 

If you want to lighten your hair, it probably won’t be possible to avoid using peroxide. However, you can minimize damage by reducing the amount of time the peroxide is left on your hair and scalp. You can also use nourishing conditioning treatments to moisturize the hair and help to repair the cuticle, which should leave your hair soft and glossy again. 

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