How surfactants in your shampoo can permanently damage your hair.
Full, thick, strong and shiny hair. This is the common ideal of beauty, whether for Men or Women. Hundreds of products promise us to come a little closer to this dream. Whether you have curly or straight, dry or greasy, damaged or coloured hair - there is the right shampoo, the ideal conditioner or the perfect hair treatment for every hair type.
But while racy beauties shake their flowing hair back and forth for a commercial to sell you the illusion of perfect hair, using some products in the comfort of your own home can be a real nightmare. Because: Many ingredients are anything but nourishing and can not only make the hair brittle and brittle, but can even lead to increased hair loss.
Foams or (nightmares) dreams?
Shampoos contain so-called tensides so that they can dissolve dirt and grease from the hair and rinse out with water. These can be found everywhere in cleaning products. Especially in body care products they provide the wonderful lather that gives us the feeling that everything is now really clean. There are both natural and synthetic surfactants, whereby surfactants of natural origin are said to be somewhat less harmful than the purely chemical variant. They are divided into mild to pungent sulphates. The sharper and more aggressive the surfactant, the more harmful to the environment and, of course, to our body and hair.
The sharpest sulphate, which you should definitely avoid, is sodium laurel sulphate (SLS). Since it is cheap to produce, it is the most commonly used. Due to its strong degreasing effect, dry hair, dry scalp and allergic reactions are among the potential side effects. It disturbs the natural balance of skin and hair. The skin produces more sebum to counteract this, but the surfactants constantly remove the natural protective greasy film of the skin.
This can cause itching scalp and in the worst case even hair loss. Surfactants are also known to inhibit new hair growth. But beware. On the packaging, SLS is also sold under the name sodium lauryl sulphate and other names, so it is not always easy to see what is really behind the individual ingredients.
At the expense of health
Other aggressive sulfates are Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), Sodium Myreth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate and Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate (ALS), Ammonium Laureth Sulfate (ALES), Methylgluceth, Laureth-2 and Laureth-3, Methylisothiazolinone, Sodium Cetearyl Sulfate and Sodium Cocoyl Sarcosinate, all of which you should avoid. They often contain formaldehyde residues and are suspected to be carcinogenic.
Although SLES is often touted as a less aggressive variant, the production process produces 1,4-dioxane as a by-product, which is very similar to the female hormone estrogen and can therefore upset our hormone balance. In men it can have a negative effect on sperm production and in women it can lead to infertility.
Lauryl sulphates are absorbed through the skin and are stored in the body. Slightly milder but nevertheless not completely harmless are cocamidopropyl betaines, sodium coco sulfates, disodium laureth and sulfosuccinates, disodium cocoamphodiacetates. These are also used in natural cosmetics but this does not mean that these ingredients are completely harmless.
Shampoo from the professional hairdresser
Is more expensive really better?
A popular trick of the advertising industry is to claim that salon products, which often cost many times more than traditional hair care products from the drugstore or supermarket, are better. But, as Öko-Test found out, the significantly more expensive hair care products exclusive to hairdressers are often anything but harmless.
In addition to aggressive surfactants, superfluous UV filters, artificial musk scent and preservatives, which belong to the controversial halogen-organic compounds, could also be detected. The substances are deposited in the body and have already been detected in breast milk.
But that's not all. The fragrances Hydroxycitronellal and Lyral and the substance Methylchloroisothiazolinone have also been detected in many hairdressing products, all of which can trigger contact allergies. In five products even carcinogenic formaldehyde splitters were found. Conclusion: every third product failed mercilessly.
CodeCheck & ToxFox
2 apps that give you an overview
Who would expect that hair care products could also be the reason why hair starts to break or even fall out? Most of us entrust ourselves completely to the manufacturers and believe the images of avocados, precious oils and silky proteins, although at best only a few drops of natural ingredients are hidden in the shampoo.
So that you can do without unwanted ingredients in the future, even though the jargon on the back of the packaging does not mean anything to you, I recommend the apps: CodeCheck and ToxFox. With these apps you can check the contents of your favorite body care products before you buy them, directly in the store.
While ToxFox focuses on hormonal pollutants in about 80,000 personal care products, Codecheck offers a much broader overview, making the app an extremely useful shopping guide. With CodeCheck you can find out within seconds whether your shampoo contains unwanted harmful substances such as tensides, parabens, nanoparticles, paraffins or microplastics. You can also specify other parameters that are important to you, such as whether the products are vegan or vegetarian, or whether palm oil was used. You can not only check shampoos for their ingredients, but also many other body care products, household items and, more recently, food.
Both apps are available for free download from the iTunesStore and GooglePlayStore. Once downloaded, you can then simply scan the barcode with your mobile phone or enter the EAN number while shopping - and you'll get all the information at a glance.
The dose makes the poison
Take a closer look at your favourite products
If you are already suffering from hair loss, or your hair is dull, brittle and fragile, then it is definitely worth taking a look in your own bathroom. With the apps CodeCheck and ToxFox you can scan the barcodes of the existing products and see if the reason for your hair loss is already lurking in your own four walls.
Remember that your shampoo is not the only source of surfactants. All cleansing products, especially those that lather, contain surfactants that are easily absorbed through the skin and then accumulate in the body. In hair care products, sodium lauryl sulfate also accumulates exactly where hair loss begins: the hair roots.
The hair roots are no longer sufficiently supplied with nutrients and growth is stopped. With long-term use, this can even lead to hair loss. Every hair wash with sulphates therefore increases the risk of premature hair loss.
Focus on inner values
Because sometimes less is more.
As you can see, advertising is far from delivering what it promises. It doesn't matter if you're looking for the cheap Shampoo from the drugstore or rely on expensive salon products. To avoid a rude awakening, you should always take a close look at the list of ingredients and not just rely on the promising packaging.
Especially already damaged, dry or brittle hair is damaged even more by the strong cleansing effect and the degreasing effect of the surfactants. New hair growth is inhibited and increased hair loss occurs.
When it comes to surfactants, less is definitely more. You might want to skip the beautiful foam - Your hair will thank you.
Tip: If you already use the following products for hair care or to stimulate new hair growth Factor Hair Activator please do not use shampoos or hair care products that contain silicone or sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS).