As I begin a two-week series on hair products, I have some good news and some bad news. I’ll share the bad news first, just to get it over with – and maybe the good news can be savored.
The Environmental Working Group analyzed 1,512 different shampoos in their Cosmetics Database. Many were deemed as High Hazards. Four, in fact, were given a 10 ranking – the most dangerous rating of all.
Shampoos classified as High Hazards are made with these hazardous ingredients:
- Parabens, including butylparaben, isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben, and propylparaben. (Parabens are known reproductive system toxins and endocrine system disruptors).
- Retinyl Palmitate and Retinol. (Classified as known reproductive toxicants by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration; however, the Environment Canada Domestic Substance List classifies it as something that’s “not expected to be potentially toxic or harmful.”)
- Oxybenzone. (A known hormone disruptor.)
- Fragrance. (Due to trade secrets, a company does not have to disclose the ingredients added to a product’s “fragrance.” So any concoction of chemicals could be used.)
Even though four tested shampoos did receive a 10 High Hazard Ranking, 1,508 did not. In fact, only 103 shampoos were ranked as High Hazards (a ranking from 7 to 10). Expensive salon brands were some of the highly hazardous shampoos, along with some “natural” brands and other affordable drugstore products. Many of the shampoos in this category only included one hazardous ingredient – fragrance.
Of the other 1,409 shampoos that were ranked, many were moderate hazards (with a ranking of 4 to 6) and some were low hazards. Certain shampoos from brands like Pert Plus, Suave, Herbal Essences, Pantene, and Finesse were ranked with a 4 – the lowest moderate hazard ranking. This is fantastic news for bargain shoppers, because these brands cost a lot less than pricey and “natural” brands like EO Products, Nature’s Gate, Burt’s Bees, and Aubrey Organics – yet they received the exact same ranking.
If two products had the same safety ranking, what would you prefer to buy: a more affordable shampoo made with chemicals or a more expensive shampoo made with natural ingredients? Why?
Check out how your shampoo ranks through the Environmental Working Group‘s Cosmetic Database.
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I prefer to wash my hair without shampoo and avoid the whole issue! Environmentally speaking, the amount of energy and processing that goes into making shampoo is polluting even if what goes down the drain when you use the shampoo is innocuous.
But it’s interesting that the “mainstream” shampoos aren’t all more dangerous than the “natural” shampoos. Good research!
Heather Anderson says
Thanks so much for sharing this. We are very tight on money and have had to give up the ALL natural and very expensive shampoos, switching to Suave. I have felt so guilty over this! I did try the no-poo method of washing my hair but my husband really did not like the smell of the vinegar rinse. For now I guess I will stick with the cheep shampoo we’re using.