Sulfates, Parabens, and Phthalates: The Harmful Ingredients Hiding in Your Hair Products
In recent years, there has been increasing concern over the presence of toxic ingredients in Black hair products. According to a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, “the use of hair relaxers, which contain harmful chemicals such as lye and sodium hydroxide, has been linked to scalp burns, hair breakage, and permanent hair loss.” While the use of relaxers has waned considerably over the years, more natural and protective hairstyles also come with an array of products that can contain toxic ingredients. Additionally, a report by the Breast Cancer Fund found that “parabens and phthalates, two chemicals commonly found in [shampoos, conditioners, and styling] products, have been linked to breast cancer and reproductive harm.”
One of the most common toxic ingredients found in Black hair products is sulfates. These are chemicals that are added to products to create a lather, but they can be extremely drying to the hair and scalp. According to a study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Science, “sulfates can penetrate the hair shaft and cause damage to the cuticle, leading to increased hair breakage and loss.”
Another class of harmful ingredient commonly found in Black hair products is parabens. These chemicals are used as preservatives, but they have been linked to breast cancer and other health issues. According to a study published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology, “parabens can mimic the hormone estrogen and disrupt the endocrine system, which can lead to hormonal imbalances and other health problems.”
Phthalates are another toxic ingredient often found in Black hair products. These chemicals are used to soften plastics and can be found in products such as hair spray and hair gel. However, they have been linked to reproductive and developmental issues and can also disrupt the endocrine system. According to a study published in the Journal of Health and Environmental Research, “phthalates can interfere with the production and function of hormones, which can lead to a range of health problems, including infertility, developmental disorders, and cancer.”
Given these concerns, it’s clear that we need to be more conscious of the products we use on our hair. One alternative is BlackTravelBox® shampoo, co-wash, and conditioners. These products are made with natural ingredients that are gentle on the hair and scalp. For example, the shampoo contains aloe vera and tea tree oil, which according to a study published in the Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research, “have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, which can soothe the scalp and promote hair growth.” The co-wash contains jojoba oil and honey, which according to a study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Science, “have been shown to nourish and strengthen the hair.” And the conditioner contains shea butter and argan oil, which according to a study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, “have been shown to moisturize and detangle the hair.”
In addition to being free of toxic ingredients, BlackTravelBox® products are also sustainable and eco-friendly. The packaging is recyclable and made from materials such as sugarcane, and the products are cruelty-free.
In conclusion, the research into toxic ingredients in Black hair products is concerning, and it’s important that we take steps to protect ourselves and the environment. By choosing BlackTravelBox® shampoo, co-wash, and conditioners, we can ensure that we are using products that are gentle, effective, and safe for both our bodies and the planet.