Ingredients to Avoid in Your Cosmetics

Shampoo Cream

What's in your shampoo?

I was searching for the perfect curly hair product,  little did I know these products were harming the health of my hair.

I began noticing the ends of my hair breaking as well as unusual hair shedding.

I know that Aubrey Organics hair care products work for me, but during my quest for the perfect product, I tried other products that were not so natural. The products I tried were loaded with chemicals that I could not even pronounce.

These days, a lot of companies are claiming their products are natural.  Marketing ploy, do not believe the hype.  Do your research!

I tried Aubrey Organic’s Blue Green Algae Hair Rescue Mask to help with the hair breakage.  After the first application of this product, there was a noticeable difference in my hair. Minimal breakage, less shedding, and hair.

I am now a loyal customer of Aubrey Organic’s hair care products.  Yes, I am a believer that natural products with real natural ingredients do work!

If you are having issues with your hair or your skin, you should read the ingredient labels and do some research on the chemicals listed on the label. You might be surprised by what you find.

Things to Look for, Things to Avoid in Your Cosmetics

There many ingredients that you should avoid, but Aubrey Hampton, author of The Take Charge Beauty Book:  The Natural Guide to Beautiful Hair and Skin (affiliate link), shares the worst offenders and offers safe natural alternatives. Today, I share those offenders with you.

  • Avoid: Diethanolamine and Triethanolamine (DEA & TEA) – may be contaminated with nitrosamines, known as potent carcinogens. Look for: Vegetable Glycerine – used in cosmetic formulations for many years. It does not produce any toxic side effects.
  • Avoid: Mineral Oil - petroleum derived and is harsh on the skin. Better for your car engine and not your skin. Look for: Jojoba Oil – natural moisturizer that helps your hair and skin seal in the moisture.
  • Avoid: Propylene Glycol – synthetic form of glycerine, derived from propylene alcohol and highly irritating to the skin and scalp. This is a petrochemical and a major cause of allergic reactions, clogged pores and blemishes. Look for: Vegetable Glycerine.
  • Avoid: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate/Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS) – included in nearly all mass-produced shampoos and even in many brands of toothpaste. Synthetic detergents and foam builders. Look for: Natural Soaps (Coconut Oil [Cocamide without DEA], Olive Oil Castile, Quillaya or Yucca Root Soaps)
  • Avoid: Methyl and Propyl Paraben – very toxic, leading cause of dermatitis. Imidazolidinyl Urea - serious side effect is the release of formaldehyde into the product. Here are some other chemicals that have formaldehyde releasing properties: 2-bromo-2 nitropropane-1,3diol; diazolidinyl urea; DMDM hydantoin; Quaternium-15. Look for: Grapefruit Seed Extract (Citrus Seed Extract ) and Vitamins A, C and E – highly effective and tolerated natural preservative.
  • Avoid: Lanolin – known to cause allergic reactions in some people, but the animal product can be contaminated with DDT. Look for: Essential Oils – jojoba oil is a good substitute.
  • Avoid: Talc – found in baby powders and is a known carcinogen when inhaled. Look for: Corn Starch or Rice Starch
  • Avoid: Silica – can cause fibrosis of the lung and other respiratory disorders. Look for: Psyllium Husk Powder and Lecithin
  • Avoid: Sodium PCA (NaPCA) - can cause a strong allergic reaction and can dry out your skin by absorbing moisture from it. Look for: Pantothenic Acid (Panthenol) or Vegetable Glycerine.
  • Avoid: Synthetic Hair Dyes – regular use is strongly associated with a significant risk of cancer. Look for: Henna – vegetable-based hair dyes.
  • Avoid: Synthetic Fragrances – could be a blend of up to 600 different chemicals. Look for: Natural Fragrances – essential oils from herbs and flowers.
  • Avoid: PVP-VA/Copolymers – found in hairsprays and styling gels, plastics that coat the hair. Look for: Herbal Gums

Read the ingredient label on your cosmetics and do your own research. Be an educated and informed consumer because your health is ultimately in your hands.

Recommended Reading

Image: graur razvan ionut “Shampoo Cream” /

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24 Comments Ingredients to Avoid in Your Cosmetics

  1. Pingback: Jojoba - Nature's Best Moisturizer for Skin, Scalp and Hair

  2. sarah

    Awesome post! thanks for the great info!
    Do you know if these ingredients are to be avoided. . ..disodium laureth sulfosuccinate, sodium lauryl glucose carboxylate lauryl glucoside, behentrimonium methosulfate?

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  4. Elena

    Sounds toooo good, but I just checked Aubrey Organics products on and some ingredients are linked to Cancer, check it out, it ranked 2-3 (low hazard) though))). Can vitamins A and C, corn oil and Aloe Vera be linked to Cancer? I am getting confused

    1. Evelyn Parham

      Hi Elena,

      I’ve check it out and from what I am finding is that products that have alcohol, padimate O (SPF 15) and other chemicals/plant extracts got a rating of 4 or 5.

      The ingredients that you have mentioned should not pose a hazard. It is only certain ingredients that has been included in certain products that reflects on the score.

      Thanks for sharing your concern.

      Take care,


      1. Elena

        Probably I should give it a try, but it is sooo difficult for me to find the right shampoo for oily roots, split dry ends, highlighted hair, brrrr, nightmare!
        What do you think about Yes To carrots brand?

        1. Evelyn Parham


          I recommend that you try it. They do offer products for oily hair and GPB conditioner is an awesome conditioner for split and dry ends. Since I’ve been using it, I’ve noticed less breakage and my hair has feels very soft and looks healthier. I did a few videos about this on my youtube channel. Read the reviews on AO’s website and also check out the reviews on amazon.

          I have never used Yes To Carrots, but see a lot people talking about it on youtube. But just because people are talking about it, dosen’t mean it’s a good product for your hair.

          All I can say is make sure you read the labels very carefully on Yes To Carrots. Doing that should help you make the right decision.

          Hope this helps!

        2. Evelyn Parham

          Oh, for the highlighted hair, make sure you keep those ends moisturized and treated. You may need a good protein treatment to help mend the ends to get things back to normal. Highlights can be very harsh on the hair, but with a little TLC, you should be fine.

  5. Bryan

    Hey Evelyn,

    A wealth of information here. I’ve always knew that cosmetics aren’t toxic free and “healthy” as they claimed. I’ve known that Propyl paraben is toxic and found in a lot of skin products.

    1. Evelyn Parham

      Hi Bryan,
      Parabens are toxic too. Preservatives, but not so good and healthy preservatives. It is found in hair and skin care products.

      Take care,

  6. Carolyn

    Thank you so much for posting this. I just talked to someone about this very topic at a networking event last week. This merits reading and repeating over and over. I am so glad you posted this valuable information.

  7. Patricia

    Hi Evelyn

    Great post and way to go with letting your readers know about all the harmful chemical laden products out there!

    I only use organic products as I don’t want chemical laden products being absorbed into my blood stream!!! And like you point out in the post, so much dubious advertising going on.

    Keep these posts coming Evelyn. The more people who are better informed, the better :-)

    Patricia Perth Australia

    1. Evelyn Parham

      Hi Patricia,

      Thank you!

      I recently went through my hair products and had to let a lot of things go. I hate it, but like you, I don’t want to absorb any more chemical laden products.

      Thanks for chiming in on this topic!


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  9. Dr. Mark Kubert

    Hi Evelyn, thanks for bringing this up. My wife has just been looking into this issue more lately as well.

    I’m not sure if everyone in America is familiar with one of our environmental crusaders up here in Canada, Dr. David Suzuki. He is a pioneer and advocate for living healthy and sustainably. His foundation has just set up a call to action on their site to make it easy to send a message to the major manufacturers of cosmetics telling them that we want safer and healthier products:

    Another great site to check out is an American based organization, The Environmental Working Group. They have set up the Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database in which you can enter the name of any product you use and it can tell you how good/bad/toxic it is. Here’s the link:

    Again, this is a great topic which needs more exposure and action.

    1. Evelyn Parham

      Hi Dr. Mark,

      I have read some information about the call to action. Thanks for sharing the link. I will check it out.

      I visit the Environmental Working Group site quite often. I meant to include this link in my post, but forgot to add it. Thank you for sharing this link too.

      As always, thank you for sharing and adding value.

      Take care,

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