Beauty, Healthy & Well

Know Thy Beauty Products: 6 Common Chemicals that Harm You More than Benefit!

In olden days, elaborate blends for body and hair cleansing were made by grandmothers and mothers. In the western world, olive oil & eggs were used for conditioning the hairs while an alkaline solution like Vinegar or so was used for cleansing. On the other hand, in India, Shikakai (Acacia concinna), Amla (Indian Gooseberry), dry mix powders made up of lentils were used. But then around 1930s, the advent of manufactured shampoos and soaps happened. Post that, until today, many product concepts have come and gone. But there are few basic ingredients that are commonly used. In fact, there are some toxic chemicals in everyday shampoo and soaps that you should be wary of.

Your well being starts with right buying decision: Toxic chemicals in everyday shampoo and soaps
Your well being starts with right buying decision: Toxic chemicals in everyday shampoo and soaps

List of Contents

Here is a list of most commonly found harmful ingredients in hair & body care products that you need to watch out for:

Sodium Laurate Sulfate (SLES):

SLES or SLS called, in short, this chemical is responsible for the foaming during bathing or shampooing. One can understand by self, the endless list of soaps, shampoos, hand washes, conditioner that has SLS. The problem with this chemical is that it is cancer-causing, harmful to eyes, depression causing and more. As a matter of fact, in 2009, L’Oréal Paris introduced two ‘Sulfate-free’ product lines which triggered a global discussion around this.  

Propylene Glycol (PEG):

Moisturizers, conditioners, makeup products mostly have PEGs. Quite ironically, PEGs are used as skin moisturizing agents. On the contrary, this chemical can cause skin irritation and allergic reaction.


This variety of toxic chemicals in everyday shampoo and soaps are carcinogenic. These chemicals just like sulphates are present in most brands of hair and body care products as preservatives. Moreover, the property to mimic estrogen and act like it is the major reason that can lead to cancer development. In fact, increasingly the beauty product industry is moving towards paraben-free products.


Keratin/Hair smoothening is a hair trend nowadays. Many hair care products used for such kind of treatments have formaldehyde or its derivative in them. Other products that have this chemical in them are nail hardeners, hair colour, false eyelash adhesive, baby shampoo and more.  International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies formaldehyde as cancer-causing. It also has an adverse effect on the immune system, skin allergy reactions etc.


The synthetic fragrance in most beauty products is because of phthalates. Perfumes, nail polishes, hair sprays, lotions etc. usually have Phthalates. This chemical can cause hormone interruption leading to infertility in males. Obviously, one needs to check for Phthalate-free tag on cosmetic products.


Talc, unfortunately, is found in baby powders of a few brands. This can cause respiratory issues in the child.

Watch out  for toxic chemicals in everyday shampoo and soaps and cosmetics
Watch out for toxic chemicals in everyday shampoo, soaps and cosmetics

Few other toxic chemicals in everyday shampoo, soaps and makeup products:

Coal tar (found in kohl, eyebrow pencils, hair colours & eye shadow) can cause blindness and skin irritation.

Mineral oil blocks the skin’s ability to breathe which causes early ageing of skin and skin allergies.

Artificial fragrance is a very common ingredient in beauty products. It can cause asthma, neurological conditions and more.

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Some Important Pointers:

  • Women who are pregnant and breastfeeding, children and teenagers should be cautious about the kind of beauty products that they are using.
  • Undoubtedly, the key is to check the ingredient list mentioned on the product. Any ambiguity in the mentioned ingredient list should act as a deterrent for using.
  • Further, these days there are many new cosmetic companies budding in the market. A patch test should be done before using any product even if it is labelled as ‘Organic’ or ‘Herbal’. One should try a new brand or product with caution.
Read the Label and Share it for good: Toxic chemicals in everyday shampoo and soaps and cosmetics
Read the Label and Share it for good: Toxic chemicals in everyday shampoo and soaps and cosmetics

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(16) Comments

  1. alpanadeo says:

    Using shampoo is a faster way of hair washing but it also comes with other negative effects. Old method may look time consuming but they gaveling lasting results. I try to apply alma, shikakai or curd once in two weeks. if possible every week.

  2. We talk or speak less about the ingredients which can harm our skin. I am so happy to be find this post and thanks for sharing such detailed post on this !!

  3. Besides parabens I really did not know about other harmful chemicals in shampoos. At least now I will read labels and be aware of what products I can avoid in future.

  4. When we make a choice to buy something we feel we are being very clever and careful about it. Reading your eye opening post has not only alarmed me, but made me realise that we really don’t know what we are using!

  5. Wow! I had no idea there were so many chemicals in our every day products I always wondered why I was asked to avoid certain products during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Now I get the complete picture.

  6. Dr. Surbhi Prapanna says:

    This is such an informative post.. though I know that chemicals are harmful for our skin and overall health but I had never paid enough attention on each of them. You had shared really an easy list and since next time, I will surely check that before buying any beauty products.

  7. Chemical shampoos and products are flooding the market. It is always better to read the ingredients and understand them. The article do help to get a better clarity.

  8. We have this habit of blindly trusting anything that has ‘herbal’or “organic ” listed on the label, but it is important to do a thorough check of the ingredients and choose wisely.A well written and informative post indeed !

  9. Thank you so much for compiling this list. Whenever I buy skincare or beauty products I make sure they’re SLES, paraben and mineral oil free as they damage our skin.

  10. I found this article highly informative. Didn’t know the products we use have so many harmful chemicals

  11. This was an eye-opener post. Though was aware of most of the chemicals but few were new to me. I use makeup very less only lipstick that too occasionally. While buying shampoos and soaps I do check out for most of the chemicals mentioned.

  12. Thank you for sharing this detail post of harmful chemicals to check ok before buying beauty products . Skin care is very important with proper chemical free products that suits your skin

  13. So many chemical we are using unknowingly. Thats very helpful tips to keep in mind while buying personal care products.

  14. I was aware about Talc & Parabens but the rest are shockers to me. I will certainly be more mindful of the ingredients while purchasing products from now.

  15. Yeah, I have also noticed that most of the shampoo contains paraben ,peg ,and SLS . makeup stuffs has mineral oil by default .. We should be cautious before buying such things .

  16. This is so useful because many of us are not aware of the chemicals that harm our skin and hair both. Great list shared.

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