So I just thought I'd briefly talk about some of the most common chemicals found in beauty products nowadays and why there supposed to be bad for you. I think being aware of them is important and I do recommend for you guys to research into it some more and make an informed decision on products you use. Just type in the word and there's literally tons of information.
With all these ingredients/chemicals as one would expect there is research and information 'for' and 'against' the use of these ingredients in beauty products. I am simply sharing information I have learned and come across over time.
This is going to be long but hopefully informative for you guys!
Sulphates- Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS/SLES)
Sulphates are used as cleansing and foaming agents therefore can be found in shampoo, toothpaste, shower gel and other washing products.
Why are they bad?
Sulphates/Sulfates are surface active agents (surficants) which dissolve dirt and allow it to stay liquid so it can be washed away but also boost foam and lather. They are effective in cleaning but the issue with it is that it can over strip the hair. This isn't great for coloured or chemically treated hair as it will strip away what's been put into the hair.
In general as it's so harsh it can strip the hairs natural oils and leave you with dry and limp hair. For some people it can also irritate the scalp.
In a beauty product, mainly hair products anything ending in 'cone' tends to be a silicone. Silicones are one of those controversial ingredients. You can find them mainly in conditioners, serums/oils and sometimes shampoos too. Many products that claim to give you 'smoothe' and 'frizz free' hair will more than likely have silicones in them. Yes they do a great job at making your hair feel nice and smooth but silicones work by basically coating and sealing off your hair giving you a 'quick fix' but in the long run they don't really fix your hair at all.
Silicones are not water soluble either so they can build up on your hair if you use silicone based products continuously. If you think about every time you use a product with silicone in your adding a layer on to your hair. This stops other products from penetrating your hair (such as pure oils/treatments) and in the long run cause your hair to become dry and brittle.
However if you use a clarifying shampoo (they remove build-up and impurities) once or twice a week or maybe even less (depends on how much product containing silicone you use on your hair and how frequently) this will strip the silicones off.
But again clarifying shampoos contain sulphates which are harsh and strip your hair therefore using it sparingly is better and deep conditioning your hair after would be good.
These are a class of man made chemicals used in products as preservatives so they last longer and to fight bacteria and fungus from growing. They are cheap to manufacture and can be found in a lot of products. In the ingredients anything ending in paraben such as 'Butylparaben' is what you need to look for.
Why are they bad?
There has been studies about parabens some saying it's not harmful as it's used in small quantities but other studies have found they can irritate the skin and eyes, a link with parabens and cancer also has been identified. As Parabens cannot be broken down the worry is that it can build up which will then become harmful.
How you may wonder? Well Parabens can mimic a hormone called estrogen which is known to play a role in breast cancer. Parbens have also been found in breast tumors by researchers .
Again a common ingredients in beauty products (eg Vaseline, baby oil, make up) it's apparently more expensive to dispose mineral oil than purchase it. It comes from crude oil/petroleum and coats the skin like cling film making it a good barrier. It can slow down the loss of moisture making it an effective ingredient.
Why it's rumoured to be bad?
Well just thinking about it, if it coats the skin and works like a barrier than it means nothing can get in or out and it can be debated whether that is a good or bad thing. But it is said that it inhibits the natural immune barrier stopping the skin from 'breathing' blocking pores and preventing absorption of natural moisture/nutrition. This can also then play a role in acne and blemishes and the renewal of cells promoting premature ageing and the removal of toxins. You can read some more about it here.
However it is said that mineral oil used in beauty products is highly refined and purified making it safe to use and a thin layer slows down the loss of moisture from the skin. There is a ton of debate about this ingredients you can read some things here and here in defence.
I'm personally not too alarmed about this ingredients as when I was researching about mineral oils in beauty products it was hard to find any solid research/studies which found mineral oil is proven to be bad.
In general it's hard to avoid many of these ingredients as it's used in a lot of mainstream, cheap and generic products. However there is alternatives, they may cost a little more but they exist! Personally in general I have started using more natural products as I just think why not? It's surely going to do less harm than any normal products right?
There is a ton of sulfate free/ low sulfate products on the market. For instance at the moment I am using Liz Earle's shampoo which contains no sulphates, it may not foam as much but it still works just as well! More 'natural' brands will use natural ingredients that do the same thing (in terms of cleaning) but in a less harsh way using alternative ingredients.
Again you can find products without silicones too and pure oils rather than 'Morrocanoil' and 'Macadamia oil' which tend to be full of silicones.