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October, 01 2018

What ingredients to avoid in shampoo for colour treated hair


Louise @JdeV Chorley store

When you have colour treated hair, the products you use can really make a difference but sometimes this isn’t always for the better. If you are using hair dye then the experience of colouring your locks comes at a price and this often means that your hair is more vulnerable to damage. If you’re then using a shampoo that contains harsh ingredients, the picture can be quite bleak!  That’s why today I’m going to help you become more label savvy by discussing a few ingredients you should definitely be avoiding in order to protect your colour-treated hair! 

Why is colour treated hair more vulnerable?

Colouring your hair can be a really uplifting experiencing, giving your confidence a nice boost! However, it can sometimes come at a cost as the chemicals found in most hair dyes can be quite abrasive for your hair, making it more susceptible to damage and dryness further down the line. If you’re then exposing your hair to thermal heat (think curling irons and straighteners) and even more harsh ingredients, then you may start to notice that your new do appears a bit lacklustre!

All of your focus, therefore, should be on protecting and nourishing your dyed locks, keeping them protected from any potential harm. Unfortunately, sometimes the high-street can challenge this endeavour as most of the hair care products you’ll encounter at your local supermarket are loaded with harsh chemicals like parabens or even alcohol that can soak up your hair and scalp’s essential oils, leaving you with drier, frizzier hair.

That’s why below I’m going to chat a bit about some of the worst offenders and help you become savvier to the various names they can often hide behind.

6 chemicals colour treated hair should definitely avoid! 

 1 – Alcohol

You might be wondering what an ingredient like alcohol is doing in your shampoo – doesn’t it typically belong on a shelf behind a bar? Well, alcohol is often used in shampoos either as a preservative or sometimes as an emollient! The problem is that not all alcohol is created equal and some forms can contribute to dryness and frizz – probably not the look you’re trying to achieve!

However, companies can be quite sneaky so it’s unlikely you’ll see ‘alcohol’ on the ingredients list. Instead, the harmful forms that you need to look to out for are often listed under names like ‘ethanol’ or ‘propanol’ or sometimes ‘isopropyl alcohol.’ These are the types of alcohol that you need to keep an eye out for in your shampoos and conditioners!

2 – SLS or SLES

Okay, so you might have been familiar with what alcohol is but what on earth are SLS and SLES?

In a nutshell, SLS stands for Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and SLES is an acronym for Sodium Laureth Sulfate although they can both appear under other, similar names like ammonium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate. Both of these chemicals should be at the top of your ‘avoid’ list as they basically have little to no redeeming features.

Sulfates may help to give shampoo its famous bubbly lather but the main problem is they’re too good at their job, which is removing dirt and oil from your scalp and hair. They often go too far and remove all of those nice essential oils your hair needs to stay hydrated, resulting in that tell-tale dryness and frizz. These chemicals can also be quite irritating for your skin and your scalp so you may also wish to avoid them on these grounds too!

3 – Parabens

If you’ve read any of our other blogs on Jan de Vries, the chances are you’ve stumbled across our thoughts on parabens before. Primarily, they’re supposed to act as a preservative, helping to prevent the spread of bacteria and other pathogens in your skincare and beauty products.

The problem with parabens is actually to do with their impact on your general health rather than your hair specifically. Unfortunately, recently evidence has begun to emerge that parabens might be capable of mimicking the female hormone oestrogen, causing endocrine disruptions![1] If you see methylparaben or propylparaben listed in your shampoo’s ingredients, it might be time to show it to the bin!

4 – Sodium chloride:

Sodium? Isn’t that salt? If you’re wondering why on earth salt of all things is being added to your shampoo then wonder no more. Sodium chloride (that’s table salt to you and me!) is often added to your shampoo in order to give it more thickness. It usually appears alongside SLS and SLES, which should definitely be sounding some alarm bells.

Unsurprisingly, your hair and salt is not a good combination. Sodium chloride can contribute to dryness, stripping away your hair’s natural oils, in addition to being extremely irritating for your scalp, often causing itchiness.

5 - Petrochemicals

Petrochemicals are petroleum based (yes, the stuff that you use to power your car!) and can be extremely irritating for your skin and scalp. In fact, some countries have marked petrochemicals like Polyethylene glycol as being toxic as they can accumulate in the human body and, similar to parabens, act as endocrine disruptors. [2]

The main problem with petrochemicals is that they are so numerous – mineral oil, paraffin wax, benzene, parfum and butanol are all different names for different forms of petrochemicals! That’s why it’s really worth investing in a shampoo that contains natural ingredients rather than spending all morning scrutinising the ingredients on your shampoo label.

Go au naturale with your shampoo

As you can see, harsh chemicals and toxins really are everywhere in the beauty industry and this can have some unfortunate consequences, not only for your hair but the rest of your body too! That’s why here at Jan de Vries we’re always telling our customers to go natural and to go organic with their hair care products and cosmetics.

Whereas high-street supermarket shampoos are often chockfull of chemicals and have ingredient lists loaded with unrecognisable words and phrases, natural shampoos like to keep things simple. They are usually free from the harsh chemicals that burden conventional shampoos and their ingredients lists contain easily recognisable, plant-based ingredients formulated to soothe and nourish dry, damaged hair.

When it comes to colour-treated hair in particular, I always recommend is John Masters. This brand is completely cruelty-free, organic and has a very strict no-go policy when it comes to artificial fragrances, colours and fillers.

Their Organic Lavender Shampoo is one of my personal favourites as it is completely free from SLS, parabens and petrochemicals! Instead, this product opts for a combination of jojoba seed oil, chamomile, comfrey, and, of course, lavender! It’s incredibly soothing and hydrating for dyed hair plus it’s 100% vegan-friendly! What’s not to love?



[1] https://www.bcpp.org/resource/parabens/

[2] https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/11/oil-is-in-everything-from_n_608751.html