How natural is your shampoo?

June 26, 2008

Over the last few years shampoos have strived to impress us with the naturalness of their ingredients. If you believe the ads they are all hand-harvested in the Amazonian rainforests and you are getting an amazing variety of herbs, flowers and probably a pounding waterfall or at least a fast flowing river to go along with it. What they don’t tell you is that you are also getting in there an amazing cocktail of chemicals – the word ‘natural’ is one of the most misleading in advertising.

It is estimated by the consumer watchdog group Proof that around 93 per cent of all shampoos currently on the market contain chemicals that are linked to cancer or other health problems. So just becasue your favourite brand contains herbs or is organic doesn’t necessarily mean it is innocent of chemicals. As ever, read the label and try to avoid the following ingredients:

- lauryl sulphates: are the most potentially carcinogenic compounds found in many personal care products

- PEG (polyethylene glycol): this is what gives you that nice foam that makes you think your shampoo is doing a good job. These ‘foaming agents’ often contain the carcinogens dioxane and ethylene oxide, which have been linked to leukaemia, and brain, uterine and breast cancers

- Propylene glycol: you find this chemical in your anti-freeze and in a shampoo it rapidly penetrates the skin. It’s been associated with liver and kidney damage, and central nervous system problems.

It is especially important to be vigilant when buying products for babies and children as a high concentration of lauryl sulphates has been found in a shampoo that’s specially marketed to children, and labelled as being ‘extra gentle’.

Simply Nature have a good PEG-free shampoo you can find on their website at or get your reading glasses out for that very small print on the bottles in the supermarket or your local chemist!


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