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Is Your Shampoo Dangerous?

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Is Your Shampoo Dangerous?

By Allison Ford, DivineCaroline

Iím not a fan of fear-mongering, urban legends, or needless worrying. Thatís why I chuckle about being constantly barraged with email chain letters reminding me of all the horrors ready to kill me at a momentís notice. Not only do I not follow their advice, I happily deposit these messages directly into the trash, and Iíve never had my kidneys stolen, never encountered an alligator in the sewer, and never expected Bill Gates to send me a check for testing his email tracing program.

Every once in a while, though, a rumor seems just plausible enough to cause concern. Is shampoo causing cancer? One popular chain email claims that an ingredient in shampoo, sodium laureth sulfate, is a known carcinogen. Shampoo gets a lot of heat for being wasteful, unnatural, and ineffective, but could it actually be dangerous?

Fortunately, the American Cancer Society and other reputable medical sources have debunked this urban legend, which they revealed to be mostly propagated by makers of natural and organic beauty products. Shampoo does not cause cancer, but even though it wonít kill you (unless you drown in a tub of it), it does have some secrets that the beauty industry wishes people didnít know.

10 Percent Hair, 90 Percent Hype
The only ingredient in shampoo thatís truly necessary is a detergent. The rest of the emulsifiers, fragrance, emollients, preservatives, and other chemicals are added to make the product feel good in our hands, create a satisfying lather, and make our hair smell pleasant. In fact, even with all the additives, about 90 percent of each shampoo bottle is simply water.

The truth is that hair is dead, and no valiant efforts by shampoo can bring it back to lifeóno matter what products claim. Cosmetics companies try very hard to convince people that shampoo can fortify, nourish, or otherwise change hair, but sadly, itís just not true.

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DivineCaroline

At DivineCaroline.com, women come together to learn from experts in the fields, of health, sustainability, and culture; to reflect on shared experiences; and to express themselves by writing and publishing stories about anything that matters to them. Here, real women publish like real pros. Together, with our staff writers, theyíre discussing all facets of womenís lives from relationships and careers, to travel and healthy living. So come discover, read, learn, laugh and connect at DivineCaroline.com.

174 comments

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12:20PM PDT on May 6, 2012

I gave up regular shampoos years ago. I could not handle the fragrances and the horrible chemicals they put in them. That lead me to start reading books. the best of which is Natural Organic Hair and Skin Care by Aubrey Hampton. It really got me started on giving up makeup and dryer sheets and regular laundry detergent also.

1:34PM PST on Jan 15, 2012

Interesting.

4:38AM PST on Jan 12, 2012

olive oil soap works great. I tried it when in a trip I forgot my shampoo. At the time I used olive oil soap for my skin and I thought "why not?". It's quite known olive oil is good for your scalp, so it should be ok. It was. My hair felt great and clean.

10:26PM PDT on Sep 23, 2011

Dr. Bronners just got a new customer!

12:41PM PDT on Apr 10, 2011

Organic shampoos are the only good ones. I have also tried to wash with true natural self made formulas like fresh orange juice. Well, from apart that it does not foam and therefore is hard to wash long hair like mine, the cleansing effect was good.
Clay also can wash hair well.

4:35PM PDT on Apr 5, 2011

for a fast fix u can use a bit of baby powdwer, run it thru hair...it helps, plus u smell great too. just a bit, not much is cooling.

10:51PM PST on Feb 27, 2011

i worked at a Beauty Supply so i knew shampoo is basically detergent, soap and water with a bunch of other junk in it... i have used Dr. Bronners and african black soap too nad they are both great :)

9:46AM PST on Jan 6, 2011

What a brilliant "scientific" experiment - just dump the contents of a bottle of shampoo into a fish tank and see what happens! Why not try dumping several hundred tonnes of shampoo in the sea and see what happens? You would get the same effect! Perhaps that's why no-one dumps hundreds of tonnes of shampoo into the sea? To draw ANY conclusions about shampoo from that naive demonstration by a scientifically illiterate journalist is outrageous. It proves absolutely nothing - it is a sham (and total poo as well!).

12:17PM PST on Jan 2, 2011

I buy my shampoo natural and vegan society approved. It's great! And I only wash every other day or less.

12:16PM PST on Jan 2, 2011

I buy organic shampoos and conditioners with coupons and sales. Also, I never knew how good Dr. Bronners was as shampoo til recently. Wow!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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