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What Ingredients To Avoid in Shampoo & Keep Your Hair Healthy

Brian Melville

What you put on your body and in your hair matters. Taking care of one’s hair is essential for every man’s health and appearance. 

While most shampoos promise to have been made with care, this is not always honest. Today, Particle will be listing ingredients to avoid for your hair’s benefit.

Ingredients To Avoid

First, let’s talk about alcohol. Alcohol is an ingredient found in most cleaning products, including the products responsible for cleaning your hair. 

You do not actually need to avoid all shampoos containing alcohol, as some forms of alcohol can benefit your hair. For example, fatty alcohols like cetyl alcohol can soften the hair and help it retain moisture. 

Nevertheless, not all forms of alcohol are this beneficial. You should try to avoid using shampoos that contain damaging forms of alcohol, such as propanol alcohol. Propanol has the unfortunate habit of drying out hair.

Next, let us discuss diethanolamine and triethanolamine. Diethanolamine and triethanolamine are used in shampoos to lower the surface tension between oil-soluble and water-soluble ingredients. In doing so, the ingredients that fall under these two separate categories will blend together seamlessly. 

While successful at mixing ingredients, these ingredients are synthetic and may damage your hair’s keratin and irritate your scalp.

Now let’s move on to sodium chloride. Technically speaking, sodium chloride is a salt. This salt is normally used as a thickening agent in shampoos. As you might imagine, when used often, this salt has the potential to negatively affect your scalp. Your scalp may itch, flake, and become dry. These symptoms will only be worse for those with already fine, brittle, sensitive hair. In more severe cases, sodium chloride can act as the catalyst for hair loss.

Next, there is propylene glycol. Just like with sodium chloride, propylene glycol is used in shampoos as a thickening agent. The viscous, colorless chemical compound can be safe in personal care products when used in low concentrations. Otherwise, shampoos containing propylene glycol have the potential to leave your hair brittle and stripped of moisture.

Another ingredient to be wary of is parabens. Parabens are a family of artificial chemicals used in skin and hair care products as a preservative. This means that, when used as an ingredient in your shampoo, its function is to keep your product from expiring before one or two years. 

Though successful at prolonging expiration dates by a large degree, it is believed that parabens can disrupt hormone function. This can lead to chronic skin conditions flaring up or hair loss being triggered.


Perhaps the most controversial shampoo ingredient in recent years is sulfates. The function of sulfates in shampoos is to deep clean hair by creating a lather effect that removes unwanted substances by stripping dirt and oil from the hair. 

Believe it or not, sulfates are generally believed to be safe when used in moderation. They can effectively cleanse the hair, allowing for grime and dead skin cells to be washed away. 

Nevertheless, there are several instances in which these chemicals can cause harm, making it important to be knowledgeable about the ingredient so that you can decide whether or not to add it to your “avoid” list.

When stripping your hair of dirt and oil, there is a strong possibility that sulfates will also remove necessary moisture, proteins, and oils. This may leave your hair dry enough to cause damage. 

There is also a possibility that sulfates are too strong for your sensitive skin or hair. Men with skin conditions like rosacea should avoid including sulfates in their shampoo because the chemicals may irritate areas of skin like the scalp, face, and back and worsen pre-existing symptoms. 

Whether or not sulfates are safe for you to use may also depend on your hair type and quality. If your hair and scalp are sensitive and fragile, you will want to avoid these chemicals. Lathering agents like sulfates are powerful and may irritate sensitive skin and hair. 

Those with dry or fine hair should also be cautious of how the strength of sulfates influences their appearance. Sulfates strip the hair of oils, which already naturally dry hair may not be able to afford. Dry hair may require something milder and sulfate-free so that it has the opportunity to repair itself.

If your hair has been recently colored, you should note that sulfate in shampoo is strong enough to strip out the new color. Additionally, sulfates may alter the texture of your hair. Sulfate shampoo sometimes creates a negative electrical charge. This charge can trigger frizz, especially for hair that already has the habit of frizzing easily.

There is also the more extreme possibility that you are allergic to sulfites. If your skin is sensitive to sulfites when applied to your hair in the shower, your skin will likely show signs of rashing, itchiness, inflammation, redness, and sometimes hives, particularly on the scalp.

Shampoo With Beneficial Ingredients

After learning about what ingredients to avoid, it may feel like there are no safe shampoos on the market, but we are happy to inform you that this is not the case.

For your convenience, we suggest checking out our Particle Hair Shampoo

Unlike the aforementioned harmful chemicals, our product contains powerful organic ingredients that strengthen the hair and its roots, stimulate the scalp, and improve hair growth. Here are some of the ingredients and their benefits:

  • Capixyl is a complex of peptide and red clover extract. When used as an ingredient in hair products, it can invigorate hair growth, providing you with a thicker head of hair. Therefore, it is typically used to treat hair loss. 
  • Green Tea Extract is used in shampoo to support healthy hair growth and regrowth by stimulating the hair follicles and protecting hair cells from damage.
  • Redensyl is a serum for hair growth and restoration that, when used in shampoo, targets hair follicles, stimulates hair growth, and offers you the appearance of a fuller head of hair.
  • Biotin is one of the B vitamins that, when used in shampoo, can improve your hair’s overall health. The essential nutrient increases follicle growth and stimulates keratin production.
  • Ginseng is a medicinal product containing antioxidants that can reduce inflammation and can increase blood circulation.

While Particle Hair Shampoo benefits everyone and is safe for use on every hair type, our product is perfect for men suffering from hair loss. You can read reviews on Particle Hair Shampoo here.


While there are several popular shampoo ingredients to avoid, there are also ingredients that can benefit your hair’s health. Take the time to read the label on your shampoo bottle and see if it needs replacing. 



Interference of Paraben Compounds with Estrogen Metabolism by Inhibition of 17β-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases | NCBI

Hair Cosmetics: An Overview | NCBI

Tips for healthy hair | AAD2

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