Why Should I Avoid Parabens and Sulfates in Shampoo?

Choose Salon Hair Products with Fewer Harsh Chemicals

You care about what food you put into your body, so shouldn’t you care about what shampoo you massage into your hair and scalp, too? At Kenneth’s Hair Salons and Day Spas, we think so!

Not all hair-care products are created equal. And it seems that more and more, women and men in Central Ohio push aside shampoos and other cleansers with parabens and sulfates in favor of seemingly more natural choices.

What should you avoid, and what should you embrace? It’s simpler than you think - but it’s ultimately up to you.

What are Parabens?

Simply put, parabens are a type of preservative mixed into hair care products to help prevent the growth of mold and bacteria to prolong their shelf lives. You’ll find them in your products’ ingredients lists under names like methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben, but there are more than these three.

Are Parabens Bad?

Parabens also affect wildlife. They’ve even been found inside the bodies of marine mammals, likely because of trace preservatives left inside plastic beauty product bottles negligently discarded into waterways, or shampoos and conditioners rinsed into our sewage systems, before being released into the environment.

So should you panic and immediately cancel parabens from your life? Probably not. The percentage of parabens in your favorite hair care products is fairly tiny. However, with so many paraben-free options available, there’s no real reason to continue to use inclusive formulas - unless you’re just really in love with your current shampoo.

What are Sulfates?

Get ready to think back to the days of your high-school chemistry class - it’s time to talk about sulfates!

A sulfate is a salt created when sulfuric acid reacts with another chemical. You might have heard of a few common sulfates, like sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate. The main use for these salts is creating that luxurious and lush lather in your shampoo (and even your toothpaste).

The wildest thing about this lather-creating ingredient is that it is completely unnecessary and does not make your soaps, shampoos, or toothpastes better at cleaning your body, hair, or mouth. That’s right - companies include sulfates for show, not because they’re inherently useful. Some people swear that sulfates help control their excessively oily scalps, however.

Are Sulfates Bad?

If the sulfates in your hair-care products are derived from petroleum or palm oil, there are definitely some controversies associated, namely their negative effects on the environment. Some people group petroleum and palm oil with climate change or pollution. Some sulfates occur naturally.

Sulfates can also irritate your eyes, skin, or lungs, depending on your sensitivity. Of course, some people aren’t bothered at all! And just like with parabens, products containing sulfates get washed into the water supply and can affect aquatic life.

Depending on the product, there can be trace amounts of sulfates in a product, but others can be made up of 50 percent of these ingredients. On average, sulfates make up 25 percent of your shampoo!

Should you go sulfate-free? It depends! If you are worried about skin irritation, you can try to avoid sulfates in the products you use. However, there are not currently any studies that confirm with 100 percent certitude that sulfates cause cancer.

Choosing Paraben-Free and Sulfate-Free Products

If you’d like to go the more natural route with your hair care products, consider purchasing salon products instead of those for sale in your local drugstore or big box retailer. It may take some experimentation to find a formula that works well on your hair, but there is actually a large selection of these more natural products available at your local market or even at Kenneth’s Hair Salons and Day Spas in Columbus, Ohio. Our hairstylists in Grove City, Worthington, and Kingsdale are happy to guide you to the right choices for your hair.

It may not be as easy as looking for products claiming to be paraben-free or sulfate-free on their labels. You’ll want to skim through the ingredients list on the back panel of the shampoo bottle to verify you don’t see any telltale names of these additives.

Shop Hair Salon Products at Kenneths.com

If you’re looking for salon-quality hair products, don’t forget you can shop our selection online and have your hair-care products shipped directly to your home. We’ve formulated our hair care products with utmost care to ensure they’re as wholesome as possible and work effectively on our valued clients’ hair.

So what products might you consider if you’re thinking of going the more natural route? Here are just a few of the shampoos and conditioners we offer in our online store and in-person retail spaces.

Kenneth’s Anti-Fading Shampoo
Our gentle, low-pH formula extends the life and vibrancy of deposited hair color on your tresses. Our anti-fading formula is both sulfate-free and vegan!

Kenneth’s Argan Anti-Frizz Shampoo
Tame and smooth your hair with a formula that makes curly, frizzy, or chemically treated hair look more silky and shiny. This sulfate-free shampoo comes in three sizes.

Kenneth’s Maximum Fullness Shampoo
This botanical cleanser adds fullness and shine! It’s gentle enough for use on fine hair, and is - you guessed it - sulfate-free and vegan!

Kenneth’s Keratin Therapy Conditioner
Maintain your keratin or coloring treatments to extend their life with this salt and sulfate-free product. It’s also free from formaldehyde and petrochemicals!


Ready to try a sulfate-free, more naturally-derived salon hair care product? Shop online today! You can even give credit to your hairstylist for the purchases you make on our site if you can’t make it into one of our eleven world-class locations all around Central Ohio.

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