Green Beauty

10 Toxic ingredients found in your shampoo & conditioner, and my favourite alternative:

February 14, 2016


When figuring out what product to write about first, the decision came pretty quickly. This was one of the most difficult switches for me and certainly the best end result I could ever imagine. I will admit, up until I was about 20 years old I was an avid user of some of the worst shampoos and conditioners you could possibly use for your hair. Full of terrible chemicals and dyes. Not only will these products eventually destroy those beautiful locks you grow on your head but also what is directly underneath it… your scalp… your skin! You will probably hear me preach countless times about how our skin is one of the most important and the largest organ in our body. We really do forget that what we ingest is not only due to what we consume through our mouths, but through our skin. We are constantly taking in pollutants and toxins from the millions of tiny little friends we call pores.

I knew I needed to get away from the typical drug store shampoos. They are packed full of the gross stuff. Below, I’ve listed 10 common toxic ingredients found in your shampoos and conditioners. Don’t be fooled, there are certainly more out there! I figured a list of 10 was enough to give a good picture of what can happen from long term use of these products. Here it goes:

Cocamide Diethanolamine (Cocamide DEA): a foaming and thickening ingredient that is known to cause cancer. In the short term it can cause irritation to your skin and eyes such as redness/itchiness.

Petroleum-based Parabens: This ingredient is used as a preservative and unless your shampoo clearly indicates it is paraben free, they are likely in there. This will clog your pores, and are absorbed by your skin, GI tract and bloodstream!

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS): This is used in so many shampoos and hygeine products…. It’s also used in garage floor cleaners! This ingredient mimics the effects of the hormone Oestrogen. This can cause issues such as MS symptoms, Menopausal symptoms, lowering male fertility, and is a risk factor for female cancers like breast and ovarian.

Formaldehyde: Yes you heard me, formaldehyde. A well known carcinogen. Causes problems with your skin, eyes, and respiratory system.

Isopropyl Alcohol: This is meant to get rid of the oil build up in your hair. However, it can dry your hair out to the point of no return. Breakage and hair loss result. Why should you pay for something to wash your hair that will leave you without! Oh and did I mention this ingredient is also used in shellac and wood finish? Yuck!

Propylene Glycol: It’s industrial antifreeze, but in your shampoos it’s meant as a detergent that “cleanses” your hair. It eventually breaks down your hair proteins and causes irritation to your skin and eyes.

4-Dioxane: Another ingredient that causes cancer. It’s also highly used in children’s shampoos and body washes, yikes!

Benzaldehyde: This ingredient depresses your central nervous system, irritates your mouth, throat, eyes, skin, lungs, and GI tract. You may feel nauseous or have abdominal pain associated with this ingredient and assume it’s from something else. Oh, and last but not least kidney damage! 

Benzel Acetate: This cancer causing agent can also lead to systemic effects.

Ethanol: Oh dear, this one is listed on Hazardous waste lists! Not that I’m surprised.  This can cause drowsiness and issues with your vision. Over time, it can create disorders of the central nervous system.

Some scary stuff to digest. But back to the hair (which also is porous by the way). I eventually damaged my hair nearly to the point of no return. It was over processed, not growing, and I hadn’t given it the nourishment it needed. Not to mention, I had used a bit too much heat on my naturally curly locks. I needed a change. I literally spent years trying different brands of shampoos from my favourite health stores. I was happy that I was no longer using the scary chemicals at shower time but nothing seemed to keep up with my expectations of quality. I was left with hair that was either coated in sticky residue, would never style properly, didn’t feel soft, or I couldn’t handle the smell of the product.

While I have found a few shampoos that were okay, NOTHING and I mean nothing compares to what I found from Carina Organics. This line is amazing! My whole family now uses it, including the baby. Not only does this line only use the best ingredients possible from local sources, it is completely organic! For my fellow animal lovers, they do not test on animals (yay!) and they focus on conservation of the environment when they harvest their ingredients. You can read all about their methods of sourcing on their website. Oh, and did I mention they’re a Canadian company?! Here’s the list of their credentials, it’s an impressive one and hits just about every check mark for those who are conscious of their products:



Cruelty Free

No Animal By-Products

Recyclable Packaging

100 % Biodegradable

Gluten Free

Paraben Free

Soy Free

Dye Free

Sustainable Palm Oil

Sustainable Coconut Oil

I purchased this product on a whim, and I admit that it was because of the appeal of their labels. Good marketing, they really are beautiful! But I can’t even begin to express how amazing my hair felt after using them. It was soft, it was easy to detangle, it was manageable and I could style it without looking like a frizzy mess. I was in heaven, I finally found my perfect shampoo and conditioner! I should also mention that they have a range of different scents that smell amazing! Unlike most natural shampoos that leave you smelling like you’ve washed your hair in tee tree oil. I personally use the sweet pea scent, and I have yet to get bored of it. My little one uses the baby line which also uses the sweet pea scent, and I’ve even managed to convert her Dad to using the mint line.

For anyone who is trying to convert the male in their life, trust me I know how hard it can be. Steve was dead set on his preferred shampoo and even used it as a body wash. I was horrified to say the least and tried for years to convert him. I sent him every single possible article I came across online that showed him how terrible this was for him. I’m sure he eventually stopped reading them, since he knows I can become a little neurotic over topics like this. BUT he tried it and loved it! He often comments about the fact that the mint scent wakes him up. The best part about this, the shampoos can be used as body wash too!

Have I convinced you yet?

If you’re interested in purchasing this amazing product for yourself, check out their website here Please let me know what you think after using this their shampoo and conditioner line, I’d love to hear what you all think!

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    […] For anyone who has read my post on my favourite shampoo and conditioner, you know I love pampering my hair. And I only do this with the most nutrient dense and toxic free […]

  • Reply Alina | February 1, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    This is so helpful! Thank you so much, I need to find a new shampoo and you made it super easy to know what to avoid!

  • Reply Belle February 1, 2017 at 10:48 pm

    These sound like great products! Now I know why you have gorgeous hair!

    Belle | One Awesome Momma

  • Reply meredith February 1, 2017 at 11:25 pm

    Omg. I’m so glad you posted this….I’m a repeat offender of the drugstore stuff! I just can’t stop! I don’t know why, but for some reason I just don’t want to justify spending a lot on my hair. It’s the one beauty product I KNOW i need to invest in, yet I just don’t! I needed this kick in the butt, and thanks for the suggestion on a better product!!! (I also never know what to even consider buying!)

    • Reply Bloom & Clementine February 3, 2017 at 3:16 pm

      So glad this was helpful! Carina Organics is my all time favourite after years of trying MANY MANY natural shampoos.. Another great part about this company is that they make their products affordable as well! I pay 12.99 CDN per bottle!

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