When you look at the list of ingredients on your bottles of shampoo and conditioner, how many do you actually recognise and understand? Most people pick and choose their hair care products based on the promises made on the front of the bottle, and never bother to read the ingredients on the back. That can be very harmful to your hair, because if the shampoo is full of synthetic cleaning agents, it will do more harm than good.

What makes a shampoo “natural” is that it does not use synthetic cleaning agents, and only all-natural ingredients, to benefit your hair. Three ingredients you do not want to find in your shampoo and conditioner are sulfates, parabens and silicones. They come in many different forms, and all are equally harmful to your hair.

Sulfates are cleaning agents, commonly found in household cleaners and detergents. When used in a shampoo, sulfates create a lathering effect, which means more bubbles as you scrub and wash your hair. The two main types of sulfates found in haircare products are sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate. They help lift oil, dirt and product build-up from your scalp, but it also removes essential natural oils that keep your hair moisturised.

Parabens are preservatives, used to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungus in shampoos. Having a preservative in your shampoo is not a bad thing, but parabens are typically used because they are cheap to manufacture and aren’t as safe as natural alternatives. Parabens are believed to disrupt hormone function by mimicking oestrogen and are easily absorbed through the skin. A few types of parabens to avoid in your hair care products are butylparaben, ethylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben and isobutylparaben, but there are more.

Silicone is almost like plastic, and makes your hair look shiny for the first few days after a wash. Unfortunately, because silicone is a sealant against water and air, it will coat your hair and dry it out from the inside. It is essentially another barrier or layer over your hair that prevents moisture getting in. Silicone will also attract more build-up on your scalp, weighing your hair down and making it limp. Anything ending in “cone” in the ingredients is a type of silicone.

The best ingredients for your hair are natural ones. Arga oil, apple cider vinegar, biotin, charcoal, eucalyptus, lavender, orange, peppermint and tea tree all have unique benefits for different hair types and hair needs. In a natural shampoo your hair will absorb all the vitamins, nutrients and minerals to help your hair thrive, because there are no chemical ingredients to prevent this. Look for small icons and bold text that says sulfate-free, paraben free shampoo, silicone-free and even cruelty free shampoo.

A cruelty free shampoo means it has not been tested on animals, but also that it is safe for the environment and safe for you to use!

Author's Bio: 

This article is penned by Ally for Aquableu shampoo and conditioners.