Hair products like shampoo, conditioner, mousse and masks can be lifesavers when it comes to getting and keeping our hair growth journey on track. Products like these specialize in repairing, protecting, and treating hair for all kinds of issues that may come up such as dryness, stiffness, or even hair loss. From shower products, to hair supplements and protection sprays, products like these are supposed to be good for our hair, right? Well yes, but sometimes certain ingredients can have the detrimental or negative effects that we want to keep far from fragile hair.

Surprisingly, there are some ingredients out there that do not belong in the products we use on our hair on a weekly or daily basis. Some of these ingredients can cause minor irritation issues or even more serious side effects that can compromise the health of your hair. Some of these ingredients can be found in the unlikeliest of places that have nothing to do with hair care to begin with! Knowing which ingredients to actively avoid can help save you both a headache and money when it comes to shopping for the right product.


Formaldehyde is a tricky ingredient to begin with, as it is found in multiple everyday products we use. It can be found in anything from paper towels, nail polish, paints, disinfectants, and even hair products. While it’s surprising enough that this component is found in an assortment of unrelated products, it is even a byproduct of gasoline! Formaldehyde is an ingredient that some companies even try to hide on their products instead listing it as formalin, methanal, morbicid acid and more.

Medical reviews of the chemical have linked it to an assortment of effects that can be detrimental to your health, especially hair health. Formaldehyde has been linked with scalp irritation and itchiness, which can possibly progress to something even worse such as burns or blisters. The ingredient may also cause hair breakage and damage, which is the opposite of what the hair product containing it is intended to do. In worse case scenarios, it may even cause hair loss on some levels. 


Silicone is a manmade ingredient that is frequently used in a multitude of products. These products can be found in many common items such as cosmetics and household products. More notably, it is found in shampoos and conditioners of all kinds. This product’s main function is to coat the hair shaft, which in turn helps to lock moisture in. It also helps reduce frizz and gives a silky and soft feel and look to hair. If it sounds too good to be true, it is.

Silicone is not without its flaws. The function of silicone is to help lock in moisture, but this could have the reverse effect. The protective layer that the ingredient sets up can actually block other ingredients from entering the hair follicles, including nourishing ones. This can have the unfortunate effect of drying out your hair or creating a dull appearance which no one wants to deal with. Silicone can result in product buildup in one’s hair if the silicone ingredient in question is not water-soluble to create a less than ideal look. Additionally, all of this can make hair weaker and more susceptible to breakage. Because silicone-based products create the illusion of silty smooth hair, people fall into unhealthy cycles where they purchase these products to counteract the exact conditions they are causing.


Alcohol is one of the most widely utilized ingredients in the country. Its versatility is practically unmatched and can be used in anything from hand sanitizer to drinks, and to even hair products. An assortment of different kinds of alcohol are used in certain products, including cetearyl alcohol. This, however, is not bad as this is a fatty alcohol and does not contain the same damage causing structure as others. This particular type traps water and gives smoothness to hair as a result of being made up of hydrocarbons or fats for short. 

Unfortunately, other hair products use alcohol that is less than helpful for your hair and scalp. Alcohols are found in products such as hand sanitizer and aftershave because of their ability to dry fast and tighten skin. Alcohol dries and tightens the skin which can lead to itchiness and irritation on your scalp. On a more serious level, continuous use can lead to flaking and even skin peeling. Make sure to always see what kind of alcohol is found in hair products, and be discerning as you read the label to look for ingredients that cause more harm than good.

Here at Keranique, we look at hair down to a science to see what ingredients work best and what products can yield the most and best results. Visit us online and check out our long list of hair products dedicated to repair, growth, and protection!

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This article is not intended to treat any disease or offer a substitution for professional medical advice.

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