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Nontoxic shampoos are made with safer ingredients than toxic shampoos. The best options for nontoxic shampoo would not contain any of the following chemicals.
Synthetic Fragrance - Avoid fragrance chemicals like benzyl salicylate, coumarin, limonene, lilial, and linalool. The best nontoxic shampoos are fragrance free.
Diethanolamine (DEA) and Triethanolamine (TEA) – These cancer-causing chemicals are used to make shampoo foamy. Check labels for: ingredients that end in DEA or TEA (example- Cocamide DEA)
Formaldehyde Releasing Preservatives - These preservatives continuously release small amounts of formaldehyde, a carcinogen, so the product doesn’t “spoil”. Avoid products with DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea and diazolidinyl urea,
Methylisothiazolinone - This is a preservative associated with allergic reactions. It may also be neurotoxic and it’s a known human immune toxicant.
Parabens - These are endocrine disrupting chemicals used as preservatives. Avoid shampoo with anything ending in paraben, like methylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben, isopropylparaben, butylparaben, isobutylparaben.
Chemicals Contaminated With 1,4-Dioxane - During the manufacture of shampoo, some chemicals become contaminated with the carcinogen 1,4-dioxane. About half of all personal care products contain 1,4-dioxane.
Avoid shampoos with PEG/ PPG-18/ 18 Dimethicone, sodium laureth sulfate, polyethylene glycol (PEG)-polypropylene glycol (PPG), Polyoxyethylene, dimethicone and chemicals that include the clauses xynol, ceteareth and oleth.
Phthalates - These endocrine disrupting chemicals are used to make fragrance. To avoid in shampoos look for fragrance free and/or phthalate free options.
Silicone - The most common type of silicone used in shampoo is decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (D5). D5 is associated with uterine cancers and adverse reproductive, neurological, and immune effects.
Avoid shampoos with cyclotetrasiloxane, cylcopentasiloxane, cyclohexasiloxan and any other ingredients that end with the word “siloxane”.
Toxic Shampoo Example - Redken's Mint Invigorating Shampoo. It contains fragrance chemicals eugenol, limonene and salicylic acid, 5 different kinds of parabens and 4 chemicals that could be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane. Plus, since it has synthetic fragrance, it no doubt contains phthalates.
Some good Nontoxic shampoo options are: