Your Shampoo May Be Harming You

We all love shampoos, don’t we? They are probably one of the most used of all personal care products. Many of us shampoo at least once a week while others would get up to three washes a week. Shampoos are a staple in our beauty regimen thus it comes as no surprise that there are hundreds of shampoos out there these days. These shampoos are marketed with various catchy phrases like ‘A shampoo so rich you only need to lather once’ or ‘Longer. Stronger. Better’ and oh my personal favorite ‘So beautiful, charms from the inside out’. You just gotta love these slogans.

Truth is, we all want to have beautiful hair that leaves heads turning. So we look for the shampoo that would do just that or at least promises to. But do you ever consider what is in your shampoo bottle? You have probably never taken time to. And maybe if you have, you were most likely bombarded with words like Cocamide Diethanolamine and Cyclopentasiloxane.

Many of the chemicals on the back of your shampoo bottle have no benefit to your hair at all. Majority of them are preservatives, surfactants (cause your shampoo to lather or bubble) or give fragrance. In all honesty, what would be your answer when asked what the main purpose of a shampoo is? That’s right, to clean. The primary purpose of a shampoo is to clean your hair. So why all these complex chemicals? Well, first of all because it makes business sense. A lot of these chemicals are cheap to make in large quantities. Every company wants to make money and businesses virtually survive on driving down cost. Another thing worth noting is that many of the substances in our shampoos are preservatives and lathering agents. We have been psychologically positioned to believe that the more lather there is, the better it cleans your hair or body. That is totally untrue and just a marketing gimmick. The excess lather in your shampoo is made possible by chemicals such as sodium lauryl sulfate.

Information Is Key

Revelations made by The US Centre for Environmental Health (CEH) after an independent study found a cancer-causing chemical in 98 shampoos, soaps and other personal care products sold by major international retailers. This chemical - cocamide diethanolamine (cocamide DEA), a chemically-modified oil used as a thickener or foaming agent in many products, has been listed as a known carcinogen but is found in many big brand name shampoos. Various independent studies have also revealed the presence of parabens (a popular class of preservatives in cosmetics) in breast cancer tumors. You see, our skin acts like a giant sponge that soaks in all these chemicals contained in our personal care products. Absorption by the skin leads straight into the bloodstream. Now, that’s something to be concerned about.

Of course, this is not to say that you are going to fall terribly ill after using these chemicals in your hair and eventually your body. ‘So what is all the fuss about?’, you may ask. We, at Emels, believe in taking precautionary measures rather than spending a lot of effort and resources to turn around an adverse situation that could have been avoided to start with. Our modern world is chemical-laden. It is almost impossible to not come into contact with toxins in our day-to-day activities. As we daily use our personal care products, the toxins in them cause what is known as a chemical build-up in our bodies. However, it is possible to significantly reduce your exposure to chemicals. At Emels, we believe in holistic living. Many people, are unaware about the fact that lots of questionable chemicals and toxins are in their personal care products. We are looking to change that. Below, we have listed some chemicals in shampoos that you want to avoid, just to stay on the safe side.

  1. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
  2. Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)
  3. cocamide diethanolamine (cocamide DEA)
  4. Parabens
  5. Petrolatum
  6. Polyethylene Glycol
  7. Cocamidopropyl Betaine
  8. Potassium Sorbate
  9. Parfum/fragrance
  10. Behentrimonium Chloride


There are many up-and-coming beauty companies that are focusing on green beauty. These natural cosmetics are not made by big-name brands and if you aren’t a follower of organic beauty trends, you have probably never heard of them. Believe us, however, when say they are far more worthy of your time and money. In our informed opinion at least. What we like the most about natural shampoos is this — the do not strip your hair of its natural oils!

At Emels, we carry only green beauty brands. There are hundreds of these safer alternative beauty products out there but very little is known of them in Ghana. Well… we plan to contribute our two Pesewas to help change that. To conclude, we would say beware, not all products labeled ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ are truly natural or organic. Many mainstream brands have reckoned that more and more people are becoming more conscious of what they put on and in their bodies so they add such words to the labeling to attract the more conscious buyers. This is known as greenwashing and we would shed more light on it in subsequent posts. It is your responsibility to know what is in your shampoo and your hair deserves to be treated with love.

Stay tuned for more tips on healthy beauty regimens.

From Emels with LOVE.