harsh chemical effect on hair

From Shine to Sorrow: How Harsh Chemicals Can Trouble Your Hair’s Beauty

Posted on: April 23rd, 2024 01:35 PM

Harsh Chemicals in Hair Products:

  • Harsh chemicals in hair products are rough, potentially dangerous substances used for styling.
  • These substances are generally used for styling and washing hair.
  • These harmful chemicals remove natural oils from hair, which are necessary to keep it moisturized and hydrated, resulting in scalp irritation, dryness, or itching.

Their use in hair products:

  • Harsh chemicals, commonly used in conventional hair treatments, serve various functions, including improving the product's quality and extending its lifespan.
  • The main chemical in hair products is sulfate, a common surfactant used for removing dirt and oil from the hair.
  • Although sulfates are efficient at cleaning, they may remove natural oils, causing dryness.
  • Parabens are also chemicals, that work as additives, increasing a product's shelf life by reducing the growth of bacteria.
  • Prolonged use of these harsh chemicals may result in unwanted side effects such as dryness, frizz, and health issues.

Some Specific Harmful Chemicals in Hair Products:

In the world of hair care, it is important to be aware of some substances that may damage your hair and health. Being aware of these substances and choosing products without them leads to a softer and healthier approach to hair care.

  1. Sulfates:

    Sulfates also known as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate(SLS), which are often found in shampoos, are chemicals that can remove natural oils, causing dryness and irritation.

  2. Parabens:

    Parabens, which are used as additives in many hair and cosmetic products, have been known to cause changes in hormones and may contribute to long-term health risks.

  3. Formaldehyde:

    Formaldehyde, also known as formalin, which is found in several hair smoothing treatments and straighteners, can cause respiratory problems and skin irritation.

  4. Phthalates:

    Phthalate compounds are utilized in a wide range of personal care items. They are chemicals that are used to make plastics more durable and are also called “plasticizers”. (source: http://surl.li/renhk)

Negative Effects of Harsh Chemicals:

  1. Dryness & Frizz:

    Harsh chemicals remove natural oils, making hair dry, frizzy, and tough to manage.

  2. Irritation in Scalp:

    Chemicals like sulfate & paraben can reduce natural oils from the scalp, leading to irritation, redness & pain.

  3. Hair Breakage & Split Ends:

    Frequent hair straightening and coloring treatments with harsh chemicals may weaken hair structure causing split ends and hair breakage.

  4. Hair Fall:

    Long-term exposure to some harsh chemicals can lead to scalp damage and loss, reducing total hair volume.

  5. Lead to Allergic Reactions:

    Some people may have allergic reactions to specific substances, causing inflammation or pain.

What are the Health Risks from long-term use of Harsh Chemicals:

  • Choosing products with gentler ingredients will benefit your hair and overall wellness.
  • Milder formulations are less likely to irritate, cause allergic responses, or disturb hormonal balance.
  • Milder formulas promote a sustainable approach to hair care while also protecting your general health.

Its long-term use may lead to certain health risks as mentioned below:

  1. Skin Irritation:
    • Chemicals such as sulfates can lead to skin irritation if used for longer periods as sulfates remove all-natural oils from the scalp which can cause dryness and irritation.
    • Formaldehyde is also linked with skin irritation as it is an irritant chemical that may cause skin rashes.
    • Long-term use of these chemicals may cause skin issues so choosing for softer hair care ingredients may prevent irritation.
  2. Allergic Reactions:
    • Individuals get allergies to specific chemicals gradually, resulting in long-term reactions such as rashes or inflammation.
  3. Dryness and Sensitivity:
    • Continuous contact with sulfates and other chemicals may reduce the scalp and skin's natural oils, causing dryness, irritation, and possible long-term damage.

What are some alternatives to stay away from Harmful Chemicals:

  1. Look for items that are certified by separate organizations:
    • Using organic and natural hair care products with certificates, such as "certified organic," or “USDA Organic” is an effective way to reduce chemical exposure.
    • These certificates confirm that the items are created from elements grown without synthetic pesticides and herbicides.

  2. Try DIY Remedies:
    • To stay away from harmful chemicals, try DIY hair treatments prepared with pure ingredients such as coconut oil, aloe vera, and essential oils.
    • DIY treatment that moisturizes, strengthens, and improves overall hair health.

  3. Regular Clarifying Wash:
    • Regularly use a clarifying wash with apple cider vinegar to remove dirt from prior chemical-based products and restore natural balance.
    • A clarifying rinse with apple cider vinegar helps to remove chemical residue, and excess oils from the hair, giving an effective cleansing.
    • Its acidic features restore the hair's natural pH balance, leaving hair refreshed, shiny, and free of prior chemical exposure.

  4. Reduce the Use of Heat Stylers:
    • Reduce the use of heat styling methods & chemical-based treatments, instead choose natural styling methods like using a sulfate-free shampoo, aloe vera gel, tea tree oil, etc. that help avoid harsh chemicals.
    • Use natural styling options like argan oil, and jojoba oil which help avoid harsh chemicals to hair.

  5. Stay Hydrated:
    • Staying hydrated is essential because water helps transfer nutrients to hair follicles, boosting growth and reducing dryness.

  6. Regular Trims:
    • Regular hair cuts are essential for removing damaged ends, and avoiding future split ends and breaking.
    • This promotes the growth of healthier, chemical-free hair.

DIY Solutions for Chemically Damaged Hair:

  1. Coconut Oil & Honey Hair Mask:

    Ingredients Required:
    • Coconut Oil - 2 tbsp
    • Honey - 1 tbsp

    How to use it:
    • Mix 2 tablespoons coconut oil and 1 tablespoon honey.
    • Apply the mixture to wet hair, focusing on the damaged areas.
    • Allow it to sit for 30 minutes before shampooing to completely hydrate and repair.

    How is this mask helpful:
    • Coconut oil contains vitamins & antioxidants that help strengthen your hair & may reduce hair breakage.
    • Honey moisturizes hair & removes dryness of hair & scalp.
    • Honey reduces the frizziness of hair & softens it.

  2. Banana & Avocado Hair Mask:

    Ingredients Required:
    • Banana - 1 ripe banana
    • Avacado - ½ an avocado

    How to use it:
    • Blend & Mix both ingredients.
    • Massage it onto moist hair from roots to tips.
    • Leave it for 20-30 minutes for nourished & damaged-free strands.

    How is this mask helpful:
    • Bananas may heal and soothe damaged hair.
    • The avocado keeps hair hydrated and gives it a shine.
    • Honey reduces the frizziness of hair & softens it.


To summarize, the negative effects of harsh chemicals on hair are clear in numerous areas of hair health. Common hair products contain chemicals that can cause dryness, frizz, breakage, and scalp pain. Recognizing these negative impacts shows the necessity of making informed hair care decisions. Switching to natural and chemical-free products, using DIY solutions, and focusing on overall hair health are all important steps toward promoting stronger, healthier hair.


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