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5 Nasty Ingredients To Ban From Your Hair Care Routine STAT

BY Alyssa Montemurro

Let’s face it, navigating the hair care aisle is hard enough without having to worry about all of the potentially harmful ingredients inside your products (seriously, what is sodium lauryl sulfate, anyway?). That’s why at Function of Beauty, we make it easy by not only making all of our products fully customizable (because you know, when has one-size-fits-all ever actually worked) but also free of any potentially harmful or toxic ingredients. What exactly does that entail? To get you started, we’ve put together a list of the five most commonly used nasty ingredients that we’ve banned from all of our products, and the reasons we’re pretty sure you’ll want to banish them from your daily hair care routine too.


Used throughout a variety of beauty and personal care items, including shampoo, face cleanser, and toothpaste, sulfates are essentially detergents, meaning they help remove dirt and oil from your hair. They’re also the ingredient responsible for that satisfying lather you get when you add water to your shampoo. Now don’t get us wrong, we love a good lather, but these irritants do more than just that—they’re also responsible for causing sensitivity on the skin and scalp, and can strip the hair of its natural oils. Simply put, they’re so good at cleaning that they can overclean your strands, causing them to become rough, dry, and brittle. That’s why you’ll never find sulfates in any of our products. Instead, we use a sulfate-free surfactant that gently cleanses the scalp and hair without stripping it of its natural (healthy!) oils.


Parabens, in the simplest terms, are preservatives that help stall the growth of bacteria in your favorite personal care products. While you definitely don’t want bacteria growing in any of your go-to products (gross!), you may also not necessarily want parabens in them either, as they are believed to enter your body through your skin and disrupt hormone function by mimicking the estrogen in your body. Too much estrogen may reportedly trigger an increase in cell division and the growth of tumors, which is why paraben use has previously been linked to certain cancers and reproductive issues. While they are currently considered safe to use by the FDA, they are still considered controversial among clean beauty advocates, which is why we prefer to just do without them.


Phthalates are actually one of the most commonly used chemicals in the world. Considered a gelling agent, these colorless, odorless liquids are most commonly used to soften plastics that would otherwise crack or break. In hair care products specifically, they’re used to help lubricate and soften other substances, increase spreadability, enhance absorption, and make fragrances last longer. The problem with phthalates, however, is that they may be able to enter the body through ingestion, inhalation, and skin absorption, and have been reportedly been linked to all sorts of health problems including asthma, diabetes, infertility, and behavioral changes. While there currently isn’t enough evidence to ban phthalates from all consumer goods (they are currently deemed safe by the FDA), we like to take the “it’s better safe than sorry” approach and just avoid them altogether.


Perhaps one of the nastier ingredients you’ll find listed on the back of any consumer product is formaldehyde. A colorless, strong-smelling chemical, formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives (FRP’s) are still used today in a number of cosmetic products to help prevent the growth of bacteria, or, as is the case with certain types of keratin treatments, to help smooth and lock the hair into place for months on end. As a known carcinogen though, formaldehyde has been linked to several types of cancers, as well as numerous other health concerns, including allergic reactions, skin sensitization, eye problems, headaches, and problems with the immune system. Needless to say, it’s best just to stay away.


Sadly, although the number of people choosing to live a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle is on the rise, the vast majority of beauty brands today still continue to use animal-derived ingredients—honey, beeswax, gelatin, and placenta are among some of the most common—in their products. The reason? It’s typically cheaper and much more accessible for companies to use animal-derived ingredients rather than to search for safe, natural alternatives. Here at Function of Beauty though, we absolutely love our furry friends and would never dream of conducting animal-testing or using any animal-derived ingredients in our formulas. Vegan ingredients are not only ethically and environmentally superior to animal ones but also proven to be just as effective, which is why we consider them a must-have in any beauty regimen.

For a full list of the other nasty ingredients that you’ll never find in our hair-healthy formulas, head here!