Find out which common hair product ingredients can cause allergies and what you can do about it.

Potential Allergens in Cosmetic Products

  • Emollients: nut oils, argan oil, coconut oil, lanolin
  • Proteins: Wheat proteins, hydrolyzed proteins, amino acids
  • UV-absorbers: PABA, octocrylene, octylmethoxy cinnamate
  • Surfactants: sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate
  • Humectants: propylene glycol, glycerol (glycerin), panthenol
  • Preservatives: isothiazolinones, phenoxyethanol
  • Formaldehyde donors: DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea,
  • Fragrances: both synthetic and botanical
  • Vitamins: Vitamin E and A can be wheat derived.  Vitamin C is often derived from corn.
  • Glycols and triols: (glycerin and propylene glycol), polyols, ethoxylated polymers, ethoxylated surfactants

MORE: Surfactants, Sulfates and You

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Tonya McKay

Tonya McKay Becker is a curly-haired polymer scientist and cosmetic chemist whose academic and industrial research experience have provided her with expertise in the fundamentals and applications of polymer science and colloid chemistry. She has long had a fascination with the structure-property relationships of the complex solutions used in hair and skin care products, and how they interact with and impact these remarkable biological substrates. Ever curious, Tonya has dedicated herself for more than a decade to honing her expertise on the science of curly hair, how it differs from straight hair, and how product ingredients used on curly hair affect its health and beauty. Her passion for sharing this knowledge with others has led to her current career of educating people from all backgrounds who share an interest in this exciting field.