Why You Should Use Paraben Free Shampoo

Parabens have been included in commercially available shampoos for many years.

However, there are very many reasons why you should use paraben free shampoo for cleaning your hair. Find out why here.

When choosing shampoo nowadays we all look for sulfate-free products. However, dropping parabens from your hair care regime is arguably far more important. Parabens are damaging to your whole body’s health and have been linked to very serious medical conditions; some life-threatening.

Continue reading to find out the very real problems and perils of using products that contain parabens.

Why You Should Use Paraben Free Shampoo

Parabens have historically and continue to be, used in many cosmetics and body care products. They are also found in foods and other daily consumables.

This makes parabens very hard to avoid in totality.

Whilst the problems with sulfates have become widely known over the last few decades, parabens have been rather overlooked.

Potentially though they are even more harmful to your whole body’s health, and checking the ingredients list of your favorite products is now a must rather than just interesting.

You may be wondering, what are parabens?

Parabens are the preservatives used to keep your beauty products in good condition whilst they are sitting on the supermarket shelf.

As with many, things in life, it is not quite that simple!

Parabens are derived from para-hydroxybenzoic acid (PHBA), which is a naturally occurring product in several fruits; blueberries, strawberries, and cherries, to name but a few.

It is easy to believe that something that is naturally occurring is safe to add to our shampoos, food, and cosmetics.

However, many people believe that parabens are harmful and should be avoided at all costs.

The problem with parabens is that they have the effect of mimicking oestrogen in our bodies. This throws off our normal hormonal balance when too many parabens are used.

As they are found in all manner of food and skincare products, they are very difficult to rid ourselves of completely.

Parabens have a wide-ranging effect that is difficult to properly quantify since they affect many areas, including our:

  • Hormones
  • Cholesterol
  • Immune System

There are 6 main parabens regularly used in shampoos:

  • Methylparaben
  • Ethylparaben
  • Propylparaben
  • Isopropylparaben
  • Butylparaben
  • Isobutylparaben

Whilst the start of the ingredient may change, -‘paraben’ is always included so is quite easy to spot if we decide to look for it.

There are multiple benefits of using paraben free shampoo since parabens are thought to be responsible for the following:


Parabens have been shown to irritate the skin of some people who use paraben-containing products.


They are easily absorbed into the body through your skin.

Parabens are also found in food, so you may be unaware of the total amount of parabens that your body is exposed to.

Risk Of Cancer

Parabens have been found in the tissue of breast cancer patients.

However, medical personnel provide conflicting views as to whether parabens cause cancer in the first place, or whether they simply aid in increasing the spread.

A large number of scientists report that parabens have no effect on cancer at all and need not be avoided. Other scientists hold the polar opposite view.

This may be why the majority of parabens are banned in Europe, whilst there are nowhere near the same restrictions in the USA.

There are many negatives related to the use of parabens and so many alternatives that could be used to keep products mold and bacteria-free.

Thus, it is no longer necessary to accept that parabens are a fact of life (sources 1,2,3).


Parabens bio-accumulate in your tissues and whilst some are excreted, parabens can build up inside the human body.

Some types of paraben accumulate more quickly than others, but all tend to accumulate to some extent.


Parabens have been shown to disrupt hormones, especially oestrogen which is central in the reproductive system.

Impacts on fertility have been reported, and attributed to an effect of paraben intake.

Immune Function

Because parabens alter the way hormones work, your immune function could be compromised with paraben use.


If you are unlucky enough to need chemotherapy, steering clear of products that contain parabens is simply common sense.

They have been shown to interact poorly with chemotherapy treatments.

Are Parabens In Shampoo Harmful?

Parabens can be considered harmful regardless of what product they are contained within.

The way that they build up within your body can cause a series of health complaints.

It does not matter whether the only parabens you use are in shampoo that your rinse out, or in a face cream that you leave on; both will enter your body in the same way.

For some people the effects of paraben in shampoos are obvious since they experience the following issues after using shampoos containing parabens:

  • Dry Itchy Scalp
  • Skin irritation where shampoo runs off onto other body parts
  • Hair Loss
  • Damaged Hair
  • Hair Discoloration

For others, there is no obvious side-effect of use, but parabens should still be avoided owing to their ability to move through the skin and into our body tissues.

The website verywellhealth.com states “This can cause changes in cholesterol, blood sugar, thyroid, and immune function. The risk of allergies, obesity, and infertility has also been associated with the use of parabens“.

With all of this damning evidence showing the harm that parabens can cause it is not a surprise that some parabens have been banned in the EU.

It is not the same in the United States, however, since they have not gone as far as Europe in regulating parabens (information correct June 2023) (source 1).

What Is Paraben Free Shampoo?

Paraben free shampoo is exactly what it sounds like.

It is a shampoo that does not contain parabens but uses other means of preserving the products so that they are safe to use.

Instead of using parabens to repel mold and bacterial growth, the following ingredients are often used as alternatives:

  • Sodium benzoate
  • Ethylhexylglycerin
  • Leucidal Liquid
  • Leucidal Complete
  • Leucidal SF Max
  • Silver
  • Lactobacillus
  • Gluconate

Essential oils, vitamins, and herbs are also used to increase the longevity of products.

From the above list, it is possible to see that there are plenty of ingredients that can be used instead of parabens (source 1).

List Of Parabens To Avoid

There is not just one word to look for on an ingredients list, but several.

Below is a list of the most common parabens that you may come across when choosing your next shampoo.

Harmful shampoo ingredients to avoid:

  • Methylparaben
  • Ethylparaben
  • Propylparaben
  • Butylparaben,
  • Isobutylparaben
  • Isopropylparaben

This is not an exhaustive list, but as you will notice, the term ‘paraben’ features in every ingredient listed.

If you stay away from anything that says paraben in any form you will be doing the best you can for your overall health.

It is wise to note that fragrances that are used in shampoos and cosmetics, might also contain parabens.

Unfortunately, as the levels are so minimal manufacturers are often not required to list them on the ingredients.

Therefore, trying to avoid perfumed or fragranced products will help to minimize your exposure to parabens completely (source 1).

Best Sulfate And Paraben Free Shampoo

People are starting to pay more attention to the chemicals and products that they put in their hair.

This has resulted in the number of people wanting to remove sulfates and parabens from their haircare products to rise.

With this rise in popularity, there has been a corresponding rise in the number of readily available products to fill the market.

So much so that there is now an overwhelming choice!

Hopefully, the selection below will help you to make an informed choice as to the best health-friendly products available.

Below are the best sulfate and paraben-free products currently on the market for different types of hair.

1. Paraben Free Shampoo For Colored Hair

The following paraben-free shampoo is an excellent choice for individuals that have colored their hair:

Biolage Color Last Shampoo

Buy On Amazon

This is an amazing shampoo that really ticks all the boxes.

Free of all the ‘nasties’ like:

  • Sulfates
  • Silicones
  • Parabens

We love that this shampoo is also vegan and cruelty-free too. It also leaves hair soft and shiny with minimal color loss     

2. Paraben Free Shampoo For Curly Hair

The following paraben-free shampoo is a great option for curly haired individuals:

OGX Quenching Coconut Curls

Buy On Amazon

No parabens, No sulfates, and combining honey and coconut to nourish, protect, and make your curls the most amazing they have ever looked.

It also has a wonderful scent and makes frizzy curls a thing of the past

3. Paraben Free Shampoo For Dry Hair

The following paraben-free shampoo is a great product if you are suffering from dry hair:

Bellisso Keratin Enriched Shampoo And Condition

These products take hair strengthening and smoothing to a whole new level!

Even if you have thick hair this product is great at the following:

  • De-tangles
  • De-frizzes
  • Improves the condition of your hair after every use


Although parabens are found naturally in some fruits, the reasons why you should use paraben free shampoo speak for themselves.

Putting aside the fact that some people find that they irritate their skin and scalp, that parabens are so easily absorbed into your body is a major cause for concern.

Upsetting hormones and potentially being carcinogenic is quite enough reason to put paraben-containing shampoos straight back onto the shelf and move on!

Katrina Stewardson

Hello! My name is Katrina Stewardson, and I've been obsessed for almost ever with discovering the best natural hair methods for my own hair. For years I longed for one website to tell me everything I needed to know about the amazing No Poo Method movement. I just couldn't find one though, so I decided to create it myself! I dearly hope this website will save all you lovely ladies (and gents!) from wasting hours scrolling the internet looking for natural hair-related information like I did.

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