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Decoding the tiny text on your hair care labels

You’re on your way home from the departmental store, feeling smug about your new hair care and revelling in the revived hopes of finally doing that dramatic hair flip with your transformed voluminous hair. You feel quite close to good hair days right?

 Sadly, wrong. Very, very wrong.

 In the midst of all the hype about exotic flavours that you see in hair care range and its listed benefits, you almost forgot to ask yourself, is this miraculous & exotic ingredient suitable for my hair type, scalp type, hair goals, & hair fall levels?

And also, if you did ask yourself that (impressive), did you also ask the other important questions such as, is it in a potent enough state for your hair to reap the benefits? Or is it surrounded by amplified amounts of harmful chemicals that discredit all its worth?

We know. It’s overwhelming, and unless you’re a chemistry major, it’s hard to decode what’s written in those tiny labels and come to a conclusive solution.

Below is the list of ingredients found commonly in hair care, which you should strictly avoid.

The Hair Care Devils


decoding the hair care labels sulphates

Found in 90% self care beauty products. It is a surfactant that causes foaming. Sulfates like SLS which are converted into SLES, a less harsher version, have a common contaminant of 1,4 dioxane, which converts it into a carcinogen.

Some sulfates to look out for Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulfate (It’s so evil, there are actually 2 of them) (SLES), Sodium Laureth-8 Sulfate, Lauryl Ether Sulfate, Sodium Myreth Sulfate, SLS, SLES, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Ammonium Laureth Sulfate.


haircare devil: parabens

Parabens are commonly found in most personal care products, including your shampoo and conditioner to prolong shelf life. There are several types of parabens. You can identify them by looking out for anything that ends with ‘paraben’ like butylparaben, ethylparaben and methylparaben. It is known to cause skin irritation and neurotoxicity.


Triclosan haircare devil

Used to prevent bacterial contamination, very commonly used in wet products to increase shelf life.

It is known to cause skin irritation.


Formaldehyde haircare devils

A probable human carcinogen found in most hair care products. It can cause toxicity and asthma if inhaled.


decoding hair care label Phthalates

A cluster of harmful chemicals used in 100s to increase the flexibility and softness of harmful plastics. You can identify them as ‘dimethyl phthalate’ on labels. They are often found in hair spray and artificial fragrances and are known to damage liver, kidneys, and reproductive systems. 

Decoding the tiny text on your hair care labels

It might not make it to the ingredients list often, but if your hair care bottle does not mention that it is using natural (preferably IFRA certified) fragrances, and has a strong pleasant fragrance, be mindful of its presence.

The icons you should look out for and favour:

  • Freshly Formulated after you order/ Made in small batches
  • Vegan & PETA certified
  • Following standards of clean beauty
  • Made using botanical ingredients

We, at Bare Anatomy, are proud to be following all of them, and even more with our highly researched and customized formulas and adherence to strict European Standards of clean beauty.

Once you're aware of the overused and harmful chemical ingredients, you can start your quest for hair care that is not harming your hair and ironically working against you. However, for it to work for your particular hair profile and be effective is still another long story, and one that we’ve researched all about. You can take the hair quiz to understand what it is that your hair needs (apart from the detox from all harmful chemicals) specifically, based on your hair and scalp type, age and location, top 3 hair goals, hair fall levels and other details.

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