Parabens in shampoo: what are they & should you avoid them?

Parabens have a bit of a bad rep in the cosmetics industry. You’re constantly told by beauty gurus and brands that parabens in haircare, particularly in shampoos, are bad for you. But what even are parabens? And should you be listening to this advice?

To keep things short, sweet and free of faff, we’ve taken the definition of parabens straight from the horse’s mouth – or rather, the U.S Food & Drug Administration.

Parabens are a family of related chemicals that are commonly used as preservatives in cosmetic products. Preservatives may be used in cosmetics to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and mold, in order to protect both the products and consumers.

Surely, if these chemicals are used to preserve our shampoos, they can’t be that bad, right? Well, that’s not entirely true.

What are parabens in shampoo?

Parabens in shampoo are most commonly used in liquid and water-based formulas to prolong the shelf-life of these products – as the FDA stated, to ‘prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and mould’. 

They’re found in lots of cosmetic products, like make-up, skincare, deodorants and, of course, hair care, and different types of parabens are used.

Types of parabens in shampoo

Looking at shampoos specifically, you’ll typically find ingredients like methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben listed on the bottle. 

Now, while this sounds overly scientific, rest assured that these are all parabens and are just different variations used in the preservation process.

But why have they gained a bad reputation in the haircare world, and should you avoid them?

har shampoo bar

Are parabens in shampoo harmful?

While parabens in shampoos can do good for the product itself, they don’t do the same amount of good for our hair.

When we frequently use parabens on our hair, it can cause dryness and damage to the scalp and hair follicles – resulting in frizzy, untamable locks in the long run.

Are parabens bad for the planet, too?

The parabens used in cosmetics are usually short-chain parabens – which are biodegradable. 

While they will easily break down in the environment, their presence has still been identified in waterways. But there is no evidence to actually suggest that they cause any harm to the environment – at least not short-chain parabens.

So yes, you should avoid parabens in shampoo & other beauty products

While parabens may not be entirely harmful in small doses, it’s best to avoid them when and where you can – especially if you have a sensitive scalp or skin, are prone to skin irritations or want your hair to be naturally healthy.

How do you identify parabens in shampoo?

You can identify when there are parabens in hair products by looking at the ingredients label. Most products that contain parabens will explicitly list ‘contains parabens‘ on the packaging.

But you should also keep your eyes peeled for those most common types we mentioned earlier:

  • Methylparaben
  • Ethylparaben
  • Propylparaben
  • Butylparaben

However, the easiest way to avoid parabens in shampoo is to switch to paraben-free products. That way, you just need to look out for the ‘free from parabens‘ label on the bottle, rather than sifting your way through a long list of ingredients.

Make the switch to our paraben-free shampoo bars

So, we’ve convinced you to make the switch, but what shampoo should you switch to? Enter our paraben-free shampoo bars – the perfect alternative to traditional liquid shampoos.

Powered by natural ingredients, every single one of our hår shampoo bars is entirely free from parabens – as well as SLS, EDTA and alcohol. They have a much lower water content than traditional liquid shampoos, so don’t need parabens to prolong their shelf life. 

Instead of using harsh chemicals, we pack our shampoos full of hair-loving ingredients that naturally cleanse and nourish your locks.

Our bestselling hår Shampoo Bar – Nourishing is formulated using coconut oil, backed by natural coconut extract, to tame frizz, encourage healthy hair growth and protect your scalp. It’s just one of our many planet-friendly haircare products that we’re sure you’ll love.

We have bars suited to every hair type – from sleek and straight and curly and wavy – and hair concerns, like dandruff or dryness. So not only are you doing your hair good by not using parabens, but you can tailor it to your specific hair needs.

Plus, our plastic-free packaging supports the planet even further, so you can feel good about using them every time you wash your hair.

The benefits of using our paraben-free shampoo bars

We can easily pinpoint the main benefit of avoiding parabens in shampoo – healthier hair and scalp. But there are some specific hair wins to enjoy when you make the switch to our paraben-free hår shampoo bars:

#1 Restoration of natural hair moisture & oils

Who it benefits: people with dry, brittle, or frizzy hair.

Our paraben-free shampoo bars help maintain your scalp’s natural oil production, which nourishes the hair follicles and ensures healthier hair growth. This is particularly beneficial for hair types prone to dryness or frizz, as natural oils are essential for smoothness and shine.

#2 Protection against hair thinning & hair loss

Who it benefits: people experiencing hair thinning, excessive hair fall, or those with delicate hair.

By using our shampoo bars, you reduce potential scalp irritation that often accelerates hair loss. Our paraben-free formulas are gentler, helping to preserve hair thickness and strength, which is a big bonus for anyone experiencing hair thinning.

#3 Enhanced longevity of coloured hair

Who it benefits: people with dyed or highlighted hair.

Our paraben-free shampoo bars lack harsh chemicals that strip away hair colour, ensuring the dye lasts longer and the hair remains vibrant. This is particularly advantageous for those investing in hair colouring, as it helps maintain the colour’s freshness between salon appointments.

#4 Increased hair elasticity

Who it benefits: people with brittle, over-styled, or heat-damaged hair.

Our shampoos without parabens contain naturally derived hair-loving ingredients that improve your hair’s elasticity, preventing breakage and split ends. This benefit is essential if you find yourself frequently using heat styling tools or chemical treatments, as it helps maintain your hair’s resilience to damage.

#5 Support for curly or textured hair integrity

Who it benefits: people with curly, coily, or textured hair types.

Our shampoo bars are super hydrating, supporting the definition and health of natural curls and textures. They help avoid the harshness that parabens can bring, which often disrupts the natural pattern of curls, leading to less frizz and more defined hair strands.

Do paraben-free shampoos go off quickly since they don’t contain parabens?

The main reason for using parabens in products is to extend their shelf life; however, this doesn’t mean that paraben-free shampoos and other beauty products expire faster. In fact, they can last just as long as shampoos containing parabens if stored correctly and purchased from a quality brand.

Paraben-free shampoos contain other products that help preserve them, like natural antioxidants and essential oils. This makes them just as long-lasting and effective without the potential harm that parabens can bring.

The verdict: should you avoid parabens in shampoo?

To round off, we advise everyone to avoid using parabens wherever they can in their haircare products to achieve the most natural and healthy results. 

Luckily, switching to paraben-free shampoos is easy, and there are plenty of options available for you. Our hår shampoo bars are free from parabens and other chemical nasties, all while still providing your hair with a whole lot of goodness.

So make the switch today and join us on our mission to promote naturally healthier hair!


Are parabens in shampoo harmful?

Parabens can cause dryness and damage to the hair and scalp, which can make hair appear frizzy, unhealthy and difficult to control.

What do parabens do to your hair?

Using excessive levels of parabens can cause dryness and damage to the scalp and hair follicles. In the long run, this can result in frizzy, untamable locks.

Are parabens and sulfates the same?

Parabens preserve cosmetics and personal care products to prevent bacterial and fungal growth. Sulfates, on the other hand, help shampoos to strip unnecessary dirt and oil from the hair.

Is paraben-free shampoo better than regular shampoo?

Paraben-free shampoo has a wealth of benefits over shampoo that contains parabens. Our shampoo bars add moisture, support hair flexibility and help avoid breakage, resulting in healthier, shinier hair. This is beneficial to all hair types, including straight, wavy and curly.

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