Ingredients in Shampoo: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Ingredients in Shampoo: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Have you ever glanced at the back of your shampoo bottle and wondered what the heck those ingredients are? Us too. Ingredients in shampoo, especially the more traditional (read: unnatural) ones, can be indecipherable. Vida Bars was born out of the idea that ingredients in shampoo shouldn't damage your curly hair. Wild concept, huh?

Understanding which ingredients to avoid and embrace shouldn't be rocket science. This post explains why the ingredients in your shampoo matter and which ones to choose or avoid.

Why the Ingredients in Shampoo Matter

We all recognize that beauty brands worldwide use ingredients that aren't good for us. Traditional shampoo ingredients can cause eye and skin irritation, follicle damage, and some even contain toxic carcinogens.

But have you considered the impact on the environment of all those chemicals that we rinse down the drain? These chemicals end up in our waterways and can pollute our drinking water.

Thankfully, not all shampoos are created equal. At Vida Bars, we are proud to say that all of our products are free of sulfates, silicones, drying alcohols, and mineral oils.

Ingredients in Shampoo: Avoid or Embrace?

Understanding which ingredients are good or bad for your curly hair can be exhausting. While not a comprehensive list, we hope to enlighten you about shampoo's best and worst ingredients.


One of the ingredients to avoid is sulfates. These chemicals are what create the "lather" of traditional shampoos. But sulfates also remove natural oils from your hair. Stripping your hair of its natural oils can make it drier, more frizzy, and prone to breakage.

Naturally curly hair can already be dry. Why complicate matters with ingredients that can make issues worse?

Sulfate ingredients to avoid include:

  • Lauryl Sulfate
  • Sodium Laureth
  • Alkyl Benzene Sulfonate
  • Ammonium


Not all silicones are harmful. Those that are partially or fully water-soluble are OK. But not many silicones are water-soluble. Silicone can lead to product build-up. Over time, this build-up makes hair more frizzy and lifeless.

Since you can only remove product build-up with sulfates (a no-no ingredient), you must also remove silicones from your list of approved ingredients in shampoo.

Silicone ingredients to avoid include:

  • Cyclomethicone
  • Dimethicone
  • Cetearyl Methicone
  • Trimethylsilylamodimethicone


If you glance at the shampoo ingredients and simply see the word "fragrance," would that alarm you? Probably not. It should, though. The Food and Drug Administration doesn't regulate the term "fragrance." Companies use this inclusive term to avoid telling you about the ingredients used to create the said fragrance.

We use essential oils in our Vida Bars to provide light and fresh fragrances in our shampoo and conditioning bars.

Mineral Oils

For years, mineral oils were touted as a moisturization solution. There's just one problem with that. It isn't true. Mineral oils form a barrier around the hair shaft like silicone, keeping moisture trapped in the strand. This artificial barrier clogs hair follicles. Clogging makes getting your tresses the nutrients and moisture necessary for strength, growth, and elasticity impossible.


Vida Shampoo bars and conditioner with wooden spoon on top of ingredeints


Beneficial Ingredients for Hair

At Vida Bars, we are proud of the ingredients and formulas we use to create our shampoo and conditioner. We insist on using gentle cleansers that can help restore health to your hair.

Shea Butter

Found in our Soothe shampoo bar, shea butter is one of the beneficial ingredients in shampoo. This moisturizing ingredient helps keep hair shiny, healthy, and hydrated.

Mango Butter

Like shea butter, mango butter is one of many natural and nourishing ingredients we use in our shampoo bars. Featured in our Balance shampoo bar, mango butter contains various nutrients - minerals, vitamins, fatty acids, and antioxidants. The best thing is that these elements transfer over to your hair!

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is one of the more familiar shampoo ingredients. Tea tree oil prevents build-up on the hair shaft and scalp. Tea tree oil keeps your hair healthy and moisturized by avoiding the build-up of dead skin or other chemicals.

Due to its antifungal and antibacterial properties, tea tree oil will eliminate whatever is causing dead skin on your scalp.

Vida Bars includes tea tree oil in our Soothe shampoo bars.

Panthenol Pro-Vitamin B5

This ingredient in shampoo is a humectant. Humectants provide moisture retention. In addition to panthenol's classification as a humectant, it is also a moisturizer and emollient.

Notably, panthenol can penetrate the hair shaft - aiding in moisturization and providing additional volume.

Panthenol creates an even film on the hair follicle's surface. This film allows light to reflect, creating gloss and shine.

It's one of the ingredients in our Soothe, Reyna, and Hydrate shampoo bars.

Hydrolyzed Quinoa Protein

This ingredient contains all eight of the essential amino acids. Due to hydrolyzed quinoa protein's amino acid profile, its properties are similar to those of animal proteins. This protein can help heal, protect, and hydrate your hair.

Additional benefits of hydrolyzed quinoa protein include:

  • Smooth and silky hair
  • Protection from environmental agitators
  • Moisture retention
  • Cuticle protection
  • Nutrition

Hydrolyzed quinoa protein is present in our Hydrate shampoo bar.

Baobab Protein

Obtained from the Baobab tree's fruit seeds, baobab protein is one of the more unique shampoo ingredients. This ingredient features a rare fatty acid profile - evenly split between Omega-3, Omega-6, and Omega-9. Additionally, baobab protein contains vitamins A, C, D, and K.

Baobab protein benefits include:

  • Hydrates deeply
  • Softens hair
  • Improves strength through strand reinforcement
  • Reduces breakage
  • Provides recovery and repair from damage
  • Increases elasticity

Our Reyna shampoo bar features baobab protein in its ingredient list.

Feel Good About Ingredients in Shampoo: Become a VidaBabe

At Vida Bars, we want you to feel good about the products you use. Our shampoo and conditioning bars feature environmentally-friendly, sustainably-sourced ingredients. Additionally, there is no plastic in our packaging!

Become a VidaBabe. Help protect the planet and our future while investing in your hair health.

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