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Is TRESemmé Bad For Your Hair?

by Gabbi

Everyone is buzzing about TRESemmé. Unfortunately, they haven’t had a great reputation, and they were even hit with a class action lawsuit at the end of last year. It’s no doubt that TRESemmé is an iconic brand, even if it’s not for the right reasons. 

Do you remember using TRESemmé? For most, TRESemmé has been the go-to haircare brand for those who were looking for reasonably priced hair products. The packaging always looked high-end and sleek without the huge price tag. You may not have even noticed adverse side effects.

So, is TRESemmé bad for your hair? Some TRESemmé haircare products, like many drugstore brands, include hair and scalp-damaging ingredients such as sulfates, MCI and MI, and excess keratin. It’s best to avoid TRESemmé products that contain these ingredients.

Barring these common drugstore haircare ingredients not exactly unique to TRESemmé, there is some controversy over an ingredient called DMDM hydantoin, which some people are claiming causes hairloss, while others claim is completely harmless and, in fact, is used in thousands of everyday products.

So what’s the truth? There are few things we need to discuss in order to understand why TRESemmé may or may not be safe for your scalp, so stick with us as we walk you through the facts.

Why Is TRESemmé Bad For Your Hair?

It is true that TRESemmé is not the best thing for your hair, but do you know why? It may be surprising to some individuals, especially those who have used TRESemmé for years without any visible issues.

You might be thinking, “Sure it’s not salon-quality, but isn’t that just a ploy to get us to spend more on hair care products?” Well, while salon products are certainly more expensive, it’s for good reason.

These shampoos and conditioners contain high-quality ingredients tested and tested again by cosmetologists, dermatologists, and industry professionals to make sure they are not only safe but effective for the long term. Did you think the only reason your hair is so light and luxurious after a trip to the salon is that your hairdresser has magic fingers? Not exactly.

There is a reason why your hairdresser will beg and plead with you never to use TRESemmé, or any drugstore products for that matter. They are not high-quality salon products to maintain the health and shine of your locks, though many of these products claim to be “professional quality.” 

Have you ever tried to read the ingredient list on the back of cosmetic products? Then you understand the overwhelming sense of confusion you can feel just trying to pronounce all those scientific names. It’s no wonder why most people fall for marketing claims. 

If there is one thing to remember about cosmetic products, it’s that the ingredients list never lies to you; marketing does. Thankfully, there are various websites and sources that help you learn how to read the ingredients list.

Unfortunately for TRESemmé, the majority of their hair products contain highly sensitizing ingredients that can cause damage to the hair and scalp. However, everyone is different, and everyone can see different results.

Damaging Ingredients In TRESemmé Products

The below ingredients (other than DMDM Hydantoin) are the damaging chemicals found in the Tresemmé Keratin Smooth Shampoo that was the catalyst for the lawsuit, as well as many of their other products. We’ll explain the big one in a minute.

1. Sulfates (SLES/SLS)

You may have heard the term sulfates tossed around before. However, there are so many different types of sulfates it’s hard to keep track. The most popular are sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS).

Both SLES and SLS are surfactants that help cleanse and emulsify within the product. It’s significant not to confuse the two because they are different. SLES is deemed to be mild and less irritating than SLS

SLES is okay and mild in small amounts, but it can be better to opt for a product that does not contain this ingredient at all. On the other hand, SLS should be avoided, especially if you already have a sensitive scalp or skin. 

One thing that SLS produces that many people love is the lather of our shampoos. We all love a good soapy lather. However, that lather can be extremely stripping and irritating to the skin. It can disrupt the skin even if the scalp is not sensitive.

At least SLS is shown that it has not caused any further harm like being toxic or carcinogenic. However, opting for a formula that doesn’t contain SLES or SLS can lead to a happier scalp, skin, and strands. 

2. Fragrance/Parfum

We all love to smell nice, but did you know the reason why your skin is sensitive can be due to the fragrance in your cosmetic products? Fragrance or parfum is generally looked at as a beneficial ingredient. Who doesn’t want to smell nice 24/7?

The downside of fragrance is that a one-worded ingredient can actually mean 50 chemicals combined to create that particular fragrance. It can even be more than 50 chemicals. Now imagine how much longer the ingredient list would be. 

It’s almost impossible to learn or figure out what fragrance/parfum is really made up of. The majority of the time, companies don’t have to disclose what is used to create a fragrance within a cosmetic product. No wonder it can become irritating. 

Stay clear of any products with fragrance if you want to limit your exposure to sensitizing ingredients. Whether that be in makeup, skincare, haircare, or any other type of cosmetic, watch out.

3. Methylchloroisothiazolinone/Methylisothiazolinone

Wow, what a mouthful. Both of these ingredients above are long and hard to pronounce, but they are both preservatives. Methylchloroisothiazolinone (MCI) and Methylisothiazolinone (MI) go hand in hand when it comes to a cosmetic formulation. 

They both fight off bacteria, but that isn’t always a good thing. In low concentrations, they prove to be effective. However, the downside of MCI and MI is that they should only be formulated in rinse-off products. 

MCI shouldn’t be used alone, and when MCI and MI are left on the skin, it can cause some severe inflammation. They aren’t the best ingredients to have in a cosmetic product, and it’s advised to stay clear of them, even in rinse-off products. 

Does TRESemmé Make Your Hair Fall Out?

Now, let’s talk about that lawsuit. A shampoo that makes your hair fall out? That’s a cosmetic nightmare. No wonder people are rushing to the internet to find answers. The product in question, in particular, is the infamous TRESemmé Keratin Smooth Shampoo.

There are a few ingredients like the ones we listed above that are important contributors to this conversation, but first, we need to talk about hydrolyzed keratin.

Here’s a crash course in trichology (the study of the hair and scalp). Keratin is a protein that is naturally found in the strands of our hair. If it can be found naturally, it can’t have adverse effects, right? Wrong.

When your hair is infused with too much keratin (proteins), it will cause the hair to lose its elasticity and become stiff. When your hair becomes stiff, it will lead to breakage and damage. So, too much of a good thing isn’t a good thing. 

So, if you are using a keratin shampoo daily or as an everyday shampoo, you may want to watch out. Too much keratin protein can lead to hair breaking off completely. However, that’s not all Tresemmé is struggling with. There is another ingredient that some consumers claim is wreaking havoc on their hair.

Everyone’s worst nightmare is to use a hair product that will lead you to hair loss. It makes you think twice about what you are putting on your scalp.

In November of last year, TRESemmé was hit with a class action lawsuit from consumers who claim that the Keratin Smooth Shampoo lead them to suffer from extreme hair loss.

But excess keratin wasn’t the subject of concern. Instead, it was a preservative ingredient known DMDM hydantoin, which gradually releases small amounts of formaldehyde.

According to one cosmetic chemist, Colins, “Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring material that we are exposed to daily, up to a certain level the body is able to cope with formaldehyde, but a large dose can lead to cancer and even death.”

It’s important to note that this chemical has been deemed safe to use in cosmetic products, as it doesn’t release harmful amounts of formaldehyde, but DMDM Hydantoin is still a controversial topic of conversation. Also, Incidecoder and Colins state, “lingering formaldehyde might be toxic to Langerhans Cells that are vital for the skin.”

Now back to the lawsuit, which claims that “formaldehyde can have adverse reactions when absorbed into the skin.” Unilever is also in some heat since they own TRESemmé and Suave, both of which have been questioned for using DMDM hydantoin. 

Overall, DMDM hydantoin is deemed safe in specific percentages. However, due to the adverse effects of hair loss from TRESemmé shampoos and the potential risks, many are questioning why DMDM hydantoin is still in such a broad range of cosmetics at all.

Final Thoughts

So, is TRESemmé bad for your hair? Well, it is definitely not the best. If possible, you could potentially save your scalp, hair, and skin from a lot of damage and irritation. Of course, there are people out there who have used Tresemmé for years without any noticeable complications.

If you are someone who already has extremely sensitive skin, it’s best to skip the TRESemmé section at the store. Even if it doesn’t damage your hair, it can impact the color and styling. On the other hand, drugstore products are a great way to make your hairdresser cry if you’re seeking revenge for a bad haircut.

The best thing to do from here on out is to learn how to read ingredient lists. This will help you become an informed consumer and avoid any potential damage from a cosmetic product. Thankfully, there are multiple online resources that can help. 

It’s unfortunate we are in a world where the consumer needs to learn complex terminology on cosmetic labels in order to make sure there is nothing damaging, toxic, or potentially worse in a product. Also, the FDA doesn’t regulate cosmetics. 

Always conduct patch tests with new products on a small part of your skin. This technique will determine if you will have any allergic reactions to the product. Remember, when in doubt, the ingredient lists never lie. 

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