Hair Care 101: What are Parabens and What is the Debate Around them?

Hair Care 101: What are Parabens and What is the Debate Around them?

We have come a long way from Shakespeare’s “to be or not to be” existential question. Now the question that targets our existence revolves much around the lines of, “to text or not to text”, “to watch or not to watch”, “to eat or not to eat”, and “to buy or not to buy”.

We are living in times where we are incredibly aware and conscious of what we are eating. So, I guess it is fair to say that it is also the time we start watching out for the ingredients of the products that we slather up on our skin or hair! Bad and dangerous ingredients in our beauty products aren’t exactly a piece of news. Albeit, not every chemical is bad.

In the world of beauty, there has been an ongoing debate regarding an ingredient: paraben. The person responsible for this stir of controversy would be Philippa Darbre. Let’s learn further about what paraben is and the reason behind this ongoing debate.


What are Parabens?

Parabens are, basically, a class of compounds called esters used in all sorts of beauty products and are very effective at preventing bacteria, fungi, and yeast growth. So in simpler terms, they are preservatives of cosmetic products that increase their shelf life. From shampoos to moisturizers, all the products use parabens. It is present in the various forms such as methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, and heptylparaben.


So, What Exactly is wrong with Paraben?

You might be wondering, “What is wrong with a little preservative? It is just keeping the fungus and bacteria away, isn’t it?” Well, yes it is. But, according to a report by Philippa Darbre, it is also causing deadly harm to the consumer.

The story goes back to the year 2004, when a lady, named Philippa Darbre published a research paper stating that there appeared to be traces of parabens in the tissue samples of breast cancer patients. It doesn’t really help paraben’s case when its chemical structure is resembling estrogen, the female hormone that is known to cause breast cells—both normal and cancerous—to grow and divide. There isn’t enough evidence to conclude or back up the paper, but the research did prove that parabens can pass through the skin barrier and enter our bodies.

“The researchers looked only for the presence of paraben in breast cancer samples. The study did not show that paraben caused or contributed to breast cancer development in these cases, it only showed that they were there.” This was quickly pointed out by the American Cancer Society. And that is how, my friends, the paraben debate began.


We, nor do we believe anyone, can say for sure that parabens can cause breast cancer. It is really up to the consumer to choose for themselves. But we use the precautionary principle; if multiple research casts doubt over an ingredient’s safety to humans or the environment, we shall not use it. Our Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner helps curb dehydration of hair and tame the frizz. Being free from SLS and Paraben helps in nourishing and strengthening hair, and reducing hair-fall. And to add a cherry on top, it is cruelty-free and vegan!