Ingredients to avoid in men’s grooming products

Avoid these ingredients when picking out your grooming products!

With the trend in men’s grooming toward all-natural ingredients, it’s important to remember that just because something is “natural” doesn’t necessarily make it good for you. Cyanide is natural. Synthetic ingredients aren’t necessarily all bad for you, either. So, how does a guy know which ingredients to avoid because they are potentially dangerous, and which are ok?

It’s this conundrum that’s led me to write a quick article on 3 ingredients men should definitely avoid when choosing grooming products. Let’s dive right in:


Phthalates are used in making plastic containers - ingredients to avoid

Phthalates can find their way into grooming products in a couple of different ways. They can leech into the product from plastic containers, as phthalates are often used in the making of plastic materials. Some grooming products, such as body wash, soap, shampoo, use phthalates as solvents. The chemical helps certain ingredients mix with others they may normally not incorporate with all that well.

It’s unclear whether or not phthalates have an adverse effect on human health, but some studies have shown that exposure to phthalates can damage the reproductive system in some animals. In my mind, that makes them a definite ingredient to avoid, wherever possible.


Sulfates are what make many soaps, shampoos and other products lather - ingredients to avoid

Sulfates are used in everything from body wash to aftershave. Companies use these chemicals as surfactants and lathering agents. You will often find them listed as sodium lauryl sulfate and perhaps a few other variations. In layman’s terms, they are the ingredient that gives body wash, shampoo, and other products their suds. In the most basic sense, they are what allow a body wash to remove dirt and oil from your skin.

The problem is that they’re too effective. They’re an especially strong detergent, which means they can easily strip away too much of your skin’s natural oils. This deprives your skin of its own natural moisture and leaves you with skin that is dry, flaky, and uncomfortable. If you like to shower every day, you will definitely want to avoid this ingredient. Look for products that use gentler alternatives such as cocamide betaine.


Some studies have linked aluminum-based deodorants and antiperspirants to breast cancer; however, other studies have contradictory information. It can be confusing when trying to figure out whose word to take on the subject. I always advocate a “better safe than sorry” attitude when choosing products, all things being equal. There are deodorants out there by companies like O’douds Apothecary and Best of Nature that work just as well as their grocery store counterparts, but without the potentially dangerous and/or synthetic ingredients.


With so many natural alternatives to the harsh chemicals used in mainstream grooming products, there’s no reason men have to suffer potential negative side effects. A large part of the reason I founded The Nines Gentleman’s Shoppe was to give men a place where you can easily find natural products that are better for your skin, hair, and overall health, all in one convenient little shop and our tiny corner of the web.

If you’d like to browse some of those products, head on over to and have a look. You’re sure to find something you’ll love.

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