Is Your Shampoo Safe? Ingredients to Avoid: 1,4-Dioxane


I wanted to start a series that would disseminate some of the information I’ve learned about the dangers lurking in our everyday cosmetics products.

I honestly couldn’t believe some of the stuff I learned, specifically about the lack of regulation in the industry. Well, that’s not entirely true. Nowadays I find myself believing conspiracy theories and all manner of things I once thought too crazy to be true. Like, at this stage in my life, if I were a character in Game of Thrones, I would 1000% believe in the white walkers and dragons, even if I hadn’t seen them yet.

And in real life, I now consider the following statement, not conspiracy theory, but fact:

The cosmetics industry in the United States is self-regulated and continually uses chemicals in products that are known to be human health disruptors.

Simple as that. And if we see this as a problem (which I do) it’s our job to educate and protect ourselves. If our apathy allows us to continue to buy and use products with harmful ingredients, then guess what? They’re going to continue to make and market products with harmful ingredients to us.

Anyway, without freaking you out too much, the first ingredient to consider avoiding is 1,4-Dioxane.


1,4-dioxane: a by-product of manufacturing that is a probable human carcinogen (a known animal carcinogen) as well as toxic to organs and the respiratory system, and a skin irritant. Likely to be present where ethoxylated ingredients like sodium laureth sulfate, PEGs, and ceteareth are listed on ingredient labels. Found in: shampoo, body wash, bubble bath. (from Beautycounter)

So, if you want to avoid this ingredient, and yet you don’t have time to read every label in the store or go hunting safer products down yourself (which I totally get), I figured I’d share the products I personally use in my everyday life to avoid it.

I happen to love them both.

I think the keys to safeguarding ourselves are really just 1.) using fewer products in general 2.) educating ourselves on the products we do use and 3.) making better purchasing decisions.

Leave all the junk on the shelf in the store. You and your health deserve better. Boop.

And if you’d like the entire life of ingredients to avoid, a.k.a. The Never List plus our Environment Health 101 info-graphic, pop your email in below and we’ll send them both over to ya. The first step in protecting yourself is to be informed.

* Full disclosure: As I’ve mentioned before, we are a partner of Beautycounter (and a super proud one at that) so if you were to purchase shampoo through that link, or any product through that link, we would earn a commission, just F.Y.I. It’s not why I use it though. I’d been looking for a safe, more natural shampoo for years (for by big-ass, fluffy hair) and I finally found it! I literally love it! Anyway, just wanted to be transparent.

Also published on Medium.



  1. Hmmm, very interesting Dana. I have been dealing with some skin irritant issues for a while now (first I thought it was mosquito bites, then figured it was something I was eating, then thought it might be in my daily lotion)… I’ve been trying all sorts of different combinations… but after reading this I took a look at my body soap and shampoo. Guess what – body soap: number two ingredient after water is sodium laureth sulfate and shampoo: number two ingredient after water is ammonium laureth sulfate (I assume that can’t be much better)! Guess who will be checking out new products today! Thank you for the heads up!
    – (Bridget’s Aunt) Beth

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