Parabens and Phthalates: Keep Them Out of Your Kids' Hair Products!

Parabens and Phthalates: Keep Them Out of Your Kids' Hair Products!

As parents, we’ve probably all heard of parabens and phthalates. We’ve seen the products that claim they are free from them. But what are these chemical compounds and why should Australian parents keep their kids away from them?

Mostly found in personal care and cosmetic products, these two little nasties are known to be endocrine disruptors and can cause a host of issues for your kids if used for long periods of time. Let’s take a closer look.

The Dangers of Phthalates

Phthalates are a group of chemicals used in many different consumer products, from food packaging to cosmetics. They're even found in some children's toys. But phthalates aren't just everywhere - they're also potentially dangerous.

Studies have linked exposure to certain types of phthalates with hormone disruption, reproductive problems, and developmental issues like ADHD and autism. Since young children are still developing physically and mentally, they may be especially vulnerable to the effects of these toxic chemicals.

Unfortunately, phthalates are often added to haircare products without being listed on the label. This is because they're classified as "fragrance" ingredients, which companies don't have to disclose on product labels due to trade secrets laws.

Identifying Phthalates in Kids Haircare Products

So how can you tell if a haircare product contains phthalates?

The best way is to look for "fragrance-Free" or "unscented" options (though keep in mind that unscented doesn't always mean fragrance-free).

You can also check the ingredient list for any mention of:

  • ambrette seed oil/musk ambrette
  • diethylphthalate (DEP)
  • diisobutylphthalate (DIBP)

If you see any of these ingredients listed – put the product back on the shelf!

The Dangers of Parabens in Haircare Products For Kids

Parabens are a type of preservative commonly used in haircare and beauty products to extend their shelf life. They're also found in food and medications.

Despite being so ubiquitous, parabens are actually quite controversial. This is because they've been linked to hormone disruption and breast cancer. Additionally, studies have shown that paraben exposure can interfere with the normal development of boys' reproductive systems. For these reasons, it's best to avoid using any haircare products on your children that contain parabens.

Look for "paraben-free" options or check ingredient lists for mentions of:

  • butylparaben
  • ethylparaben
  • methylparben
  • propylparaben

If you see any of these ingredients listed – don't purchase the product!

The Solution?

The good news is that there are many natural alternatives which are just as good if not better while ensuring your child’s good health. The best solution is to use shampoos, soaps and facial cleansers that are derived from plants and herbs.

We strongly advise that both pregnant women, as well as kids under the age of 16, never be exposed to products which contain these chemicals.


One of the best choice parents can make when shopping for their kid’s products is to always look for that “free from parabens & phthalates” label. Switching to natural, plant-based, and organic haircare products is the best way to keep our little ones safe!