The Truth About Alcohol and Chemicals in Kids' Hair Products

The Truth About Alcohol and Chemicals in Kids' Hair Products

Alcohol and chemicals in everyday beauty products can be extremely harmful to kids. We all dream of an ideal world where we don’t have to check every label for potentially harmful ingredients, diving into hours of research on complex chemical compounds. Until we get there, these are two of the biggest troublemakers that Australian parents can easily watch out for.

The Dangers of Alcohol in Kids' Hair Products

Scalp & Follicle Damage

Alcohol is a common ingredient in many popular hair products, such as hairspray, gel, and mousse. While it may make your child's hair look shiny and healthy on the outside, it actually dries out the scalp and strands of hair over time. This can lead to breakage, frizziness, and split ends. In addition, alcohol strips away natural oils that protect against damage.

Kids have much more sensitive skin than we do. As a result, harsh substances such as alcohol have a bigger adverse effect on their scalp and hair health. Children who use products with alcohol in them are more susceptible to developing dryness, brittleness, and other problems with their hair.

Other Serious Side Effects

Alcohol-based products are known to have ill effects on kids’ brain function, while chemicals like fluoride can cause a host of issues from bone cancer to digestive problems.

The Dangers of Chemicals in Kids' Hair Products

Chemicals are another common offender when it comes to damaging kids' hair. Many popular haircare products contain harsh chemicals that can strip away moisture, cause irritation, and even lead to serious scalp conditions like dermatitis or eczema.


Sulphates are particularly troublesome; these detergents are used in shampoos to create foam. At the same time, they rob the scalp of its natural oils.

Other Chemical Culprits

Other chemicals commonly found in haircare products include silicones, "drying agents" such as ethanolamine compounds, "colouring agents" like ammonia which can alter the pH balance of the scalp, "perfumes" which might aggravate allergies, propylene glycol, preservatives like formaldehyde, and in some cases, "endocrine disruptors" such as phthalates.

Scalp & Follicle Damage

All these ingredients can cause problems for children's delicate scalps and hair strands leading to dryness, itchiness, flaking, allergic reactions, irritation, inflammation, rashes, and even permanent damage to the hair follicle.

Common Alcohol & Chemical Compounds to Avoid in Australian Kids' Hair Products

  • Alcohol
  • Butylated hydroxytoluene
  • Ethanol
  • Ethyl acetate
  • Methanol
  • SD alcohol
  • Silicones
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Parabens
  • Formaldehyde
  • Phthalates
  • Diethanolamine
  • DEA
  • MEA
  • TEA
  • Ammonia
  • Thioglycolic Acid
  • Peroxide
  • Bleach
  • Chlorine
  • Hair Dyes
  • Glues
  • Adhesives
  • Resins
  • Gels
  • Polymers
  • Quaternary ammonium compounds


There are a lot of alcohols and chemicals in haircare products that can be harmful to kids. Some of these chemicals can disrupt hormones, cause reproductive problems, and even lead to developmental issues like ADHD and autism. It's best to avoid using any haircare products on your children that contain any of these harmful ingredients.

When shopping for your kids’ haircare products, look for "paraben-free", "unscented", “plant-based”, and “organic” options or check the ingredient list for any mention of potentially harmful chemicals.