The worst thing you expect while shampooing your hair, is probably experiencing an eye burn or accidentally swallowing some foam. But, you might want to think again!

The Center for Environmental Health in Oakland, California, conducted a study which showed that the shampoo you use can be harmful to your health.

They discovered the presence of the carcinogen known as cocaminde diethanolamine (cocamide DEA) in at least 98 popular brands of shampoos.

Unfortunately, the dangerous cocamide DEA is present in many common beauty products.

This issue has become so widespread that 4 big shampoo producers received California lawsuit.

Cocaminde diethanolamine is the reason why shampoos are foamy, but it is also a carcinogen compound. According to California proposition 65, manufacturers are supposed to warn their consumers about the potential risks related to substances such as this one.

Once it was discovered that cocamide DEA causes cancer in a laboratory animal research, California even banned this dangerous substance. This happened last year.

And not only cheap shampoo brands use this carcinogenic compound, but also a well-known brands such as Colgate. Although cocaminde diethanolamine was banned in commercial health product, FDA didn’t do much about this problem.

How to Know Which Shampoo Has Cocamide DEA

We give you a list of several products that are known to contain this dangerous substance:

  • MG217 Medicated Conditioning Shampoo
  • Prell Classic Clean Shampoo
  • American Crew Classic Daily Shampoo
  • Palmolive Caprice (Anti-Ceramidas Shampoo)
  • Organics by Africa’s Best Olive Oil Shampoo
  • Straight Arrow Mane ‘n Tail Shampoo
  • Carol’s Daughter RUI (Moisturizing Sulfate-Free Shampoo)
  • Ouidad Climate Control Defrizzing Shampoo
  • Vanart Classic Herbal Essence Shampoo
  • Rusk Brilliance Shampoo

The name “cocamide DEA” might not be given in the label of some product which do contain it. Instead the name of this substance, some manufacturers write the following:

  • Coco
  • Amides
  • N,N-bis (2-hydroxyethyl)
  • Coconut fatty acid diethanol-amide
  • Coconut diethanolamide
  • Ciethanolamide coconut fatty acid condensate
  • Cocoyl deithanolamide

Although these names don’t sound dangerous, they surely are!

What to Use Instead?

You can prepare your own natural and healthy shampoo, using the following ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup Castile soap
  • 1/2 cup of coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons of almond oil or olive oil
  • 10-15 drops of your favorite essential oil

Just mix the ingredients and store them in a bottle. Shake it prior to every use.

If you don’t want to prepare a shampoo, you can take a look at this Living Libations – Organic / Wildcrafted Seabuckthorn Shampoo which is healthy and free form cocamide DEA.





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  1. It has been reported that the chemicals (toxins) that are used to make shampoos are so bad, those who are in the manufacturing area have to use a breathing apparatus.

    • Hey Amanda, just out of curiosity, do u only experience an allergic reaction to coconut milk when u consume it, or do u also have some type of allergic reaction to it by putting a tiny amount on ur skin, say on the back of ur hands where skin is typically the thinnest?

      Here’s a website I found regarding possible substitutions for u:

      Just always remember to test a small amount first, and don’t let the “placebo effect” get u either, lol, where u think u start to feel tingling or itching, and it’s just the anticipation of whether or not u may have a rxn. I wish u the best and hope this helps!

      • Hi Matthew! Thanks for the reply and the link. I actually react to coconut both via consuming it and contact. Although, I will say coconut oil is what I have had most external contact with. (I hope that makes sense.) I occasionally try coconut just to see if I have outgrown the allergy/sensitivity, but so far it’s still there. I get hives/red dots or a rash and flushing. I wish it was just an anticipated fantom itching/irritation response. :/

        I have been looking for a natural deodorant that doesn’t utilize coconut oil that also works and stays solid at room temp and that also doesn’t cost $20+. It’s been difficult. I recently decided to try out some different recipes and combinations myself. I have been trying to find a comprehensive substitute guide like the one you provided…I guess I never typed in the correct combination of words.

        Thanks again!! I’m looking forward to my experiments. 🙂


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