What are parabens?

Image of Ewa Grygorowicz
Ewa Grygorowicz

Lead scientist @ Keune Lab

Keune Hair Cosmetics
Keune Hair Cosmetics

Many among us wonder sometimes what parabens are exactly, and why some people prefer shampoo without parabens. We asked the experts from our Keune Lab to tell us all the facts about parabens. 

What are parabens exactly?

Parabens are a group of preservative ingredients safely used for almost 100 years. Not only in cosmetics, but also in personal care, food products, and pharmaceuticals. Parabens are highly effective in preventing the growth of fungi, bacteria, and yeast that can cause products to spoil. Thus, parabens contribute directly to the quality of products by extending their shelf life.

What do parabens do with your hair?

Parabens have no impact on hair. The role of parabens in shampoo is to disable any microbiological activity, for example, the growth of mold after opening the bottle. 

Image of a formulation in the making in the Keune Lab
Are parabens harmful?

There is some bad fame around parabens. However, this is not supported by strong scientific evidence. Both the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) tested parabens in food and cosmetics for safety. Neither organization found any risks in the use of parabens. 

EU’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS) and FDA consider parabens safe to use and such a statement is repeatedly confirmed. Their allowed concentration in cosmetic products is strictly regulated and typically does not exceed 0,8% in a formulation.

Did you know..

..that companies can’t promote “paraben-free” products anymore? Based on an EU Cosmetics Regulation, the “free from parabens” claim should not be allowed. It implies a decimating, misleading message on the safety of the ingredient. Although this document is not legally bound, many European national authorities intended to apply the guidelines to all products placed on the market after 1 July 2019.

How to recognize parabens in shampoo

You can identify parabens on the ingredient list with the words ending -paraben. The most commonly used are: Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, and Butylparaben.

About this collaborator

Image of Ewa Grygorowicz
Ewa Grygorowicz

Lead scientist @ Keune Lab

Cosmetic chemist Ewa is always busy in the lab with developing new premium hair products for Keune. She's passionate about explaining the science behind healthy-looking hair and technologies behind products.

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