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How to read your dry shampoo label to spot dangerous chemicals

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A new study finds 70% of dry shampoos contain a cancer-causing chemical called benzene.

Benzene was discovered in well-known sunscreens, antiperspirants and hand sanitizers last year. It’s known for causing certain blood cancers, such as leukemia.

The lab Valisure tested aerosol, or spray dry shampoos, from popular brands like Batiste and Not Your Mother’s and found varying levels of this chemical — some were extremely high.

How do you know if your dry shampoo is safe? Here are some tips: 

Check the ingredients list

On a bottle of Not Your Mother’s Beach Babe, the brand Valisure found the highest levels of benzene in, the first two ingredients are isobutane and propane. These are propellants, and they’re likely the problem.

Spot propellants 

There are many chemicals that act as propellants, and they include isobutane, propane and butane. Butane and propane come from refining crude oil, and benzene is a known contaminant of these compounds. The liquefied gases should be purified before they go into a personal-care product, but they aren’t always.

When in doubt, ditch the aerosols 

These chemicals don’t guarantee that a bottle of dry shampoo contains dangerous benzene levels, but it does boost the chances. To be safe, you can use a non-aerosol version, like a powder. It’s less convenient, but it won’t spray a petroleum product all over your bathroom.

 

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