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Hair Product Ingredients that Cause Acne

Hair Product Ingredients that Cause Acne

Updated 8/26/17 with THE GOOD list!

Want beautiful hair and acne-free skin? You need to become an ingredient detective. 

If you have acne, avoid products that add oil to your hair. If it says “oil-free,” it may still contain ingredients that cause breakouts. Isopropyl myristate, all oils (except sunflower, safflower and tea tree), sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, and sodium chloride are commonly found ingredients in hair products that you should avoid. Wash and condition your hair before washing your face and body to remove any residue the hair products tend to leave on your skin. After rinsing your shampoo and conditioner, wash well with an approved cleanser so it’s the last thing that touches your skin.

To prevent pimples, consider a few changes to your hair routine.

  1. Style your hair before you apply your makeup, then wash your hands thoroughly to remove all hair products before you touch your face. Some of these products really stick, so you will need to wash your hands twice.
  2. Cover your face before you use hair spray. Check out beauty supply stores for a plastic face shield (or just use a hand towel).
  3. Don’t touch your hair and then your face once you’ve applied styling products, since that will just transfer hair product to your skin.
  4. Choose a hairstyle that doesn’t come in contact with your forehead or cheek area.
  5. Wash your hair before you go to bed to remove hair products that cause acne.
  6. Pull hair away from your face with a ponytail or bun when you sleep.
  7. Trade out your pillowcase every 2-3 days and avoid sleeping on dirty pillowcases.
  8. Use a headband to keep sweat and hair products from running down your face.
  9. To be on the safe side, only use approved shampoo, conditioner and leave-on hair products.


Here is a list of ingredients that cause acne. Ditch any of your hair products that have these ingredients. If breakouts just recently started happening, what new products have you been using? Stop using them for several weeks and see if your skin clears.

  • Argan oil (MoroccanOil)
  • Apricot oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Peach Kernel oil
  • Palm oil
  • Hemp seed oil
  • Sweet almond oil
  • Grape seed oil
  • Rosehip oil
  • Cocoa butter
  • Shea butter
  • Cottonseed oil
  • Meadow foam seed oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Wheat germ oil
  • Olive oil
  • Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride
  • Oleic Acid + its derivatives
  • Oleic Acid
  • Oleyl Alcohol
  • Decyl Oleate
  • Isodecyl Oleate
  • Sorbitan Oleate
  • Botanicals
  • Algae extract
  • Carageenan
  • Red algae
  • Isopropyl Myristate
  • Isopropyl Palmitate
  • Isoparaffin C13-14
  • Isopropyl Linoleate
  • Isopropyl Lanolate


  • Isopropyl Isostearate
  • Myristyl Myristate
  • Myristyl propionate
  • Myreth 3 myristate
  • Butyl Stearate
  • Isostearyl isostearate
  • PPG 2 Myristyl propionate
  • Isocetyl stearate
  • Oleyl Alcohol
  • Isostearyl Alcohol
  • Octyl Dodecanol
  • Isocetyl Alcohol
  • Cetearyl Alcohol and Ceteareth-20
  • Glyceryl-3-diisostearate
  • Polyglyceryl-3-diisostearate
  • Laureth 4
  • Laureth 23
  • Steareth-10
  • Oleth-3
  • PPG 5 ceteth 10 phosphate
  • Glyceryl stearate SE
  • Trideceth
  • Lauric Acid
  • Isostearic Acid
  • Hexylene Glycol
  • Cetyl Acetate
  • Ethylhexyl palmitate
  • Isopropyl Isostearate
  • Isopropyl linolate
  • Isostearyl isostearate
  • Stearyl heptanoate
  • Decyl oleate


DISCLAIMER: Hair companies change their ingredients so often we can’t always keep up, and only find out when a client starts breaking out, so the “approved” products listed below may no longer be safe. Always check the ingredient lists on any products you put on your hair (which transfers to your forehead, jawline, neck, shoulders, back and chest) against the Pore-Clogging Ingredients List to ensure the products you are putting on your hair are still safe for acne. And please let us know if you come across any products that are no longer approved. Our acne community thanks you for your input!

  • While a product may have been approved in the past, it may no longer be approved because:
  • A new pore-clogging ingredient has come to our attention
  • Our large and active client base begins to have problems with certain products or ingredients
  • Manufacturers change their formulas
  • Sources we previously used to check ingredient lists turned out to be incorrect
  • Just because one product in a line is approved it does not mean the entire line is approved
  • Just because one product is approved it does not mean the matching product(s) are


  • (CLINIC FAVORITE!) L’Oreal Hair Expertise EverCreme Intense Nourishing Shampoo
  • (CLINIC FAVORITE!) Kirkland Signature Professional Salon Formula Moisture Shampoo
  • Neutrogena T/Sal Therapeutic Scalp Build-Up Control Shampoo
  • Giovanni Invigorating Shampoo, Tea Tree Triple Treat
  • Avalon Organics Tea Tree Scalp Treatment Shampoo
  • Mastey Traite Sulfate Free Normal To Dry Shampoo
  • John Masters Organics Herbal Cider Hair Clarifier & Color Sealer

Dry Shampoo

  • Cake Beauty The All Powderful Dry Styling
  • Neil George Refresh Dry Shampoo
  • Batiste Dry Shampoo
  • blowpro Faux Dry Shampoo
  • Marc Anthony True Professional 2nd Day Clear Dry Shampoo for All Hair Types
  • Tresemme Fresh Start Basic Care Dry Shampoo


  • (CLINIC FAVORITE!) L’Oreal Paris Advanced Haircare Total Repair 5 Restoring Conditioner
  • (CLINIC FAVORITE!) Kirkland Signature Moisture Conditioner
  • L’Oreal Paris Advanced Haircare Color Vibrancy Instant Shock Treatment
  • Earth Science Pure Essentials Conditioner Fragrance Free
  • Herbal Essences Naked Moisture Conditione
  • Herbal Essences Naked Shine Conditioner
  • Sebastian Volupt Volume Boosting Conditioner
  • Herbal Essences Long Term Relationship Conditioner For Long Hair
  • Pantene Aqua Light Weightless Nourishment Conditioner
  • Wella Brilliance Treatment for Fine To Normal Colored Hair


  • Herbal Essences Totally Twisted Curl Boosting Mousse
  • DevaCurl Curl Frizz Free Volume Foam
  • John Frieda Frizz-Ease Original Serum
  • Kerastase Touche Finale Polishing Serum
  • Living Proof No Frizz Nourishing Styling Cream
  • Garnier Fructis Style Pure Clean Styling Gel
  • TIGI Bed Head Men Power Play Gel
  • L’Oréal Paris Elnett Satin Extra Strong Hold Hairspray

Check out our entire line of acne products
and get clear, once and for all!