What to Know About Benzene and Dry Shampoo

If you’ve heard buzz about benzene in haircare lately, know that we’ve heard it too – and that as a scientifically-led haircare company, we’re here to help you understand what to know about benzene and dry shampoo. To give you the facts and empower fellow hair-minded friends, here’s our primer on benzene in haircare.

What Is Benzene?

Benzene is a volatile chemical used in the production of a wide range of industrial products, including chemicals, dyes, detergents, and some plastics. Benzene is formed from both natural processes, such as volcanoes, and from human activities, such as tobacco smoke, emissions from automobiles, and burning coal and oil.[1]

Unintentionally, benzene can also show up as a byproduct, or impurity in what is known as trace amounts.

With its wide use and potential for trace amounts, benzene can be found in outdoor and indoor air from sources including gas stations, tobacco smoke, glue, paints, furniture wax and detergents. It may also be found in certain hand sanitizers and aerosol products, including antiperspirants, sunscreens, and yes, even haircare products.

What Does the FDA Have to Say About Benzene?

Because trace amounts of benzene are inevitable (as with many other chemicals and resulting impurities), the FDA established guidelines for products to follow to ensure consumer safety. The threshold for drug and OTC products is 2 parts per million, but the FDA has not established a threshold for cosmetics.

How Benzene May Get into Aerosol Dry Shampoo

The majority of aerosol dry shampoos on the market utilize hydrocarbon propellent (gas) and ethanol in their products at various levels. Hydrocarbons and ethanol have the potential of having benzene as an impurity due to their source materials. Without strict quality control measures in place, both ingredients are possible pathways for low levels of benzene to make it into the final dry shampoo products.  

How We Safely Formulate Living Proof Dry Shampoos

To be clear: Living Proof does not use benzene as an ingredient in its original Perfect hair Day Dry Shampoo nor our Perfect hair Day Advanced Clean Dry Shampoo.

Given our science-first approach, we’d already long been on the lookout for any ingredients with potential safety concerns. Although we have always had strict quality control measures in place, we put additional safety measures in place after September 2021 and the introduction of California Prop 65 legislation.

Although the FDA has not established a threshold for cosmetics, we have always ensured our dry shampoos fall far below the benzene thresholds set forth for drug and OTC products – which is 2 parts per million.

Furthermore, our Research & Development and Compliance Teams took a step further to work with our raw material suppliers to establish thorough safety testing, parameters, and specifications on incoming lots of raw material to test for benzene before even going into production.  

When each individual lot of products is delivered, they each come along with their own Certificate of Analysis (COA), a standard document that suppliers and manufacturers produce to verify it conforms to our demanding and exacting safety standards. In our case, the COA informs that all safety protocols and tests results around our dry shampoos are up to snuff.

And because we always like to double check our work to uphold the most rigorous standards, we also enlisted the help of an independent, third-party safety expert to review our existing dry shampoos formulations. The expert was able to conclude that Living Proof Dry Shampoos do not pose a health concern.  Going that extra mile without compromising on our proven performance? Now that’s the Lp. Difference.


[1] https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-safety-and-availability/frequently-asked-questions-benzene-contamination-drugs