Skip to Content

What Is EDTA in Shampoo? | An Overly-Detailed Guide

There has been a lot of talk about different ingredients in shampoos, as many people are looking for shampoos that are more natural and free of harmful ingredients.

If you have heard about some of these ingredients, you may wonder, “What is EDTA in shampoo?” If this is you, you’re in the right place — read on to learn all you need to know.

What Is EDTA in Shampoo?

EDTA is ethylene diamine tetra-acetic acid, and it ‘s designed to improve the stability of shampoos and other cosmetic products. It takes hold of metal ions in hard water, and it helps increase the shelf life of shampoo.

It enhances the foaming and cleaning properties of shampoo. It also binds with heavy metal ions, including calcium, magnesium, and chlorine and protects your scalp. 

You may want to know more about EDTA to learn if it’s safe to use. Many people ask questions, including the following:

  • What is EDTA?
  • Is EDTA harmful in shampoo?
  • Are there any side effects?
  • Is EDTA harmful to skin?

We wanted to find the answers, so we did the research. Continue reading to learn what you need to know about EDTA in shampoo.

You Might Also Like:

What Is EDTA?

EDTA is an ingredient that is added to shampoo. It’s used because it improves the foaming ability of shampoos, and it acts as a preservative. It helps to extend the shampoo’s shelf life. It’s a water soluble ingredient that is used as a chelator.

This means that it binds to mineral ions to inactivate them. Not only does this property help EDTA work better as a preservative, but it also helps dissolve minerals in hard water. Initially, EDTA was used to reduce the issues that come from hard water when they were manufacturing textiles.

They discovered that EDTA could improve foaming and cleansing abilities because it pulls calcium, magnesium, and iron out of the water. This prevents buildup of these minerals on the hair and skin.

Read Next: Boiling Hard Water to Wash Hair

Is EDTA Harmful in Shampoo?

Woman wondering,


EDTA is considered to be a safe ingredient in shampoo and other personal care products. It prevents metals from being deposited on your scalp and on your hair. Although there is some concern if EDTA is absorbed into your body, it doesn’t penetrate your skin or your scalp, so it’s safe for topical use

If it were to get inside of your body, it could be toxic, but there is no danger of absorption. Toxicity is characterized by cramping, nausea, vomiting, headaches, low blood pressure, and more. However, it has to be ingested for this to be a problem. 

Are There Any Side Effects?

As long as EDTA doesn’t penetrate the skin, it’s considered safe. It’s dangerous if it gets inside your body, and it can cause serious issues, including nausea, vomiting, headaches, fever, and more.

There are people with sensitive skin who should discuss using products with EDTA with their dermatologist, as they can experience rashes, redness, hives, swelling, and itching. 

If you experience any of these side effects, you should stop using the product until you consult with your doctor. However, most people use shampoos that contain EDTA without any side effects. 

Is EDTA Harmful to Skin?

EDTA is normally not harmful to skin. It doesn’t easily penetrate the skin, which is what would cause the most harm. However, it can irritate some people who have sensitive skin. In some cases, you may develop a rash, redness, or swelling, and you can experience hives.

However, this indicates an allergy, so you should discuss it with your dermatologist. Most people have no issue on their hair or scalp when they use shampoo with EDTA. In fact, it removes metals from your hair and helps to make it last longer. It also helps by enhancing the cleaning and foaming properties of your shampoo. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Woman holding her hair and wondering what EDTA is in shampoo

Elena Rudyk/Shutterstock

Is EDTA bad for your hair?

EDTA is not bad for your hair. In fact, it can help if you have hard water or water with minerals that cling to your hair. When you have hard water, the minerals attach to your hairs and prevent your shampoo from doing its job. However, EDTA can break up the bonds made by the minerals, and it allows your shampoo to do its job.

Does EDTA cause hair loss?

EDTA is not one of the ingredients in shampoo that causes hair loss. It actually helps to prevent hair loss by removing minerals that may have been deposited on your hair. It also prevents minerals from clinging to your hair.

What does disodium EDTA do in shampoo?

Disodium EDTA is a chelating ingredient that draws minerals away from each hair shaft and allows the water to rinse them away. This is a good ingredient for people who swim, as it can help remove chlorine from your hair.

Is there any reason to avoid EDTA?

Although EDTA has been found to be safe in shampoo, and it doesn’t penetrate the skin, it can cause some harm. It’s a surface disruptor, which is how it removes particles and mineral deposits from the hair.

And when it displaces skin cells, it leaves a place where other chemicals that are more absorbent may enter. While EDTA itself won’t penetrate the skin, it can open the door for other products to do so.

Is tetrasodium EDTA the same as EDTA?

Tetrasodium EDTA is a form of EDTA that has four sodium cations. They’re all negatively charged oxygen atoms that bond with four sodium cations to form this compound. It’s added to allow the shampoo to last longer because it binds with metal ions and prevents them from reacting with other ingredients in the shampoo.

So, What Is EDTA in Shampoo?

EDTA is added to shampoos, and it has several benefits. It helps the shampoo foam and lather, and it acts as a preservative. It also removes minerals from hard water and from your hair so that the shampoo can do its job.

It’s considered safe because it doesn’t penetrate the skin, but you do want to avoid ingesting it. It’s an effective chelating agent, and it helps shampoo develop a thick lather.