No one wants a bad hair day. Tons of hair care on the market is, unfortunately, tested on animals. I also have to inform you but many of the “amazing” results your see from a lot of hair care products are due to the fact that the products are saturated with unnecessary chemicals to give you immediate results without actually doing your hair any favors. Moroccan Oil is a perfect example of this, even though it does have some argan oil content in it, the first three ingredients on the list are silicone and silicone polymers. That is what smooths the hair and gives it the glossy look. Unfortunately, this gives the illusion of healthy hair when, in fact, it is a trick that will last until your next wash. Common chemical additives in hair products you can avoid:
1. Soduim Lauryl Sulfate – IE the bubbles in your shampoo. Have you ever thought, ‘Man, this shampoo is so sudsy, it must really be doing the job!’? Well, you unfortunately feel for the optical illusion that is SLS. It is added to products as a cleaning agent to remove build up. Something you should also know is it is commonly used as an engine degreaser. Along with product buildup on your hair it also strips essential oils that your hair needs to remain healthy and strong. Prolonged used of products containing SLS will damage you hair making it more brittle and prone to breakage.
2. DEA and TEA – Diethanolamin and Triethanolamine are commonly used in hair products to restore the natural pH level to the scalp and hair…in theory. Products with these chemicals are commonly used after chemically treating or coloring hair to return it’s natural pH. What is typically not disclosed is that these two chemicals are known to disturb natural hormone levels and cause allergic reactions. They also break down keratin, which is the protein your hair and nails are made of. Do you have unusually brittle hair and nails? Have hormonal breakouts along your chin and jaw line? Check your products for DEA and TEA.
3. Parabens – Propyl, Methyl and Butyl parabens are typically used to preserve products and prolong their shelf life, making it easier for companies to distribute large quantities of products and ensure that they will be able to remain on the shelf for a long, long time. They have been linked to cancer in many studies but any one who has taken a research based course in their life knows the age old adage ‘correlation does not mean causation‘; however, it is important to know that the molecular composition of parabens mimic estrogen which can lead to early on set puberty in young girls.
4. Formaldehyde – Yeah. It’s in there. It’s not just found in your 9th grade biology lab. Disguising itself under the names Imidazolidinyl and Diazolidinyl Urea, formaldehyde is a common ingredient in mass produced cosmetics and hair products. Obviously we don’t want formaldehyde anywhere near us, it preserves deceased things, but what else does it do? Well, it can be extremely detrimental to your immune system and can lead to skin allergies. Both types of urea ranked 14th or higher on the skin allergen test performed the FDA in 2005 and are linked to chronic dermatitis.
It is easier to avoid these products when you look for more natural, cruelty free options. Chances are, if you are purchasing an organic or vegan haircare option you will be able to avoid some of these natural chemicals or all of these chemicals. How do you find products that are better for you? My advice is to start at the company level. If you are able to locate a brand that maintains a more natural philosophy and are committed to creating superior products you will have an easier time finding what you are looking for. Here are some companies who are dedicated to the quality of their brand and some of my favorite products from them:
AG Hair Cosmetics
An originally Canadian company which started in a bathtub in Vancouver, has now grown to an international brand with some of the most phenomenal products. They continue to expand the line while maintaining their cruelty free status and still retail out of Vancouver. Although they are not vegan completely vegan or organic, they proudly advertise their cruelty free philosophy on each and every bottle. A couple reasons why I love AG are…
1. The Restore Daily Keratin Strengthening Conditioner – this conditioner is perfect for dry or brittle hair looking to add strength and help retain moisture. It contains keratin amino acids which help rebuild the strength of hair, shea butter to infuse moisture, and super fruits like gogi berry and mangosteen to add antioxidants and promote overall health.
2. The Frizzproof Argan Anti-Humidity Spray – with a base of sustainably sourced fair trade argan oil this anti-humidity spray is the perfect addition to any hair straightening routine or to prevent your curly locks from going Diana Ross on you in the event that the humidity increases. It also is an aerosol that is CFC (chlorofluorocarbon which turns into an aerosol propellant such as ethane, methane, and propane) free, which enables a light delivery system without damage to the ozone.
Avalon has been inspired by organic agriculture and has been committed to sustainable production practices and completely vegetarian ingredients. They have a wide range of skin care and hair care to fit any need. Three of the reasons I love Avalon organics are…
1. The Awapuhi Mango Therapy Deep Moisturizing Shampoo – this luxurious shampoo infuses the hair with moisture using awapuhi, mango and calendula to bring intense moisture do dull, brittle hair.
2. The Biotin B-Complex Therapy Thickening Conditioner – the combination of biotin, vitamin E, and wheat protein help repair damaged hair prone to breakage, while saw palmetto energizes the scalp encouraging hair that is thick from root to tip.
3. The Ylang Ylang Shine Conditioner – Who doesn’t love ylang ylang? Crazy people, that’s who. Ylang ylang oil, in combination with jojoba and aloe bring life and shine back to damaged and dull locks. This conditioner is best used as a leave in treatment for 3-10 minutes. I’m a 10 minutes kind of gal!
Born and raised in Canada, this line of body and hair care continues to grow in popularity and expand it’s product ranges. They strive to create effective products that are environmentally friendly, cruelty free, and vegan when ever possible. My main reason for loving Live Clean is…
1. The Argan Oil Restorative Products – this family of products used 100% organic argan oil, in conjunction with other precious oils such as grape seed and olive, to wrap hair in essential lipids and moisture. The line includes a shampoo, a conditioner, a smooth and shine cream, a leave-in spray, an oil treatment, and a conditioning mask.
Wen by Chaz Dean
Many people are split right down the middle with Wen. Since I am an avid believer in the co-washing or curly girl method I love the idea of not using a lathering shampoo. The Wen system has it’s base in natural ingredients, using combinations of naturally occurring amino acids and essential oils to restore hair to it’s natural vibrancy. There are tons of ‘flavors’ to choose from depending on what hair concerns you have. My favorite is not a part of the main product line but can be found online with other Wen products…
1. Wen SixThirteen Daily Cleansing Treatment – this thick, luxurious daily conditioning treatment takes the place of shampoo and conditioner. It is loaded with rosemary, lotus, ginger, and ginseng essential oils to nourish your scalp and hair from root to tip. This is also a great overnight treatment!
I hope this post was helpful, I know I had a rough time finding things that I loved that were also cruelty free and on the more organic side!
Thanks for reading!
Til’ next time,
le grá go deo