Have you ever looked at the ingredients label on your hair care & felt you need a chemistry degree to have any chance of understanding the words? The listed ingredients can seem pretty daunting can’t they? Just because an ingredient has an unpronounceable name that seems really sciency, doesn’t necessarily mean it is bad. When it comes right down to it, everything is made up of chemical compounds, everything that grows, & everything that is synthesized. Every product that you use on your hair or body is a balancing act that involves safety & effectiveness. It would be great if all the ingredients were common words, but we aren't dealing with ice cream here where milk, cream, sugar, & eggs can cover it. Hair care is a complex system to say the least.
In my career as a professional stylist, I’ve always strived to find effective solutions that are based in nature, using safe ingredients when ever possible. That has meant that there are some services I just don’t do, & certain things I never recommend to my clients. Has it cost me clients on occasion? Sure, but they always come back because there is tremendous value in holding to your principles. People respect it, come to value it, & the result is trust & loyalty.
We are all living breathing organisms with blood coursing through our veins. At least I hope we are, if not, I’ve stumbled into the wrong audience. Everything we put on our bodies, or in them has the potential to help or harm. It’s why I have my work philosophy. What we rub into our skin or put on our hair has the potential to enter our blood stream in 26 seconds. That’s fast! And it’s why what is in your hair care matters.
I know you are perfectly aware that not all ingredients are healthy, some cause skin irritation, others can affect organ function, or damage the environment when they go down the drain. Still others build up in our systems to a toxic level potentially causing disease or chronic illness years later. You’ve got 2 choices, stick your head in the sand & hope for the best, or look for products that are better for you & committed to using pure, safe, effective ingredients. I hope you choose the latter. You only get 1 body, & we all only have 1 planet, for now at least.
Some things to look out for & stay away from are:
Parabens - are widely used preservatives & shouldn’t be uses on your body or in your food
could be linked to chronic disorders.
Sulfates - are detergents from salts from sulfuric acid. They remove dirt & oils very well, but
are drying & damaging & known for irritating skin and scalp.
DEA/MEA - are ammonia compounds they help blend oil & water ingredients together, & can be
drying & irritating to skin and eyes and could be linked to chronic disorders & cancer.
Phthalates - these are chemicals that act as bonding agents & keep plastics flexible. Their use
is widespread in cosmetic & personal care products. long-term exposure could be toxic name a
chronic disorder that has emerged over the last few decades, & phthalates are quite probably
connect somehow. The research is still evolving
PEG - Polyethylene glycol It’s basically the most common plastic mixed with glycol to make a
thick sticky liquid it is often used as an emollient or an emulsifier to drive ingredients deeper into
your skin. can be linked to chronic disorders.
Phenoxyethanol - is a preservative thats created synthetically in a complex process. Ingesting it
is a concern, as it can be toxic to kidneys. It is often a ‘fragrance addative, & can be irritating to
the eyes and skin.
Ethanol - is alcohol, & is used in gasoline. It is a drying alcohol, & can be drying to the hair and
cause frizz and damage.
Petrochemicals - these are made from crude oil while making gasoline, or propane. They can
coat the hair shaft causing moisture loss and suffocation of the shaft.
Glutens - these are proteins that more & more people are becoming sensitive to. They have the
property of making things elastic or stretchy. can cause allergic reactions to sensitive
Sodium Chloride - is salt. It can build up in tissues and cause dryness in the hair, & is known to
cause color to fade.
Harsh Salt Systems - When you google this, a bunch of pool related items come up for
sanitizing or cleaning. They can cause dryness and dehydration.
Harmful Colors - can be toxic to skin and scalp and linked to chronic disorders.
Harmful Fragances - can be irritating and linked to chronic disease.
Many of these chemicals & compounds are very hard to identify because the go by a lot of different names. And that makes them hard to avoid.
Now I’ve got you all worked up, right? How do you know what is in your products, How can you avoid them when they are in disguise. It really makes you want to throw up your arm & bury your head in the sand, right? My best advice is to find brands that are proud to state what they refuse to put into their products. Labeling in the US is very serious business, & every label requires approval. So when a company is pledging to never use these ingredients, you can feel confident it is true. Find a company, or reputable dealer that you trust, & rely on them to do their due diligence on researching the line they offer.
It’s not all doom & gloom here. More & more companies are introducing healthier safer products. Chances are you won’t find them in general retail environments, but people like me are everywhere & can help you make decisions based on what you want to eliminate from your daily use.