Lather, enjoy the aroma, rinse and repeat.
These are the instructions we know so well when it comes to washing our hair. What we may not know so well however are the potentially harmful ingredients found in many hair care products which we could do well to try and avoid when possible.
Here’s the low-down on are some of the ingredients we choose not to formulate into our hair care ranges and why we avoid them.
Sulfates are commonly used surfactants, detergents and emulsifiers and are found in most cleaning products and personal care such as shampoo, body wash and face wash.
Sulfates are effective cleansing agents that lather up and create the foaming action that removes oils and dirt from hair, skin (and dirty dishes).
While Sulfates can be very effective cleaners, they can be also be harmful as sulfates deplete the natural sebum that moisturises and protects the hair and scalp, sometimes leading it to feel stripped, squeaky and dry which can then result in the skin or scalp overproducing more sebum to compensate.
Some other common problems associated with Sulfates are scalp irritation, dryness, damage to the hair and irritation to the skin and eyes.
Silicones are an oil-like cosmetic ingredient used widely in the hair and beauty industry across the globe.
Silicones are polymers with a chemical structure based on chains of alternate silicon and oxygen atoms. Silicones are water insoluble, meaning they are difficult to dissolve and wash out of the hair, skin etc. Silicones form a layer around the hair shaft, smothering the hair and preventing moisture from penetrating it. Silicones may create a temporary illusion of healthy hair, however over time the hair can become dull, brittle, greasy and weighed down.
Silicones play a huge role when it comes to choosing hair care that is right for you. Curly girls often opt for haircare that does not contain any silicones as this can weigh down those bouncy coils. This is why our product development team chose to exclude this ingredient when creating the Clever Curl range.
Synthetic Colours and Dyes
Synthetic Colours are often made up of a variety of synthetic chemicals. It can take up to 25 chemicals to create one artificial dye – even more if the product is purple. Synthetic Colours that are made from coal tar contain heavy metal salts that deposit toxins into the skin. Absorption of certain colours can increase the risk of irritation, blocked pores, breakouts and sensitivity. Even worse, some Synthetic Colours may even be carcinogenic. These colours are often used in mainstream blonde shampoos and conditioners.
The luxurious EverEscents Berry Blonde Shampoo, Conditioner and Treatment range tones your hair and reduces unwanted brassy yellow tones for blonde & grey hair. The natural colours in this range actually come from Red Sweet Potato & Blue Gardenia berries, making these products the safest and mildest formula to care for your blonde or grey hair!
Mineral Oil is a liquid by-product of petroleum and is used in a variety of cosmetic and personal care products. Mineral Oil can lock in moisture to the hair and skin, however due to this ‘barrier effect’ Mineral Oil in skincare can clog pores and increase the risk of acne.
Mineral Oil in hair care products has been widely used in the past as a conditioning and smoothing agent to the hair. Mineral Oil in haircare repels water, meaning that this ingredient prevents water from penetrating the hair… and we all know you need a balance of product and water in order to achieve hydrated, shiny and healthy hair!
Parabens (any ingredient ending in ‘paraben’) are cheap chemical preservatives used to extend the shelf life of many cosmetics, hair and skin care products. Parabens can cause a number of problems to the hair such as dehydration, scalp irritation, fading colour and even hair loss.
A big concern is that Parabens are known to disrupt hormone function which is linked to an increased risk of reproductive problems and even breast cancer. There is also some evidence that Parabens may potentiate the effects of UV radiation.
Formaldehyde is a colourless, strong smelling chemical. With the help of preservatives, Formaldehyde is released in small amounts over time to help protect products against bacteria contamination during storage and continued use.
Frequent exposure to Formaldehyde can cause allergic reactions and contact dermatitis, headaches, irritates mucous membranes, eye damage, joint and chest pain, depression, fatigue, dizziness and immune dysfunction. Formaldehyde is also classified as a probable human carcinogen by the EPA.
Phthalates are a group of synthetic chemicals that are often used to soften plastics and make them more flexible. Phthalates are also used as gelling agents in hair care. Phthalates are often used to dissolve other ingredients, improve texture, and can be added to artificial fragrances to enhance the scent of the product wear longer throughout the day. Most products with an artificial fragrance will contain phthalates.
Phthalates also help to lubricate the hair and enhance absorption of the product. Research has shown that Phthalates can be endocrine disruptors, may interfere with reproductive function and hormonal systems, and can increase risk of asthma and allergies.
All of these ingredients are found in a lot of hair care products still to this day. If you are concerned about the ingredients listed on your hair care, we urge you to do some research.
An easy and efficient way to find out if an ingredient is toxic, is to download the Chemical Maze app and pop the name into the ‘Cosmetic Ingredients’ section.
The Chemical Maze book is also available for purchase from our store. This will give you a quick overview and you can find out in seconds if it is safe to use.