Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: Why We Should Put Chemicals in the Shade by Becoming Shining Examples of Natural Hair Care!
Is tipping out a glug of all-in-one shampoo & conditioner or rubbing furiously at a bar of soap stuck fast to the bath tray or shower cubicle a familiar scenario from our past, or maybe still our present?
And we’d even be forgiven for giving little thought to what chemicals are in the products we use on our crowning glories.
Which in a way is quite surprising given the amount of time we spend styling our locks, let alone the money we hand over to our hairdressers on an average 6-8 week cycle (pre-pandemic of course).
But are we beginning to wake our bedheads up to the idea of natural haircare and the benefits of ditching the harmful stuff for the good of our health, hair and the sustainability of our planet?
It’s No Chemical Romance…
So, let’s get to the nitty gritty of the harmful stuff first and get it out of the way…
There are two common ingredients to be found in many hair care products that sit perched on our bathroom shelves today– SLS & SLES.
These are chemical foaming agents that gives us the lather and a cleansing effect.
You don’t necessarily need a rich lather to cleanse. Natural hair products therefore are generally less ‘lathery’ but are in no way less effective.
I digress slightly, yes, but lather or not to lather is an important point.
Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) is a cleaner often derived from petroleum and is the parent chemical to the, less harsh but still often used, Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulphate or Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES)
SLES is still a known irritant, albeit less so than its predecessor.
So why did shampoo manufacturers start putting these irritants into pretty much every hair care product known to mankind since the 1940s?
- They were inexpensive and easy to produce.
- ‘Less harsh’ than original family soap bars.
- The ‘lathery’ nature gave a wash like no other…Hmmm
Even more surprising, they were originally used to produce laundry detergent to clean grimy clothes…
And today we find them in hair care products.
It’s Time to Ditch SLS & SLES
SLS and SLES strip everything including our skins much-needed moisture. Both are problematic for curly hair which can become even more frizzy as the cuticle is left open allowing valuable moisture to leak out.
SLS and SLES can also cause up to 80% colour fade on treated hair – rapidly!
Additionally, both chemical additives are known to cause skin irritation, and in some cases eczema.
In a nutshell, SLS and SLES are chemicals that cause dry hair, brittleness, skin irritation and colour loss.
They also trickle off down the drain once you’ve rinsed and can be damaging to the environment.
Look Out For These Bad Boys Too…
Some other agents to try and avoid in haircare products include:
- Parabens (a.k.a. methyl-paraben, propylparaben, benzylparaben, or butylparaben)
- Formaldehyde &
Silicones in some products are what gives hair a soft feel, but silicone is a plastic that coats your hair from root to tip and it merely masks the fact that your hair may be in dire need of some natural haircare nourishment.
Parabens have weak estrogen-like properties and have been linked to breast cancer as they have been found in some breast tumours. Though more research is required, it’s best to avoid parabens in the meantime!
Formaldehyde is used as a preservative and is yet another ingredient to avoid. It can increase the cancer risk for humans and is a known animal carcinogen.
Sulphates strip hair of natural oils and since curly hair can often dry out quicker than straight hair it can leave curly hair dehydrated. As this can lead to breakage it’s best to avoid sulphates if you’ve been blessed with curly locks.
The Benefits of Using Natural Hair Care Products
- They use naturally occurring ingredients such as plants and some producers source naturally occurring water.
- Ethically produced and sustainable and often financially beneficial for local communities where the natural ingredients are sourced from.
- They are Planet friendly, use kinder processing methods and use recyclable packaging materials.
- Vegan, Cruelty Free – No animal testing let’s keep loving the animals as much we love our planet.
- Your scalp and hair will thank you for using natural hair care products.
- You’re definitely worth it so go ahead and feel good by investing a little more in your hair care budget and choose natural hair care products
We’d lather be using natural haircare products, would you?
Natural hair care products will clean perfectly well and while you’re using them, you will be substituting lather for an eco-friendlier planet pleasing product.
That’s got to be a Win-Win for all us Ecohumans both large and small right?