It can be especially challenging when it comes to searching a natural hair care brand; the so-called “natural” or “organic” products also contain toxic and irritating chemicals. The words “natural” and “organic” are not regulated by labeling terms. It is necessary to find a safe brand that doesn’t contain parabens, sulfates or phthalates and other dozens of ingredients you should avoid.
It can take a bit of experimentation to find the right brand for your hair type. Making a switch from synthetic hair products over to organic/natural products takes time as your scalp and hairs will take time to adjust due to natural shampoo formulas do not contain harsh detergents or foaming agents.
Check out our guide of the natural hair care brands that formulated to be gentle on the scalp as well as effectively cleaning the hair. Most of them are Infused with fruit extracts, hydrating plant oils, vitamins and a host of exotic botanicals.
Rather than using polymers (liquid plastic) to deliver active ingredients, 100% PURE invented the “nano spinning method” that manipulates the molecular size of the active ingredients for deeper penetration. All of their products are pigmented using fruits and vegetables, natural fragrances are usually from essential oils or adapted the same technology that food manufacturers use to create “natural flavors” to isolate scents and create a more broad range of “natural fragrances. 100% PURE committed that their formulas are never diluted with cheap fillers, instead of water, 100% PURE uses beneficial organic floral hydrosols, organic aloe juice, organic fermented rice water (sake) and organic teas, so each ingredient is included for its benefit.
Avalon Organics is easy to find it most grocery stores (check for a natural section). Formulated with organic botanicals and essential oils, Avalon Organics is gentle, safe and effective plant-based shampoos and conditioners are designed to bring luminance to locks without the use of harsh preservatives or hair-stripping cleansers. Their products are great for thin, dry hair, so everything is packed with nourishing ingredients like rosemary, quinoa protein, calendula, aloe, and vitamin E to cleanse and hydrate your hair from root to tip. The gentle, plant-based shampoos and conditioners are vegan, non-GMO and paraben- and phthalate-free. Plus they don’t contain any synthetic fragrances or colors.
“Brio” is an Italian word that means “vibrant and full of life” and “Geo” is a Latin word meaning “of Earth and nature.” Founded by Nancy Twine, who started making her own products at age five and based her nutrient-rich formulas on her grandmother’s homemade beauty recipes. Briogeo is 6-free hair care; meaning formulas are free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates, silicones, DEA and synthetic color. Each all-natural blend has pure, yet potent ingredients like charcoal, ginseng and rosehip oil. All products are 90 to 100 percent naturally derived and packaged in bottles that are both recycled and recyclable.
Founded in Parma, Italy in 1983 by the Bollati Family, Davines Group started as a research laboratory, formulating high-end hair care for cosmetic companies worldwide. After a decade of honing its expertise, they created their own hair care brand that’s scientifically engineered to work. The brand balances using high grade, natural ingredients with scientific rigor to create ‘sustainable beauty.’
EVOLVh products are made using 90% or higher organic ingredients content. Their formulations contain unique blends of natural active ingredients not found in other hair products and produce visible results you can see and feel. They use specialized amino acids and fatty acids to nourish and repair hair. The entire line is sulfate, paraben and sodium chloride free. All products are gluten free as well. Most products are vegan, containing no animal products, and all are cruelty-free.
Innersense was founded by Greg and Joanne Starkmane, two seasoned beauty professionals, on the belief are all reflections of our inner world. Innersense was formulated for daily ritual. Using organic, wild-harvested and biodynamic plant ingredients, the collection is free of sulfates, ethoxylates, petrochemicals, formaldehyde compounds, PEGs and phthalates and made without artificial color and fragrance, GMOs, gluten and parabens. Committed to healthy beauty, Innersense is a certified green company and a compact signer of the Safe Cosmetics and Truth in Labeling Acts.
John Masters, a leading stylist in New York City, began working with the best organic ingredients available and seeing clients out of his tiny Manhattan apartment. Soon he opened the world’s first “clean air” salon in Soho. Their products are composed of at least 70% organic content, (excluding water and salt). Organic content includes nature-based ingredients grown or harvested without the use of conventional or synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. Each organic ingredient utilized in their formulas are on National List approved by the USDA National Organic Program.
The brand utilizing the finest certified organic, organic and wild-crafted ingredients, Founder, Rosebrook initially created products for his own use but then miraculous results led him now works with a team including an industry-leading phytochemist and a herbalist to conceive, test and perfect his formulas. Many LA stars have fallen for Josh Rosebrook’s luscious, all-natural line of skin and hair saviors, namely Alicia Silverstone, Olivia Wilde, Sofia Bush, Mila Kunis, Martha Stewart, Ellen DeGeneres, Tori Spelling, Rob Lowe, Fran Drescher, Ru Paul, and Kim Raver. Josh Rosebrook consistently receives “zero toxicity” results – a rare designation that reflects the brand’s unwavering commitment of guaranteeing absolute purity
Found by Fabian Lliguin, a renowned hairstylist and colorist in New York City, visited the Amazon rainforest noticed that the women there have fantastically long, lustrous hair that cascaded past their waists. And the secret was rahua oil, which was and is produced by the Quechua-Shuar tribe. For centuries the members of the tribe, who live deep within the rainforest, had relied on this oil to nourish their hair and skin. Fabian Lliguin has collaborated with the indigenous tribes to develop an organic, vegan and gluten-free range of hair care products simply called Rahua.
Yarok meant Green in Hebrew and was founded by well known New York hairstylist, Mordechai Alvow. This brand has grown from a single signature treatment. Feed Your Youth and has blossomed into a portfolio of products. Now the brand is known for their styling products with all natural ingredients and aromatic essential oils. The mousse lifts limp hair with aloe and vegetable glycerin, and the hydrating leave-in conditioner protects hair with grapeseed, jojoba and primrose oils. Each Yarok formula is a powerful blend of organic and all-natural botanicals that are consciously sourced and responsibly harvested. Yarok uses primarily certified organic ingredients. All products are free of alcohol, paraben, sulfates, chemicals, and gluten.
As much we are trying to be more healthy, it takes some knowledge to know and understand each and every product we put on our skin and body. It is not surprise you can find a long list of irritating and potentially toxic ingredients in shampoos. To interpret a cosmetic ingredient label is not easy, there are simple rules for reading ingredient labels.
It is important to note that not all of the ingredients below are necessarily toxic or will cause harm to your health, many of them are simply harsh, highly irritating, and should be avoided for the benefit of your skin.
See below for the common chemicals you should avoid.
1. 1,4-DIOXANE, a byproduct of the manufacturing process when the chemical petrochemical ethylene oxide is introduced. It is considered a portable human carcinogen by US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Look for chemicals with “eth” in their name, such as sodium laureth sulfate, plethora, myreth, and ceteareth. Also look for glycol and PEGs (polyethylene, polyethylene glycol, and polyoxyethylene)
2. SODIUM LAURYL SULFATE (SLS) AND SODIUM LAURYL ETHER SULFATE (SLES) are coconut-derived foaming agents. These chemicals are used in a wife variety of hair care and skin care products. SLS is proven skin irritant and possible carcinogen. It alters skin structure, allowing other chemicals deeper penetration and therefore increasing the amount of chemicals in the bloodstream. SLES contains the carcinogen contaminant 1,4-dioxane.
3. FRAGRANCE (PARFUM OR PERFUME) is a ubiquitous term often used to mask the use of toxic chemicals. Upwards of three hundred chemicals in this class have never been tested for safety, including phthalates, which disrupt endocrine function and have been linked to reproductive and developmental harm.
4. PARABENS (METHYL, ETHYL, AND BUTYL) are used in about 99% of beauty products to prevent oxidation, kill bacteria, other living organisms harmful to humans. They are rapidly absorbed into the skin and metabolize and accumulate in the body. Parabens disrupt endocrine function by mimicking estrogen. Improper endocrine function can adversely effect metabolism, the nervous system, and blood sugar levels.
5. TRICLOSAN is used in almost all antibacterial products. It’s used as a preservative in soaps, toothpaste, and cosmetics. Triclosan is often contaminated with dioxins that are carcinogenic, weaken immunity, decrease fertility, and cause birth defects. A probable endocrine disruptor, triclosan is easily absorbed, leading to bioaccumulation at dangerous levels.
6. PHTHALATES are a class of toxic chemicals used in cosmetics to hold colour and scent, and to soften plastics. They are found in products ranging from fragranced lotions, body wash, and deodorants to most plastic containers. These chemicals are known reproductive toxicants. Phthalates mimic estrogen and testosterone, increasing the risk for endocrine disruption.
7. FORMALDEHYDE/FORMALIN is an immune system, respiratory, hematological and skin toxicants. It is a probable carcinogen, cardiovascular toxicants, can damage DNA, and may tigger asthma. Animal studies show adverse effects on sense organs, the brain and nervous system, human development.
8. POLYETHLENE GLYCOL (PEG) is a petroleum derivative compound that is made from ethylene glycol (ethane-1,2-diol), the main ingredient found in antifreeze. It is used to prevent foaming, and in cosmetics as a thickener and softener. PEGs can be contaminated with ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane, which is harmful to nervous system and a possible carcinogen.
9. CYCLOSILOXANES are the building blocks for many silicones. Some widely used ones are: hexamethylcyclotrisiloxane (D3), octamethycyclotetrasiloxane (D4), decamethylcyopebtasiloxane (D5), and dodcecamethylcyclohexasiloxane (D6). They mimic estrogen activity, increasing the production rates of many types of human breast cancer cells. They can be found in hair conditioners.
10. SYNTHETIC DYES appear on the ingredients label as FD&C or D&C, and are used to provide colour for products such as shampoo, makeup, pharmaceuticals, and food. Synthetic dyes are probable carcinogens. When present, these chemicals will appear as FD&C or D&C followed by a colour and a number like Red No. 6 and Green No. 6.
11. LAURAMIDE DEA (SAME AS COCAMIDE MEA) is coconut oil-derived dimethanolamine used as a foaming agent and emulsifying agent. Lauramide DEA or cocamide MEA is human immune toxicant. Animal studies show that this chemical is lined to sense organ effects and skin irritation.
12. DIETHANOLAMINE (DEA) is a chemical used as a wetting agent in shampoos, lotions, creams, and other cosmetics. It is a skin and immune toxicant, and possible carcinogen. Animal studies show DEA linked to endocrine disruption and neurotoxicity.