A billion-dollar hair care industry has been built on the simple fact that we all have bad hair days. After all, there are few things more frustrating than trying to tame your poof (or bring it back to life) while you are running out the door. Sometimes you just feel like giving up. (Hair scarves and up-‘dos anyone?) Bottom line: A great hair care product is worth its weight in gold.
But if you’ve used conventional products for years, what you probably don’t realize is that along with holding your ‘do and taming your tresses, you are inhaling phthalates, artificial fragrances, aerosols and other possibly harmful chemicals. (Brazilian blowoutshave made news of late for potentially hazardous levels of formaldehyde.) Especially if you use hair care products every day, getting those chemicals out of your life is a good precaution. (Bonus: it keeps them out of the environment, too.) Think about switching those that you use more commonly out first.
If you’ve never used natural hair care products before, don’t be afraid of the ingredients lists in these concoctions; just because they contain oils and natural butters doesn’t mean that they will make your hair oily or weigh it down; in fact natural oils can be good for the health of the scalp, and actually prevent dry or oily scalps and fend off dandruff. Joseph Kellner recommends avoiding the following!
> Parabens (methyl-, propyl-, butyl-paraben, etc.) > Sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate (SLS or SLES) > Petrolatum (Petroleum Jelly) > Propylene glycol > Diethanolamine (DEA) and Triethalnolamine (TEA) > Imidazoldinyl, urea and diazolidinyl urea > Silicone > Ethoxylated ingredients (those starting with PEG- or ending with –ETH)
If you have products in your cabinet and you’re wondering about the safety of their ingredients, check out the Skin Deep Cosmetics Safety Database, which allows you to search for many products, as well as specific ingredients to learn about scientific test results, and how safe the Environmental Working Group considers them; while the beauty industry uses chemicals according to federal guidelines and laws, watchdogs believe those laws are outdated and inadequate.