Is your hair care making you sick? Skin and scalp absorb a lot, sending it straight into the bloodstream. The moisturizer you put on your skin disappears, right? Would you really eat that hair dye or shampoo? Or breathe ammonia, chlorine or formaldehyde?
Here’s 5 classes of ingredients you, your stylist and your family want to stay away from. Avoid rashes, toxic headaches, inflamed scalp, and chemical overload. Especially important if you are pregnant, immune-compromised, aging, struggling with your health or just want to keep it clean!
Methylparabens and Propylparabens are common preservatives in hair and skin products. Many people are allergic to them and get irritated scalp with a paraben product. They’re easy to spot on labels of lotions, soaps, cleansers and more.
2). Formaldehyde in straighteners
Brazilian Blowout and other straightening and keratin treatments are notorious for releasing formaldehyde when heated. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen and causes breathing problems, rashes and toxic overload. The FDA has warned salons about this for years but doesn’t enforce the ban.
There are alternatives but you have to ask your salon.
3). Chemicals in hair dye
Many hair dyes contains toxic chemicals banned in Europe long ago. There are safer alternatives if you ask your salon, research, or stop coloring your hair. (I stopped when I turned 50. Why fight a losign battle)?
Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org) is the place to search any shampoo, color, makeup, or lotion. It’s an incredible resource – totally free – ranking products and individual ingredients on a 1 – 10 scale. Take some time and search every skin and hair product in your home (including your kids’ sunscreen and bath bubbles). You may soon be at Whole Foods or on Amazon buying safer products. (But read those labels)!
Products sold to salon professionals often don’t have ingredients listed. Only retail products must list them so don’t blame your stylist if they don’t know what you’re asking and have to contact the rep. It’s their job so don’t feel quilty about asking.
Chemicals to avoid include Ammonia, Lead, Resorcinol, PPD, Isoproply Alcohol and MANY more – insist on a safer brand!
4). Chemicals in shampoos, conditioners, setting lotions, body wash, soap, makeup, lipstick….
- Fragrances – don’t get me started on this one. I won’t buy anything that has the word Fragrance on the label. That includes detergents, toilet paper, soap, moisturizer, lipstick or floor cleaner.
- SLS (and various spelling versions) is Sodium Laurel Sulfate. It’s the foamy industrial cleanser and degreaser commonly found in soaps, shampoo and toothpaste. Yuk!
- DEA – a lathering agent, like SLS.
- Propylene Glycol – also known as anti-freeze. What?? Yes, but you’ll see it disguised as PEG or PPG on labels
Here’s the ingredients in a top-selling Nexxus shampoo: does this look “edible” to you?
Water, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycol Distearate, Sodium Chloride, Hydrolyzed Elastin, Hydrolyzed Keratin, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Polyquaternium-10, Fragrance, PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, Glycerin, Gluconolactone, PPG-9, Trehalose, Citric Acid, Adipic Acid, Sodium Sulfate, DMDM Hydantoin, Disodium EDTA, Hydrolyzed Actin, Hydrolyzed Roe, Fucus Vesiculosus Extract, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, PEG-150 Pentaerythrityl Tetrastearate, PPG-2 Hydroxyethyl Cocamide.
Here’s a shampoo I use from “Just Naturals”. This looks better!
Aloe Vera Hydrosol, Noni Fruit Extract, Papaya Extract, Avocado Oil, Orange Blossom Essential Oil, Amyris Essential Oil, Rice Protein, Chia Seed Oil, Meadowfoam Seed Oil, Sunflower Seed Oil, Bergamot Essential Oil, Gentle cleansers, Geranium Essential Oil, Cellulose, Thyme Essential Oil, Guar Gum, Vegetable Glycerin, Caprylyl Glycol, Banaba Extract, Citric Acid, Panthenol Vitamin B5.
Are you avoiding gluten? If you have gluten antibodies or Leaky Gut (a Cyrex Lab test and Consult can test for that in the Clinic or with my Virtual Clients), you must avoid gluten in your hair, skin and makeup too.
Check labels on shampoo, conditioner and body wash for wheat or gluten. While you’re at it, search your lipstick, eye shadow and foundation online with the word “gluten” in the Search Bar or try this site for suggestions. Cosmetics don’t have complete labels – you have to look them up.
Ask your salon to check with their rep for gluten-free shampoo, colors and conditioners. Or bring your own safe shampoo and conditioner (or just have them wet your clean hair before cutting). I gave up all salon treatments when I realized their products were causing my itchy scalp, not fixing it!
Need help with non-toxic hair care?
In addition to Environmental Working Group, Non-Toxic Revolution is committed to safe hair care and has lots of helpful information with an attitude! Search the web for Gluten Free, Sulfate Free or Organic Hair Care.
Here’s two articles with recommendations you might like: this one for hair color and this one for hair and skin care.