I’ve been doing a lot of reading up on the different products I use, and what’s in them! Most beauty and care products have a whole slew of unpronounceable ingredients. You use these products on your hair in hopes of shinier, thicker, curlier, straighter hair with less dandruff flakes, but have you ever wondered if all of these oddly named chemicals are really necessary? These chemicals are being used in your hair, being absorbed by your scalp, and what are they really doing? Don’t forget they’re also washing down the drain and into the water supply.Â
You do need to know that regular shampoos are not going to kill you. They’re just full of unnecessary chemicals that you really don’t need to be exposed to. For instance, many products that have the yummy scents that we love, like Raspberry, Strawberry, etc contain something called pthalates. Pthalates are hormone disrupting chemicals that can be absorbed through your skin, and studies have found that pthalates interfere with reproductive development in babies. There are also other hormone disruptive chemicals in shampoos that are preservatives, such as parabens, and chemicals that emit formaldehyde. One thing that I’ve found interesting is that shampoos also contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or Sodium Laureth Sulfate, which is a common detergent that can increase the skin’s permeability, allowing other chemicals to enter your bloodstream. It is a skin irritant that has been found to aggravate existing skin conditions, such as eczema. I’ve had dandruff in the past, and it was recommended that I use Tea Tree Oil Shampoo. Knowing nothing, I bought a HUGE bottle of Tea Tree Oil Shampoo from Paul Mitchell. It didn’t seem to help my head very much, if at all, and I couldn’t figure it out. After this research, I actually looked at the ingredients… It has SLS in it. Well, that could explain why nothing was changing..Â
How different are the plant based shampoos from the “regular” shampoos? Well, usually, they don’t have as many ingredients in them! You’ll want to definitely check the ingredients list, and the less long weird names, the better. You also want to try to avoid shampoos with dyes in them! Dyes can very often trigger allergic reactions, and that certainly won’t make your hair any more manageable.
How do you know if the shampoo you are using is a “good” shampoo? Read the label! Don’t let gimmick words like “Herbal”, “Organic” or “Natural” mislead you. You probably want to look for more reputable labels, like “USDA Certified Organic” which will contain at least 95% organic ingredients. Whole Foods Market has a Premium Body Care label that they affix to products that are primarily plant based. This usually ensures that is it free of over 250 chemicals that can pose health hazards of one sort or another.Â
There is also an Organic and Sustainable Industry Standards certification that requires 85% Â organic ingredients in personal care products. This certification is going to be more widely seen in the personal care products in the near future.Â
Remember, no label, sticker, or tag line is going to be as effective as your eyes checking out the ingredients list on those products! Make sure you read up on the different chemicals, and create a cheat sheet if you think it’ll help you!Â