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Beauty / Health and wellbeing / Our Products | 04.09.2015

Natural hair care: beautiful hair, without the headache

Natural hair care is important for two reasons. Firstly, the toxins contained in almost ALL mainstream hair care products would make your hair curl. Secondly, those toxic chemicals aren’t even good for your hair. They create an illusion, a temporary effect of cleanliness, body, shine, untangling and so on, without actually nourishing and protecting your hair long term.

Wait – it doesn’t really matter if your shampoo and conditioner is as toxic as a nuclear waste dump because you wash it off pretty quickly, right?

Wrong! If you wash your hair a few times a week, multiply that over the months and years you would be applying toxins to your hair and scalp and then tell me you’re not absorbing any of it.

There are 650 sweat glands, 1000 nerve endings and 20 blood vessels in your scalp, and what you put on it, they soak up, straight into the bloodstream.

At least when you eat something non-organic (containing pesticide residues or chemical preservatives, for example) your body has a few lines of defence – enzymes in the saliva, stomach acids and the detoxifying processes of the liver and kidneys that can break some of it down to be flushed out of the body.

Not so with hair care – even more reason to go ala naturale with any product you're using on your hair on a regular basis.

Natural hair care vs toxic goop

The toxic chemicals you'll find in most of the hair care products stocked in supermarkets, chemists and department stores regardless of price are:

Sulfates 

These are in 90% of foaming and lathering products. They are skin and eye irritants, endocrine disruptors, neurotoxins and suspected carcinogens. On labels look for: sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), ammonium laureth sulfate (ALES) and ammonium lauryl sulfate (ALS). Although SLS originates from coconuts, the chemical is far from natural. The problem with SLES/SLS is that the manufacturing process (ethoxylation) results in SLES/SLS being contaminated with 1,4 dioxane, a carcinogenic byproduct.

Natural hair care alternative: Decyl glucoside, coco glucoside

Parabens 

A common preservative in hair care products and a major endocrine disrupting chemical. The EPA in the US has also linked parabens to metabolic, developmental, hormonal and neurological disorders and various cancers. On the label look for is a common preservative and one of the primary chemicals responsible for disrupting the endocrine system and unbalancing crucial hormones. On labels look for: the prefixes ethyl-, methyl-, propyl-, isopropyl-, butyl- or isobutyl.

Natural hair care alternative: Sodium levulinate, sodium anisate

p-Phenylenediamine 

Found in coloured shampoos, hair bleach and hair dye to give a red or violet colour. You'll even find it in 'natural' henna dyes. It’s a possible neurotoxin and can cause skin rashes and eczema.

Natural hair care alternative: Not known

Diethanolamine or DEA

This chemical is a surfactant found in many cosmetics and most mainstream shampoos in order to make them creamy and foaming. It’s a suspected carcinogen and is thought to block the absorption of the nutrient choline, which is vital to brain development and required in higher doses in pregnant women.

Natural hair care alternative: Decyl glucoside, coco glucoside

Propylene Glycol 

Used as a humectant and co-emulsifier. It is also used in industry as engine coolants, antifreeze, tyre sealants, paints, adhesives, varnishes. . . oh, and probably your shampoo. Industrial safety data sheets warn users not to allow it to be in contact with skin, as it is a strong skin irritant and can cause liver and kidney damage.

Natural hair care alternative: Glycerin - vegetable derived 

Water

But we need water to live! True, but if your shampoo and conditioner contain water or the fancy name ‘aqua’ in the ingredients list, it’s purely there as a cheap base or bottle filler. Unfortunately, water-based formulas are vulnerable to spoilage so preservatives like parabens and sodium benzoate must be added.  

Natural hair care alternative: aloe vera juice, plant based extracts

Fragrance 

One artificial fragrance (also known as perfume or parfum) can contain thousands of chemicals that have never been tested for safe use in humans. I've written about the use of synthetic fragrance in this blog post. Avoid any hair care product that contains artificial fragrance. Choose fragrance-free, or products that use good quality essential oils for scent. 

Natural hair care alternative: Certified organic essential oils 

all new Mukti Organics natural hair care range is launching next week

We've been working hard behind the scenes for months to formulate a new natural hair care range. On the blog next week, we’ll reveal all the details about our new products but here’s a sneak peek: 

Go check the label on your shampoo, conditioner and other hair care products and let us know if you find any of the above chemicals on it. 

@bymukti

Follow Mukti on Instagram to stay in the loop on all things organic beauty and wellness where Mukti shares insider tips, ideas and education that you don’t want to miss!

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