Every product we use for our bodies, beauty-related or otherwise, has an affect on our overall health. While we try to take care of ourselves in the best way possible, sometimes toxic products slip through. With long-lasting positive effects in mind, these four products include clean ingredients that will leave your strands strong and vibrant.
It can be easy to look past the harmful ingredients that some of our favorite hair care brands might be using in their formulas. These toxins can be harmful to your hair and overall health. These are some of the most common ingredients that you could find in shampoos and conditioners today.
Switching to non-toxic hair products isn’t only essential to your health but also decreases environmental impacts. Using hair care products with natural ingredients will make your hair more hydrated and healthier over time.
The toxins that are harming you are also damaging the environment! Harmful chemicals that go down the drain contribute to climate change and pollution, and affect us along with the animals that live in contaminated habitats. According to One Green Planet, “Nearly 90% of hair care products contain some form of sulfates.” Sulfates affect the environment because they can “acidify surface water and soil which damages surrounding ecosystems.” Another common toxin, parabens, are used as an artificial preservative to increase product shelf life. The chemicals in parabens have been proven to kill coral and have also been linked to breast cancer cell growth.
Taking the time to read the ingredients on the current hair care products you’re using and making the switch to natural products could drastically improve different aspects of your health that you didn’t even know you were being harmed in the first place.
In general, organic and sustainable products often cost more than brands that use these harmful ingredients. Drug store products are convenient and less expensive, but often for concerning reasons. If you have the means to invest in quality salon products for your hair that contain natural ingredients, you should absolutely do so.
However, more and more department and drugstore brands are starting to change their formulas to be sulfate-free. Common brands such as L’Oreal, Herbal Essences, Garnier, and more are all making the switch. Sustainable products are becoming more accessible, you just need to do the research — and your health is your most important investment throughout your lifetime!
To get an idea of price comparison of standard vs. intentionally non-toxic hair products, here are the price differences between a common generic brand and a cruelty free, non-toxic salon brand found at Walmart. If you use Pantene, you might be aware that they have certain products without parabens or sulfates, but it’s not the standard for their formulas. Check if you see one or both in the ingredients list, but they’re making some products to incorporate cleaner ingredients.
Although the price difference is obvious, investing in salon-grade hair care is a necessary purchase to prioritize your health and the prosperity of the environment. Otherwise, do some quick research on your favorite drugstore brand to find out if they are making the transition to non-toxic products.
When you’re looking at labels, you’ll see “sulfate” and “paraben” written out, but they might be jumbled in copy with other ingredients. Look out for sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, and other versions like sodium lauryl sulfonate. For parabens you’ll see the ingredient at the end of compounds like propylparaben, benzylparaben, methyl-paraben, or butylparaben.
Sometimes, the hardest part of starting a new routine is finding out where to start. Luckily, there are many online resources that can help you discover the best clean products for your hair.
One place we recommend is Blue Mercury. Find their physical stores or browse their website where you can find Buying Guides from beauty experts that give product recommendations. You can also read reviews from other customers about clean products and pay attention to those with hair similar to yours.
“Clean at Sephora” is a label added to products which have met Sephora’s standards for quality, clean ingredients (both online and in-store) and is another tool to research and access clean products for your hair. It’s one way to refine your search to only clean products.
Finally, if you’re looking to get hair care products created specifically for you and your hair needs, we recommend trying brands such as Function of Beauty and Prose. These two companies give you the opportunity to do a hair quiz to find the best formula for your hair type, and they’re all non-toxic.
We connected with makeup artist and hairstylist Georgina Mendiola to get her professional opinion. Here are the four top products she recommends to add to your routine now.
Why we love it
Olaplex is a clean, non-toxic brand and their No. 3 Hair Perfector is not only one of our top picks, but one of the brand’s global best-sellers. This at-home treatment helps reduce breakage, strengthen hair, and restores your hair’s health while protecting its structure.
This works best when hair is damp and should be applied in the shower. Work from roots to ends, comb through and let process for a minimum of 10 minutes, then shampoo and condition. Use one to three times a week, depending on hair’s damage.
Why we love it
This vegan brand is readily available, and gets the job done. This dry shampoo smells incredible thanks to rosemary and peppermint. It works by absorbing the oils in your hair and removes the grimey look; perfect for day-old hair or when you’re in a time crunch and need to run out the door.
First, sprinkle powder onto your brush and brush directly into the hair starting at the scalp. Then comb through to the ends and repeat as needed. Style as normal.
Why we love it
Virtue Labs has quickly become a top choice after Jennifer Garner shared it as her favorite hair brand. What we love most is that everything they sell is clean and one-of-a-kind. The recovery discovery set’s main ingredient is Alpha Keratin 60ku, which deposits pure human keratin protein into the hair, treating the stress and damage that heat chemicals and color treatments cause.
Work a quarter-sized amount of shampoo into a lather between palms and apply to wet hair. Then, massage into a rich lather and rinse. Follow with conditioner and rinse thoroughly. Once a week (or as needed) in place of conditioner, use the restorative treatment mask as an intensive treatment after shampooing. Remove excess water and apply a generous amount, distributing evenly through hair. Leave on for 2-3 minutes and then rinse well.
Why we love it
This unique whipped shampoo made of exfoliating, mineral-rich Himalayan pink salt, nourishing cold-pressed moringa oil, and pure, unfiltered rosehip oil purifies and detoxifies all at once. The scrub cleanses the hair and scalp of product buildup, dirt, and oil, leaving our hair clean and refreshed. Plus, the delicious scent — rosemary, geranium, orange, and peppermint — lingers subtly in hair (and smells amazing as you wash).
Use a quarter-sized amount and apply on damp hair. First, massage into the scalp, then rinse. Be sure to only use this shampoo 2-3 times a week.
Although you may not see the damaging effects on your hair immediately, over time, these toxic hair products will leave your hair dry and damaged, as well as potentially harming your overall health. Prioritize yourself by taking the time to purchase products that will improve the look and feel of your hair this year.
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