Best Natural Hair Products: Part I

November 17, 2010

A Word on Toxins

Sadly, the majority of mainstream hair products contain numerous amounts of toxins in the form of synthetic surfactants (agents that help trap oil and dirt so that it can be washed away) and preservatives and additives. Make sure to read the ingredients in any hair product before you decide whether or not to use it on your body.


Synthetic Surfactants to Avoid

-Sodium Lauryl Sulfate is the detergent that makes shampoo foam. It should be avoided at all costs; it acts as a penetration enhancer for other potentially toxic ingredients. It is also linked with the carcinogenic compounds ethylene oxide and 1,4 dioxane.

Ethylene oxide causes brain, breast, and lung cancer in rodents and has been credited with causing lymphomas in exposed workers.

1,4 dioxane is credited with causing breast, nasal, and liver cancer in rodents.


Preservatives and Additives to Avoid

Parabens are bad news! Studies show that they mimic estrogen; they have been found inside breast tumor tissue. They also make you more sensitive to UV light.

-Diehanolamine (DEA) should be avoided. It reacts with preservatives to create NDELA, which is a recognized carcinogen. NDELA is readily absorbed through the skin.

-Phthalates are solvents used to help dissolve other chemicals within water. They are hormone disrupters; they induce hormonal changes when they come into contact with skin. Men with high levels of pthalates have a reduced sperm count, lower sperm motility, and more deformed sperm.

Phthalates are most commonly found in fragrances. Trade secrecy laws prevent the fragrance industry from having to disclose ingredients to cosmetic companies; thus, pthalates are rarely, if ever, listed on a product’s label.

-Acrylates are another carcinogenic compound. Watch out for acrylate polymer or copolymers.

Favorite Non-Toxic Products

Normal Hair

My all time favorite shampoo for normal hair is Rahua. I first tried this shampoo several months ago, when my step-mother brought it home from the hair salon in LA. It smells great, lathers well, and cleans without drying. Plus, it has the added benefit of being completely organic.

Rahua conditioner is beyond moisturizing; applying it simply smoothes out any tangles you may have. I use both the shampoo and conditioner every other day.


Dry Hair

My favorite shampoo for dry hair is John Masters Organics Honey & Hibiscus Hair Reconstructing Shampoo. Last winter, when my hair became dry and slightly frizzy from indoor heat, I washed with this shampoo several times a week. After a shampoo or two, you can literally feel and see an improvement.

I also use and love the Honey and Hair HIbiscus Reconstructor.


Oily Hair

To be honest, I have yet to come across an Aubrey Organics Product that I don’t like. I love this shampoo! Every now and then, I need a good clarifying shampoo to get the grease out; this one does the job beautifully. It foams like crazy ( a difficult feat for non-toxic products) and gets hair squeaky clean! For $ 10. 48, it is a bargain that just can’t be beat.


John Masters Organics Zinc & Sage Shampoo with Conditioner works brilliantly for dandruff. Scalp regulating Zinc is the key to healing an itchy head. The shampoo doesn’t over-dry; which can, in turn, lead to more flakes.


2 Responses to “Best Natural Hair Products: Part I”

  1. This is so helpful! Hopefully I can find the John Masters honey shampoo at Whole Foods… I was just looking online to try some new products from Kinky Curly for my next grocery trip. It’s an amazing organic line for African-American hair 🙂

  2. Stephanie said

    Unfortunately, all those hair products are way above my price range for the whole family. Luckily I found a non-toxic shampoo that is much less expensive called “Everyday Shea.” That, along with some home made hair treatments seem to be all right for us.
    Peace, Stephanie

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