This post has been a long, looooong time coming, but I wanted to take my time in regards to using these products before sharing my thoughts with you all. And the thoughts…oh, I have them!
Let’s first talk about hair care in general, though. Switching to natural/organic hair care was the final frontier for me. (And I’ve come a long way, folks!) I had successfully switched most personal care products to greener alternatives, but was definitely dragging my feet in this category. For reference, for the past couple of years, I used Oribe shampoo, conditioner, and styling cream. My reasoning for not making the switch earlier was Oribe’s performance and scent (kind of amaaaazing), and really, I just figured, hell, hair is dead, how much damage could I be doing?
Let’s first take a gander at this from a broader perspective. So, the skin is our largest organ, and although it provides a protective barrier, it still allows up to 60% absorption into the bloodstream. (Yes, up to 60% of all the creams and lotions and oils and potions you are rubbing on yourself end up directly in your blood, and all it takes is 26 seconds from application for the chemicals to get in there. Awesome!)
Furthermore, the scalp is one of the most absorbent parts of the body. (More than your face, ladies and gents.) Also? It is the most sensitive part of your skin. It’s just like a big ol’ sponge, soaking up all that chemical-laden goodness you slather on it daily.
I could write for days on specific chemicals that are found in most conventional hair care products, but today, I will only make a few points. Surfactants aren’t great, folks. (These are the chemicals that are used as wetting agents – they trap oil and dirt sticks to it, allowing water to rinse it off.) The problem with surfactants (look for SLS – “Sodium Lauryl Sulfate”, or SLES – “Sodium Laureth Sulfate” on the ingredient list) is that when they are ethoxylated, they produce a carcinogen called 1,4-dioxane. You will never see this compound listed on a label, because it’s a byproduct of other ingredients. But it’s bad, friends. It harbors a very high risk factor for cancer, and should be avoided at all costs. Oh, and something else to chew on? According to a 2007 study by the EWG, 1,4-dioxane is found in 22% of all personal care products and 57% of children’s bath products. Ouch.
(If you want to stay away from 1,4-dioxane, look for the ingredients PEG, polyethylene, polyethylene glycol, sodium laureth sulfate, and most ingredients ending in “eth” or “oxynol.” If you see those ingredients, place the product back on the shelf and back away slowly.)
Other potentially dangerous products in hair care aren’t necessarily the active ones – it’s the preservatives, fragrance, and additives you need to look out for. (Common ones are lauramide DEA, cocamide DEA, MEA, methylparaben, DMDM hydantoin.)
So, should switching to natural/organic hair products be a priority? I say yes. Absolutely.
(Sidenote – When I spoke on green beauty at a conference in Laguna Beach a few weeks ago, the number one question asked of me was about options for natural and organic hair color. I’m researching this right now, and will have a post up in the upcoming months!)
So. Let’s talk about some great, high-performing products that don’t contain any of the above chemicals, but more than that, do what they are supposed to do. I have lots of categories to talk about, but I wanted to first show you my holy grail, everyday products that I absolutely love. These are my MVPs.
Innersense Color Awakening Shampoo – Best scent, totally suds up in my hair (a must for me), makes my hair super shiny and manageable, and allows me to go 3-4 days in between shampoos. It is a godsend. I haven’t pined for good ol’ Oribe once since using this product.
Color Radiance Daily Conditioner – Creamy consistency, rinses out well, moisturizes my hair beautifully without overkill, and once again, the scent is fabulous. Both the shampoo and conditioner (and almost all Innersense products) score a “0” on the Think Dirty app, which arguably holds the strictest standards for personal care products.
Josh Rosebrook Styling Cream – Oh, Josh Rosebrook! Can’t wait to introduce you to his products. Fantastic shampoos, conditioners, styling, and even skincare. This line really wins me over in the styling product category. I simply can’t do without this styling cream. I rub a pea-sized amount in my palms and work through the lower half of my hair. It gives me movement and texture, and is a must-have, really.
Josh Rosebrook Hair Spray – Yes, friends! Hair spray can be natural! This one provides a really good hold – I use it when pulling my hair back or taming my (sometimes crazy ass) bangs.
Josh Rosebrook Lift – Ooh ooh ooh. Looking for a product to apply to damp hair with hopes to pump up the volume and texture? Look no further. My best hair days are when I apply this before drying and finish off with the styling cream.
(psst- for those of you who are Beauty Heroes members, you can get 15% off these products every day in the shop! Another reason to love that service.)
I must talk about Innersense Beauty for a bit. I am in love with this small, super passionate company founded by husband and wife, Greg and Joanne Starkman in Northern California. This company is all about integrity – the products are made with the cleanest, ethically-sourced ingredients, and guess what? THEY PERFORM. They meet my expectations ten-fold, and my bar is set pretty damn high when it comes to hair. I can’t tell you how many green hair products I’ve tried over the past 6 months that were total letdowns. Like a big, fat sad trombone playing in my ear. #wompwompwoommmp
Not the case here, friends. I have loved every single product I’ve tried. (Disclosure – the above products were sent to me care of the company, but I have since purchased with my own moolah many times.)
Some other notables, besides the shampoo and conditioner:
Whipped Creme Texturizer – Great for adding texture. This works really well on fine, straight hair types like my son’s. I work a little bit through his hair to give it movement and volume.
I Create Volume Lotion – This has a nice, gel-like consistency that you can apply to damp hair to create more oomph.
Quiet Calm Curl Control – Curly girls, look no further. In fact, I’m pretty sure you all would love this entire line. Just look at the company’s blog – they have vested interest in curly hair…it’s their specialty!
Sweet Spirit Leave In Conditioner – Perfect for days when your hair needs a little something extra in the moisturizing department. Love this stuff!
One Love Organics Healthy Locks Dry Shampoo Powder – Love the scent, and works well for 2nd, 3rd, 4th-day hair.
(psst – if you make it to the end of this quite lengthy post, I’ve got a fantastic giveaway thanks to Innersense!!)
Oh, Josh Rosebrook, how I love thee. The company is amazing, and his standards are high high high. From the website:
The unmatched level of purity in each and every ingredient we use is a big part of what make our products so unique and effective. All plant ingredients in our skin and hair care products are 100% organic, certified organic or wild-crafted. Our commitment to the absolute highest quality ingredients allows each product formulation to work on an advanced level, where the plant’s active constituents are not inhibited by disruptive, toxic, synthetic ingredients, which allows them to work as a whole, creating powerful synergy and unparalleled transformation.
I’ve already talked about the styling products, but I must mention the shampoos and conditioners are great too. The ones shown above are for Normal to Oily hair, and if you tend to have slightly greasy thing going on with your scalp/hair, I think you would love Balance Shampoo and Conditioner. However, if your hair tends to be dry, the Nourish Shampoo and Conditioner are for you. (I have only tried the Balance line, and they don’t create as much as a lather as Innersense, if you happen to be a sud-lover….)
Dry, flaky scalp? This shampoo and conditioner will be your savior. This is so great for anyone with dry, itchy scalp, especially little ones! I use on both of my kids throughout the winter (and myself when my scalp feels tight/dry), and will probably continue using it in the warmer months. I love how it moisturizes both of my children’s fine, very straight hair without making it look greasy or limp. The company name is MooGoo Skincare, and they have tons of products – lots of great ones for babies and toddlers, for you mamas with little ones!
Another option for kids (which smells like dreamsicles) is the children’s line by Beautycounter. This would be fantastic for those of you with thicker haired little ones – I like it, but it does have the tendency to look a bit greasy on my daughter’s super fine, straight hair.
And speaking of Beautycounter, their Everyday Shampoo and Conditioner is good. Lovely light citrus scent, and would be great for those of you who wash everyday. Gentle, effective, no complaints.
Finally, a couple of more hair care brands that deserve a mention. Rahua makes a great shampoo and conditioner. I have several sample sized bottles of their product, and use them when I travel. (Which has been pretty frequently, as of late.) The brand is based on sustainable business in partnership with women from Amazonian nations such as Waorani, Achuar, Quichua, Quechua and Shuar.
Also, Acure Organics is a great option for those of you looking for a more affordable organic line. I have been very pleased with their Pure Mint + Echinacea shampoo and conditioner for “intense volume,” and they have a great clarifying shampoo. 8 dollars! Awww yeahhh.
So, there you have it! Did I forget anything? Probably, but hey! Leave a comment – I’m usually pretty good about responding in a decent amount of time.
Drumroll, please. I am so thrilled that Innersense Beauty has offered to provide 5 (FIVE!) winners with a full-sized trio set of the Color Awakening Hairbath, Color Radiance Daily Conditioner, Sweet Spirit Leave In Conditioner. (My 3 favorites!) See below for details.
Also, Innersense is offering 20% off first time purchases made on their website, good until March 31, 2016, with free shipping on purchases over $50 (to USA addresses only, however, they do ship internationally.) The code to use at checkout is WHOORL.
Good luck and happy, healthy hair days ahead!