It’s proven that a green diet promotes a healthy body and mind. Knowing this, the beauty industry has flooded the market with products containing every mineral, vegetable, and fruit and boasting of their amazing effects on hair.
The question is, do all-natural ingredients have the same positive effect on the hair as on the body?
Yes and no: There are certainly advantages, but there are some disadvantages, too, which may surprise you.
The common shampoo ingredient Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) is the number one reason most people make the switch to natural products. A very common reaction is scalp irritations from SLS. SLS has also been linked to cancer, neurotoxicity, organ toxicity, and endocrine disruption. Most people I know go SLS-free for these reasons. Even with the scientific results, however, we don’t all make the switch. If you personally have any concerns, it’s totally up to you to switch.
Recently I had a new client in my chair for a blow-dry. After styling her hair I noticed it was very limp and oily. I thought the assistant at our salon might have used too much conditioner and didn’t rinse well enough afterwards.
A few weeks later the client returned for a haircut and I personally shampooed her hair and used only a tiny bit of conditioner. When I started cutting her hair, I observed a strange residue layering it. As we talked, it turned out the client was only using all-natural shampoos and conditioners. Her products were so intense that they left her hair feeling almost gummy and lifeless.
We returned to the sink and I shampooed her hair twice with a clarifying shampoo. It stripped her hair of the product buildup and transformed it, giving it movement and shine again.
The basic problem here was her shampoo wasn’t cleansing enough, so it kept depositing oils. Her conditioner did, too.
My concern here was the possibility of hair loss: If the hair is coated that much with oil, can you imagine the scalp? And where does the hair come from? The scalp, of course, so it’s vital to keep it unclogged.
I advised her to find a new all-natural product with less oil and to invest in an all-natural clarifying shampoo and use it every two weeks. Here are my recommendations of clarifying shampoos for the “health conscious” person.
The first is the Clarifying Cream Shampoo by Ouidad. It contains no Parabens, sulphates and phthalates.
The second Lisas Hair Elixir ‘s by Carol’s daughter. It contains no parabens, sulphates, petroleum, mineral oils or artificial colors.
Another factor when choosing a shampoo is whether or not you color your hair. If you do color, remember that color-treated hair is very different from virgin hair, and you’ll want to be careful that the shampoo is not too aggressive for your hair type and color. When I worked in a salon in L.A., there was an essential oil counter where they would mix all these lovely varieties into body oils, creams, and perfumes. Believe it or not, we also used the same oils to remove hair color. Even the smallest amounts of some oils can release color molecules, which will cause fading. This is especially true for blonds. Hairstylists spend time perfecting blond tones with glosses to give you the coolest blond or warm tones, and you don’t ruin want to ruin that!
Chemical-infused shampoos do have negative affects on hair color too. Depending on your hair type, SLS may fade hair color. In my experience this mainly happens with very fine, brittle hair. In this case, it’s fine to use a shampoo that is low in SLS or has no SLS.
Here is my my recommendation for shampoo that is not as “natural” as those above, but close and great for fine hair. Full Foam Volumizing Shampoo by Orlando Pita. I use this every day in the salon on my clients with fine hair. It’s paraben free, sulphate free and not tested on animals.
Conditioners can also be an issue. People tend to stay away from conditioners and hair masks that contain parabens and silicones—and rightfully so. In this day and age, who needs unnecessary chemicals? For the plant lovers I recommend the Phytoelixir Intense Nutrition Masque. It contains no Paragons or PhthalatesHowever, when I have a very dry, breaking, damaged, or frizzy head of hair in my sink, I tend to pull out the big boy. Sometimes I need a little technology in my mask to fulfill the task. (Oh yes, some freestyle rhyming!) The combination of high-grade silicones, moisture, oil, extracts, and proteins can really bring life back to the most neglected or overtreated head of hair.
For my clients with fine, mature hair, I swear by the Big Revival Bodifying Hair Mask by Orlando Pita. This product is winning the hearts of my clients and beauty editor’s worldwide! It’s paraben free and not tested on animals.
If you are in major trouble and have thick dry hair then I have the hair mask for you! The Orlando Pita Play Satin Pillow Overnight Hair Mask is everything! With ingredients like Amla Oil, Avocado Oil, wheat protein blend, shea butter, coconut oil, and olive oil, this hair mask can be left in over-night or rinsed at the sink. It also contains hydrolyzed keratin, A natural protective agent that adds visual shine and improved feel to hair. And Neoessence Hemisqualane – 100% Brazilian sugarcane derived emollient that harnesses the power of fermentation to reduce frizz, protect color, seal cuticle, protect from heat, and improve comb ability ( I told you I bring out the big boys).
Realistically, there is something for everyone in the world of all-natural products.
If you decide you’d like to use all-natural hair products, consult with your hairstylist for recommendations, and if your hairstylist can’t offer advice, find another stylist who can.
Do not take hair product advice from the salespeople at the health food store, they are not stylists, so they do not understand hair like we do. When we hairstylists recommend products to you, we make suggestions based on your hair type, your hairstyle, and your lifestyle. In my personal experience, some chemical and/or alcohol is needed to get the most out of a blow-dry or hairstyle. But if a client brings in his or her own chemical-free products, by all means, I will use them.
The decision is a personal one, of course. My job is to share my professional experience and my hope is that you will do some experimenting of your own. This may mean getting rid of every hair product you own and starting over if you’re not happy with the results you’re getting right now. If any of you readers have a product to recommend, or find a new one when you’re experimenting, I’d love to hear about it.
My closing thought—something I tell my clients frequently—is:
“Don’t allow the products you don’t need to prevent you from buying the products you do need.”