We’ve all become pretty adroit at reading food labels. No longer sucked in by the “diet this” or “healthy that” on the front of the package, we quickly scan the label for the bad stuff… excess sugars, sodium, bad fats etc… Yet, we largely give shampoos a pass… until recently. The best clean shampoos are natural, healthful & restorative. Come to expect dead sexy hair without the toxins you shouldn’t be massaging into your scalp.
A celebrity is any well-known TV or movie star who looks like he spends more than two hours working on his hair. – Steve Martin
The Bad Stuff
Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way.
Your skin & scalp are surprisingly absorbent (dermal exposure) when it comes to passing toxins & chemicals into the bloodstream. Skin does act as a barrier for things like UV rays, bateria & larger particles.
Smaller particles (nanoparticles) however, can make their way into your bloodstream, to varying degrees. There is an entire industry of medications, nicotine patches etc… that are designed to be absorbed through the skin.
Our friends at Ursa Major put together a good article on this, if you’d like more info.
There are a number of toxins in hair products that we really don’t want to absorb, including:
- Sulfates – make for a soapy texture but really harsh on your scalp & can cause irritation. Sulfates can also make your hair dry & brittle.
- Polyethylene Glycols (PEG) – thickening agents containing ethylene oxides & dioxane that are harmful to health
- Parabens – a preservative to prevent bacteria from growing in your shampoo. Easily absorbs into your skin, can mimic estrogen & have been linked to hormone disruption & breast cancer
- Sodium Chloride – salt… makes the shampoo/conditioner thicker. Can create a dry and itchy scalp, promoting hair loss
- Formaldehyde – (goes by other names, like quaternium-15) Common in shampoos & a known human carcinogen
- Alcohol – fun in a glass, less so in a shampoo. The further up the ingredient list the more alcohol. Has a drying effect
- Fragrance – If fragrance is included in the list, then it’s synthetic fragrance. Synthetic fragrances include hundreds of chemicals. Linked to disruption of reproductive systems, cancer, asthma…
Chemicals down the drain – The Environment
Moving to the best clean shampoos also protects the environment. What doesn’t make its way into your bloodstream will make it’s way down the drain & eventually back into the water system.
The Good Stuff – Benefits of Clean Shampoos
Although the best clean shampoos typically don’t produce the type of lather your used to, the benefits are numerous:
- Natural oils are restored to scalp & hair
- No more itchy scalp
- Thicker, fuller, stronger hair
- Stimulates growth of new hair
- Hair’s natural moisture is restored
- Natural fragrances are derived from natural sources
- Clean shampoos help PREVENT THE LOSS OF DYED HAIR COLOR
- Protects you & the environment from harmful chemicals
- Full of antioxidants – fends off free radicals impacting hair & body
Fortunately there are several brands on the market that focus on your hair, your health and the environment.
Best Clean Shampoos & Hair Treatments