By Patricia Wersinger
Many among us still ignore, don’t know or don’t care that standard hair products are mine fields of chemicals, synthetic ingredients and petrochemical derivatives which contribute to high levels of toxicity not only in our bodies but also in the earth’s fresh water systems. Well, don’t blame us. Does anyone really understand any of those Latin sounding ingredients on the back of bottles? Also a lack of standards and labeling loopholes in personal care products does not help inform the naà¯ve consumer about toxicity. In celebration of Earth Day on April 22nd, I want to introduce you to hair companies that have taken nature as inspiration for decades, and show you how being beautiful at the cost of endangering the planet is definitely a thing of the past. This Earth Day we ask you to go green on your hair routine.
Most of the earth-unfriendly chemicals found in shampoos and conditioners such as Sodium Lauryl, Laureth Sulfates, Formaldehyde, Parabens, Phtalates, Triethanolamine, Propylene Glycol, Petroleum and so on (I am sparing you the whole list) are used because they are cheaper than alternatives. Even very expensive brands use them too though. They are only there to help the suds get soapier, give the products a longer shelf life and to smell better. They are not essential for more beautiful or healthier hair. You can use alternative ingredients, low risk chemicals and plants such as those the following companies discovered years ago.
Nature’s Gate was a pioneer in alternative eco-friendly hair care. More than 30 years ago its founders Leo and Vladimir hand-collected rainwater, blended it with natural herbs from their herb shop and created the first Rainwater Shampoo. Nature’s Gate includes a collection of Fruit Blends and Herbal Blends to address distinct hair needs. The Fruit Blends range protects hair from fading with a unique patented form of high potency Sunflower Seed extract. The Chamomile and Lemon Verbena blend for dry, damaged hair is my personal favorite. It rejuvenates fried blond hair, making it pliant, shiny and smelling like a real Chamomile bouquet.
Besides offering products that do not contain earth-endangering chemicals, Nature’s Gate has been partnering with WaterAid since 2008. This international nonprofit organization is dedicated to address the global water and sanitation crisis and to support the development of sustainable uses from rainwater in Africa and Asia. WaterAid has already helped 11 million people gain access to safe water through low-cost, sustainable projects. Additionally, Nature’s Gate just announced a program in conjunction with Bolder to encourage people to save water by mastering the 4-minute shower. When consumers visit either brand’s Facebook page to accept the challenge, they will receive a promo code for 50% off their Nature’s Gate purchase via http://www.natures-gate.com. Additionally, for each challenge accepted, Nature’s Gate will donate $1 to WaterAid (up to $1,000) to further demonstrate the brand’s support for this organization whose mission is to raise awareness about the water crisis, while helping to provide clean water to areas in need.
Available: Health and natural food stores and http://www.natures-gate.com
Another company dedicated to creating beautiful, silky hair without resorting to harsh chemicals and sulfates is Hugo Naturals. Hugo, the brand’s namesake started out hand-crafting soaps with totally natural ingredients. His success in local markets encouraged him to make shampoos with botanicals and low risk chemicals. The collection includes Balancing Shampoos and Conditioners, Color-Protecting, Moisturizing, Restoring, Smoothing, Defining and Volumizing formulas. The Red Tea & Ylang Ylang ultra-moisturizing shampoo and conditioner are formulated with pure botanicals and Argan and Gorgonina oils to hydrate deeply damaged hair, leaving it silky and soft. Hugo Naturals are vegan and gluten-free. They are made from cruelty-free ingredients and contain no parabens, phenoxyethanols, SLS, PEGs, propylene glycol, petroleum products, artificial fragrances, colors, animal fats or alcohols. You can sleep soundly at night when using that company’s hair products that you are not doing any damage to the planet’s water systems.
Available: Natural health and beauty stores and http://www.hugonaturals.com
Created by Aubrey Hampton in 1967 when no one even talked about saving the planet or protecting the environment, Aubrey Organics was the pioneering earth-friendly company. It was the first to discover many of the alternatives used by green companies today such as essential fatty acids in a natural absorption base, Jojoba Oil instead of Petroleum, Evening Primrose, Blue Chamomile, and his signature Rosa Mosqueta, found in the Chilean Andes Mountains.
It was also the first personal care company to be certified as an organic processor. Today it also uses earth friendly packaging materials and no animal testing. Besides a full line of shampoos and conditioners, Aubrey Organics has developed a new line of styling aids such as the NuStyle Organic Detangler & Shine Booster, a USDA and NOP (National Organic Program) certified leave-in shine spray formulated with nutrient-rich ingredients. The anti-frizz ingredients such as Organic Quinoa Protein, Organic Evening Primrose Oil and Organic Aloe are very effective at detangling and smoothing hair after shampoos. The NuStyle Organic Hair-Smoothing Serum replenishes and smoothes out the cuticle, reducing frizz and repairing damaged ends with Organic Quinoa Protein and Organic Jojoba Oil.
If you want to check whether a hair product is toxic or earth-friendly, you can visit the cosmetics database at http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com to investigate. Whether you have a sensitivity to harsh chemicals or you don’t like the idea of swathing your head in crude oil derived emollients, suds and preservatives (keep those for the tank of your car), make a pledge this Earth Day to use hair products that respect the earth as well as human and animal health. And remember to always look for products that contain jojoba oil, nut or seed oils, and natural vegetable plants. Plato said 25 centuries ago that beauty is not skin deep, it has an ethical element to it. His words resonate just as loudly today.