Parabens and Silicone: Chemicals of Hair Care’s Past

The world is turning organic isn’t it? Being as chemical-free as possible has become a sign of the times; eating local food or cage-free chicken and using organic beauty products is par for the 2013 course. Health organizations have spread the message through campaigns to inform us about the hazards of synthetic chemicals in our beauty products. If you have missed those messages, here’s a quick lesson for you on the hair front: parabens and silicones in particular have become the focus of a lot of criticism, and are perceived by many as the last unhealthy players of a cosmetic era that is all but on the out.

Twenty first century beauty is becoming more nature friendly and organic and in some cases, vegan and raw. Parabens, a class of cheap preservatives used to extend the shelf life of hair care products, have been found in breast cancer tumors (an average of 20 nanograms per gram of tissue). Scientists have also pointed out parabens’ ability to slightly mimic estrogen (a hormone known to play a role in the development of breast cancer and to cause the increasing prevalence of early puberty in girls). Parabens’ ability to mimic estrogen in women’s bodies has been shown to aggravate some of the side effects of taking birth control pills, and has been linked to higher infertility rates in today’s 20 to 40-year-old generation. Silicone that is used to smooth hair has also come under recent attack.

Silicone’s chemical coating of the hair shaft that helps hair feel smooth and slick in the short term, can actually cause problems in the long term, such as hair breakage and even hair loss.

They say ignorance is bliss…but in this case, I am all for the knowledge to be out. These are some brands that get the job done without scary parabens or silicones.

Eufora was an early pioneer in chemical free organic hair products.

A new collection of Beautifying Elixirs has been added to its line that delivers luxuriously soft hair by harnessing the powers of nature.

The brand’s Leave In Repair Treatment helps reduce the frizz and coarseness in hair by penetrating the shaft and smoothing the surface from within. I also love the lightweight Beautifying Serum Treatment Oil Formula with Jujui, Argan, Neem and Cranberry Oils to keep hair silky, make it shiny and keep it under control. If your colored hair is really dry and beyond repair, try the Moisture Intense Conditioner, Vibrant Color Complex. It is like a youth mask for hair. Keep it in for at least five minutes to get the full, deep moisturizing effect. When your hair is dry, it will feel baby soft without any residue after the treatment. This is only good for really parched or coarse hair; if your hair does not need to be so moisturized, skip the conditioner or use very little. Eufora uses phenoxyethanol and hexylene glycol and capryl glycol instead of parabens. This blend is 100 percent safe and effective at preserving the products. The entire Beautifying Elixirs Collection does not contain artificial aromas, colorants, sulfates, sodium chloride, parabens, phthalates, gluten, mineral oil, petrolatum, propylene glycol or formaldehyde. It is essentially Mother Nature in a bottle. Available in select salons and at

Herbacin, an herbal shampoo company from Germany, has over 100 years experience in formulating natural and healthy products. The company’s new collection of paraben and silicone free shampoos is enriched with different active ingredients to suit all hair types. Volume brings out healthy, supple and bouncy hair with mango, ginkgo and chamomile. For severely damaged hair, Care uses bamboo, melon and hops to bring out young feeling hair. It uses vegetable glycerin and carbohydrates from sugar to seal moisture and prevent dehydration. The conditioners use almond oil, argan oil and arginine. Very reasonably priced, the collection is available at and

The Daily Shampoo for all hair Types by Glam and Green moisturizes and makes hair supple and soft with organic ingredients such as olive leaf extract with anti-oxidants and other essential oils. The conditioner uses organic Babassu oil instead of silicones to nourish, soften and bring out the shine of hair beautifully. The feeling of your hair after using this product emulates that of a keratin or silicone conditioning. The results make it undeniable that essential oils do the job just as well as their chemical cousins without the side effects. If your hair is not so dry, avoid using a lot of conditioner as it will soften hair to the point of limpness. I like a little body so I only use a small amount. The shine and texture in hair results from the product’s endive and sugar beet. Sulfate-free, paraben-free, and vegan, this green line is available at

These new lines are proof that it is no longer necessary to use chemicals in hair products to achieve a silky smooth shine. Today you can take a shower safely, knowing you are not going to get sick or turn bald from dirty chemicals hiding in your soap suds. Though green was not associated with glamour in the past, the two words have definitely broken the ice and are really the happy pair to watch grow in the future.