Self-care is a commitment we believe the modern woman should invest time and effort into, and loving your hair naturally is just one way to do so.
Of course, this commitment comes with an ongoing responsibility to be more aware of the kinds of products you are using on your hair and how it affects your body and the environment around you. Hair products are often filled with toxic chemicals that give your hair initial and short-term gratification, but in the long run, these ingredients can be extremely harmful to your hair, causing more bad than good.
When it comes to hair care, simpler is always better. There are so many amazing hair products on the market that use all-natural and clean ingredients, to help maintain healthy hair. That’s why we encourage you to break up with these toxic chemicals in your hair products and learn to love your hair naturally.
Commonly Found Chemicals in Your Hair Products:
Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS) / Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)Key foaming agent commonly found in shampoos. Also found in industrial strength detergents and cleaning agents (e.g. garage floor cleaners).
Issue Caused by Chemical: Dryness
SLS/SLES is the main ingredient that gives your shampoo that wonderful lather and soapiness, however, this fun, bubbly ingredient is one of the top chemicals to avoid in hair products. The biggest issue caused by this chemical is that it is extremely drying to your hair as it strips away your hair’s natural oils. It’s also known as a skin irritant and there have been reports on complaints including split ends, swelling of the arms, face or hands, scalp irritation, eye irritation. Being a key ingredient in industrial strength cleansing agents, if it can clean a garage floor, it is definitely not worthy of being responsible for cleansing your delicate hair.
Commonly found in hair gels and hair sprays. Developed to dissolve oils (e.g. used in antifreeze, wood finish and shellac).
Issue Caused by Chemical: Dryness
Dissolves oils? Sounds great for greasy hair right? Well, when thinking about it, this would also cause the natural oils in your hair to be dissolved as well, leaving it extremely dry, frizzy, and dull. This chemical is also typically found in hair gels and sprays because it is able to hold and stick your hair strands together. Eventually, because of this, it may cause your hair to break off one strand at a time.
Issue Caused by Chemical: Scalp Irritation
This chemical is found in almost everything from shampoos to hair dyes. The reason it is so commonly used is because it is a skin conditioning agent that creates the appearance of shiny and smooth hair. Unfortunately, this also comes with scalp irritation and brittleness as it breaks down the hair of its natural proteins.
Commonly used to deep clean oil and grease (e.g. for oven usage).
Issue Caused By Chemical: Brittleness
Polyethylene Glycol is usually used in hair products to mix oil and water based ingredients together, however, it contains a compound called Ethylene Oxide, which is a possible carcinogen. Not only that, this chemical causes the breakdown of your hair strands causing them to be weak and brittle, as they are such harsh cleaning agents. Your hair will never need this much deep cleaning to remove grease from your hair. Natural oils are very important to the overall health and strength of your hair, and by using such a harsh deep cleaner, it can be one of the biggest dangers to your hair health.
How to Tell If Your Hair Products Contain These Toxic Chemicals?
Read The Top 5 Ingredients
Sometimes, it can be a little intimidating when reading the ingredients on the back of your hair products, but one of our biggest healthy hair tips is to take control and learn simple ways to read through these ingredients. If you come across a word that sounds like it belongs in a science paper rather than in your hair, ditch the product.
Hair products also list their ingredients from highest to lowest concentration, so we recommend to purchase products with toxic chemical ingredients at the very bottom of the list.
Use the “Think Dirty” App
“Think Dirty” is a free app, which is an amazing way to learn about the toxic ingredients found in your hair products and personal care products in general.
Simply scan the product’s barcode on the app and it will provide you with a “Dirty Meter”, a comprehensive rating, along with detailed and easy-to-understand information about the chemicals to avoid in hair products, certifications, health impacts and healthy hair tips.
There are over 550,000 products listed on the app, so chances are the product will be there on the app and ready to provide a rating. Start taking control of the chemicals in your hair products and purchase consciously. Your inner and outer self will truly thank you for it.
Alternatives to Chemical Filled Hair Products: How to get Healthy Hair, Naturally
All Natural Shampoo & Conditioners
All natural shampoos and conditioners with organic ingredients are a great alternative to chemical-filled hair products. Depending on the brand you choose, they can be full of effective ingredients rich in essential oils, proteins and vitamins to keep your hair healthy, naturally. It is often falsely believed that these natural products won’t clean your hair as effectively as their chemical-ridden counterparts since they aren’t filled with foaming agents, however, these products won’t cause irritation, dryness, or breakage. They may not come out super foamy and sudsey, but they will clean your hair, and help you achieve beautiful, healthy hair naturally.
Use More Coconut Oil In Your Hair Routine
If you’ve ever wondered how to get healthy hair naturally, Coconut Oil is a miracle worker in more ways than one. Whether it is in your food, skin or hair care routine, the benefits are endless. If you are looking for a natural alternative to a conditioning hair treatment for dry/damaged hair or for frizz control, Coconut Oil is your go-to hair product. The fatty acids from the oil traps and locks the moisture inside your hair strands, leaving it feeling soft and shiny in the most natural way possible.
How to get Healthy Hair Naturally: Natural Heat Protectants
Whether it’s curling, straightening, or blow-drying your hair, applying excess heat can be very damaging to your hair. We recommend to always use heat protectants prior to heat styling, and better yet, natural options. Grapeseed oil and almond oil are ideal natural heat protectants because they have high heat points and can withstand the heat from your straighteners and curlers. They are also rich in Vitamins A, E, D, B1, B2 and B6. We also recommend using shea butter, as it creates a natural barrier around your hair strands, protecting them from the applied heat. Both of these will help you grow strong, healthy and gorgeous hair for the long-term.
You deserve this kind of awareness when it comes to the hair products you are using each and every day. We hope this article will inspire you to break up with chemicals in your hair products and to to build a lifelong health-conscious beauty routine.
Written by: Natalie Alysa