Many people raise their brows when they learn about organic shampoo. After all, you don’t eat shampoo, so what harm could a few chemicals possibly do?
The truth is, however, that skin, scalp, and hair absorb toxins fairly easily, and because many people use shampoo every day, or even twice a day, there are serious concerns about the long term effects of such frequent exposure to chemicals.
And unfortunately, many conventional shampoos do contain a number of chemicals that are known to be irritants, xenoestrogens, neurotoxins, and even carcinogens.
One of the most common ingredients in many conventional shampoos is sodium lauryl sulfate. Used as a sudsing agent in shampoos, this chemical is a known eye and skin irritant, and is suspected of causing neurological and reproductive damage.
Several common preservatives used in many shampoo brands are methyl-, propyl-, or butylparabens, which mimic the effect of estrogen in the body ad can lead to a condition called estrogen dominance, associated with higher risks of infertility, miscarriage, and several types of cancer.
Organic shampoos offer a safer alternative to toxic conventional shampoos, but unfortunately, organic cosmetics are not as regulated as organic foods and the industry is subject to a certain amount of “greenwashing.”
True organic shampoos should be free of synthetic fragrances and colors, preservatives made from parabens or urea, phthalates, and harsh detergents, among others. To investigate your favorite shampoo in more depth, a great starting point is the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database.
Five Eco-Friendly Shampoos For Beautiful, Healthy Hair
Here are five organic shampoos that rate high on both safety and effectiveness.
Aubrey Organics is one of the most respected names in organic cosmetics, and their Blue Camomile Hydrating Shampoo is one of the most popular organic choices for normal hair. It is rated 2 (low risk) by the Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database, and smells fantastic while leaving your hair clean, silky, and manageable. The shampoo is certified vegan and not tested on animals.
Kiss My Face Whenever Shampoo has a unique, refreshing fragrance combining green tea and lime. Rated a 3 (low risk) by the Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database, this shampoo is gentle enough for everyday use, but effective, despite its light lather. The shampoo is 100% biodegradable and not tested on animals.
For salon-quality organics, Giovanni Hair Care is a popular choice. Giovanni’s Magnetic Energizing Shampoo has an invigorating peppermint scent and leaves hair shiny, soft, and clean. It is rated 2 (low risk) by the Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database.
The ingredient list for Nurture My Body Organic Fragrance Free Volumizing Shampoo reads more like a menu than a shampoo. Oats! Marshmallow! Honey! It is almost entirely botanical and is rated 0 (low risk) by the Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database. Gentle, yet effective, it leaves your hair feeling clean, soft, and full.
Infants and young children are more susceptible to toxins in shampoos and other hair care products, so it is especially important to use non-toxic shampoos for them. A popular organic baby shampoo brand is California Baby. Their Super Sensitive Shampoo and Bodywash is rated a 1 (low risk) by the Skin Deep Cosmetics Safety Database, and many parents have reported that this gentle, fragrance free shampoo and body wash relieves eczema symptoms!
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