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The ingredients in your shampoo, conditioner, and styling products may be harming your hair-and even your health. Two foaming agents that are widely used in mainstream shampoos and conditioners-sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES)-are highly irritating and are known to cause damage to the hair follicle, hair loss, skin and eye irritation, and allergic reactions such as rashes and hives.
These lather-makers work by lowering the surface tension in water; however, they also dissolve the scalp’s natural oils and strip it of its protective layer. Shampoos that are sulfate-free offer a gentler cleansing option than those that contain these harsh detergents-foaming agents derived from coconut oil, for instance, are milder and gentler, and cleanse just as thoroughly without stripping your hair and scalp of their natural oils.
Other problematic chemicals in mass-market shampoos and conditioners include parabens (methylparaben, propylparaben, isoparaben, or butylparaben), which are added as preservatives to ward off mold and mildew. These chemicals are dangerous because they accumulate in the bloodstream, where they “mimic” naturally occurring hormones such as estrogen, and disrupt endocrine function.
The good news is that there are alternatives to parabens. Citrus seed extract; tea tree and other essential oils; and vitamins A, C, and E are natural preservatives that enhance rather than endanger your health.
When styling your hair, avoid alcohol-based products, which strip moisture and lead to dry, brittle hair. Check ingredients for alcohol denat (denatured), ethanol, propanol, and isopropyl alcohol. Fatty alcohols, however, are moisturizing, and can be identified as stearyl, cetyl, and myristyl alcohols.
Choose wisely, and avoid products with detrimental ingredients, and you’ll never have a bad hair day.
Hair has been called the “barometer for overall health.” In its growth stage, hair relies on a steady supply of nutrients and blood. Since blood flows first to the organs, hair loss and breakage can be a warning sign of circulatory problems. Hair loss can also be a sign that your thyroid isn’t functioning properly or that you don’t have enough protein in your diet.
1. Frizz Fighter
Defrizz hair with Desert Essence Coconut Shine & Refine Hair Lotion. Black oat and coconut (oil and extract) deeply moisturize brittle and breaking hair, yucca cactus and aloe add volume and shine, and vitamin E and panthenol (vitamin B5) strengthen without weighing hair down.
2. Peak Conditioning
Avoid tress distress with John Masters Organics Citrus & Neroli Detangler. This lightweight conditioner eliminates tangles and leaves hair shiny. Borage oil hydrates, wheat amino acids and soy proteins strengthen and add shine, and citrus essential oils provide an uplifting scent. Rinse out, or leave in for more manageability.
3. Play in the Mud
Share the ancient Moroccan beauty secret and wash your hair with mud. Shea Terra Organics Moroccan Mud-Poo is a mineral-rich clay found only in the Atlas Mountains that cleans and absorbs oils and toxins. Moisturizing marula, olive, watercress, henna, and calendula oils condition and strengthen hair without chemicals.
4. Living Color
Say no to toxic dyes with Herbatint Permanent Haircolor Gel. This ammonia-free hair color features a blend of eight organic herbal extracts to tone and soften hair and enhance color. Choose from 36 shades, all of which can be mixed to create your perfect color. You also get 100 percent gray coverage.
5. Shower Fresh
Go an extra day or two from your last shampoo with Acure Dry Shampoo. Cornstarch, arrowroot powder, and kaolin clay absorb oil and remove grime without water. Rosemary and peppermint give the light powder a fresh scent. It’s easy and convenient: just rub into scalp and comb or brush out.