Monday, September 8, 2008

Natural Beauty Products Review: Shampoos, Conditioners and Hair Gel

Britney wants more, Paris needs less and everyone wants Jennifer’s. Hair tops the list of what women obsess about the most. A great hair day can give us confidence and a little bounce in our step.

But what price do we pay for gorgeous hair? Does great hair have to be a byproduct of rubbing dangerous chemicals into our scalp that seep through the skin and blood, to circulate to every corner of our bodies? Nature is on the way to save you and your hairdo.

It is simply critical to use natural hair products that don’t use sodium lauryl sulfate or other chemical surfactants. SLS is a manmade substance manufactured from a toxic petroleum derivative, ethylene oxide gas, that believe me is neither ecological nor sustainable. To bring nature back to my hair, I started experimenting and sampling months ago and used 10 different organic and all natural hair products on a random basis, switching brand shampoos/conditioners/hair gels each day. So when I developed a very itchy dry scalp and clogged hair follicles (nasty scalp pimples!) for the first time in my life, I had no idea which product I had reacted adversely to. So it was back to the drawing board with a strict 5 consecutive days of one brand experiment before I switched to another. I learned which ones I must avoid, which ones really worked, and now can say my hair has never looked so shiny and healthy and clean.

After weeks of experiments in my shower laboratory, I have discovered those hair products that are 100% natural and 100% gorgeous. And since I like a good lather, I prefer products that still allow me to make my soapy hair soup without sodium lauryl sulfate or other chemicals. I’ll confess that I am blessed with pretty great hair – dark brown, shiny, slight wave, normal to oily, shoulder length and overall easy to manage. So I don’t have major hair issues except that my hair is sensitive to change. It can lose its shape pretty quickly in a strong wind, after a good head tossing nap or 4 hours in an airplane. So I added these factors to my natural experiment and exposed my hair to the elements and as many naps as possible.

My recommended natural hair products:
- Max Green Alchemy: all pure plant origin products, certified vegan and cruelty-free
o Scalp Rescue Shampoo, Conditioner and Hair gel: shampooed into a great lather, conditioned well to strengthen and shine, gel is alcohol-free without waxy build up; 100% plant derived, chemical-free, paraben-free and this amazing trio cured my itchy dry scalp while proving gentle enough for everyday use
o Skin Deep score: 0.7!
- Dr. Hauschka: this company practices sustainable, eco-friendly business practices from recyclable and biodegradable packaging to organic and naturally derived ingredients, all free of synthetic fragrances
o Nasturtium & Lemon shampoo: for normal to oily hair; $13 for 8.4 oz.
o Apricot & Sea Buckthorn shampoo: for dry to damaged hair; $13 for 8.4 oz.
o Jojoba & Marsh Mallow Conditioner: $14.50 for 8.4 oz.
o Skin Deep score: not rated
- Burt’s Bees: an earth friendly, natural personal care company making a wide range of natural products formulated to help you maximize your well-being and protect your environment – and to make our busy lives easier, these winners are widely available in health food and drug stores.
o More Moisture Raspberry & Brazil Nut Shampoo: uses coconut and sunflower oils to naturally clean, raspberry extract antioxidants to protect hair from sun and pollution and naturally smell “Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific!”; $8 for 12 oz.
o More Moisture Raspberry & Brazil Nut Conditioner: marula and brazil nut oils provide a deep conditioning without product build up; $8 for 12 oz.
o Avocado Butter Pre-Shampoo Hair Treatment: take the time to do this once a week for at least 5 minutes before shampooing, this treatment of avocado and olive oils soothe your scalp and rosemary, almond oil and nettle provides a glossy shine; $9 for 4.34 oz.
o Skin Deep score: 1-3

While conducting this experiment, my friend supermodel Carol Alt told me how she has washed her long luscious hair with a flower. Yes. Just flower petals and water. I’m sure that there are many other natural ways to clean your hair. Let us know if you have your own homemade solutions. Our chemical-free ears are open.
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