Did you ever check your beauty products for hazardous ingredients? Here is how to choose the best “clean” product for your hair.
We all know today that organic food, free of synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers or other harmful additives is better for us and the environment. But did you ever think about the components of your beauty products and if they could harm you and our environment?
Similar to our growing demand for ecological-friendly products we should become more demanding as far as our beauty and hair products’ safety is concerned.
Even if more and more organizations take responsibility in monitoring and checking beauty products for harmful substances, they cannot filter for us all “clean” or “dangerous” products on the market. And with all these different brands, unclear-scientific ingredients and labels, we have trouble getting our bearings!
According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has no authority to require companies to test cosmetics products for safety. The agency does not review or approve the vast majority of products or ingredients before they go on the market (except for certain cosmetics color additives and active ingredients). On the contrary, the European Union has banned hundreds of chemicals in cosmetics (European Commission 2012).
As a matter of fact, everybody is daily exposed to cosmetics ingredients (breathing in sprays and powders, swallowing chemicals on the lips or hands or absorbing them through the skin), which become common pollutants in the bodies of men, women and children. For instance, they can increase risk of sperm damage, feminization of the male reproductive system and low birth weight in girls (Duty 2003, Hauser 2007, Swan 2005, Wolff 2008).
This is why the awareness and popularity of “clean” products increased exponentially. But on which criteria can we distinguish a “clean” product from a “dangerous” one? Manufacturers can choose to write “natural” and “green” adjectives for particularly allergenic and irritating products, which could contain both harmful chemicals and 100% natural others.
Here are the worst potential components you can find in haircare products (especially in dyes) and that you should avoid or minimize:
- Coal tar hair dyes and other coal tar ingredients (including Aminophenol, Diaminobenzene, Phenylenediamine (called PPD))
- Parabens (specifically Propyl-, Isopropyl-, Butyl-, and Isobutyl- parabens):
- PEGs/Ceteareth/Polyethylene compounds
Those ingredients may have many other synonyms, which does not make things easier. The simplest thing you can do is to follow those general tips (ewg.org):
- Hair dyes: Minimize use of dark, permanent hair dyes. Many contain coal tar ingredients, including aminophenol, diaminobenzene, and phenylenediamine, linked to cancer.
- Chemical hair straightener: Many hair straightening treatments use harsh or toxic ingredients, and make misleading safety claims. We recommend you avoid chemical hair straighteners. If you choose to use, avoid keratin treatments.
Check if your personal products contain hazardous ingredients on http://www.ewg.org/skindeep
Or use the app Think Dirty® in stores before buying.
Ecocert, Soil Association, Cosmebio, ICEA, BDIH, OASIS, NPA, and NSF are the various standards existing in Europe, Asia Pacific, North America and other regions, aims at regulating and certifying the organic products. In addition, international and regional organizations such as Cosmos and NaTrue standardize the organic personal care industry. Find brands with the BDIH "Certified Natural Cosmetics" here :
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