There are so many types of shampoos available today that it’s hard to know which is best not only for your hair, but also for your health and the earth. The general rule for shampoo is the fewer ingredients, the less likely you are to experience buildup.
One of the ingredients common to shampoos is sodium laureth (or lauryl) sulfate, sometimes listed as SLS. Not only has SLS long been suspected (though as yet not proven) to have links to cancer, but it is very harsh on hair, stripping the shaft of moisture, which means of course that you need to use more conditioner to remoisturize, then wash more frequently. SLS is a foaming agent—it helps work up a rich, foamy lather. But don’t be fooled—the foamy suds are not what get your hair clean. Terreessentials shampoo is clay based, basically the opposite of foam, and it works very well to get hair clean and shiny. Prairie Naturals, Druide and Ferlow Botanicals are popular Canadian-made shampoo and conditioner lines free of SLS.
Parabens are usually used as preservatives in hair products. Check the labels for these hormone-mimicking chemicals—Avalon Organics products have recently become paraben free. Be aware, though, that they now use food-grade potassium sorbate as a preservative instead, which some people like to avoid.
German manufacturers must label beauty care products containing parabens as carcinogenic—since no one wants to see that on their product label, most German-made hair products do not contain parabens.
If you are trying to wash that grey right out of your hair, you’re going to have a hard time doing it without chemicals. There are some “natural” hair tints and dyes on the market, but you should really think of them as “less chemical.” Naturcolor and Herbatint are two Italian-made products that have been around for years, and are ammonia and resorcinol free—the inside track tells me Herbatint lasts a little longer. For a chemical-free colour job, try henna, which is a natural tint that will condition and coat the hair with colour, though it is not as effective as dye for covering up the grey.
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