“Organic” when it comes to hair products, may surprise you!
The word “organic” conjures up images of shampoo made from botanical extracts, conditioner made from olive oil, and hair color made from vegetable dye. But what does organic really mean and are organic hair products worth the extra money?
We asked Carla Millar, a licensed Certified Public Health Professional and cosmetologist, to answer the question; Are organic hair products better for us? Here is what Carla shared with Hairstyle Blog.
As a licensed professional it’s my job to analyze marketing claims made by manufacturers. That being said, I have a big problem with “organic” product companies and the bogus claims they make that give the public a false sense of security. I have pulled the Material Data Safety Sheets (MSDS) on many of these companies and compared them to the peer-reviewed research published in academic journals (this is something I always do when approached by distributors in the salon). My findings thus far have been that their marketing slogans completely conflict with their ingredients.
How do they get away with it?
Neither the FDA nor the USDA certifies cosmetic products as organic. In fact, they don’t even regulate the companies that provide “organic” certifications. This means that literally anybody can label a beauty product as organic without answering to anyone.
The main things missing from “organic” products are regulation and research. Scary when you consider organic chemicals include anything derived from a plant, animal, or fungus along with pesticides and fertilizers. Even if all the ingredients in a product are organic, that doesn’t mean that the production methods are safe, environmentally sustainable, or cruelty-free.
“Organic” hair dyes?
Hair dyes used in all hair color (with the exception of Henna) are derived from petroleum or coal sources. These “coal-tar dyes” are organic materials and are exempt from FDA regulation. Depending on the type of color, you will also find hydrogen peroxide and/or ammonia. Both are organic chemicals. What’s truly disturbing though is that many “organic” companies tout “sulfate-free” hair color but their MSDS sheets list “sulfate” as an ingredient. Sulfates are not organic.
Sulfate-free shampoo? Sounds logical, right? Well, you might be surprised to learn that there are sulfates even in our drinking water. Certain sulfates become a threat to hair when they are absorbed into the hair’s cortex (inner structure). Like chlorine, these salts get trapped inside the hair and are activated with heat and/or moisture. The result is fading, split ends, and breakage.
Not all sulfates are harmful. Ammonia in shampoo however, is very harmful to hair. It raises the cuticle and allows the sulfates to penetrate into the cortex. This is just one example of how “organic” in the label of a hair product does not necessarily mean it’s better for you.
For more discussion about organic hair products you might find these articles interesting: