A few months ago I decided to start changing my hairstyle in attempt to straighten my always curly hair. When I went to the store to look for some new styling products, I was shocked to find lots of “natural” options.
Immediately I wondered exactly how “natural” – and safe – they were.
After researching Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetics Database, I discovered that many hair products are now safe. (The Garnier Fructis Style Pure Clean Smoothing Cream that I chose is actually rated as a 2 Low Hazard!)
Here’s the main thing I noticed in my research, though: You can’t necessarily judge a safe (or unsafe) hair styling product based on a particular brand.
As I scoured the database, some brands had products ranked as high hazards and moderate hazards. And high hazards and moderate hazards were found in salon brands, typical drugstore brands, and even natural brands.
As I discovered with shampoos, you just have to do your homework.
And just like with shampoos, the same ingredients caused the hazardous rankings:
- Parabens, including butylparaben, isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben, and propylparaben. (Parabens are known reproductive system toxins and endocrine system disruptors).
- Retinyl Palmitate and Retinol. (Classified as known reproductive toxicants by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration; however, the Environment Canada Domestic Substance List classifies it as something that’s “not expected to be potentially toxic or harmful.”)
- Oxybenzone. (A known hormone disruptor.)
- Fragrance. (Due to trade secrets, a company does not have to disclose the ingredients added to a product’s “fragrance.” So any concoction of chemicals could be used.)
Even though it’s not so terribly convenient, you could memorize these ingredients to avoid. Or, simply keep the list with you while you read labels on your shopping trips.
What are your favorite – and safe – hair styling products?
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