Will Nature Nurture Your Hair?
-Laura Miller, Divine Caroline
If you’re like me, one of the first things you probably notice about anything organic is the price—it’s almost always higher than the non-organic item. With all the press organics has gotten, we know that food grown without questionable conventional pesticides and animals raised without freaky growth hormones are said to be better for our bodies. But what about the personal care items that come into contact with our skin, eyes, lips, and hair on a daily basis? Are natural, organic formulas really better? Do the shampoos, conditioners and styling products you use on your hair truly affect its looks, strength and overall health? It’s all food for thought.
Depending on your age, you might remember when the Aveda Corporation, now part of Estée Lauder Companies Inc., came onto the scene in 1978, with its hair products rooted in the essential oils of flowers and plants. In the 1960s, wearing flowers in one’s hair was an of-the-moment accessory, but cleaning and moisturizing hair with them was a newer concept. Aveda was big news then, and the company is still totally committed to producing hair products, as well as skin care and make up, from natural resources found around the world. Products that are high performers, yet are gentle to you and to the earth, are the hallmarks of the Aveda brand.
The Blue and Black Malva shampoos that were the staples of years past are now joined by Shampure, Sap Moss and Be Curly shampoos, to name a few. All Aveda products address a specific need with ingredients that are natural and often organic. The products have luscious aromas, too, which is always a plus.
Another big player in the organic hair game is Nature’s Gate Organics. The entire line is certified organic and vegan, and is sold in recyclable packaging. The company fully understands the sentiment I alluded to above—that we’re aware of organic food’s benefits for our insides, but often forget to consider them for our beloved outsides. Casi Morris, Nature’s Gate’s director of marketing says, “At Nature’s Gate, we recognize and understand that many consumers are concerned regarding the potential dangers of over-processed ingredients and harsh chemicals in beauty products. Accordingly, the holistic view of overall health includes not only the products one uses internally but also the products one applies topically.”
Nature’s Gate shampoos use a mild surfactant to clean hair rather than sodium laureth sulfate (sls), which, by the way, is a detergent that causes shampoo, toothpaste and various soaps to foam up. Unfortunately, many people associate foam and bubbles with cleanliness. Remember the scrubbing bubbles on the television commercial? No one needs that on his or her scalp! The harsh ingredients such as sls that are in most grocery and drug store brand shampoos can strip your hair of its natural oils and make it dry and unmanageable. To get down to brass tacks here, it would stand to reason that if you cleanse your hair with herbs and flowers as opposed to the ingredients used to make laundry detergent, your locks are going to show you more love.
Searching for something with no artificial colors, fragrances, parabens (have you heard about parabens? Well, that’s a subject for another article), wheat, gluten and cruelty free, and 100 percent vegan? Try the Desert Essence line of organic hair care products, featuring shampoos and conditioners with luscious names such as Green Apple and Ginger, Italian Red Grape, Red Raspberry and Lemon Tea Tree. The company says each product has a special ingredient that causes a reaction and soothes your hairs woes with its natural and organic compounds. Desert Essence relies on coconut oil and sugar-based cleaners, once again avoiding the laundry detergent type mega-sudsy stuff. Did you know that Desert Essence was the first brand to introduce tea tree oil to the United States?
I’ve used hair products from the lines I’ve talked about here at some point in my life, all with wonderful results. But I have to be honest and tell you that I’ve been blessed with good hair. Many deal with an oily scalp, which can be difficult as so many shampoos are formulated for people with chemically treated, dry hair.
I am more conscious now than ever about trying to do good things for my body—both inside and out. Using organic hair products makes sense to me, as our hair is our crowning glory. And why, especially if you’ve spent money on pricey highlights or straightening treatments at a salon, would you want to use anything but the most gentle cleansers and moisturizers with natural emollients on your precious, pay-check-robbing, yet fabulous-looking, hair? It’s kind of like thinking about how you feel after you eat a bag of cheese puffs versus how you feel after you eat a red, shiny apple. Your hair knows the difference between junk food and nutritious meals.