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After I started experiencing seizures — and not getting answers from doctors — I began conducting my own research. I was alarmed to find that many beauty products contain ingredients that can cause damage to the brain and body. Although I didn’t immediately overhaul ALL my household items, I soon replaced my shampoo. Read on to discover the best nontoxic shampoo that still delivers the shine and vibrancy that you experience with conventional shampoos.
Why nontoxic shampoo?
Just about every conventional shampoo contains these ingredients:
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: a surfactant (the foaming agent that makes shampoo lather up) that poses risks to the organ system and can irritate the eyes and skin.
- Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate/Sodium Laureth Sulfate: also a surfactant and detergent. Over time, it strips your hair of its natural oils. As someone with oily hair, for a long time I considered this a good thing. However, eventually your scalp will start overproducing oil to compensate, negating the shampoo’s effects.
- Parabens: parabens are a preservative that extends the shelf life of cosmetics. They mimic estrogen, disrupt hormone functions, and have been linked to breast cancer, reproductive, and neurological issues. Though individual products contain only trace amounts of parabens, the fact that they’re in so many products means that they can cause cumulative damage over time.
- Formaldehyde: Yes, the same chemical used in dissections for biology labs. I first learned about the use of formaldehyde in nail polish. Luckily I’ve found both nontoxic nail polish and non-acetone polish remover. Recently, though, I discovered that formaldehyde is also in shampoo and straightening products. Often, the label masks this ingredient under other names. Learn what to look for on labels as well as potential cancer links.
- Triclosan: The FDA banned this substance in antibacterial soaps, but it still shows up in shampoos. It is a known hormone disrupter, leading to neurological, thyroid, and reproductive issues. It is also damaging to the environment, going down our drains and infecting fresh water supplies and poisoning marine life.
- Synthetic fragrances: Chances are, if you look on the back of your shampoo bottle or any cosmetic product for that matter, you’ll see “fragrances” as one of the ingredients. What does this mean, exactly? Under an FDA loophole, companies can use this label to conceal a wide-range of questionable ingredients including acetaldehyde (poses threats to the kidneys and nervous system), benzophenone (linked to liver tumors), and butoxyethanol (nose irritant that can cause long term damage to the respiratory system and blood cells).
Now, you might be thinking, But shampoo contains minuscule amounts of these ingredients. Plus, after I wash my hair, I feel just fine. Remember, though, that they build up over time. It’s like eating a candy bar. Every once in a while won’t make a difference, but if you eat them all the time, your health will likely be affected.
My Search for a Good Shampoo
Since I was a kid, I’ve struggled with oily hair. This improved slightly when I moved from South Texas to Southern California, as one contributor to my oily hair was the Texas humidity. However, it was still an issue.
When I started dying my hair, the issue magically went away! My hair was smooth and glossy, with no hint of grease.
As you can imagine, though, this was damaging to my hair over time. When the dye faded out, you could see how dry and brittle my hair was. A trail of my own hair followed me wherever I went. Also, the constant maintenance annoyed me.
Eventually, I decided to stop dying my hair. I needed to find a shampoo, then, that was made for oil hair. I finally found something that worked with Ion Clarifying Shampoo. Unfortunately, this shampoo contains a wealth of toxic ingredients including some of the ones listed above.
Enter the Best Nontoxic Shampoo
After doing some searching, I finally came across Hairprint’s All Natural Chelating Shampoo, which is 99% plant based. As a chelating shampoo, it removes mineral buildups caused by hard water, styling products, and pollution. Living in Los Angeles, where the water quality is very poor, having a chelating shampoo was important to me.
Most importantly, the shampoo contains a host of fermented, plant-based ingredients that are great for your hair while cutting out all the bad stuff.
Here are just a few benefits of this all natural shampoo:
- Fragrance, paraben, and sulfate free
- Glucose/coconut cleansers: These differ from synthetic cleaning agents in that they are not known endocrine disrupters.
- Aloe Vera: Reduces dandruff and conditions your hair
- Radish root + coconut milk: Used as a natural preservative to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria without the harmful side effects of synthetic preservatives. As a bonus, it moisturizes and improves the shine/texture of your hair
- Willow bark: Cleans excess oil from your scalp without completely stripping it of its natural oils as sodium lauryl sulfate does
- Olive leaf: Can help reduce itching and hair loss
You can order it below.
After using Hairprint’s nontoxic shampoo, my hair looks better than ever. Not only does it not look greasy — at all — but it looks vibrant and feels soft and silky. By contrast, my old shampoo took care of the oil, but my hair would get dry and dull. Now my hair looks much healthier.
Admittedly, the first few times I used it, I probably used too much. Because of the lack of foaming agents, it doesn’t lather up the same way that regular shampoo does. I thought I had to use a lot in order to feel like it was actually cleaning my hair.
I quickly learned, though, that a little goes a long way. Also, I only apply it to my scalp (really, this goes for any shampoo). Better yet, as long as I don’t do a strenuous workout, I can go two or three days without washing my hair. Even though the shampoo is a little pricier than conventional shampoo, then, it will last. Mine always lasts several months.
Other Hairprint Products
I recently found out that the Chelating shampoo had a recommended once-a-week use. Oops! At the time, this was the only shampoo I used. While I didn’t use it every day, as noted, I definitely used it more than once a week.
Honestly, I was happy with the way my hair looked. Nevertheless, I didn’t want to overuse this shampoo. If you have dry hair or life in a very dry climate, I imagine you would definitely not want to use this shampoo too much.
With that in mind, I decided to branch out to another Hairprint shampoo while continuing to use the chelating once a week.
Hairprint’s other shampoos have very similar ingredients to the chelating, so I will only be giving a brief summary of each one.
Made from wakame, an edible marine algae, this shampoo improves the strength of your scalp. It reduces sebum, an oily substance secreted by your scalp. Given that I have oily hair, this was the one I went with.
I’m happy to report that my hair looks and feels great. I can still go a couple of days without washing my hair as long as I don’t do a heavy workout. In case you’re worried that your hair will smell like algae or some other marine creature, don’t be! It is completely scentless.
The special ingredient here is Amla fruit, which nourishes your hair, preventing dryness, hair loss, and breakage. It is meant to thicken your hair. I suspect this shampoo would be best if you have dry or chemically-treated hair.
Made from argan, pomegranate, and clary sage oil, this elixir is designed to reinvigorate your hair, treat oily or dry scalps, and exfoliate your scalp by removing dead skin. Leave in dry hair for 15-20 minutes and then wash your hair normally.
The key ingredients in this elixir are rosemary, which unclogs hair follicles, turmeric, which regenerates the scalp, ginger, which triggers hair growth, and sage, which balances the oils in your scalp.
Harvested from wild trees in Africa, Marula Oil is made of anti-oxidants which shields the hair from the damaging effects of sun and pollutants while reducing frizz and flyaways. Also an anti-oxidant, Abyssinian Oil reduces hair breakage, detangles, and adds shine to your hair.
Most conventional shampoos on the market today promise to make your hair shinier, thicker, and more lustrous. Often, they do deliver on these promises — in the short term. The chemicals used to create this effects, though, could be wreaking havoc on your health in the long run.
Could these chemicals have been contributing to my seizures? Is there a definitive link to cancer?
The jury’s still out, but I don’t think it’s worth the risk. I’m willing to pay slightly more for products that deliver the effects of conventional shampoo, keep my hair looking healthy, and offer me that extra security.
What is the best nontoxic shampoo, conditioner, or hair oil that you’ve tried? If you have used Haiprint’s products, what was your experience?