Clean hair products? Natural hair care products? Organic hair products? What’s the difference? And is that difference important? We break it down in this article.
There are thousands of hair care products out there. So many, in fact, that it’s difficult to know which you should use.
Should you go for an expensive product? A budget-friendly option? What about natural hair care products? Are those different than organic hair products? And if so, which should you use?
In this article, we’re breaking it all down. We’ll explain what natural hair care products are, what organic hair products are, and why they matter for the health and appearance of your hair.
Should I Use Clean Hair Products?
Let’s start with the basics: should you care about the ingredients in your hair care products?
In a word: yes.
Just the same way you care about the products you use on your skin or the food you eat, you should care about the products you use on your hair. The ingredients in these products can have a big effect on your hair’s health, which can, in turn, have a big effect on your hair’s appearance and, in your confidence in your appearance.
Unfortunately, many hair care products contain ingredients that aren’t very good for your hair. These ingredients may perform a specific task well, but, ultimately, they’ll hurt your hair and risk breakage, thinning, and other undesirable effects.
Now, the specific ingredients that are good for your hair may vary from product to product, depending on the product’s goals. A conditioner, for instance, will have different ingredients than a shampoo. But, there are some ingredients that you should avoid in any product, no matter what its purpose.
Let’s take a look at the ingredients that are bad for you.
What Are Sulfates? Are Sulfates Bad For Your Hair?
You know how your shampoo turns to foam when you mix it with water in the shower or bath? For many shampoos, that state change is because of sulfates.
Sulfates are the ingredients that help shampoo mix with water. They create that pleasant, foaming sensation that makes your hair feel nice and squeaky clean.
From one perspective, they do their job. They help your shampoo effectively remove oil, dirt, and dead skin from your hair. They make your shampoo better at cleaning your hair.
But from another perspective, sulfates are actually bad for your hair. Sulfates, particularly in high concentrations, are so effective that they can cause damage to your scalp and hair. They are such good cleaners that they strip away the proteins and oils that your scalp and hair need to thrive. Without these proteins and oils, your hair becomes weak and more prone to breakage and damage.
Sulfates can also cause a painful skin condition called contact dermatitis, which is a red, itchy rash caused by an allergic reaction to a substance.
What Are Parabens? Are Parabens Bad For Your Hair?
Another common hair care ingredient is parabens.
Parabens are synthetic (man made) chemicals that help preserve products. They were first added to health and beauty products in the 1950s to help extend shelf-life. Parabens stop mold and bacteria from growing in beauty products.
That sounds like a good thing, right? Well, just like sulfates, parabens come with a cost. They are good at preserving shelf-life, yes, but they also can penetrate the skin and disrupt hormone function.
Because we often use them in our hair and beauty products, parabens can be absorbed through the skin and enter our bloodstream, affecting our reproductive systems. Some studies have linked parabens to breast cancer, infertility, and problems with the menstrual cycle.
Hair Care Ingredients to Avoid
There are a lot of dangerous beauty products out there. Here’s a short list of common hair care ingredients you should avoid due to their potential negative effects:
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
- Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)
Sulfates cause your shampoo to lather. They can also have harmful side effects.
Clean Hair Products: How They Can Help
We’ve seen that many common ingredients in shampoos and conditioners can actually have a negative effect on our hair and our health.
That’s where clean hair products come in. They are made without dangerous ingredients like sulfates and parabens. These products are specially formulated to be efficient, to clean the hair, and to protect from bacteria just without the negative side effects.
Clean Hair Products vs Natural Hair Care Products vs Organic Hair Products: What’s the Difference?
When it comes to buying products that are good for your hair and your health, there are a lot of terms floating around. You might be wondering, “What are natural hair care products? What are organic hair products? What are the differences between these types of products?”
Let’s break that down:
- Clean hair products: “Clean” is an industry-standard term that refers to products that don’t use dangerous chemicals like sulfates and parabens.
- Organic hair products: The term “organic” is regulated by the USDA. For something to be labelled as organic (whether that’s your food or your shampoo), it needs to be grown without use of pesticides, chemicals, artificial fertilizers, and more. Something that’s labeled as 100% organic must contain at least 95% certified organic ingredients. Something that’s labeled as “made with organic ingredients” must contain at least 70% certified organic ingredients.
- Natural hair care products: The term “natural” is less regulated. Technically, harmful substances like arsenic and petroleum are natural. To keep us safe, the Natural Products Association requires that certified natural products avoid ingredients with health risks.
As you learn more about them, these terms will make sense next time you encounter them at your local pharmacy or beauty store.
Clean Hair Products: Final Thoughts
So, when it comes down to it, what matters for your hair and your health?
The products you use on your hair matter. If they contain dangerous ingredients, you may experience unwanted side effects, that range from irritation, to hair loss and t possibly, cancer.
Ultimately, you’ll want to choose clean hair products that lack dangerous ingredients like sulfates and parabens. Products with natural or organic ingredients may still contain these chemicals. Make the safe choice for your hair and go clean.
One example of clean products is Mereltä’s Root Renewal serum, a topical, plant-based scalp treatment that nurtures your scalp and promotes growth of healthier hair.