Organic shampoos really are a green girl’s best friend: They’re easy on your hair, are additive-free and above all, are kind to the earth…or are they?
According to Julie Drapeau, a natural body care marketing specialist, the difference between mainstream shampoos and organic versions is that although the former contains “natural” ingredients like plant extracts, fruit and vitamins, they also contain colorants, perfumes, sulphites and silicones that can harm your scalp and hair, sometimes leading to rashes, a burning sensation on your head, or other harmful conditions. Organic shampoos, on the other hand, are made up of ingredients naturally occurring in nature.
The problem: Not all organic brands are created equal. Currently, Canada is lacking governmental decrees on what constitutes an organic beauty product, so there aren’t standards to meet or rules to follow. A product with very minimal “green” ingredients can be labeled organic, which is where being an informed consumer makes the difference, says Drapeau. “When you’re shopping for an organic shampoo, ensure that the products you’re considering are free of colorants, perfumes, sodium lauryl/laureth sulfates, sulphites, parabens and silicones. Once you’ve found a product that doesn’t include the above, look over the rest of the ingredient list. If you don’t recognize a name or can’t pronounce it, you might want to take it as a sign.”
The bottom line: It’s a case of buyer beware. Before you buy, do your research, learn the ingredients that should and shouldn’t appear in organic shampoos, and ignore the “green” claims you see on many hair care bottles: they’re put there to attract organics fans and may be far from factual.
No time to eyeball ingredient lists? Here are a few truly organic lines you can trust:
Giovanna organic hair care: Full of products suited to every hair type, they’re also biodegradable, and every shampoo, conditioner and styling aid is free of the ingredients mentioned above.
Avalon organics: These shampoos are both gentle and effective on hair, and leave it looking salon-treatment shiny.
Jurlique: Pretty packaging, amazing ingredients and every shampoo delivers on its promise to clarify, improve moisture or protect and repair hair.
Weleda: With a deliciously-scented array of products – each addresses a different hair need – these organic shampoos are an all-natural treat for your mane. A favourite: Lemon balm and orange blossom shampoo, which calms and soothes the scalp while leaving hair full of body.