The quest for perfect hair and skin has become more complicated while at the same time easier. Let me explain – 25 years ago when I began to join the dots between hair and skin health, overall wellbeing and the ingredients in products there was no internet, no influencers and almost no effective plant based products. These days a quick Google search will present you with a myriad of information – how easy is that! But at the same time it’s difficult to wade through the glut of information to find the accurate and nonpartial information. So here are my tips on the 5 things to consider when going green with your hair and beauty products:
1. Get Educated
The internet is a great resource tool so use it to check out your product brands and the ingredients they use. There are apps such as Think Dirty and Detox Me that allow you to scan product barcodes or enter product names to see information about ingredients. For those of you who prefer books there’s a fabulous one called The Chemical Maze that rates the safety of ingredients with smiley faces. Check out the websites of your favourite brands or send them an email enquiring about their policies on animal testing, palm oil use or any other issues of concern about your hair and beauty products.
2. Make Choices
There are lots and lots of products out there and it’s up to you which ones you buy and which companies you support. The days are numbered for brands who continue to use harmful or inferior ingredients, excessive packaging or animal testing. Arm yourself with knowledge and choose to give your hard earned money to a brand that is focused on the environment and your personal ongoing health and not just the dollar signs. A percentage of everything you apply to your skin makes its way into your bloodstream either by penetration through the skin, ingestion (think lipstick and how much of it you eat) or inhalation (think perfume and deodorant) so it’s important to choose products that are as natural as possible.
3. Is It Worth It?
The old saying ‘You get what you pay for’ definitely rings true with personal care products. A good quality natural brand will always be more expensive than anything you find in the supermarket or pharmacy specifically due to the quality and quantity of the active ingredients. The best natural products should be used sparingly because they are more concentrated and not diluted with water or packed with useless fillers. This means you need to replace them less often which is great news for your bank account and the environment. Ingredients are listed on packaging in order of volume so if water, or aqua, is the first ingredient listed in your moisturiser then most of the product is made up of good old tap water. The first ingredient on the list usually makes up around 60% of the product and the last ingredient can be as little as 1% and sometimes even less. Look for skincare brands that have no water in them or have spring water listed as an ingredient further down the list. Check your haircare labels to ensure you’re not using detergent masked with fragrances to wash your hair. It’s definitely worth the extra investment to purchase products that are choc full of ingredients that deliver excellent results and are harmless to the environment than to waste your money on something that is predominately water or detergent.
4. You DO Get Real Results
Gone are the days when we had to sacrifice visible results for the sake of our health, the environment and animal safety. Research and development in the natural skincare and haircare industry has resulted in many products on the market that often deliver superior results than their chemical filled counterparts. Consumers are savvy and educated these days so product companies have to deliver what they promise or they won’t last long in this very competitive industry. Look for ‘before and after’ photos on the Instagram pages of salons that use low-tox natural products and you’ll see the evidence that they really do work.
5. What About The Environment
The environment is at the forefront of most minds these days with more and more people realising that we need to start caring for our planet for the sake of future generations. Keep this in mind next time you purchase a product for your hair or skin. All haircare products eventually end up going down the drain in the shower when we wash our hair. If your shampoo is basically just detergent it’s making its way into the oceans and poisoning our aquatic life. The same goes for our skincare and makeup products so check the ingredients listed on the label for toxicity to marine life. Packaging is also a major issue so avoid products that are sitting in plastic trays or boxed in unrecycled cardboard. Many organic skincare products come in recycled cardboard boxes that are printed with vegetable dye making them an environmentally safer option. Choose to frequent hair and beauty salons that recycle their waste through organisations such as Sustainable Salons, a company that provides recycling options for hair, chemicals, paper, plastic, electrical equipment and metals to the hair and beauty industry and pet grooming salons.
There are now many haircare and skincare companies that have woken up to the fact that we can achieve beautiful results without compromising our own health, the health of the planet and the health of our animal friends. I wish you happy navigating through the wealth of information that is literally at your fingertips – and of course beautiful healthy skin and hair.