Using organic hair products reduces environmental strain and helps you avoid the potentially toxic ingredients found in many off-the-shelf cosmetics. Look for key organic ingredients including shea butter, chamomile, olive oil, honey and sunflower oil -- all recommended by the Environmental Protection Agency -- and heed the recommendations of hair care professionals the next time you shop for hair care products.
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Safe Shampoos and Conditioners
At the Harper's Bazaar website, model and author India Hicks recommends the paraben-free Crabtree and Evelyn La Source Volumizing Seaweed Shampoo, while Rose Marie Swift, makeup artist and founder of RMS Beauty, suggests Dr. Alkaitis Organic Herbal Shampoo, particularly for people with dry hair. On the conditioner side, KMS Haircare Liquid Assets, which is recommended for dry or stressed hair, Natura Ekos Refreshing Pitanga Conditioner and Aubrey Organics White Camellia Oil top GoodGuide's 2014 charts in terms of eco-friendliness and lack of potentially harmful ingredients.
The Good Housekeeping website recommends Beautiful Curls Curl Activating Cream, which features edible ingredients such as coconut oil, shea butter, aloe vera and fruit extracts. For styling, GH also suggests rice-based products such as Kiss My Face Easy Hold Styling Mousse and Aubrey Organics NuStyle Organic Hairspray. The same source touts Giovanni Straight Fast Hair Straightening Elixir, made from organic botanicals, and John Masters Organics Shine On, derived from organic sea kelp and carrot seed oil rather than the oft-used petroleum.
After ditching nonorganic hair dyes full of ammonia, parabens, formaldehyde and sodium laurel sulphates, Huffington Post Style writer Rebecca Adams found success with the Organic Color System, which contains antioxidant aloe vera, comfrey root, orange peel and grapefruit seed ingredients. Makeup artist Ellis Faas recommends Moroccan henna hair dyes for their shine and anti-frizz properties, the latter of which comes from their virgin coconut oil content.
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Keep in mind that, as of 2014, national standards for using the words “organic” or “natural” on hair care product labels are still in the developmental phase; even items that bear the term on their labels may not be entirely organic. For a sure sign that a product is at least 95-percent organic, look for the USDA certified organic label when buying hair care products. For a full breakdown of the ingredients in common off-the-shelf hair care products, turn to EPA-recommended sources such as the GoodGuide and the Environmental Working Group websites, which offer plentiful information on the eco-friendliness and potential toxicity of cosmetics and household products.