To avoid harmful and harsh chemicals in beauty products, many people are opting to buy shampoo, soap and other products labelled organic. While most people assume that a body care product labelled organic comes from plants, it is important to know exactly what is considered organic. Having this knowledge will allow you to buy products such as shampoo that are safe for you and your family to use when you want to avoid products containing chemicals.
What Is Considered Organic?
By definition, organic products contain living matter, whether it is from plants or animals. So if you are buying a beauty product, it may contain oils derived from plants. However, in order to be labelled as organic in Australia, products must meet certain standards in order to be certified as organic.
Certification Agencies in Australia
There are a total of seven organic certification organisations for food and other organic products. They carefully regulate how the plant and animal products used in organic products are grown, how they are handled and how they are processed before they earn an organic certification label. These seven agencies include:
- NASAA Certified Organic
- Australian Certified Organic (ACO)
- Organic Food Chain
- Bio-Dynamic Research Institute (BDRI)
- Safe Food Production Queensland (SFQ)
- The Tasmanian Organic Producers (TOP)
When you are in the market for an organic beauty product, you need to make sure you read the label, because there isn’t a universal symbol or logo used to indicate that a product is organic. Instead, the logo of the agency that certified the ingredients in the product as organic will be on the label. So, if the ACO certified that the plant matter in a shampoo was grown organically, then the ACO label will be on the shampoo bottle.
A label on a shampoo bottle may claim to be ‘100% organic’, ‘made with organic products’ or ‘certified organic’, but the company making the shampoo must be able to substantiate their claim. The only way to know for sure if the ingredients are actually organic is to look for the logo from one of the seven organic certification agencies listed above.
Why Should You Use Organic Shampoos?
Just as people eat organic food because they don’t want pesticides, herbicides or other toxic chemicals in their bodies, some people prefer using organic shampoo to ensure the health of their hair. The chemicals used in some hair-care products may help get your hair clean, but they can also strip away the natural oils in your skin and hair, causing them to become dry. In addition, some of these chemicals can cause irritation for people with sensitive skin.
Some of the chemicals listed on shampoo bottles are hard to pronounce and should be avoided if you want to have healthy hair. These chemicals can upset the pH balance of your hair, which can affect how your hair looks and feels, especially if you wash your hair too frequently. However, using organic shampoos can help restore the pH balance and help restore your hair.
Some of the chemical ingredients found in inexpensive commercial shampoos include:
- Sodium Laurel Sulphate: This ingredient is synthetic and uses petroleum products for its base. It irritates the eyes, can cause your scalp to dry out and it can also damage your hair if the concentration is too high.
- Amodimethicone: While this ingredient makes shampoo smooth and easy to apply to your hair, it is a liquid form of silicone and can cause allergic reactions in some people.
- Cocoamide DEA: This helps shampoos foam when you work them into your hair, but this ingredient often contains nitrosamines, which are known to be carcinogenic.
- Propylene Glycol: This ingredient is found in a variety of products, including brake fluid and antifreeze. It is included in shampoos to moisturise your hair, but it contains mineral oil, which can damage your liver and kidneys.
- Parabens: There are a family of ingredients that contain parabens, such as propylparaben, butylparaben, ethylparaben and several others. They are used in beauty products for their preservative properties, but there is evidence that they may also be carcinogenic. Parabens have been linked to breast cancer in both women and men and are being studied to see if they are also linked to testicular cancer.
These are just a few of the ingredients in regular shampoos that can damage your hair, cause allergic reactions or lead to other medical problems. Fortunately, you can avoid these chemicals by switching to organic shampoos made from natural, plant-derived ingredients.
Organic Shampoo Ingredients
There are dozens of botanical ingredients used in organic shampoos that keep your hair healthy. They can help cleanse or moisturise your hair so it always looks and feels its best. Some of these ingredients include:
- Coconut Oil: This product is useful for many purposes, such as cooking—and it is often used in organic products, such as shampoo. It provides the moisture hair needs to remain soft and supple. Coconut oil works very well because it can be absorbed deep into hair shafts.
- Jojoba Oil: This is one of the best natural ingredients for helping to revitalise your hair. It is able to penetrate into the hair shafts and scalp to provide moisture and help remove any residual commercial hair product ingredients.
- Aloe Vera: This plant ingredient will also help your hair to retain moisture so it is less likely to break and be prone to static. Aloe vera is also good for the skin and can help moisturise your scalp, which will help reduce dandruff.
- Tea Tree Oil: This ingredient has several antiseptic benefits and can help reduce skin irritation and dandruff. It works by controlling the microbial levels in your hair and on the scalp that can cause irritations to your skin.
- Lemon or Rosemary: Both of these natural ingredients are used for their properties as a cleansing rinse. They not only help restore the natural oils of your hair, but they can also help restore its natural colour. Rosemary will help revitalise dark hair, while lemon acts to bring out blonde highlights.
Many other herbs, fruits and natural oils are used in organic shampoos to help give you beautiful, more manageable hair. It is important to read the ingredients on the label of any shampoo you are considering buying. Look at the ingredient list and then look for one of the labels from one of the certification organic associations.
Benefits of Using Organic Shampoo
Although you may pay a little more for organic shampoos, their ingredients provide many benefits for both your hair and scalp. The main benefit of using organic shampoos is avoiding the harmful chemicals contained in cheaper, commercial shampoos. These ingredients are absorbed into your hair and skin when you use them and, along with stripping the moisture from your hair, they can irritate your skin and eyes—and some of them are even known to contain cancer-causing agents.
The natural ingredients in organic shampoos can be infused quickly into the hair and scalp. This allows the vitamins and minerals in the plant matter to nourish your hair as it is cleansed. Since they are natural ingredients, your hair follicles and oil glands will be less likely to be irritated as the nutrients are absorbed into your hair and skin.
Many people who use natural products are not only concerned about their family’s health, but the health of the planet as well. Since the ingredients in organic shampoos are natural, they will not pollute the environment, as the vast majority of them come from plants that can be easily regrown. This means the natural ingredients in organic shampoos are more sustainable than the chemical ingredients in regular shampoos.
Helps Thicken Hair
It is possible that using organic shampoos can help reduce the problem of thinning hair. When some men—and women—begin to lose their hair, it is because their hair follicles are clogged and are preventing new growth. Some of the ingredients in cheaper shampoos can clog your hair follicles, killing healthy hair and preventing new hair growth.
By using shampoos containing natural ingredients, your hair follicles are less likely to clog, so new hair will be able to emerge. The new hair growth can help sustain your hair’s thickness and you may not have to worry about your hair becoming too thin.
When you first start using organic shampoos, you will notice a difference because they don’t lather as well as regular shampoos. This is because they do not contain the chemicals needed to produce the lather that you get when using most commercial brands. However, you should be able to quickly notice the benefits of using more natural products on your hair.
Your hair will start to look healthier, you will experience less breakage and static because the natural oils in the botanicals are easily absorbed into your hair and you may have less dandruff because your scalp will be less likely to dry out. Remember to read the labels of organic shampoos and look for the logos indicating the ingredients are organic.