Maintaining Your Mane

1 Mar

I was not blessed by the hair Gods with a beautiful head of hair. You know those shampoo commercials with models swinging around their gorgeous thick hair? Ya, not me. And never will be.

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It’s sort of my fault. I feel like I’m just genetically predisposed to have fine hair, but I really am partly to blame. I dry it. Flat iron it. Curl it. Colour it. Use drying products. And have never paid much attention to the right shampoos and conditioners. Well y’all that is all about to change. I am going on a HAIR DIET.

What is a hair diet? Well let me tell you. No more flat ironing and curling, unless I have to (i.e., going out where I need to look semi-acceptable…and no work everyday does not count). I vow to get it trimmed every 3 months – they say trimming dead ends more sooner rather than later helps with breakage. And I will start to take care of my hair – more treatments, using less drying products, and natural shampoos.

The shampoo piece has been hard. Every one of the millions (accurate estimate) of bottles at the local drug store screams “OIL” “NATURAL” “SPECIALLY FORMULATED” “KERATIN”…where does a girl even begin! So I turned to my trusty best friend Google and I did a little research. Turns out the shampoo companies aren’t telling us the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help them God. Sure, they have added jojoba and argan oils, and used the latest “technology”, but they are also using the harshest and cheapest cleansing agents which actually leave your hair stripped down dry. Let me break it down for you:

1. Sulfates

They’re strong chemical detergents (also found in kitchen degreasers like dishwasher soap) that give shampoo that foamy quality, but they can cause scalp irritation, redness, and itching.

2. Isopropyl Alcohol

The petroleum-derived substance cleans and dissolves oils, but it’s also found in antifreeze, wood finish, and shellac. Alcohol is also extremely drying and strips hair of moisture, which can lead to hair damage and loss. Almost all hair-care products contain some form of alcohol, which can dry your hair out if it is in high concentrations. Stay clear of shampoos with alcohol listed as one of the first four ingredients, as this means that there is more than usual in the product.

3. Formaldehyde

The chemical preservative kills bacteria, but it’s also a known carcinogen that irritates the eyes and respiratory system and can cause skin inflammation.

4. Propylene Glycol

The detergent helps cleaning ingredients penetrate hair, but it also breaks down healthy-hair proteins and irritates sensitive skin and eyes.

5. Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

 Look for a shampoo that does not contain these ingredients, as they are harsh detergents. Products containing SLS have a cleaning power that is overwhelming, stripping the hair. 

6. Sodium Chloride

Better known as table salt, sodium chloride is used as a thickener in shampoos and conditioners containing sodium lauryl sulfate. Sodium chloride may also cause dry and itchy scalp in addition to hair loss. Also, this should be avoided in people who have keratin treatments, as it undoes the benefit faster.

7. Polyethelyne Glycol

Also called PEG/Polyethelyne or Polyoxyethelyne, this ingredient is included in shampoos as a thickening agent. It strips hair and skin of their natural moisture. 

8. Diethanolamine (DEA) and Triethanolamine (TEA)

Products containing DEA or TEA can cause scalp irritation and bad allergic reactions, and they also destroy all the good stuff in your hair (such as keratin), making your hair dry, brittle, and lifeless.

9. Parabens

Used to prolong shelf life of an average hair-care product, parabens like methylparaben and propylparaben are chemicals that are known for their toxic nature. Parabens not only irritate the skin—which can make your scalp unhealthy—they can also affect your hormonal balance, which can result in hair loss.

10. Lanolin, Petroleum, and Mineral Oil

These ingredients are widely used in greases and pomades formulated for ethnic hair and offer no real moisturizing benefits. These ingredients actually weigh the hair down and prevent the natural oils produced by the scalp from being absorbed by the hair shaft. 

11. Dimethicone

It is usually used as a surface sealant in skin and hair products to coat surfaces in order to seal in moisture and act as a smoothing, texturizing additive, but research shows it is more harmful to our health than beneficial.

Wow, that’s a lot of bad. What about the good?

1. Glycerin

It acts as a protective barrier to follicles, helping hair retain moisture long after you’ve rinsed.

2. Nut and Seed Oils

Jojoba, avocado, and shea naturally add moisture and shine to hair while also removing oily build up.

3. Acidic ingredients

Sodium citrate or citric acid helps keep shampoo at the right pH balance to wash away dirt and oil while also causing hair cuticles to lie flat so hair looks shiny and smooth.

4. Panthenol

A form of vitamin B, it thickens hair follicles and helps to retain moisture and shine.

5. Look for shampoos that use a milder form of a cleanser such as sodium lauryl sulfoaccetate and sodium lauryl sulfosuccinate. These shampoos may not foam as much as shampoos that contain the harsher SLS or SLES, but they can efficiently cleanse the hair and scalp without overstripping your hair. 

6. Cetyl Alcohol

Not all alcohols in hair products are bad. This one is a fatty alcohol that helps with smoothness and shine in moderation.

So you totally just ran to your shower and checked your shampoo bottle. Low and behold it contains a ton of the harmful ingredients. Am I right? Or…am I right? So you’re wondering “where on earth do I find a GOOD one?” (sound familiar? My guess is you have also asked that question about boys). Well, I don’t have the answer to the latter, but I can tell you I have found a shampoo and conditioner that meet most of the standards. They’re also conveniently available at Sephora and won’t break your bank – 2 other criteria.

Meet Briogeo.

They’re products are the closest thing I could find for a bank-saving price tag that will also cure your hair woes. I’ve recently started using their Be Gentle, Be Kind Green Tea Shampoo and their Blossom and Bloom Ginseng and Biotin Conditioner. The shampoo takes some getting used to as their is no lather – remember when we removed sulfates? Yeah, that was the lather.

I also love using a deep conditioner once a week – usually on Sundays. Briogeo’s Don’t Despair, Repair Deep Conditioner is great, even for my fine hair. I usually leave it in for 5-8 minutes and my hair literally drinks it in. That combined with some coconut oil on the ends a few times a week and hello healthy, beautiful hair!

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And well, if my hair diet doesn’t work, I always have a solution:

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