What’s In Your Hair Care?


It's important for professional hair stylists, and the general public, to pay attention to what is in personal care products. A number of considerations come into play for me regarding the ingredients in the products that we use every day, with just a couple of them being:

1) What are these chemicals? Most of which I have trouble pronouncing anyway, let alone what they are or what they do.

2) What impact do they have on human health and the environment?

I have to admit as a professional hairstylist for almost thirty years I am still a bit perplexed and suspicious as to what we are using as professionals and recommending to our guests. I am committed to providing recommendations and using, to the best of my knowledge and ability, the cleanest, most environmentally friendly and healthiest products available.

Two decades ago I decided to do just that as I began to experience for myself and others dermatitis from the daily use of professional hair care products in the salon. So I have been using several professional brands that meet that criteria ever since. 

I believe that consumer demands and purchasing behaviour will determine what manufacturers make available.

Hair CarePhoto by Nataliya Vaitkevich

It's my understanding that a handful of global companies control both the raw materials and the manufacturing of hair care/personal care products. Therefore this should not be a difficult area to inject consumer influence so that manufacturers develop more people and planet-friendly products.

In recent weeks, Health Canada has recalled 1.5 million dry shampoo products from Unilever, a major global player of many popular brands. The problem is that these products contain benzene, a known cancer-causing carcinogen when exposed to at low levels over a long period of time. Not great news for hairstylists! Benzene is a sweet-smelling, colourless, or light yellow-coloured liquid. It can enter the body through inhalation, orally or through the skin.

This is but one example that not only makes me nervous but also suspicious as to what I stated earlier: what are we really using and what are the effects? 

Here is what we do know! The dirty dozen is listed with a brief description and usage by the David Suzuki Foundation.