Are Green Organic Shampoos Worth the Price?
For a lot of people, price factor is the deciding factor whether to choose organic or not. If the premium we pay for organic food rarely exceeds 20%, with organic skincare the difference may be much higher. Most reasonable people will run from a price like this to the nearest drugstore to buy a bottle of petrochemical brew.
Do we really need to spend a lot of money on something as basic as a shampoo? For me, the deciding factor is the ingredients. I am fairly immune to pretty smell, elegant or pristine packaging, and celebrity endorsements (you know how it goes: “Claudia says Magical Herbs saved her hair…” Quite possibly so, along with tons of hair extensions and clever video editing) but with our hair, reasonable thinking often retires and we become super-vane and extra prone to believing in sales talk.
If you look at the label listing ingredients, the number-one substance in shampoo is water followed by a detergent, be it some harsh member of the sulfate family, or gentle jojoba soap. The main difference in shampoos is what’s blended with water and detergent. This is where grocery store shampoo and salon shampoo differ. The higher-priced shampoos may contain essential oils, antioxidant botanicals, or sunscreen. Do you really need a sunscreen in a shampoo that will be washed away in seconds?
Check the ingredients for plant proteins, soothing botanicals and glycerin. These ingredients are more likely to benefit your hair than exotic plant infusions, especially when used in minuscule amounts.
Remember that in the beauty business, as in any business, the highest-priced product isn’t necessarily the best one. You can get a fairly decent hair wash with a plain baby shampoo, provided it’s organic, of course. I believe that any green shampoo is better than the conventional hair product. Let’s go in more details.
SYNTHETIC SHAMPOO: DOVE EXTRA VOLUME SHAMPOO
What they claim: The Dove Difference Is Weightless Moisturizers. ALLURE Best of Beauty Award Winner.
This shampoo foams lavishly because it contains several harsh surfactants and foaming agents that can irritate skin and even damage eye tissue (ammonium lauryl sulfate, ammonium laureth sulfate). Penetration enhancers such as solvent propylene glycol and the preservative tetrasodium EDTA allow other chemicals to penetrate more deeply into the skin and bloodstream as you rub the shampoo into your scalp under warm water. The shampoo looks yummy and creamy because it contains a potent emulsifier and solvent cocamide MEA (cocamide monoethanolamine) that may cause contact dermatitis. Even worse, all ethoxylated chemicals are possibly contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a hormone disrupter associated with breast cancer. The shampoo looks appealing because it is colored with D & C Violet No. 2 (Acid Violet 43, Tricedeth-3) that contains coal tar and may be contaminated with heavy metals. The shampoo is perfumed with synthetic fragrances that are known neurotoxins and skin irritants.
Now let’s compare ingredients in this one:
GREEN SHAMPOO: JOHN MASTERS ORGANICS ZINC AND SAGE SHAMPOO AND CONDITIONER
What they claim: prevents itching and flaking. Certified by Eco-Cert
Full list of ingredients: water, decyl glucoside, babassuamidopropyl betaine, sodium lauroamphoacetate, hydrolyzed wheat protein, starch, panthenol (vitamin B), hyaluronic, linoleic & linolenic acid, sorbitol, wheat germ oil, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, tocopherol (vitamin E), sulfur, zinc, galactoarabinan, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) hydrosol, extracts of urtica dioica (nettle), equisetum arvense (horsetail), cocos nucifera (coconut) & camellia sinensis (green tea), essential oil of salvia officinalis (sage), lavandula angustifolia (lavender), anthemis nobilis (roman chamomile), xanthan, gluconolactone (a natural petrochemical-free preservative), sodium benzoate, lonicera japonica (Japanese honeysuckle) extract. Zero synthetic junk.
The only thing I may not entirely approve is the use of Japanese honeysuckle (this is a potent source of natural parabens) but otherwise, just great. But of course you can get really good results with any natural shampoo, provided it’s free from sulfate detergents, artificial fragrances, TEA, MEA, DEA, PEGs or other synthetic junk that poisons our skin and our waterways as well.