Roundups

Non-Toxic Dry Shampoo Roundup

You don't have to sacrifice health for convinience!

If we polled a bunch of people on what the best beauty invention of the last decade was, we bet dry shampoo would come out on top. Dry shampoo has spared us from dreaded second day hair, allowed us to go straight from a sweaty spin class to brunch, and just makes getting ready a lot more convenient. Basically, we can't live without it!

But most dry shampoo contains some pretty harmful ingredients, including butane, propane, talc, and fragrance. Talc has been linked to cancer and fragrance can contain dozens of mystery chemicals. And why would we want to put gas we use to grill on our hair?! Gross.

Plus, almost all the dry shampoo you purchase from a big box store is in an aerosol can. Propellants from an aerosol can damage the ozone and can cause some serious environmental damage. And those tiny particles created by aerosol can easily be inhaled while you're applying dry shampoo.

We know it can be difficult to find a good replacement for traditional dry shampoo in an aerosol bottle. That's why we rounded up our favorite products! These dry shampoos are all made from better-for-you ingredients and come in a non-aerosol container.



a) Acure Dry Shampoo, Rosemary & Peppermint

b) Beauty by Earth Dry Shampoo & Volume Powder

c) Captain Blankenship Mermaid Dry Shampoo

d) Hair Dance Dry Shampoo Volume Powder

e) Innersense Organic Beauty Refresh Dry Shampoo

f) Primally Pure Dry Shampoo Light Locks

g) Rahua Voluminous Dry shampoo

Life

Is Hair Dye Harmful to Your Health?

What to know before your next salon appointment

Dying your hair is a fun way to mix up your look. You can brighten things up with a few highlights, or even channel your inner rainbow and dye your hair blue, purple, or pink! It's estimated that 33% of women over the age of 18 use some sort of hair dye product (1). However, dyes contain thousands of chemicals, including endocrine‐disrupting compounds, carcinogens, and aromatic amines (2). To determine the health effects of hair dyes, scientists first experimented on rats. These studies found that exposure to hair dyes resulted in induced tumors among the rats (3). Because of the detrimental effects of hair dye on animals, researchers are now investigating whether there is a connection between these products and cancer in humans.

What Do the Studies Show?

A recent paper published in 2019 provided strong evidence that connected hair dye and chemical hair straightener use to breast cancer (2). This study collected responses from 47,000 women on:

  1. how often they used permanent, semi-permanent, or temporary hair dye and hair straighteners before they joined the study,
  2. how often hair dye and straightener was applied at home, and
  3. whether the dye used was a dark color or a light color or both.

After following these women for over 8 years, permanent hair dye was found to be associated with a 45% increased risk in breast cancer among black women and 7% increased risk in white women (2). It was found that black women were at greater risk for breast cancer because hair products marketed to them had higher concentrations of estrogens and endocrine-disrupting compounds. Chemical hair straighteners were also found to increase risk of breast cancer.

Despite these stark findings, there is no definitive evidence that the use of hair dyes cause cancer. While there are multiple studies like the one described above that link hair dyes with an increased risk of breast cancer, there are others that fail to produce similar results. Research on the association between hair dyes and other cancers such as non-Hodgkin lymphoma, leukemia, and bladder cancer have yielded equally inconclusive results (4). This discrepancy has made it difficult for regulatory agencies to take a side on this debate.

Looking to the Future

While dying your hair with traditional synthetic permanent hair dyes may be a fun way to spruce up your look, these products may be harmful to your health. Because of the mixed results from the scientific literature, it is too early to make a firm recommendation on how to handle permanent hair dyes. However, in the interim, those who are concerned for their health or who are at a high risk for cancers should think about using natural, non-toxic hair dyes. These products include henna, which can be used to dye hair a darker color, and lemon juice for highlights.

References
  1. Huncharek, Michael, and Bruce Kupelnick. "Personal Use of Hair Dyes and the Risk of Bladder Cancer: Results of a Meta-Analysis." Public Health Reports (Washington, D.C. : 1974), Association of Schools of Public Health, 2005, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15736329.
  2. Eberle, Carolyn E., et al. "Hair Dye and Chemical Straightener Use and Breast Cancer Risk in a Large US Population of Black and White Women." Wiley Online Library, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 3 Dec. 2019, onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ijc.32738.
  3. "Permanent Hair Dyes, Straighteners Linked to Higher Breast Cancer Risk." Breastcancer.org, 21 Jan. 2020, www.breastcancer.org/research-news/hair-dye-and-straighteners-linked-to-higher-risk.
  4. "Hair Dyes and Cancer Risk." National Cancer Institute, www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/myths/hair-dyes-fact-sheet.
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Life

The Hair-Raising Research About Beauty Products Marketed to Black Women

What chemicals to avoid in your hair products and safer alternatives

If you've ever walked down the hair care aisle at a beauty store, you know just how many different products are out there. Cosmetic manufacturers use marketing techniques that are based on certain ideals of beauty to target different demographics. A lot of products on the market are marketed exclusively for black women, like hair relaxers and dyes. But there is growing evidence that these products marketed to black women contain known harmful chemicals. Research has also shown that there are fewer non-toxic options in black hair products than there are in those marketed to the general public (1). Black women may be disproportionally impacted by harmful exposures to toxic ingredients in their hair products.

If you've been wondering what's in your hair relaxer, styling cream, shampoo, or hair dye, we've done the research and put together some information and simple tips to help minimize your exposure to harmful chemicals commonly found in many of these products.

Harmful Health Effects

Although significantly understudied, certain chemicals commonly used in products for black hair have been linked to cancer, childhood neurodevelopmental impairment, reproductive problems, hormone disruption, and asthma (2) (3). Parabens, formaldehyde, phthalates, and estrogenic chemicals from placenta are used in many hair straighteners and texturizers and have been associated with baldness, uterine fibroids, premature reproductive development, and increased risk of premenopausal breast cancer. In pregnant women, studies have also found that these chemicals are correlated with premature birth, low birth weight, and other adverse birth outcomes. Shampoos, conditioners and styling products marketed as less toxic or for "natural hair" may also contain other toxic substitutes, including parabens and phthalates that promote estrogenic or anti-estrogenic activity. Yikes!

In a recent study, which tested 18 hair products used by black women it detected 45 harmful chemicals including five that are regulated by California's Proposition 65 or are prohibited under the EU's cosmetics law. Many of these chemicals were not even disclosed in the ingredients listed on the product label (3). So much for the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act of 1967.

Federal Laws and FDA Regulations (or Lack Thereof)

Why are these toxic chemicals in beauty products to begin with? Well, under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938 (FD&C Act), with the exception of color additives, ingredients in cosmetics do not need FDA premarket approval and cosmetic manufacturers are not obligated to disclose safety information to the FDA (4). To make matter worse, the FDA only has the authority to investigate a product after concerns of non-compliance or violations are reported. Which means consumers will already have been exposed to these toxic chemicals and may even have experienced health problems. (4). Basically, people using these products are the test subjects of the cosmetic chemical industry.

Chemicals to Avoid

There's still a lot research needed to better understand how chemicals in black hair care products affect the public's health. And since the current cosmetics industry is essentially the Wild West of regulations, it's up to you to protect yourself. Below is a list of harmful chemicals like endocrine disruptors, allergens, and sensitizers that are commonly used in black beauty hair care products that you might want to steer clear of. This list is not exhaustive, but it's a good place to start (5) (6) (3).

  • Parabens
    • methylparaben
    • ethylparaben
    • propylparaben
    • butylparaben
    • isopropylparaben
    • isobutylparaben
  • Formaldehyde or methylene glycol
    • DMDM hydantoin,
    • diazolidinyl urea and
    • imidazolidinyl urea
  • Cyclosiloxanes
    • Octamethylcyclotetrasiloxane (D4)
    • Decamethylcyclopentasiloxane (D5)
    • Dodecamethylcyclohexylsiloxane (D6)
  • Diethyl phthalate (DEP)
  • Methylisothiazolinone—This is used as a preservative in conditioners, shampoos, styling gels and lotions.
  • "Fragrance" or "parfum"—This is a generic term used for a multitude of different chemicals. Often times this is what you will see in the list of product ingredients when a manufacturer is not disclosing specific chemicals used.
    • Phthalates
    • Linalool
    • Limonene
    • HHCB (Galaxolide)
    • Linalool
    • Terpineol
  • Resorcinol—This is often found in black beauty brand hair dyes.
  • Sodium hydroxide (Lye)
  • Calcium hydroxide—This is another caustic irritant just used to replace lye (sodium hydroxide) in hair relaxers, but is advertised as safer.
  • Lead acetate—This is often used in hair dyes.
  • Petroleum
  • Retyinal palmitate
  • Specific alcohols
    • Alcohol denat
    • Ethanol
    • Propanol
    • Isopropyl
    • Propyl
    • SD alcohol #4 (wood alcohol)
    • Phenethyl alcohol
  • Sulfates

What You Can Do

Whew, that's a lot to look out for in ingredient labels! We know that list is a lot of information that you'll probably never remember unless you have an upcoming chemistry quiz, so we also have some easy-to-remember safer product alternatives and some DIY tips.

1. Follow the 5-ingredient rule: The first five ingredients make up the majority of what's in the product so, these are the ones that matter the most (6). If the first five ingredients are made from natural ingredients, it's probably a product worth considering.

2. There are many natural ingredients that help promote healthy hair, like aloe vera, avocado, shea butter, castor oil coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, grape seed, honey, and jojoba. Since these oils all have different properties and do different things like hydrating or strengthening your hair, you can solve a ton of different hair problems! (6).

3. Double check products using databases like EWG's Skin Deep database and BLK +GRN, which screens products using EWG's Toxic Twenty list. If a product has a low rating, it's best to avoid to all together.

4. One of the best ways to stand up for safer products is to contact your elected official or the FDA to urge them to strengthen the FD&C Act. You can scroll to the "STAND UP FOR #BEAUTYMADEBETTER!" for ideas on ways to make your voice heard.


References

1. https://www.ewg.org/research/big-market-black-cosmetics-less-hazardous-choices-limited
2. https://www.ajog.org/article/S0002-9378(17)30862-1/pdf
3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0013935118301518?dgcid=raven_sd_aip_email#!
4. https://www.fda.gov/cosmetics/cosmetics-laws-regulations/fda-authority-over-cosmetics-how-cosmetics-are-not-fda-approved-are-fda-regulated
5. https://www.ewg.org/research/big-market-black-cosmetics-less-hazardous-choices-limited#ref10
6. https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/hazardous-chemicals-lurking-black-hair-care-products

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