Clo.Chat: Toxic Curls


Yesterday I re-watched the video on The Story of Cosmetics with Annie Leonard. Elaborating on the 'Toxics In, Toxics Out' concept, Annie mentions that there are carcinogens and reproductive toxins in her leading brand shampoo. I was curious to check what toxins I was washing my hair with so took up this little exercise:

I made a list of ALL the listed ingredients from four of my heavily used hair care products. I then looked up each ingredient on the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep website. This website was launched in 2004 to create online safety profiles for cosmetic and personal care products. Basically, they compare the ingredients on personal care product labels and websites to information in nearly 60 toxicity and regulatory databases. They then score each ingredient based on the health hazard and availability of data for that ingredient. Can you believe that there is no published data for some ingredients that goes into our cosmetics (scary!!!).

Anyhoo, below is snapshot of my little exercise:

Click to enlarge

What I found:
As you can see, all my hair care products have atleast one or two very high health hazard score (7-10) and a few moderate hazard ingredients (according to the Skin Deep website).  Read the names of the ones with "0" score; they are all natural extracts and water. Wonder why we can't have more zero-score ingredients in our products...

All in all, those reds and oranges and yellows in the chart above are all bad for me! my shampoo has a known carcinogen and a reproductive toxin. My conditioner has a very well documented human skin toxicant and my hair spray and styling lotion have a known human immune system and skin toxicant. This means that I'm inputting a lot of dangerous and unwanted toxins into my system. 

Time to listen to the elders and mum and start using shikakai :). And no, I'm not kidding. My mum had thicker, stronger and healthier hair at my age than I do now (she's got photographic evidence too). 

Shikakai is on my Indian grocery list now. I hope I can find the fruit itself and not the powder or paste.. In the mean time, if you want to find products that are safe, just go here and look them up or just look-up your product by brand or ingredient and see what's in your products.

For those who are interested in watching the Story of Cosmetics video, here it is:

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