Hair styling products—especially ones that can be inhaled, like hair spray—are some of the worst offenders when it comes to toxic ingredients in cosmetics and personal care items.
Aerosol propellants such as butane, isobutane and propane (known eye, skin and lung irritants1), plastic chemicals like phthalates (hormone disruptors2) and artificial fragrances like synthetic musks (potentially hormone disrupting and carcinogenic3) are just some of the chemicals that may be lurking inside the packaging, whether the product's made by a budget or high-end brand.
It's not surprising that hairdressers have higher rates of cancer and respiratory diseases like asthma compared to the general population.4
Happily, as the natural beauty sector has grown, nontoxic hair products are no longer hard to come by. We've selected six of our favorites for their effective, all-natural ingredients.
Natural Styling Mousse,
$16 (7.1 fl oz/210 mL)
suncoatproducts.com; tel: 519-763-9800
Suncoat has opted for polysaccharides (cornstarch), instead of plastic polymers, and natural essential oils, instead of synthetic fragrances, to create this medium-hold styling mousse. The 100 percent vegan product is also free of alcohol, aerosols, propellants and anything artificial. Apply to damp or dry hair for a natural volume boost.
$34 (3.6 fl oz/105 mL)
Add texture and volume to your hair with this high-performance blend of plant oils and extracts, including carnauba (palm) wax for long-lasting hold, tapioca starch for strand separation, and Amazonian ungurahua oil to nourish and protect. Apply throughout damp or dry hair to create loose, tousled styles.
Quinoa & Avocado Hair Serum, $18 (3.3 fl oz/100 mL)
Ideal for taming frizz and curls as well as for volumizing fine hair, this lightweight serum is packed with good-enough-to-eat-sounding ingredients like quinoa and oils of avocado and ginger root. It's certified organic, vegan and cruelty-free and can be used on wet or dry hair.
Feed Your Hold Hair Spray, $20.40 (4 oz/28 mL)
There are no chemical nasties in this hair spray—just 100 percent vegan ingredients like xanthan gum, non-GMO corn and rice extract, plant-sourced vitamins A, C and E, and natural essential oils of rosemary and may chang. Spritz it on wet or dry hair for a flexible hold that won't flake or weigh hair down.
It's oil good
Hair Sculpting Pomade,
$9.93 (1.69 oz/50 mL)
Not just for styling and sculpting the hair, this all-natural pomade—a handmade blend of olive, coconut and castor oils, beeswax, and essential oils of cedarwood, rosemary and lemon—is said to help strengthen the hair, stimulate hair follicles and condition the scalp. Use it sparingly to avoid a greasy look.
John Masters Organics
Hair Paste, $19 (2 oz/57 g)
www.johnmasters.com; tel: 844-324-2244
A fabulous multitasker, this matte-finish paste can be used to add texture, hold and lift to dry or damp, short or long hair. Featuring 10 organic ingredients including honey, beeswax, rice extract, aloe vera juice, and oils of avocado and sunflower, it also gives hair a blast of nutrients and has moisturizing and repairing effects.