When we busy moms find the time to wash our hair, we want to use a product that is safe, effective and not too expensive. Many shampoos however contain a series of chemicals that are not so good for us and the environment. Even in shampoos specifically targeted at babies and children you can sometimes find these ingredients. When buying a shampoo, be on the look out for the following ingredients and try to find one without:

- Surfactants (SLS, SLES). SLS can strip moisture and oils from the hair and skin, causing rashes, itchy scalp, sore eyes and even hair loss.

- Parabens. A group of chemical preservatives linked to organ toxicity and reproductive damage.

- Polyethylene Glycols (PEG´s). Petroleum-based compounds used to create a creamy texture. PEG´s may be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane and ethylene oxide, a possible human carcinogen and a known human carcinogen. PEG´s themselves show some evidence of genotoxicity and if used on broken skin can cause irritation and systemic toxicity. 

-  Ethanolamines (DEA, TEA, MEA). A group of hormone-disrupting chemicals known to form nitrates and nitrosamines, often in combination with other chemicals in a product.

- Formaldehyde releaseing preservatives. Chemcials that help prevent microbes from growing in water-based products that can be absorped through the skin and have been linked to allergic skin reactions and cancer.  Look for Formaldehyde, quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, polyoxymethylene urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol (bromopol) and glyoxal. 

- Fragrance. Since manufacturers are not required to specify what ingredients make up the fragrance, we simply do not know if chemicals are used that could irritate your skin or harm you.


There are a couple of alternatives to not being exposed to these chemicals, mainly not using shampoos. You can use apple cider vinegar, castile soap, soap nuts, baking soda or coconut milk to give your hair a good rinse. Check Natural Living Ideas on how to use these ingredients.

Is this a little bit too much for you and you still like to lather up your head? Try these organic shampoos. Ever since I switched to using to natural shampoos, my hair looks and feels much more lush and healthy and I don´t have an itchy scalp anymore. The following shampoos are ones that I can certainly recommend:

- John Master´s Organics. My absolute favourite, but a bit pricey. Shampoo with 70-100% organic ingredients, no harsh ingredients. 

- O´Right. "The greenest shampoo on earth". Some bottles even have a seed in them and are biodegradable, so when you plant the bottle, you plant a tree!

- Attitude. Bottles made of recycled plastic, CO2 neutral and worry-free ingredients. 


David Suzuki