Going natural

By Madison Dehaven 

The term “natural” can be confusing when it comes to beauty. Usually, products under this category have eliminated certain chemicals found in regular products that have been speculated to have potentially harmful effects. So what is the deal with these chemicals? Here’s a brief introduction to three common chemicals some companies are kicking to the curb:

Sulfates

(1st) Ivory body wash (2)
Ivory Aloe Body Wash / Photos by Madison Dehaven

(2nd) Ivory body wash (1)

When it comes to sulfates, shampoo comes to mind, but these can also be found in hand soap, body wash, and leave-in conditioners. You may already be familiar with sulfate-free shampoos. The chemical that makes regular shampoo so easy to lather and makes your hair feel clean is a sulfate. Every time I have gotten a haircut, the stylist always tells me to stay away from regular shampoo because it will dry out my hair. This is because sulfates help to break down the oil hair needs to stay healthy along. This can also cause irritation to people with sensitive skin. Essentially, it works a little too well.

Silicones

Garnier Fructus Curl Sculpting Cream Gel // Photos by Madison Dehaven
Garnier Fructus Curl Sculpting Cream Gel / Photos by Madison Dehaven

(4th) garnier (1) 2Silicones, like sulfates, are meant to do good. They are found in conditioners, leave-in conditioners and a variety of other hair products meant to heal or protect. Instead of getting rid of grime, these conditioning chemicals coat the hair to make it soft and shiny. However, they also leave a bit of residue that, after a few days, will require some shampooing to bring your hair back to life. It may be worth switching to a silicone-free conditioner, especially if you are using sulfate-free shampoo. It can be tricky to decipher what kind of silicones are in the product ingredients, but dimethicone is one that can cause problems.

Parabens

(5th) VS (1)
Victoria’s Secret True Escape Hydrating Body Lotion / Photos by Madison Dehaven

(6th) VS (1)

These are the most common preservatives used in many beauty products. Just like food, makeup and lotions have limited shelf-lives. Preservatives are used to extend the amount of time a product is safe to use, however there has been some questioning of whether or not the use of parabens is safe. Much of the concern comes from studies finding parabens in breast tumors, so it is though they have the potential to influence the development of breast cancer. According to the FDA, parabens commonly found in today’s products are considered safe. As of now, there is not enough evidence to prove otherwise, but some consumers may wish to avoid even the slightest risk.

Interested in trying a more chemical-free approach to beauty? These are a few products to get you started, and you can even find them at the local CVS.

For a sulfate-free refresher, try:

Photo from CVS
Photo from CVS

L’Oreal EverCreme Intense Nourishing Shampoo

To condition without silicone, try:

Photo from CVS
Photo from CVS

Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Restorative Conditioner for Dry, Damaged Hair

Finally, if you’re looking to eliminate parabens from your beauty routine, try:

Photo from CVS
Photo from CVS

Burt’s Bees Fragrance Free Shea Butter & Vitamin E Lotion for All Skin Types

These chemicals may not be inherently evil, but they can be problematic. Whether you take the more “natural” route with your beauty routine or not, it may serve you well to do some investigating of the products you use.

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