Hair #002: Detoxing Your Collection of Hair Products

In the first session of this series, you gathered together all of your hair care products in one place. Today we go through those products, weeding out the ones that are toxic.

Take some time to download the Think Dirty App, and scan the products in your collection. Remove the ones that score an 8 – 10 on the scale, and mark the ones that score a 5-8 so that when you run out of those, you can choose a better quality product as a replacement. Just like we’ve outgrown some clothing in our closet, we’ve also outgrown using products that contain toxic ingredients.

In the coming videos I will share some of my favorite DIY recipes and product reviews in order to help you find the non-toxic, cruelty free, zero waste, products that will help you simplify your routines from chaos to elegance. I’ve got lots of great content coming your way, so stay tuned!

Subscribe and click the little bell to get a notification each time I release a new video in this series. And after this series is a little series I am calling “Mennonite Clean” and after that is a series I’m calling “Women of the Cloth” which is all about an empowering spirituality. Make sure you subscribe so that you don’t miss a thing! I love simplicity, self care, and empowering spirituality and I look forward to sharing this content with you!


Welcome back to Simply Vibrant. I’m Carmen Shenk and I’m glad you’re here. You have gathered everything together, all of your hair care products, you’ve got them all together in one place. Now what? Well, today is the day we do some assessment of that collection. This is not as hard as it may seem. First of all, we remove the toxic products. I’m going to talk about three toxins and give you a feel for what’s out there and that maybe in your hair care products. And then we’re gonna give you a tool to assess the products that you have there before you. And it’s going to rate products on the scale of 0 to 10 – 10 being the most toxic. Now here’s how I look at that list.

Things that are a 1 – 4, those are nontoxic. I mean just for perspective, vinegar scores at a two or three and vinegar is not toxic at all, but some people may have a sensitivity to it. So I think zero to four is a pretty safe zone.

Things that score a 5 to a 7... I don’t like wasting anything. So those are products that I would go ahead and use up and then replace with a better product as soon as they’re empty.

Finally, products that score an 8, 9 or 10? Those are toxic. And for me, those products are going to go straight in the trash. Just like there are some things that used to be in my closet, that no longer suit me, using products that are toxic no longer suits me either. I’m worth more than that. And guess what? So are you!

Three Toxins commonly found in Hair Care Products:

Let’s talk about Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. Now this is a toxin that’s found in toothpaste and shampoo and sometimes it’s found in soap as well as a detergent, and it is a surfacent and a foaming agent. So when you’re expecting the bubbles in your shampoo, they are there because a chemical was added to your shampoo to get those bubbles. SLS is a byproduct of palm kernel oil or coconut oil and it can be an irritant to eyes and skin. Some SLS contains traces of Dioxane, which is a group 2B carcinogen. The Environmental Working Group’s Skin-Deep Cosmetics Safety Database calls SLS a risk for cancer, neuro-toxicity, organ-toxicity, skin irritation and endocrine disruption. By the way, that means your hormone system. We don’t need our hormone system disrupted! Thank you very much! No! I use an an SLS free shampoo and it’s taking me some time to get used to it because it doesn’t foam up. It doesn’t act the same way. And so when I’m working on my hair and I don’t have all that bubble action happening and wondering, is it actually getting my hair clean? Of course it is! But we’re so used to having those bubbles in our products that when they’re not there we think that it’s not cleaning. And then the opposite is true: SLS is a toxin, so not having it in your hair is a good thing. So, changing to a Shampoo without SLS in it is going to feel a little different and it does take some transition time, but it is better for us not to have that stuff on our hair and skin.

Formaldehyde is a preservative and it is used in salon hair straightening products and in nail hardeners. The National Toxicology Program calls it a carcinogen. The Environmental Protection Agency says formaldehyde can cause irritation of skin, eyes, nose and throat and cause some types of cancers. It is an occupational exposure risk for respiratory cancer and leukemia. It is banned in the European Union and should be banned here. Make sure you are using formaldehyde free products. This is especially important if you use a hair straightening product or you are having your nails done.

More exciting toxins: Parabens. These are preservatives and they prevent the growth of microbes that these can be present in just about anything that’s liquid or moist in nature because that’s what microbes prefer. They are found in shampoos, conditioners, lotions, facial and shower cleansers and scrubs. The problems with parabens include endocrine disruption, skin cancer, developmental and reproductive toxicity. The long chain parabens have the strongest estrogenic activity among those widely used in personal care products. Parabens can block androgens such as testosterone, and inhibit enzymes that metabolize estrogen.

Okay, so ladies, we need our estrogen, right? But if we have too much, the body has systems for getting rid of an overdose and estrogen. But what it’s saying is that the parabens will block that from happening. It is also saying that testosterone, something that our bodies as women do use – can be blocked by parabens. That’s not a good thing. So basically anytime you’re adding a chemical to a personal care product that is messing with your hormones – that is a really bad idea. By the way, this chemical was banned in the European Union. I wish it was banned here and yes, I’ve found products that have no parabens and I think that’s when really good news. Stick around, in the videos that follow I will be sharing product reviews and DIY recipes.

Finding the Toxins in Your Home

I’m here in the bathroom and I want to take a quick look through some of the products I’m finding in here using the Think Dirty app and see where we come out in terms of how toxic they are.

Okay. What do we got? (Scans the product) Oh boy. This is an eight and the reason is fragrance. Okay, let’s try another one then. Just to be clear, I mean an eight out of 10? That’s too high, especially for daily use! So that’s something that I would be removing from the bathroom.

Let’s see what else we got here. Garnier Whole Blends, replenishing conditioner, legendary olive nourishes, softens and shine. So here we go. Let’s try this. See what we got. (scans the product) This is an eight out of 10 again, fragrance. Okay. Wow. It’s not good to see the numbers that high over and over again. I will be talking you through some of those things that I’m using now that are non-toxic, so stay tuned for that in future videos. I have gotten rid of these toxic things because an eight and a nine that’s pretty bad. That’s bad.

Testing Products at My House

I’m Carmen Shank and I’m right here in my own kitchen. I’m going to scan a few of my own products for you this time. I do have some things left. I’ve been detoxing my life for a long time, but I do have some products left here and there and I’m going to walk through them with you. I’ve got my Think Dirty app here and let’s give it a try.

The first thing is Herbal Essences Mousse, so let’s see what we can do here. This app will scan the barcode using the camera on the iPad. This is an 8 out of 10! The reason is fragrance, and then the rest of the ingredients are clean. So eight out of 10 because of fragrance.

So let’s try this one: Fructis Extreme Control hairspray. Let’s see what we got here. Shall We? All right, this one comes up as an 8 out of 10. There’s two toxins here that come in at eight, two that come in at half and half and the rest are clean. So we are getting a good solid 8 on that one.

So in your hair care products, toxins are a thing. My approach to handling hair care products that I knew were toxic was to simply don’t use them. I’m wearing a super simple minimalist haircut, as you can see, I have a video on how I cut my hair online as well, so check that out. That really keeps things simple and I don’t need any styling products as a result of having hair that is this simple.

There you have it. Those are the two remaining products in my hair arsenal that aren’t very good. So I will be sharing some DIY alternatives and other product reviews, or just continue as I have and don’t use styling products at all. Cause that’s a very viable option and that is where I’ve been for the last five years is that I simply don’t use stalling products at all.

Some these have been products that I held on to because of the rare occasion that I went out with costume hair or something a little bit special. I hadn’t scanned them until now. So now that I know that they score an 8, I will find decent alternatives or just to continue to not wear any styling products in my hair at all. That works.

Take some time to download the Think Dirty App, and scan the products in your collection. Remove the ones that score an 8 – 10 on the scale, and mark the ones that score a 5-8 so that when you run out of those, you can choose a better quality product as a replacement. Just like we’ve outgrown some clothing in our closet, we’ve also outgrown using products that contain toxic ingredients.

Thank you so much for listening. I really appreciate it.

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