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Aug 24, 2016 03:24PM

Safer suds: Read the label before you lather, rinse, repeat


By Chris Cashion
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Todd Mizener/tmizener@qconline.com
Radish writer Chris Cashion puts a handful of natural and organic shampoos to the test.
More photos from this shoot
Printed and digital copies of this image are available for purchase.  Digital delivery within minutes.  Click here for details.
Todd Mizener/tmizener@qconline.com
Radish writer Chris Cashion puts a handful of natural and organic shampoos to the test.
More photos from this shoot
In another profession, if you're asked to wash your hair, you may take offense. But when you write for Radish, you know that there's probably another reason behind the request, and it has nothing to do with your hygiene.

This past month, I stepped out of my comfort zone — which is using whatever shampoo that is relatively cheap with a coupon — and tested a few shampoos and conditioners made with organic or more natural ingredients than the standard bottles you'll find on the shelves. (Sorry, Pantene, it was time for us to break up for a while!)

I used each product for about a week to give them a fair shake, and then moved on to the next. I picked up the matching conditioner for each, too, so I wasn't coating my strands with the standard drugstore fare after washing with a new concoction.

The first product I chose to test was Acure Repairing Shampoo. This particular shampoo touts its triple-action repairing ability and is made with a blend of organic argan oil, argan stem cells, CoQ10 and sea buckthorn oil. The bottle says it's also color safe, vegan, cruelty free, and free of gluten, sulfate, paraben, phthalate, petroleum, PEG, silicone and synthetic fragrance.

I'll be honest though — that's not the part of the label that lured me in. The directions say that after massaging the shampoo into your scalp and hair, you're supposed to rinse and "feel free to belt out some horrible '80s tune that you listen to when nobody's around." Sold — because I'm probably going to do that anyway, but I like that the makers of this shampoo understand their target audience.

I liked the shampoo well enough. My hair felt squeaky-clean, and the scent was pleasant but not overwhelming. Plus, it felt really good to know I was using something that was natural and not bad for our environment. It was possibly not as emollient as I would have liked, but still, the Acure was a good, solid contender, and I was glad I had given it a try.

Next, I tried Avalon Organics' Ylang Ylang shampoo. This one boasts a combination of ylang ylang essential oil, chamomile extract, aloe and vitamins, and promises a head of shiny, revitalized hair.

The bottle is made from 100 percent recycled material, and the content is 70 percent organic — plus, it isn't tested on animals. That's a triple bonus.

The one thing I noticed immediately about this shampoo is that it doesn't lather the way I'm used to, although I've been told this is normal when using products that contain fewer synthetic ingredients.

The scent is delightful, and I was almost disappointed when I couldn't smell it the rest of the day.

This is a shampoo that personally, I probably wouldn't use every day. Its moisturizing properties were almost too much for my sun-damaged hair, leaving it feeling a bit heavy and lifeless. I think it would be a great product to use once or twice per week, though.

Finally, I tried the Tea Tree Replenishing Shampoo from Desert Essence, which was my favorite, far and away. The bad news is that it isn't recommended for color-treated hair, which I have. Tea tree can fade color, but I couldn't resist because I loved the scent. It's a delicious mixture of tea tree and peppermint. It certainly would not be the first time I based a buying decision largely on my olfactory sense.

This selection also is not tested on animals, and does not contain any petroleum, parabens or artificial fragrances. It's also vegetarian, cruelty free and packaged in a recyclable bottle.

I especially enjoyed the cool feeling of peppermint on my scalp — it was quite refreshing. The hint of tea tree scent was pleasant, and my hair felt well moisturized but not overly so.

The Desert Essence brand makes other formulas, and I think I will be trying them soon to avoid using the tea tree oil on my color-treated hair for an extended time.

The shampoos I tested cost about $10 each. I purchased the Acure Repairing Shampoo from Heritage Natural Foods, which has locations in Moline and Davenport; the Avalon Organics shampoo from Greatest Grains in Davenport, and the Desert Essence shampoo from Hy-Vee. Each store also offered many other shampoos with organic and natural ingredients, too.

Sometimes all it takes is a little push to step outside of our usual box, and that's been true of the shampoo experiment for me. I think I'll be keeping the more natural, organic products in my shower routine. If you decide to do the same, feel free to belt out tunes from the decade of your choice. If you're looking for ideas, revisit the '80s — it has some fun little ditties to choose from.

Chris Cashion is a writer on staff with Radish.





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