When I was pregnant I became a little bit obsessed with the content of the shampoos, conditioners, creams and shower gels I used. I even stopped using my favourite every-day fake tanning lotion. My main concern was with the paraben content of my everyday beauty favourites.
Parabens are preservatives, man made ones, and studies that cannot rule out the link between using them and certain cancers. Note my use of the word ‘cannot’. I just wanted to be sure I was doing the best for my my unborn child.
Fast forward a few years – and a few bottles of everyday fake tan later. I’ve not really been paying so much attention to what I use to wash/beautify myself, but Imogen (my daughter) has been as far as I know, a paraben and sulphate free zone; sulphates being another questionable inclusion, as they are harsh detergents that can strip the body and hair of its natural oils.
It was while I writing a piece on cancer for one of the financial trades I work for a few weeks back that I became ‘content’ conscious of the various lotions and potions I use. The article, by the way, which happened to mention that women are more likely to get certain cancers in the late 30s through to their early 50s.
So on my next trip to the supermarket I decided to try L’Oreal’s new sulphate free range. The Paris Hair Expertise EverStrong Reinforcing & Vitality shampoo and conditioner which were on special offer for £9 for the both. A bit pricey, but not as pricey as my usual brand. So I gave them a go. The smell was the first thing that I noticed, there were no chemical undertones, and my hair looked and felt better – it was easier to style, and when I didn’t blow dry it, still looked okay.
So I thought try some other brands, this time ones that were paraben free too. My hair is in fairly good condition, apart from last being cut 10 weeks ago (I’m growing it so I’m holding out for three monthly cuts at the moment), but it could do with a bit of a boost.
First up was Keratherapy’s keratin infused shampoo and conditioner. You can only buy this through hair salons and it’s marketed as a product for those wanting that sleek blow dried look without having to have the permanent blow dry. The smell was subtle and the consistency was something you’d expect from a protein-packed lotion. I didn’t use protective product when I blow dried my hair after using this and it still managed to look shiny. It did also hang straighter.
Macadamia Natural Oils – I tried the rejuvinating shampoo and moisterizing rinse producgts. These were a little runny but don’t let that put you off, they smelt like sun tan lotion and my hair, which can look lank if I use a heavy conditioner, managed to hold its style (I used this on a day when I curled my hair with rollers) all day.
Essential Care – the gentle herb shampoo promises to be so mild you don’t need a conditioner. I have to say I’m a conditioner addict so I still used one! But out of all the products this was the one that didn’t actually smell of anything at all. I used it on Imogen, as she certainly doesn’t need a conditioner, and was impressed. Three days after using it her hair was still looking freshly washed.
Ogario – if I had to go by smell alone these would win hands down. I tried the restore and shine hair masque, which smelt like chocolate and lemon; the revive and shine shampoo and conditioner, which also had a wonderful lemon aroma. I later read that the masque had sage and lavender while the shampoo had nettle and rooibos, while the condition had horsetail and hibiscus. It felt like a waste to put these on my hair and I debated actually tasting them (and no I’m not pregnant). My hair felt soft and was shiny.
Verdict: Giving my hair a break from sulphates appears to have improved its condition generally. These products are not ones I’d normally buy. I’ll be trying some more mainstream brands, including the Body Shop and update you on my findings.
If you have any recommendations let me know and we can include them here.