you’re already wearing all that oil, anyway

by Sirje

Did you know that your shampoo and conditioner are basically recipes of a variety of oil derivatives, packaged in a beautiful oil-derivative container? It’s true. And, gross! And, by the way, your scalp and skin are very efficient conduits of all manner of toxic whatevers into your body. Yuck. Oil-coating your spleen, bladder and Thyro-arytenoid muscle since the industrial revolution.

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Actually I don’t know about the spleen-coating. But I’m not really a huge fan of petroleum (usually a/k/a mineral oil, but also lots of other ingredients) being in every single product we use, particularly since we still can’t figure out a way to dispose of everything safely once we’ve finished with all those convenient containers, nor, for that matter, find a way to ethically and safely harvest, handle, and sell it in the first place.

I’m pretty careful about what I ingest, and it seems logical to also take care of what I smear on my skin. If you want to read more about the crap in beauty products, try this depressing article, which I just randomly searched on google.

So anyway, back to me. The water in Baden-Baden is pretty amazing, which is probably why some very clever Roman decided to set up a few baths there; but Berlin’s water is very very harsh on my skin and hair. I’ve gotten pretty desperate about trying to tame this bundle of straw that used to be my hair, and it’s clear to me that the more silicone or dimethicone or really any kind of -cone I use will 1) yes, indeed make my hair look nice and shiny and bendy again, but then b) shortly thereafter make it even dryer than before. Gack.

So, all things considered, I decided about a half-bottle of fancy shampoo ago to stick to organic, non-petroleum based hair products. It’s not hard to do, it’s just that I’m a whore for expensive beauty products. Did you know there is actually a white truffle shampoo on the market? Well, now you know someone who actually bought that. (For the record, it was AMAZING). You don’t have to look too hard for non-petroleum haircare, and there are a few so-called “organic” lines here in Germany that are also available in the US:

The quite affordable Lavera is great, particularly their Basis line, and they get consistently high marks in Germany for safe ingredients, which is really saying something. Sante is also pretty good, and even more affordable than Lavera (I just spent less than 4 Euros on a bottle of their shampoo today). If you’re in the EU and are willing to go through the hassle of having things delivered, my hands-down favorite for hair is the über-organic line Sanoll from Austria. It’s affordable but not super-cheap, and it’s worth noting that because they don’t use any preservatives (at least they didn’t last time I used them), things do go bad if you don’t use them after a long while.

While I love a lot of their skin care stuff, I found Dr. Hauschka‘s shampoos and conditioners to be basically like smearing a very expensive, runny, plant-based mayonnaise around in my hair (and I guess I’m not the only one because I hear they’re discontinuing a lot or all of the hair care line). Aveda doesn’t even get a link because of my Aveda Salon Hair Color Disaster of ’06. Hard times, hard times. But I will note that, though they do use a lot of natural ingredients, they’ll also toss in a little formaldyhyde, neurotoxins or methylparabens to give it that extra kick. ::Sigh.::

Last but not least, if you want to get really REALLY seriously crunchy-organic, you can try making your very own shampoo and conditioner out of water, apple cider vinegar and baking soda. I’m, ummm, not quite there yet. So if you try it, be sure to let me know how it goes!