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Natural Awakenings Rhode Island

Healthy Hair, Healthy Body

Organic Hair Care That is People- and Planet-Friendly

by Elaine Hewitt

There is a misconception in the hair industry among clients as well as professionals that in order to have professional results, be it color, foils, permanent waves, straightening and more, one must use caustic, toxic chemicals. This simply is not true.

While chemicals do need to be used when performing these tasks, there is a vast difference between a benign, pharmaceutical chemical and a toxic, carcinogenic industrial-grade chemical. Most people, laypersons and professionals alike, do not understand this distinction.

For instance, when an industrial-type peroxide or bleach is used on the hair for application, the process opens the cuticle quickly solely by chemical action. This action prepares the cuticle to allow penetration of toxic pigments to enter, and when the chemicals have sufficiently processed, the hair is shampooed, leaving the pigment intact, changing the color, or in the case of bleaching, decolorizing.

The problem is that the cuticle never fully closes down again due to the extreme chemical trauma. Over time the hair becomes dull and dry, and it is more difficult to achieve the original results because pigment will no longer hold in the cuticle. A common “fix” used by many stylists is to rake the regrow color through to the ends hoping to refresh the color. However, this habit, which saves time and money for the salon, opens the cuticle further to the point of no return, making it eventually unable to grab color, hence the all-too-familiar faded, dry, damaged look.

Looks aside, one’s overall health should also be considered when choosing a hair care professional. There are up to 80 carcinogens in the pigments of color alone, on top of the toxic exposure from peroxides, bleaches, straighteners and more, that are made with  ammonias, formaldehydes and a long list of other carcinogens. The skin—also the largest organ of the body—absorbs these chemicals directly into the bloodstream near the brain and eyes.

Another distinct difference in a salon that practices organic hair care is the odor. In place of harsh-smelling chemical odors are pleasant scents from the people- and planet-friendly products used. Still, do not be fooled by smells alone. Many companies are marketing products in such a way as to give the illusion of safety by eliminating odors but still using carcinogenic, toxic ingredients. Also do not be fooled by the word “natural” which means nothing; the absence of odor or scalp burning does not mean the product is safe or non-toxic.

It is best to research products, or find a hair care professional that is knowledgeable and experienced in practicing organic hair care, in order to feel safe about the products being used on one’s hair.

Elaine Hewitt is located in Barrington, and she has been providing the cleanest, greenest, organic products for clients for 10 years. Her personal lifestyle is organic and holistic so it matters deeply to her that she provides healthy options for her clients. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 401-273-7005.