Why Using Only Organic Hair Care Ingredients Isn't Necessarily a Good Thing

By Lesley Rotchford | | Haircare Ingredients

If you’re like many health-conscience women, you eat a lot of organic foods. But you probably don’t eat entirely organic. Because, well, in some cases, the non-organic stuff tastes better, works better, is far less expensive; or is just as safe. It’s the same thing with hair care products. Using the right synthetic hair care ingredients won’t hurt your health or your hair, and will actually improve your results. So, you want to look for mostly natural—but not entirely organic—products.

Here are the reasons why Sauce Beauty’s hair recipes combine fruits, veggies and other natural foods with a few safe synthetic ingredients.

“Mostly natural” is the most effective formula.

When Sauce Beauty founder Andy Rah set out to create a line of hair care products inspired by his favorite foods, he found himself in a bit of a pickle. The natural ingredients he wanted to use (things like avocado, coconut, olive oil, yogurt, cucumber, mint, honey, and buttermilk) have been shown to benefit hair, but he didn’t want to completely abandon the synthetic hair care ingredients that he knew from experience were essential to getting the best results. “I [had worked at] companies that sell high end salon products, and I didn’t want to give up that level of quality in my own products,” says Rah. “But there are also a lot of natural ingredients that are fantastic for hair health. It’s just a matter of combining nature and science to come up with the best products.”

Mixing it up is easier on the wallet.

The price of a hair care product is typically based on the quality of the hair care ingredients. Exotic ingredients from far-flung locations cost a pretty penny, and this is reflected in the price of a product. Rah wanted to include expensive, luxurious ingredients in his line of hair care products, without the sticker shock associated with salon brands. “Not everyone wants to spend—or can spend—$30 or more on one hair product,” says Rah. “I wanted my line to be affordable for every woman.” So, he mixed fancy natural ingredients with basic chemical ones that he knew to be super effective. Trying to create a product that’s entirely organic is incredibly difficult—and pricey—because you have to come up with organic alternatives for common hair care ingredients like silicones and panthenol. These unnecessary organic substitutions jack up the price of a product.

Certain chemicals can make products safer.

The organic product trend was born partly out of fear surrounding sketchy preservatives in skin and hair care products. The primary preservative offenders are parabens, which can disrupt hormone function and are associated with breast cancer. But all products, organic or not, need some sort of preservatives to prevent bacteria, yeast, and mold growth. Organic companies use natural preservatives like benzyl alcohol, salicylic acid, sorbic acid, glycerin, vinegar, alpha tocopherol, salt, rosemary extract, grapeseed extract, honey, and potassium sorbate to prevent products from going bad.

Problem is, hair products can be even more susceptible to decay due to how and where they’re stored (in hot, humid showers)—and organic preservatives aren’t always tough enough to battle the bacteria growing in such damp environments. “While there are naturally occurring preservatives in nature, there are some scientifically designed preservatives that I felt were necessary,” says Rah. Sauce Beauty products are always entirely paraben free; instead Rah selected safe (yet strong) preservatives like anti-bacterial phenoxyethanol; ethylhexylglycerin (a direct sub for parabens); and disodium EDTA (which in addition to acting as a preservative can help prevent heavy metals in shower water from lingering on your hair or skin) to protect each product.

Many synthetic ingredients are mostly natural anyway.

There’s a misconception out there that anything that’s not natural is potentially dangerous. There are certain ingredients found in beauty products that may pose a risk to our health, specifically parabens (see above) and phthalates, a group of chemicals used to soften plastic that have been associated with disrupted hormone function and diabetes. Sauce Beauty products don’t contain these hair care ingredients or even sulfates, which are typically used in shampoos to create sudsy lather. “Sulfates have received a lot of bad press and negative marketing over the years, but have never been proven to have harmful effects,” says Rah. Still, Sauce Beauty avoids them just to be on the safe side!

Many synthetic ingredients actually start out natural but a chemical process is applied to them, which gives them a synthetic classification. Panthenol is one example. “It’s highly reparative and is derived from Vitamin B. Ascorbic acid is another example. It sounds bad, but what is it? Vitamin C—great for hair and skin alike,” explains Rah.

Organic hair care ingredients can’t take the heat.

Many hair cures can be found in nature, but there’s no organic ingredient that has been found to prevent your curling iron or straight iron from scorching and damaging your hair. “Applying 450 degrees of heat to hair can be very damaging, so we utilize a blend of synthetic and natural ingredients to apply a protective coating to hair to protect it,” says Rah. “It’s difficult to replicate that with only natural ingredients.” Sauce Beauty uses a mix of natural and synthetic ingredients in their Thermal Protectant Spray Hot Sauce: Silicones like phenyl trimethicone, dimethicone, dimethiconol, cylcopentasiloxane team up with natural ingredients like cayenne pepper extract, aloe leaf juice, and argan kernel oil to guard against intense temps, boost shine, and reduce frizz.

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