In terms of haircare and cosmetics, we are always looking for natural alternatives. Most of what we consume has a chemical in it. This includes our fresh produce and our drinking water. People are now looking for a more natural, chemical-free method to maintain their hair.

However, there are many people being misled ….., whether it is by product companies, bloggers or family members.

What do your eyes see when you examine the back cover of a shampoo …. and you notice a lot of big words? It is obvious to your brain that anything more than 10 letters would be considered chemical. Put the bottle down, and then utter the words “That’s not natural!”

This is your first mistake.

Did you know that the most harmful substances known to man are listed below? (And I can attest to the fact that this was shocking when I was looking into it!)

Ricin: Deadly Poison. A dose as small and potent as one grain of sand can kill. It also comes from Castor Bean. Castor Oil is also derived from Castor Bean but it is not toxic.

Botulinum: A neurotoxin that is made by bacteria. This can be found in improperly sealed containers or from bad meat. Temporary muscle paralysis and pain are the most common symptoms. Serious paralysis can result in death. Botox also contains small amounts of it.

Tetrodotoxin or TTX is an extremely powerful neurotoxin. A small amount can paralyze muscles that are vital for your survival. It takes about 6 hours to kill you. This toxin is also found in the pufferfish and used to make the Japanese delicacy fugu and other seafood, including flatworms, sea stars and angelfish.

Cyanide: A deadly poison which binds with iron in blood and prevents it carrying oxygen to cells. It can kill in minutes. It is found in the seeds of apples. Apricots, cherries, and almonds are all good sources. Although it is said to smell like almonds, the actual smell of almonds is actually the same as the cyanide contained inside them.

Strychnine is a naturally occurring poison that is mainly obtained from the seeds of Strychnos nux vomica trees. It is a neurotoxin which acts on the spinal nerves and causes victims to convulse and contort.

Polonium: This radioactive material that occurs in nature.

Radon: Natural radioactive gas. Fun fact: Did Cork have an unhealthy high level Radon content in the ground?  Radon can also be found in ground rocks. When building, these rocks are broken open and released into the atmosphere. This link provides more information from UCC about Radon in Cork.

Mercury, Lead ….the listing goes on …..

Do you notice a pattern among these items? These are all natural. NATURAL.

These items won’t be found in natural stores, but it’s a reminder that not everything natural is good.

You can however apply this in the reverse …


Cocamide MEA or cocamide Monoethanolamine: This is a chemical compound made from the fatty acid in coconut oil, when it is reacted with alcoholamine. (Ethanolamine is an organic compound that can be used to prepare emulsions and as a PH regulator for cosmetics).

Linalool is a natural component of many flowers and spices plants. It’s used for its scent.

Hexylcinnamaldehyde, a common ingredient in the cosmetic and perfume industry as an aroma substance. It is naturally found within the essential oil of Chamomile.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate(SLSa) is a foaming agent that’s made from vegetable sources such as coconut oils, guar beans, etc.

Glycol Stearate is a natural occurring fatty acid that can be used as an emulsifier.

Panthenol, a form of Vitamin B5, is used to moisturize hair.

The classification of essential oils in chemistry as terpenes or alcohols, esters and aldehydes as well as ketones and/or phenols – these are under the group of trigger words when we look at ingredients.



Sulfates, which are chemicals employed as agents for cleaning. They can be found in shampoo, detergents, and household cleaners. Shampoo contains two types of sulfates, sodium laureth or sodium lauryl. The objective of sulfates is to create a lathering effect for oil and dirt removal.

Sulphates have been criticized in the past for their cancer-causing properties. However, scientific evidence has proven otherwise.

However, it can cause skin and eye irritations if used over a prolonged period of time. Thus several people are sensitive to it

However, don’t be afraid of any sulphate. There are many alternatives to sulphates, including natural products like coconut oil or guar beans that naturally make lather.

TEA (“triethanolamine”), DEA (diethanolamine), MEA [momoethnanolamine]

These hormone disruptors can cause Cancer.

Roberta Baskin of “CBS This Morning” stated that the DEA was involved in hundreds  of cosmetic products , but it does much more than making soap bubbles. Federal government studies have shown that DEA, DEA-based detergents and soaps have demonstrated to significantly increase cancer risk, particularly in the liver and kidney .

John Bailey is the head of FDA’s cosmetics division. He says the new study has particular importance because “the risk equation has changed significantly for children.” Tests conducted at the University of Bologna (Italy) revealed that TEA was found to be the most common sensitiser in cosmetics, shampoos, gels, creams and lotions.

Alcohol: Although alcohol isn’t generally bad for your health (when used in hair products), they can cause drying problems on hair and scalp. Some alcohols, on the other hand, can help maintain hair’s moisture and manageability. Two of the most popular fatty alcohols found in hair products are Cetyl alcohol and Cetearyl alcohol. These are used to maintain hair’s moisture.

Parabens: These preservatives are common. They are more affordable than alternative preservatives and are used extensively in both supermarket and drugstore shampoos. Parabens can mimic estrogen and cause breast carcinoma and can be absorbed easily through the skin. Few common parabens are propylparaben, methylparabens and butyl parabens. Others are harder to find, like Alkyl parahydroxybenzates.

You can also classify essential oils in chemistry as: terpenes and alcohols, esters or ketones, terpenes and phenols – these are under the group of trigger words when we look at ingredients.

Silicons: Although they are not proven to be harmful for your health, silicons can entail build up in your hair and cause hair problems when you colour or bleach your hair. People often mistakenly believe they have dandruff because of the flaky appearance caused by the silicons that build up on the hair and scalp.

Most salon-exclusive shampoos contain silicone. They are water-soluble, which is why they can be purchased only from salons and not drugstores. This means that every wash removes the old silicon layer and is replaced by a new layer that creates the shine. The non-water-soluble, less expensive type that causes build up.


You might think that all natural hair care looks exactly like this ……. image. We are curious about the ingredients on top brands found in health food shops.

These were fascinating. Although they weren’t all alarming, some of them were misleading and some outright false.

Some products claim to be rich with minerals and extracts taken from the Dead Sea.

Sea Salt is our only option. Flower oils such as geranium and beeswax are the rest. You can’t excuse me!

This rich, creamy shampoo is designed to moisturize dry, flaky hair and revitalize it. This gentle shampoo can be used on all hair types.

Zinc Pyrithione is also found in it. This is used to treat Dandruff as it is antifungal and hence will not be considered for all types of hair. One side effect of Zinc Pyrithione side effects can be hair loss.

Salicylic Acid is used in this product, which claims it can revitalise hair that has been damaged. The side effects include hair drying or thinning. It is generally considered safe but some people may be sensitive to it. People who use it often may develop dry, red or peeling skin.

Another popular brand, with the name Nature, claimed to all be natural. It also contained Potassium-sorbate, a chemical additive. It’s used extensively as a preservative in food, drinks, and personal Care products. It is a synthetically manufactured salt that is odorless, tasteless, and non-toxic. Although it is not toxic, prolonged use in large quantities can lead to allergies.

Another brand name which contains Organics in the title has a formaldehyde releaser called Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate that a helpful Cosmetic Database published it as highly to moderately hazardous, had a high to moderate chance of slightly causing cancer as well as trigger allergies!

Here are some tips on hair care ingredients. If you prefer natural products and if you are concerned about hair health and beauty, it is recommended that you seek advice from a trusted professional.

While natural, handcrafted products and health food stores are wonderful, they may not be good for your hair’s appearance. These products may have low or no nasties. However, they are not going to prioritize maintaining your hair colour or protecting it from damage caused by bleaching and the environmental elements.

Shampoos that are cheaper have lower quality ingredients. Some of these ingredients are often used because they are inexpensive. This is a false economy. We have tested professional shampoo to show that although it costs more, it lasts significantly longer than cheaper shampoo that will result in similar or even cheaper price considering the number of washes.

You can also be deceived into believing that you should use things straight out of the oven or from your baking cupboard to solve this problem. Baking soda and vinegar are not the best options for hair care. Some chemicals can cause irritation, but some natural products can be just as irritating. Baking soda is the fastest way to remove expensive hair colours …. and it also dries hair quickly. Baking soda is more harsh than dishwashing detergent. To get rid of the stains, think about what your mother used to scrub the kitchen sink.

This article has shown that natural doesn’t necessarily mean it is free from irritation or good for you. Some people won’t react to Sulphates while others are allergic to lavender. One client even gets headaches from the smell of oranges. Everybody is different. Do what’s best for you …. and if that fails, don’t be afraid to do your research.