I haven’t done a product review in a while so I thought I’d share this one, partly because it’s about putting my money where my mouth is. Way back in February I wrote this about parabens in products. Long story short; parabens are preservatives but will do you no harm. If you’re ultra paranoid and want to buy paraben-free products you can but it’s a waste of money and you’ll be best keeping them in the fridge.
Then, a couple of weeks later I wrote this about sulphates in products. I expected to discover much the same, that all the scaremongering about this stuff is nonsense and a lot of it is. However, it’s also true that sulphates are irritants. They work by foaming up, making things feel like they’re being cleaned more thoroughly (and they certainly may be because of surface tension changes and whatnot). Whether they work or not, though, they are definitely irritants. So if you have sensitive skin you may want to avoid them.
Even if your skin isn’t particularly sensitive but you’re finding a product is getting to you, you may want to swap it out for a sulphate-free version. If you’re getting rashes or dry patches the sulphates could be the cause.
Now, as it happens, I had been using John Freida’s Brilliant Brunette shampoo and, as much as I always used to love it, I think it was starting to get to me. Not exactly a big data analysis here, I know, and I’m not suggesting that anyone currently using Brilliant Brunette should stop, but I wanted to change things up. This was about the time I started my Not Washing My Hair Experiment. Reasoning that my hair would be oilier than usual, I decided to look for a sulphate-free shampoo for oily hair.
After wandering around a large branch of boots and getting zero luck (seriously, I was the weirdo reading the back of every shampoo bottle before sighing and replacing it on the shelf) I gave in and just googled it. The first result that wasn’t already one of the bottles I’d picked up was a shampoo by The Body Shop, so off I went.
Right on the front of most of their bottles is a label saying, “No Silicones No Sulphates No Colourants No Parabens.” I don’t care about the parabens but “No Sulphates” sounds just great to me. I picked up the “Rainforest Balance” shampoo, which said it was for oily hair. I checked the ingredients list just in case. We have a winner!
So far? So good. It smells good, it still does foam (it must have some alternative foaming agent in it but my chemistry isn’t good enough to figure out what). It leaves my hair just as shiny and clean as ever before, even though I’m still only washing it every 2-3 days at the moment. On occasion I’ve washed, rinsed and washed again, but that’s only when I’ve left it really long between washes and I’m a little worried – it would probably be fine without.
So, do I recommend it? YES!
Now, The Body Shop’s products are certainly pricey but a quick look at their website tells me that, at least online, the price of their shampoo isn’t too bad. I… I paid for it in store and thought I was getting a good deal because I used a discount – it turns out buying it online would have been a good bit cheaper. We live and learn.
Visiting their website leads me to be slightly discouraged to see just how whole-heartedly The Body Shop is jumping on the paraben free waggon, which is totally unnecessary. Although, on the other hand, they have animal welfare and environmental concerns and I didn’t research those in terms of paraben use, so maybe they have a good reason. Or maybe they’re just providing what people have been told to demand. Remember: Buy it if you must, but keep it in the fridge.
So, you may be asking yourself, or rather you may be asking me, “Becky, why all the concern about hair care lately? You’re not a beautician or a hairdresser, you’re not even a chemist, shouldn’t you spend your research hours working on your physics PhD?” Oh, you’re right, I should (and I do!) I’m just so nerdy that I’ll sometimes research other things in my spare time, just for fun. However, I admit a motive for this one: I have big plans for my hair in the next few weeks. No spoilers, but there is going to be a very noticeable change quite soon. I need to make sure my hair is in good condition before that happens. Watch this space.