I can’t believe I did this! I got a haircut recently – a lot shorter than I was anticipating. Actually, it was two different haircuts within one week of each other. Why? Let me explain…
Typically when I get my hair cut, I ask the stylist not to put any products in my hair. With Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, the chemicals in hair products can cause me to have different reactions. However, on this particular day, I decided at the last minute to get my hair cut. I ended up getting a different stylist who insisted that she needed to put hair detangler in my wavy hair. Since my MCS is a lot better then it used to be, I thought I would just deal with the symptoms/reactions for a little bit then go home and wash it out of my hair. Typically, I have to shower after going into stores because of the chemicals I encounter. I’ve gotten used to it and it’s the way I can survive each day bombarded by all of the chemicals.
Over the years I have become more in tune with my body. I can recognize when something isn’t right. Then I have to do detective work to see what is causing a reaction. After the hair detangler product was used on my hair, I didn’t get horrible symptoms, but I had enough symptoms which caused me to stop and notice.
Some of my symptoms were:
- congested ears
- sore throat
- digestive – bloated stomach and food sensitivities flaring up
So I have to ask if I encountered these symptoms after using hair detangler spray one time, what is it doing to those who use it day after day?
Hair Detangler Lasts A Long Time!
I have never had hair detangler used on my hair. I left the salon thinking I would go home and wash it out. Little did I know that most hair detangler’s continue to last long after being applied. I washed my hair 10 times within a couple of days. I used shampoo, baking soda, vinegar, castille soap, olive oil and I even put activated charcoal in it (I don’t recommend that for more reasons than one)! I tried anything that I thought would absorb it. Nothing worked.
I became desperate after a few days of smelling this chemical in my hair, so I tried cutting it out of my hair. Mind you, I don’t know what I’m doing with a pair of scissors, other than years of watching the professionals cut my hair. (My husband won’t even let me cut his hair). I cut my hair on the side that I thought smelled the strongest, then I tried to even it out on the other side. Of course, it didn’t look the greatest, but I was able to disguise it with a headband. Even after all of that, the smell was still there. It was less, but still there!
When I went to a different salon to get my hair cut the second time in order to fix my mess, the stylist mentioned that’s how hair detangler works. It lasts for a while. She also said that some use it as a leave-in conditioner.
So How Does Hair Detangling Spray Work?
Just as the name applies, hair detangler spray was created to detangle or smooth out hair. It can also condition and help with frizz and static. I ran into this problem a lot as a child with wavy hair. If I dried my hair without brushing it first or conditioning it, I would end up with a mess of tangles to try to brush through.
Technically, hair detangler spray coats hair with an “oil or polymer and/or by acidifying it so that the hair’s surface tightens up, smoothing the scales on the hair’s outer surface or cuticle and imparting a positive electrical charge to prevent the static that can worsen tangles.”
What Ingredients Can Be Found In Hair Detangler Products?
There are many different ingredients which can go into hair detangler. It’s important to note that according to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, “the law does not require cosmetic products and ingredients, except for color additives, to be approved by FDA before they go on the market.”
Also, many ingredients aren’t tested for safety. “The safety of personal care product ingredients is evaluated through a voluntary industry program known as the Cosmetic Ingredient Review process…The CIR has reviewed less than 20% of the FDA estimated 12,500 chemicals used in cosmetics.” In addition, the safety data focuses on acute reactions to products instead of looking at chronic health effects from the chemicals.
Ingredients in Suave Detangler:
- Water (Aqua)
- Propylene Glycol
- Polysorbate 20
- DMDM Hydantoin
- Cetrimonium Chloride
- Tetrasodium EDTA
- Citric Acid
- Butylene Glycol
- Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate
I can’t pronounce the majority of these! However, one that I can pronounce is fragrance. Fragrance is considered proprietary information – or trade secrets. Many different toxic chemicals can – and do – go into one fragrance.
In addition to these ingredients, there could also be items such as parabens in phthalates.
Parabens mimic estrogen and have been identified in breast tumors. Parabens can be absorbed intact through the
skin and have been found in urine, and breast milk samples of Americans.
Phthalates are one of the problem chemicals highlighted by the President’s Cancer Panel. Phthalates are easily released from products and can accumulate in the body.
These harmful chemicals can cause a wide array of symptoms and health issues.
The organization, Women’s Voices for the Earth put together fact sheets and reports for avoiding toxic chemicals in salon products. Be sure to give it a read.
Natural Hair Detangler Alternatives
Fortunately, there are some companies who provide more natural alternatives for hair detangler instead of pouring chemicals all over our heads. I always recommend finding products with as few ingredients as possible and also ingredients which I can pronounce.
Additionally, for safer products, be sure to visit the Environmental Working Group. They rate products according to their level of toxicity. They also have overviews of different chemical ingredients, so if the particular product you’re going to purchase isn’t in their database, search the specific ingredients.
In addition, finding a good detangling brush can help detangle hair without using any additional products at all!
How Do You Make Your Own Hair Detangler?
If you would prefer to stay away from store bought products and make your own non-toxic hair detangler, following are some great hair detangler DIY recipes you could try.
Homemade Hair Detangler Spray Recipes
- 3 Homemade Hair Detangler Recipes
- Homemade Hair Detangler
- Homemade Herbal Hair Detangler Spray Recipe
- Natural Hair Detangling Spray (You Can Make at Home)
- Natural Homemade Detangler (3 ingredients)
The good news is there are many healthier alternatives instead of buying chemical-laden hair products. By replacing some of your hair care products with more natural hair products, you can begin making changes to a healthier lifestyle.