How to recognize Organic Cosmetics (BIO) for Hair
Here we detail how to recognize if a cosmetic is really eco-friendly and organic (eco-bio) and explore what are the best ingredients of a good hair product.
To know if a cosmetic product, in addition to being effective, is really good for the skin or in this case the hair, you must read the label where the ingredients of the product are listed.
As for hair products, such as shampoos, we will find water or one or more hydrolates in the first place instead of water. Surfactants, active ingredients and preservatives will follow.
Eco-bio surfactants in shampoos and hair conditioners
Surfactants are among the first ingredients of a product dedicated to the cleansing of both the skin and the hair and represent about 40% of the total ingredients; the surfactants are able to reduce the surface tension of the water and to bind the dirt and therefore have mainly detergent function.
The surfactants allowed by eco-bio cosmetics are of vegetable origin and are generally obtained from coconut oil or palm oil or from vegetables rich in lipids.
Each surfactant can have a different function with respect to another; for this reason, in the composition of a shampoo or detergent, more surfactants are combined to increase the detergent, foaming and conditioning efficacy.
To know which surfactants contains a shampoo just read the label on the package, where all the ingredients of the product are listed in descending order. Among the most used surfactants in eco-bio shampoos are: Decyl glucoside, Lauryl glucoside, Coco glucoside, Sodium lauroyl sarcosinate, Babassamiopropyl betaine, Coamdopropyl betaine, Sodium cocoamphoacetate, Glycerin, Lauryl glucoside, Sodium Cocoyl glutamate. In the INCI of balsams and eco-bio hair masks, Esterquat can be found among the main ingredients.
In eco-bio detergents, surfactants of synthetic origin or those considered to be particularly aggressive such as SLS and SLES are not normally used.
The active ingredients in eco-bio products for hair
The active ingredients in shampoos and conditioners have the function to soften and untangle the hair, protect them from external aggressions and solve any problems of dryness, excess of sebum or dandruff. Generally, the active ingredients represent about 8% of the total ingredients.
Among the eco-bio active ingredients are, for example, plant ceramides that strengthen and restructure hair; in a shampoo we can also find vetetal collagen with moisturizing and emollient properties or proteins of soy, rice, wheat and inulin with fortifying and moisturizing action. Aloe vera gel or other plant extracts such as nettle, tea, chamomile or bee products (propolis, honey) are also used.
In bio-based products, silicones are generally avoided, since it seems that these ingredients create an occlusive patina around the hair, as well as not being biodegradable. In place of synthetic silicones, plant silicones, made from red algae, are inserted in eco-organic hair products.
The effectiveness of the shampoo is not only due to the active ingredients proper but also by the presence of any hydrolates and essential oils.
Preservatives and Perfumes
Perfumes and preservatives are usually found among the last places on the list of ingredients of a cosmetic since they are included in small percentages (1-2%). Among the preservatives of an eco-organic product we should not find Parabens, which are substituted by other preservatives allowed in eco-cosmetics, including Sodium sorbate, Potassium benzoate and Sodium Dehydroacetate.
Eco-bio products are often perfumed with natural fragrances rather than syntheses, or with essential oils. The essential oils, in addition to giving the fragrance, also give properties to the cosmetic and can be considered active ingredients.
In shampoos, for example, the essential oil of rosemary is used, which prevents hair loss, or tea tree essential oil, useful in case of dandruff or even the essential sage oil and lemon oil in the shampoo composition for oily hair.
Essential oils, although natural, can give allergies to those predisposed since they contain allergens.