Dervisa Babacic was a successful hair stylist whose life and career almost ended by doing the very thing she loved to do.
“At first it was a rash,” explains Dervisa, “or what the doctor called eczema, then hormone imbalances, respiratory issues and increased fatigue. I loved what I did for a living, but I knew I had to put my health first.” What Dervisa is referring to is a toxic syndrome with allergies caused by exposure to salon chemicals. Instead of giving up, she was inspired to open her own salon, Hazel Street Organic, in Birmingham, with a certified organic line. Not only did her health improve, she knew she was onto something important. I got my hair done at Hazel Street Organics in Birmingham, I was impressed with their KeraGreen treatment line, a natural alternative to the cancer causing “Brazilian Blowout. ” Concerns about the danger of salon chemicals goes beyond allergy. She’s also working to limit exposure to cancer-causing chemicals, like secondary amines in hair dye and propylene glycol in hair and skin-care products. Consumers demand organic products from high end salons!
Hair-care products fall under the same substandard laws as cosmetics. Many manufacturers are not completely honest or transparent with their ingredients. They use buzzwords like “gluten free” or “organic” to attract buyers to their expensive products. But a cosmetic company can simply call a product organic, even if it has only one organic ingredient.
Keep in mind there are legitimate organic companies that take pride in their certified organic products.
So, what about mainstream?
“Luxury brands like Oribe and Kevin Murphy have made a lot of adjustments to their formulas,” says Sheryl Roth, who just opened Tricho, a high-end salon at Somerset Collection in Troy. “Whether it’s using herbal oils or declining the use of parabens and sulfates.”
Unfortunately, lip service and pretty bottles isn’t enough for today’s savvy beauty clients that demand quality healthy products-period. Paraben and sulfate removal were an issue ten years ago, now we have other cancer causing chemicals with new names that need to be addressed. Oribe and Kevin Murphy, high-end lines, that are Johny-Come-Lately’s to the clean beauty movement and frankly-it’s insulting to those of us that know better.
Business is booming for organic salons with customers drawn to healthy products high-end hairdressers. Many women will not forgo their weekly salon and spa treatments, no matter what the ingredients, so the most prudent advice is to choose wisely and be conscious of your exposure.
If you are concerned about the qualities of brands, I invite you to support and join the Organic Consumers Association, a national watchdog organization that makes sure organic products are exactly what they say they are. You can download the “Think Dirty” app to your phone to help you chose safe and clean personal care products. Take a look at our Go Green page to find out more about how we promote green businesses and defend against greenwashing.
My book “Beyond Natural Skin Care and Weight Loss” has recommendations to help you stay young and healthy.
Whatever you chose, chose wisely.
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