Navigation in shampoo’s oceans. Transparent conception and tips. PART 1
Once I spoke with a friend of mine, and she said she uses only baby cosmetics for herself, like baby face cream, baby hand cream, baby shampoo… She said there are less hazardous, risky chemicals in children’s formulas. That sounded reasonable to me!
When my shampoo was finished, I went to a pharmacy to choose a baby shampoo for myself:) As a chemist, and a reader of labels for 10 years continuous practice, I immediately turned a chosen bottle to the ingredient list.
To my surprise, the ingredient list of children’s shampoo was not so good! I looked at the other company’s bottles – they were the same!
A few days ago, I asked my friends to send me photos of the ingredient list of their children’s shampoo they use at home. As we STAY HOME, it is time to l’earn something about this mysterious chemistry:))
We are not going to have a deep conversation on the chemical structure of the ingredients of shampoo, also, that is not SLS topic* and which most responsible mothers have already investigated. * SLS is Sodium lauryl sulphate, a chemical that is commonly used in shampoos, soaps, shower gels and toothpaste as a cleansing and foaming agent. However,
I will try to share some basic information and tips to navigate the option of shampoo options:)
Navigating in an ocean of shampoo or How to choose better options:
In general, look at the ingredient list
- In general, look at the ingredient list: the shorter it is, the better (except formulas that have plant-based ingredients making more than 50% of all composition). Examples from received shampoo formulas:
Look for natural, plant-based ingredients
- look for natural, plant-based ingredients
Some “natural” shampoos have long list of plant-based ingredients and theoretically should be “natural”, but look further to differentiate: a) plant names and b) other natural ingredients or c) chemically-derived components.
Plant names and raw material, found in shampoo formulas:
|Calendula officinalis flower extract|
|Triticum vulgare (Wheat) germ extract|
|Vaccinium mirtyllus extract|
|Rubus idaeus extract|
|Actinidia chinensis fruit juice|
|Citrus aurantium dulcis juice|
|Citrus paradisi juice|
|Pyrus malus juice|
|Prunus amygdalus dulcis seed extract|
|Chamomilla recutita (matricaria) extract|
|Persea gratissima (avocado) fruit extract|
|Sweet almond oil|
|Orange flower absolute|
|Avena sativa (oat) kernel flour|
|Avena sativa (oat) kernel extract|
Other natural ingredients could be: sea salt, amber extract, honey, limonene.
Formulas where plant-based ingredients make more than 50% of all composition could be considered as plant-based. Examples from received shampoo formulas:
Something about Chamomile:
This could come as a surprise for some of us, but natural, plant-based materials could cause allergic reactions. One of the most common plant-allergen is Chamomile flower. According to European Medicines Agency, hypersensitivity reactions including severe allergic reaction (dyspnoea, Quincke’s disease, vascular collapse, anaphylactic shock) following mucosal contact with liquid chamomile preparations have been reported. The frequency is not known (1).
Something about Limonene:
Originally, limonene is a common component of essential oils and therefore could be found in many plants. In shampoo formulas, limonene is known as one of the allergens, because synthetic, cheap, not natural limonene is used.
Limonene could be considered as natural only if it is clearly written after ingredient list that “limonene, which naturally occurs in essential oil” or something like this. If “limonene” is without any additional information provided, most likely, something like 99.9% it will be synthetic. Examples from received shampoo formulas:
Identify the most risky ingredients just before purchasing
One of the most undesirable component in shampoo formulas is Propylene Glycol.
Propylene glycol is estimated to be one-third as intoxicating as ethanol, with administration of large volumes being associated with adverse effects most commonly on the central nervous system, especially in neonates and children. It is also related to ototoxicity (deafness) and seizures in children (2). Be aware not to use on damaged, dry (with dandruff) or irritated skin. But of course, would recommend to avoid it as for children, as well for adults.
Because the topic is really huge, we start from the very basics, and will continue going ahead in further posts. Stay tuned and subscribe to this blog to get notifications about every new post (these days it is coming every day:))
- European Union herbal monograph on Matricaria recutita L., flos EMA/HMPC/55843/2011
- Handbook-of-Pharmaceutical-Excipients 6th Edition by Rowe, R.C., Sheskey, P. and Quinn, M., 2009
P.S. Great thanks to a special friend, who devoted her time to this blog post, and improved my English grammar:)
Photos by Dr. A. Palatronis on www.z-antenna.com. Lady looking at the computer monitor – Photo by Pexels