Trying To Be Greener

Safer eco-living, one day at a time

How Safe Is Your Shampoo & Conditioner? July 18, 2008

The Environmental Working Group has a website called Skin Deep. This site is an excellent resource for consumers in that it lists thousands of personal care products in an organized way and rates them on how safe their ingredients are.

“Skin Deep pairs ingredients in more than 25,000 products against 50 definitive toxicity and regulatory databases, making it the largest integrated data resource of its kind. Why did a small nonprofit take on such a big project? Because the FDA doesn’t require companies to test their own products for safety.”

At Skin Deep, you can find hundreds of specific items for hair, skin, eyes, nails, baby, oral care, fragrance, and makeup rated from 0-10, zero being the safest. Each item’s score is explained in detail and safer options are given.

I occasionally purchase an item or two at a department store but most of my everyday care products come from my local drugstore. In today’s post I’m listing safer, inexpensive shampoo and conditioner choices from Skin Deep’s site that can easily be found at your local drugstore. I’ve also listed some common items with high (not safe) scores as comparisons.

It should be noted that although Skin Deep gives products a “moderate hazard” score, some of them contain parabens, which one study suggested may cause breast cancer due to hormone mimicking properties, fragrance, which can often mean Diethyl Phthalate or DEP, which is an endocrine disruptor that has been linked to reproductive and genital abnormalities, propylene glycol, which the FDA says is safe for general use but can cause cancer and contains toxins that affect reproduction, and sodium laureth sulfate, which can cause skin and eye damage and even liver toxicity. Items containing any of these are noted.

Burt’s Bees products are available at two of my local drug stores. They would not be what I consider “inexpensive” but the items listed do appear to have the safest ingredients when it comes to drugstore options:

Shampoo with a score of 1 having a “low hazard”:

  • Burt’s Bees Grapefruit and Sugar Beet Shampoo
  • Burt’s Bees Rosemary Mint Shampoo Bar with Oat Protein and Pro Vitamin B5

Shampoo with a score of 2 having a “low hazard”:

  • Neutrogena T-Sal Max Strength Therapeutic Shampoo
  • Psoriasin Therapeutic Shampoo having a “moderate hazard”:

Shampoo with a score of 4 having a “moderate hazard”:

  • L’Oreal Vive Shampoo Volume Infusing – fragrance and paraben
  • L’Oreal Vive Smooth Intense Shampoo – fragrance and paraben
  • White Rain Classic Care Shampoo Daily Clarifying – fragrance
  • Suave Daily Clarifying Shampoo for Normal to Oily Hair – fragrance
  • Suave Performance Benefits Shampoo Smoothing 2 in 1 Plus Conditioner With Pro-Vit – fragrance and propylene glycol
  • Suave For Kids 2 in 1 Shampoo – Cherry Blast – fragrance and propylene glycol
  • Clairol Herbal Essences Shampoo Natural Volume Texturizing for All Hair Types – sodium laureth sulfate, fragrance, propylene glycol
  • Clairol Herbal Essences Fruit Fusions Shampoo, Hydrating for Dry Damaged Hair – sodium laureth sulfate, fragrance

Shampoo with a score of 7 having a “high hazard”:

  • ThermaSilk Moisturizing Shampoo for Dry or Damaged Hair – fragrance, formaldehyde

Shampoo with a score of 9 having a “high hazard”:

  • L’Oreal Kids 2 in 1 Shampoo, Extra Gentle, Burst of Fruity Apricot – sodium laureth sulfate, fragrance, paraben, propylene glycol, formaldehyde

Conditioner with a score of 2 having a “low hazard”:

  • Burt’s Bees Super Shiny Grapefruit and Sugar Beet Conditioner

Conditioner with a score of 3 having a “moderate hazard”:

  • Burt’s Bees Avocado Butter and Hair Conditioner – fragrance

Conditioner with a score of 4 having a “moderate hazard”:

  • White Rain Conditioner Extra Body – fragrance
  • White Rain Classic Conditioner Regular – fragrance

Conditioner with a score of 7 having a “high hazard”:

  • Clairol Herbal Essences Fruit Fusions Purifying Conditioner – fragrance, propylene glycol

Visit Skin Deep and check out some of your favorite products to see how they rate. Then decide if you need to make some changes. If you do, don’t feel you need to do it all at once. Just make changes as you run out of things.

Check back with me as I’ll continue with safer choices for skin care, oral care, and baby care.

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4 Responses to “How Safe Is Your Shampoo & Conditioner?”

  1. Marcy Says:

    I’m thinking of making the switch to using baking soda and apple cider vinegar to wash my hair with instead of shampoo and conditioner. Have you heard of this? There’s info here:

  2. Marcy,
    Thanks for the link! I’ve never heard of this but I’m going to take a look and see what it’s all about. I love hearing new ways to use vinegar and baking soda – it’s amazing what they can do!

    Kirstin @ Trying To Be Greener

  3. Sev Says:

    We also do the “no poo” thing and just use baking soda & ACV. It works great & my husband’s scalp finally doesn’t itch anymore! Even my kids’ hair is more manageable!

  4. Brianna Says:

    I’ve been researching all my personal care products on the Skin Deep database as well, so I’m aware of the nature of some of ingredients the FDA lets through, but… formaldehyde in a kids’ shampoo is absolutely criminal!!!

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