Parabens, silicones, sulphates and mineral oils are some of the most common chemicals to avoid when you want to adopt a clean beauty routine. While it’s easy to find non-toxic skincare with the rise of the clean beauty movement, it’s harder to avoid them when it comes to haircare because of their functions.
Parabens are used as a preservative to extend the shelf life of your product, but they are said to affect hormones in the body. Silicones are what make your hair instantly smoother, although long-term use causes a build-up that can weigh hair down. Sulphates are often found in the form of sodium laureth sulphate (SLS), a foaming agent that makes lathering easier but can strip the scalp and hair of its natural oils, drying them up. And mineral oils, also used as a conditioning agent, can clog pores and lead to hair loss and dandruff.
Here are some easy ways you can take care of your hair without the use of toxic chemicals, if you want to swap from your current haircare routine to a cleaner one.
#1: DIY your own hair conditioner
For your hair to look smooth and feel soft and silky, there is one thing you need to do properly, which is to condition your hair. And there’s no better way to go clean than to use raw, natural ingredients. Coconut oil, olive oil and avocado are rich sources of good oils and can help soften and smooth hair. Warm up the oils until they are lukewarm and apply from mid-length to the tips. Wrap your hair with a hot towel to help the hair better absorb the oil. Leave on for 15 minutes before rinsing off. Or mash half an avocado and mix with half a teaspoon of coconut or olive oil and use in place of your usual conditioner.
#2: Maintain your hair colour with the appropriate haircare products, or use a natural hair dye at home
More often than not, hair colouring involves the use of harmful chemicals — especially when you want brighter, lighter colours such as rose gold, blonde and even pastel pink. And since Asian hair is usually naturally dark, you’ll likely need to bleach your hair to achieve your desired hair colour. By maintaining your hair colour with products such as colour-toning shampoo and conditioners that lock in colour, you can keep your hair colour vibrant for longer, extending the time between hair-colouring jobs. Your hair will also have more time to recover from the harsher chemicals used during hair-colouring, so it looks smoother, less frizzy and less damaged too.
This vegan-friendly brand has five colour shampoos to help you maintain your hair colour – or add colour to bleached hair – and a colour-protecting conditioner. The products are cruelty-free and don’t contain any parabens, sulphates or silicones.
If you want to go several shades lighter or cover greys, toxin-free hair dyes are your go-to. These should be free from ammonia and parabens. Also, keep a look out in the ingredient list for resorcinol, which can cause scalp irritation and is said to disrupt hormonal functions.
Image: Instagram (@my.haircareofficial)
These hair dyes have a special blend of 12 certified-organic ingredients, such as lemon peel extract and orange peel essential oil, to protect hair during colouring. It is also vegan-friendly and free of ammonia, parabens, resorcinol and SLS.
Image: Instagram (@naturigin)
#3: Go to a salon that uses organic or natural haircare products
If you want to get pampered at a salon, look for those which offers organic hair dyes and treatments. Giseno Hair Spa has organic and herbal hair colouring services (from $88), and J&J Hair Identity even offers organic hair bleaching services (from $68) and hair treatments. If you have concerns such as oily scalp, dry scalp and thinning hair, hair centres such as TK Trichokare and Yun Nam Haircare offer herbal remedies, services and treatments too