For most men, their hair (including facial hair) is an important subject. Most men, however, do not research which grooming products are healthy. Women have become more and more accustomed to reading up on harmful and toxic ingredients. They will study all that goes into a product, and often opt for organic, natural, and chemical-free hair products. Most men will only read the promise on the front of a product, and skip the ingredient list on the back. This is a shame, because knowing which ingredients to avoid is the key to healthy-looking hair, scalp, and face.
Short Term Gain – Long Term Problem
Sometimes a product seems to be working, only to increase the problem you have after time goes by, creating a long-lasting dependency on that product.
For instance, you might think you have sensitive skin, because you get a rash after shaving. So you use a cooling cream for sensitive skin. But it could be the shaving cream that is taking a minor, temporary problem and making it chronic. Does the shaving cream contain a high percent of alcohol or other aggressive elements that irritate your skin? If you use it even once, you could be creating a long term problem.
The same goes for ‘sensitive’ skin of the scalp. The dandruff shampoo you’re using might get rid of white flakes and itchiness, but because it is a drying product the dandruff might return twice as much later (after which you grab the dandruff shampoo again, a never-ending negative spiral). So while you think your skin is more sensitive than normal, it could very well be due to the products you have been using when you first started shaving or shampooing.
Really, the problem might not be your skin at all.
Solve The Problem at The Root
If you have ever been to a professionally trained barber, they might tell you that your sensitive skin is just one aspect of a complex set of connections between your daily activities, eating habits and the way you take care of yourself. The products you use are an important part of that as well.
If you have been using the wrong barber products for a while, it’s time for a total reset. Stop using stuff that is not natural and doesn’t seek to provide you long-term benefits. Be warned, your face and hair might go through withdrawal. But that will pass. Starting today, opt for products that contain only natural – preferably organic – ingredients instead of potentially harmful chemicals and preservatives.
List of Ingredients to Avoid
We’ve compiled a good starter list of stuff you do not want in your hair or near your face. The next time you’re shopping for your barbering goodies, flip each bottle over and check if any of these bad boys are on the ingredient list:
Sodium Lauryl / Laureth Sulfate ( SLES en SLS )
- Function: detergent and foaming agent
- Used in: shaving creams and shampoo
- Why avoid: SLS can strip your hair of its natural oils, making it very dry. It can also cause skin or eye irritations or allergic reactions.
- Function: coats your hair with a slick layer that makes your hair feel soft, look shiny, and easier to manage
- Used in: shampoos, conditioners, and hair masks
- Why avoid: There are two types of silicone used in barber products: non-water-soluble and water-soluble. The water-soluble silicon easily rinses out of your hair with water, but the water-insoluble version has to be washed out with a sulfate shampoo that will dry out your hair. On top of that, if you don’t rinse or wash your hair out thoroughly, a silicon buildup will form that results in greasy hair and a clogged scalp. Better go for an ingredient that truly nourishes your hair and scalp, instead of just coating it. For instance, coconut oil is a staple ingredient in natural hair conditioners.
- Function: Fatty filler
- Used in: Facial creams and hair oils
- Why Avoid: These oils have no moisturizing benefits for your hair or face. Instead, they prevent the scalp’s natural oils by being absorbed by the hair shaft.
- Function: Gives the hair hold
- Used in: Volumizing products, hair gels and sprays
- Why Avoid: It dissolves the natural oils your scalp produces, which dries out your hair and can cause dandruff. It is also a type of alcohol that can also cause skin irritations.
Who Has Time For This!?
Shopping is boring enough already, and just the thought of checking endless ingredient lists might be putting you to sleep. So to save you time and headaches here are a list of favorite non-toxic barber products available now.
The Argan Oil Shampoo by Maple Holistics
This additive-free shampoo has become one of the most popular natural choices available. It contains argan oil, which can help with hair loss, dandruff and dried out hair. The high keratin and vitamin content can increase your hair strength, making it smooth and shiny in a natural, sustainable way. Combining the nourishing qualities of jojoba, avocado and peach kernel oils, this shampoo is one of the best hair treatments you can get while you wash.
Taylor of Old Bond Street Shaving Cream
Aside from having a sweet nostalgic look, this shaving cream combines some amazing ingredients into a luxurious, skin-loving shaving treatment. The Manuka honey helps to soften and moisturize your skin, while acting as an anti-inflammatory agent. Mafura oil helps restore the oil balance in the hair, while African Rock fig helps revitalize hair with its antioxidant Vitamin C. The Shea Butter helps prevent any razor irritation.
Beard Oil & Leave In Conditioner by Leven Rose
Beards can become prickly bacteria havens, with dry and itchy skin underneath. That’s why a good beard oil is needed for regular skin treatment when you have a beard. This oil is very simple, and does the one thing it needs to do very well: keep your beard and under-beard calm & happy. It consists of only two ingredients: organic jojoba oil and organic Moroccan argan oil. It has no preservatives, fillers or parabens, so there’ll be no itching and no dry skin — only a shiny, healthy beard.
Herbal Choice Mari Organic Hair Gel by Nature’s Brands
A certified organic hair gel, without petroleum, preservatives, chemicals, PEG, parabens, isopropyl, ceteareth and polyethylene. The list goes on longer, but in short there are no damaging ingredients. What it does contain — among other amazing ingredients — is organic vodka(!), organic lemongrass oil, organic olive oil, organic apple cider vinegar (raw, unfiltered) and organic green tea. Again, this is nowhere near a complete list, but it’s all good stuff.
It creates a strong hold without a white film while treating your hair and scalp with all the nourishing natural ingredients. So no drying out and no itchiness or flakes in sight while it keeps your hairstyle intact.
Last Tip: Take a Break
Though there are wonderful products available that can help you groom & bloom, you might want to take a no-product day every once in a while. Just take a chill day, let your hair and face do whatever it does, and see what happens. Too much of a good thing is bad, and you should sometimes just let your hair take care of itself.