A Conditioner Fiasco

Government labeling regulations for natural skin care, natural cleaning products or natural anything, are, well, unregulated. Manufactures are free to print misleading label statements until their hearts are content. How does this affect us, as customers? False advertising deceives our belief that we are making smart choices.

The problem isn’t just about deceiving labels. This issue has to do with just how harmful these chemicals actually are. Research at the Natural Institute of Health has discovered the correlation between these chemicals and cancer, alzheimers, other nervous system disorders and nerve damage. Exposure to Methylisothiazone (MIT) can even be detrimental to unborn fetus’ brain development! This is just one of the many disgusting chemicals found in popular name brand products. Yes, it is an abomination.

Hair and skin care is just yet another area in which we must take control of our own health. Some of us have stopped listening to our doctors and stopped taking prescription drugs. Some of us seek out Naturopathic Medicine as a safe alternative to the Medical System; which isn’t always taking our best interest into account. We need to do the research ourselves in order to steer clear of harmful chemicals. This feat is not always easy.

Recently I was at the pharmacy with my two children. As we passed the shampoo isle, I was reminded that I need conditioner. Running low of random items around the house, like conditioner, starts with a mental note; I am running low on conditioner, must get some soon. Forgetting, remembering, writing it down, losing the paper I wrote it down on, and then bumping into the required isle at the store is a process that can take me a few weeks to rectify. Needless to say, when it comes down to the moment, it can be very exciting, especially when it involves something as pampering as conditioner.

With my boys in tow, I don’t have the luxury of examining product labels in great detail. I scoured the scene for my usual favorite brand; Earth to Body really needs to make a conditioner! It was nowhere in sight, so I grazed the overwhelming wall of marketing. Automatically I ignore commercial products of any kind. “With Aloe Vera” bolded across the front could mean that there is one fraction of a drop in the bottle. Yet it is filled with BHA, BHT, Coal tar dyes, p-phenylenediamine, colours, p-phenylenediamine hair dyes, DEA-related ingredients, Dibutyl phthalate, Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, Parabens, Parfum (a.k.a. fragrance), PEG compounds, Petrolatum, Siloxanes, Sodium laureth sulfate and Triclosan. Dizzy yet? It sounds absurd, and it is. It’s up to us to make the distinction.

I am a natural snob. I try to consume only %100 natural, or as close to as I can. With label laws being as tricky as they are, even at the Health Food Stores, I can get frustrated.

With one eye on my scattering kids, I must weigh my options quickly before the rascals lose patience. Since I tend to buckle under pressure, I grabbed a white bottle that read “96% plant ingredients, eco friendly, Argan Oil restorative conditioner, pure vegan, paraben free”. I cracked the top and causiously lifted the bottle to my nose. I have sensitive smell buds for chemical fragrance. It has been a decade since I swore off petroleum; which is in everything. I detected a touch of fragrance, read some latin in the ingredients (which Earth to Body has to add), and decided it appeared sufficient enough. A bit of fragrance never hurt anyone, right? I would give it a try.

Next scene is me in the shower, without the conditioner. Opps, forgot it down stairs. It will wait patiently on the kitchen counter for me, until I get my act together and do the heavy lifting required to get it to the upstairs bathroom.

A few days later: Me in the shower, with the conditioner. This is it! The moment we’ve been waiting for. I wash with my hair with my Earth to Body shampoo bar, rinse with Apple cider Vinegar, and apply a dollop of the mystery cream. Smells strong. I give an extra rinse. The smell is quite overpowering. That’s alright, it will surely dissipate.

Later that day, after numerous headache provoking whiffs, I cannot take it anymore. I jump back in the shower to re-wash. I cannot handle this overpowering chemical fragrance. Get it away from me now and forever.

It has been months since this ordeal. The bottle still sits on the shelf in the shower. I don’t have the heart to throw away a full bottle. What a waste. If only there were intuitive label laws that made sense. “Natural” means natural. How and why is it so difficult?

This is a poor example of a customer deceived by law labels. I should know better. I know to stick with Health Food Stores. I know to read every ingredient. This one particular time, I chose not to. In that moment, a part of me wanted to be like everybody else, to be like those who don’t have to go to all the trouble of researching, taking the time to read ingredients, and care so much what I put into my body. I guess I just wished shopping was simpler. It’s conditioner, not rocket science.

If only Earth to Body made a conditioner, now that would be simple. Until that day comes, I must stick to my usual ways of sifting through the jungle of beguiling proclamations. In the end, I reminded myself, that for the health and safety of me and my family, spending the extra few minutes perusing ingredients is worthwhile.

Please read these web pages to get more informed on detrimental skin care.


http://www.discoverhealthandwealth.com/toxic-ingredients.html  --scroll down to Fragrance. Turns out fragrance CAN hurt.