Thursday, July 9, 2009

Having A Bad Hair Day?

I wake up to the perfectly sculpted bed head......the wonderful cowlick that sports like a rooster tail. It is particularly beautiful today since I am recovering from one of the nastiest summer cold bugs I have had in more than 20 yrs. Not just a cowlick, but the natural wind blown look with one side plastered to my head......just lovely!

You know the sleep restlessly from body aches and your face is pressed into your pillow forcing your hair in twisted variations of punk, modified. A little spray color and I am ready for the mosh pit!

No matter how much misting of water, or combing, or blow drying you do, that sucker isn't going to shift, flatten or perform the way you want it to no matter what. You might as well resign yourself to sticking your head in the sink or showering with a whole new wash job....which in some cases excessive washing can give you drier hair and scalp.

Weather And Your Hair

It isn't any secret that as our temperature changes in the seasons so does our hair and scalp.

In the summer, our hair tends to be a bit flatter and heavier due to higher humidity and perspiration, and a hairstyle typically doesn't last as long throughout the day. Our scalp also tends to be a bit oilier.

In the winter, our hair tends to be frizzier, fights hairstyling due to the climate getting much drier as temperatures get cold to freezing, and our scalp tends to get very dry, itchy and may even flake a bit.

No matter what the weather is doing, and no matter what styling aids I use, my hair never performs the same way twice. I have days with perfection, then days I fight sections of hair that want to flip, twist or contort in such a way, I might as well go back to bed and try again tomorrow.

One thing that has remained constant, is my scalp gets annoyingly itchy, especially in the winter.

I have tried multitudes of shampoos and conditioners. Salon brands, commercial brands, generic brands, and knock off brands with little change or results. I typically have to switch from shampoo to shampoo due to it working for awhile and then it performs like all the rest.....failure! And a dry itchy scalp is not always due to weather but due to too many surfactants in the shampoo which over clean and strip scalp and hair of natural oils.

Conditioners also tend to disappoint after I use them for awhile. All of a sudden my hair will lay flatter, feel really heavy, in which case it absolutely won't style. In dealing with the dry frizzy hair, pomades and gels tend to leave it sticky or greasy feeling. Besides, all of the products I collect searching for my holy grail becomes so ridiculous that I could open up my own five and dime store.

Ah...I think I found my Holy Grail!

There are so many products today to pick from you can get lost in the shampoo and conditioner aisle sorting through the choices offered. You read labels until you're cross-eyed, trying to decide what to do and which one you think will work.....yes indeedy, it is a crap shoot. You study ingredients trying to identify and stay away from ones you are convinced are causing problems in your hair regimen.

Well, since I am always reading labels and I drive my husband to distraction whenever I do this, I pretty much have to spend a day on my own if I want to get down to the nitty gritty of finding a simple, gentle, paraben free and sulfate free product line.

In doing some research awhile back, I recently located a brand I had never seen before and of course, where might I find this mysterious brand?...... at my local Wal Mart!

It is by a company called Organix. Their products are packaged in these funky bottles that hold 13 fl. oz. and come in a wide variety of formulas. Unfortunately, Wal Mart only carried a few choices, but I found one that I just love and my hair and scalp have never been better. The line can also be found at this list of retailers. (Click for List) There should be one close to you or if not, they are also online by various e-merchants.

I have been using it for over 6 months now with excellent results. Through winter and now into summer, my scalp remains more itchiness, dryness or weird hair days. I also can shampoo the next day without worry my scalp or hair will get too dry.

The aromas are exotic and are derived from plant extracts, not from artificial fragrances. They are also sulfate free and paraben free, and possess Jojoba Oil, panthenol and silk amino acids as consistent ingredients in all the formulas. The ingredient list is without fanfare, leaving the majority of chemicals you find in other brands off their short list. In their other formulas you'll find ingredients like Avocado Oil, Whipped Yogurt, Soymilk, Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Whipped Egg Proteins, Shea Butter and Mango Butter, only to name a few and depending on your particular desires in hair care. These last two ingredients are others in the line I am planning on trying. They have definitely created something for everyone. No head goes unkempt!

The one I have tried and enjoy very much is Revitalizing Pomegranate Green Tea shampoo and conditioner. It is designed for dry and brittle hair which I tend to have year round. It is also safe for color treated hair as is the entire line. This is a plus for me since I give my hair a color treatement periodically. They also expanded this formula into other styling products which you will see typically when a certain formula becomes very popular. Which seems to also include Vanilla Silk, Coconut Milk and Shea Butter formulas.

The shampoo smells wonderful and cleanses so gently. The conditioner penetrates well and leaves my scalp and hair moist, yet not oily or heavy. I also find I don't need to use an extra pomade (which this formula includes) for fly away hair since my hair behaves very well. If I need a bit more control, I just put a large pea size of the conditioner in the palm of my hand and massage through the ends of my hair and leave it in and style as usual. My hair shines in the sunlight beyond belief and I have had many compliments. It is left feeling soft and silky, and extremely manageable with no tangles at all. The extra bit left in the hair works great and this is a perfect money saver in the long run!

The price isn't bad either. Suggested retail is $6.99, but Wal Mart was selling it for $5.99.

With Organix having such a large variety to choose from, I will have to go to another retailer to find what I am looking for. And believe me, I am definitely going to take advantage of the variety they offer. There are of course some that I already know I won't use due to either its aroma or because it isn't the best for dry hair and scalp.

Take a peek and give them a try. I absolutely love this line of products. Let us know if you have tried Organix and what your favorite is....or if you didn't find this product worked for you at all.

Well...back to bed for some more rest and to enhance my bed head style further. At least our weather stunk the past few days so I didn't have to miss out on anymore beautiful days of our very short summers.


Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape


  1. After your positive review, I was ready to go out and buy some! But, then I noticed that one of the ingredients listed is Cocamide DEA. I remember there being a study done stating that DEA is a suspected cancer-causing agent and have avoided it since then.

    I know you're very savvy about toxic ingredients in cosmetics, so am wondering if you've investigated to find that Cocamide DEA isn't as much of a concern as was first made out to be?

    Thus far, I've been using Aubrey Organics and Avalon Organics for hair care products and have been pleased with them.

  2. My research on Cocamide DEA was a simple one. I am not usually concerned about an ingredient that is being demonized by those on the internet that are clearly promoting either their own or others products that are stating they are free of this ingredient.

    Although the article that you provided Charmaine is well written, the information it provides is unsubstantiated and is a recycled version of 100's of versions on the internet. I Googled this ingredient and it wasn't any surprise to see the same information sprinkled throughout the pages. I have also learned to be suspicious of articles when they begin with touting a company's products as getting it right, to only follow it up with the purchase information at the end.

    I focus on the larger picture and always investigate both sides of the issue. Something I have always provided to my customers. In this case again, they are showing studies that were done on rats, and humans are not rats. There DNA is completely different from ours and their skin is so much thinner. They are also exposing these rats to concentration levels that exceed the boundaries of what you would find in a personal care product. There are no known studies to date proving this is a carcinogen in humans, unequivocally. They also are not providing substantial information as to case study references and the fact that this information is based on large manufacturing undiluted doses, not the amount one would typically use in the actual personal care product. The location of this ingredient on the list would suggest it is in a concentration of 1-5%.

    Furthermore, there is not a concern as to this ingredient being carcinogenic alone but only when nitrosamines are present as in the use of nitrates found in preservation of foods, and they are also found in our environment. Cosmetic manufacturers are aware of this as the FDA reports and through buffering agents and using proper storage containers, nitrosamines do not form as long as the product does not turn acidic. It still would be in a minimal amount and not enough to worry about since, though rare, they are 1 part per billion in testing when found in personal care products.

    The FDA and Cosmetics Directive of the European Union have no restrictions on this ingredient and the EWG concurs with stating there are no bioaccumulative effects in humans showing this to be carcinogenic even though they also represent this with a 65% data gap. Only in the use of combining it with nitrosating agents was a concern shown as possibly being able to penetrate the skin but without actual case studies of mutagenic effects.

    The paragraph below was taken from one of my valued sources, and feel free to copy and paste it into your web browser and then enter in the ingredient in search box.

  3. The information I wanted to provide exceeded the allowed amount for each comment so I broke it into two separate comments. Cont'd below:

    The CIR Expert Panel’s decision to reevaluate the safety of Cocamide DEA in cosmetics and personal care products was based on occupational studies indicating that this ingredient may have sensitization potential. However, the CIR Expert Panel determined that these studies were not relevant to cosmetic use. Furthermore, the CIR Expert Panel agreed that its original conclusion on Cocamide DEA should be clarified relative to use of this ingredient in rinse-off and leave-on products. Clarification of the original conclusion is based on the results of a skin irritation test in which volunteers were tested with a surfactant solution containing 10% Cocamide DEA, the highest concentration tested in predictive patch tests. Based on this test, the CIR Expert Panel concluded that Cocamide DEA was safe as used in rinse-off products and safe at concentrations of less than or equal to 10% in leave-on products. The CIR Panel reaffirmed that Cocamide DEA should not be used as an ingredient in cosmetics and personal care products containing nitrosating agents.

    You will also find valuable information provided within this same article from the FDA and EU along with links to complete articles on Nitrosamines and Diethanolamine (DEA).

    Also another source that I pay close attention to is the MSDS since they must provide testing and reports of any negative aspects of an ingredient. Although it can be an eye irritant and possible skin sensitizer in industrial exposure, they still report no toxic chronic effects on organs and no Carcinogenicity during exposure under normal conditions.

    Watchdog groups and others with an agenda behind their findings are always suspect in my book and I don't take what they offer as science, but cherry pick minimalistic case studies to try to substantiate a weak argument.

    If you are having great results with Aubrey and Avalon products then use them because they work, but not because certain product manufacturers use scare tactics to emphasize as a reason to use their products without providing case study statistics. All that ever really matters is what is important to you the consumer. It is ultimately your decision as to what you want to use on your body or put in your body.

    But an ingredient that is clearly being used as a thickener rather than a surfactant based on the location of this ingredient on the list, does not create a concern for me, personally. The first 2-3 ingredients on any product label will be the majority of the overall profile of what is being used on the skin. All other ingredients beyond this scale are used for support and to enhance those ingredients to improve efficacy and performance of the personal care product you desire. And the fact it is a rinse off product, creates very little pause in me to worry about such an insignificant ingredient way down on the ingredient list.

    Thank you so much for providing this article and information. It is articles and questions like these that keep me on my toes and to make sure that information is disseminated accurately.

  4. I also found a description of further evidence from Paula Begoun a well known consumer advocate in debunking myths and disseminating information about all the ingredients available in the cosmetic industry. She also weighs both sides to the argument in many cases and doesn't allow personal sentiment to cloud the facts.

    Diethanolamine(DEA)A Colorless liquid used as a solvent and pH adjuster. Also used as a lather agent in skin- and hair-care products when coupled with a foaming or detergent cleansing agent. In 1999 the National Toxicology Program (NTP) completed a study that found an association between cancer and tumors in laboratory animals and the application of diethanolamine (DEA) and certain DEA-related ingredients to their skin (Sources: Study #TR-478, Toxicology and Carcinogenesis Studies of Diethanolamine, CAS No. 111-42-2, July 1999—; and Food Chemistry and Toxicology, January 2004, pages 127–134). For the DEA-related ingredients, the NTP study suggested that the carcinogenic response is linked to possible residual levels of DEA. However, the NTP study did not establish a link between DEA and the risk of cancer in humans. According to the FDA (Source: Office of Cosmetics and Colors Fact Sheet, December 9, 1999), “Although DEA itself is used in very few cosmetics, DEA-related ingredients (e.g., oleamide DEA, lauramide DEA, cocamide DEA) are widely used in a variety of cosmetic products. These ingredients function as emulsifiers or foaming agents and are generally used at levels of 1% to 5%. The FDA takes these NTP findings very seriously and is in the process of carefully evaluating the studies and test data to determine the real risk, if any, to consumers. The Agency believes that at the present time there is no reason for consumers to be alarmed based on the usage of these ingredients in cosmetics. Consumers wishing to avoid cosmetics containing DEA or its conjugates may do so by reviewing the ingredient statement required to appear on the outer container label of cosmetics offered for retail sale to consumers.” A study from 1999 on the potential effects of DEA involved applying a pure concentration of this ingredient directly to mouse skin for a period of 14 weeks (minimum) and 2 years (maximum). The study reported no evidence of carcinogenicity when low doses (50–100 mg per kilogram of body weight) were used. Internal changes to organs (liver, kidneys) and external signs (inflammation, ulcers) were found as the dosages of DEA increased (up to 800 mg was used) (Source: National Toxicology Program Technical Report Service, volume 478, July 1999, pages 134–212). Although the results of this study are interesting, it is still unrelated to how DEA is used in cosmetics products and how consumers use them. In most instances, our contact with DEA in any form is brief, and most likely is not cause for alarm.

    Well that is pretty much it, and it is clear I could have written an entire article on the subject, but it was better to address this to a pointed question rather than pose the question and answer on an ingredient I don't use in my product line as a separate article.

    Interesting data and thanks again, Charmaine!

  5. I think I could say you answered my question as thoroughly as expected. :-) I appreciate you taking the time to share what you've discovered, since I only remember hearing the negatives on it when it first was reported in the late '90s. (I only included the link that came up right away in my search on Cocamide DEA to give you an idea of what I had heard about it in the past.)

    Anyway, interesting to see how the information has evolved to not be as problematic as was initially indicated. However, seeing that many hair care products don't contain DEA (most likely brands that are obtained from health-food type stores), I'm just assuming that over the past decade, other viable alternatives took the place of the so-called questionable ingredient and were able to perform well regardless.

    Thanks again for your insights!

  6. You're welcome Charmaine! You know me from past articles, I am sure. I try to never leave a stone unturned. I am relentless in pursuit of facts and research! ;~D

    And you are correct, it is an ingredient that can be easily substituted for another. It is strictly personal preference on what a consumer wants in their personal care products. Me, personally, I don't throw the baby out with the bath water, so to speak. One funky ingredient not a problem, but a combination of many with risks would then give me pause!

    Take care and I thoroughly enjoyed providing you with the information. I am a research-aholic don't you know?! Feel free to pose questions at anytime over any concern you may have.