Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Go Green Tuesdays - Hair Care

So, all of you know that in the past I've never been one to have a regular feature on the blog, but we'll give it a try and see how it goes. From now on, Tuesdays shall be known as 'Go Green Tuesdays' and each week I'll try to feature a tip or a product or something that I care a lot about, culminating with some really neat stuff I've been learning while I develop the line (which you don't know that much about yet, so I'll be sure to share more later in the week.)

Today's 'Go Green Tuesday' is all about hair care and hair products. In the past year I have tried a lot of different eco-friendly and eco-natural hair products, in a variety of price points and ranges, and I've discovered a few that I feel are truly, honestly, the best of the best.

But before I start, I want to give you some insight to my own hair, since everyone's hair is different and that means that different products might work best for some people and not for others. I have long, fine hair, but a lot of it - fine/thick is how a lot of hairdressers have described it. This means that if it gets oily, it looks oily (no matter what color it is), and I have to wash it every day. This also means that it tangles if it's not moisturized properly, it doesn't tease well, and it doesn't hold ANY body. Seriously, I have hair as flat as a board and as straight as sticks. I have colored and I do have color on my hair now, so all of these shampoos are color-friendly. (Though I am not coloring any more, because it is not eco-friendly at all.)

Wen by Chaz Dean

One of the first lines I tried was the Wen line of products by salon guru Chaz Dean. Basically, Wen is different from a lot of shampoos because it doesn't lather. Wen claims that lather strips all of the natural oils out of your hair and slowly ruins the hair follicle. Now, to tell you the truth, I am a big fan of lather, but as a go-green-obsessionista, I know that a lot of stuff that doesn't later does work so I gave Wen the benefit of the doubt. My mom and neighbor had both tried it, and raved about how it made their hair lighter and fluffier and prettier and all that.

I tried the Sweet Almond Mint shampoo/conditioner (they're combined). The instructions are to use 40 pumps (OMG! At $30 a bottle that is a good portion of the bottle!) per use, massage through and comb through your hair, leave on for 3-4 minutes, and then rinse. If you like, you can put 1-2 pumps worth in your hair as a leave-in conditioner. I found after lots of experimentation that the only method that worked for me was to use all 40 pumps, push it around in my hair like crazy, and then rinse like my life depended on it. Then, put 2 pumps, mostly in the ends (not in the roots) as a leave in. My mom and my neighbor both use like, 8 pumps for shampooing and then no leave-in, and that works for them. If I did anything but the exact regimen for my hair, I ended up with flat, oily (but very shiny) hair. Wen is supposed to improve your hair structure over time, and you're only supposed to wash every other day. This just didn't work for my lifestyle or hairstyle preferences at all (and I don't style much), so I'll skip the Wen, except as a leave-in conditioner (which I used it for the remainder of the bottle). Apparently, though, it is really, really good for curly hair, and it smells AMAZING. I think I might go back and try their repairing hair masque, though, just so that I can get my Wen Sweet Almond Mint scent fix.

VERDICT: 100% Natural, Eco-Friendly, Smells Great, Excellent Conditioner - Expensive ($30), Flattening and No Lather.

Burt's Bees Green Tea and Fennel Seed Shampoo

This is carried by Target, a lot of drugstores, and is both easy to find and easy to afford. At usually only $8 - $12 a bottle, you can get the conditioner and shampoo for less than the price you paid for the Wen above. But remember that when it comes to green products, you usually get your money's worth, and Burt's Bees shampoo proved to be no exception to the rule. It lathers great and smells pretty good, too - you can get it in different scents and styles for different hair types, and they don't smell bad either. My guy friends really liked the smell of the Pomegranate one especially. I personally wasn't so impressed. After the first use, my hair was shiny and nice, but I had a hell of a time combing through it - the conditioner barely does its job at all. The result was hair that felt like straw after a few weeks of use, and it faded my color at the time (a russet red) to something that looked a lot like a copper kettle. My mom also tried this product and stopped using after a week and a half because it made all her styling products useless.

VERDICT: Shows what percentage of natural ingredients on the bottle, Smells good, Affordable - Crappy Conditioner, Dull straw hair after 7 uses, Fades colored hair faster

Surface Hair Health Art

Apparently inspired by Wayne Grund, this stuff has weird names, and comes in four flavors of conditioner/shampoo pairings - Baba, which is a moisturizing shampoo (Lord knows I needed it, after the Burt's Bees), Purify, which is a clarifying shampoo (NOT safe for colored hair, but great if you're a swimmer or someone who uses a lot of product), Trinity, which is a strengthening shampoo, and Awaken Theraputic, which is an anti-aging and thinning product. I used the orange one, which is Baba Moisturizing, but I have tried Purify in the past as a pre-color treatment.

They smell pretty good - kind of like Redken hair products, which have a sophisticated 'hair product' smell that makes you feel like you spent a lot of money and might be at a professional salon instead of in your shower. The price tag is middle range, in my opinion - I can buy it at my local place for about $15 a bottle, which means you pay as much as the Wen shampoo for the set. After use, it made my hair really silky and shiny, and it dried to be light, and easy to move around - no oiliness or stiffness like with some products (not to be mentioned, but Matrix Biolage is on the list). This was the winner of my testing and now I plan on trying the strengthening shampoo, since I am almost out of the Baba and I think I've recovered from my three year coloring-every-three-months hair destruction phase.

The best part? Surface is 100% organic and naturally certified, so you can feel good about buying it - and they have a great line of other hair products, too. My personal favorite is the Crave Styling Paste (comes in a blue bottle but is not part of Purify). They say it's a pomade/wax, but the way it works is really cool. You squirt a bit into your hand (it's a pump dispenser, no emissions here), and use it right from the bottle as a mousse. If you work it in your hands, it gets stiffer and can be used as a pomade or wax, depending on how much friction you apply. This makes it a really versatile product and I use it for everything. I have stopped using mousse and gel entirely in favor of this, and when I do attempt to tease (who am I kidding, it doesn't really work for me), I can use it as replacement for hairspray.

VERDICT: 100% Natural, Shiny, Beautiful Hair, Smells Good - Middle Price Range, Hard-to-Find

Next week: Body Lotion and Moisturizer Reviews


  1. alas another nail in the Burt's bees coffin is that they are now a subsidiary of Clorox - part of their greenification of their image. Good reviews of the products!

  2. Have you tried Lush products? They're pretty big here in the UK (you can smell the store a mile off-in a good way!) All natural ingredients and made by hand with as little packaging as possible.

  3. Dear HP - I have not tried Lush! It is much harder to find here in the US but maybe I can order some stuff online. I have heard good things about their products, though!


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