Industry • Best Practice
Apr.07,2022By Boulevard Staff
Being responsibly beautiful is a bit of a conundrum. Ask the average person if they want to help the environment and cut down on toxic ingredients, and they’ll say yes. Ask them if they’re willing to sacrifice their level of self-care on the planet’s behalf and you may not get the same level of enthusiastic agreement. Fortunately for the planet and our gorgeous selves, there’s an easy way to achieve both goals: going 6-Free.
6-Free refers to beauty products guaranteed not to include any of the following:
The problem for anyone trying to pursue clean beauty is that it can be difficult to discern which products match your own expectations of “clean.” A lot of companies claim to offer clean beauty but can’t back it up — often, they’re still using ingredients like sulfates or obfuscating the meaning of “clean” or “natural.” Since companies don’t have to share their safety data with the FDA, terms like that can mean just about anything. It’s easier to rely on products being 6-Free than trusting marketing wording like “organic” or “green,” which aren’t legally required to stick to a consistent definition.
The beauty industry has been using these six ingredients for years, not only for hair products but also for makeup. So what’s the big deal now? Science. More research is being done on how ingredients like parabens can cause hair loss and even cancer. Here’s just a snapshot of what we’ve learned about the chemicals on the 6-Free hitlist:
Artificial Dyes can cause thinning and hair loss — other long-term effects are still being discovered.
Sulfates help to remove dirt and oil from your hair and give you the lathery feel of an early 2000’s Herbal Essence commercial, but they also strip away moisture leaving your locks naked, dry, and unprotected.
Silicone can be found in shampoos. Its purpose is to coat the hair with a waterproof seal that prevents outside moisture — cutting down on frizz. Silicone can also build up on hair, leaving it looking bland and feeling dry. While it’s not immediately dangerous, consistently using a shampoo with silicone can cause hair to not get the nutrients it needs due to accumulation. And overusing a clarifying shampoo to strip all that build-up of the hair isn’t healthy.
Phthalates help liquify shampoo to make it spreading easier. They don’t explicitly hurt your hair, but they can irritate the scalp and potentially exacerbate eczema.
DEA isfound in everything from cleaners to sunscreens to shampoos, and helps adjust the pH balance and acidity of other ingredients mixed in. DEA is linked to cancer in rats, can be harmful to humans, and is easily absorbed through the skin.
Parabens are found in beauty products from sunscreen to shampoo and are mainly used to preserve products and prevent mold. The issue is, that they’re easily absorbed through the skin and can lead to scalp irritation. Not only that, they can lead to hair loss and dull hair.
An important point to keep in mind is that the object of 6-Free isn’t to go all-natural. Depending on the haircare goal, that may not be a possibility. The object is to stock, use, and evangelize safe products. And if you don’t want to do it to save the Earth or soothe your soul, do it because it makes a great differentiator for your salon business.
Being able to market your use of 6-Free products in the salon will draw in clients who want to be environmentally conscientious but don’t know where to start. Embracing 6-Free products also speaks to your salon’s values, letting your clientele know you care about them head to toe.
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