Sulfates are a group of detergents, or surfactants, that are commonly found in many personal care products such as shampoo, toothpaste, and facial cleansers. The most commonly used sulfates are sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES). Industry experts estimate that over 90% of shampoos on the market today contain SLS and SLES.
If sulfates are so commonly found in consumer products, why does Briogeo avoid using these ingredients? Let's first take a look at the history of the usage of sulfates. Sulfates were first used as an industrial strength cleaning additive since they easily cut through heavily soiled surfaces. In the 1930s, manufacturers started using sulfates in personal care products because of the relatively inexpensiveness of the ingredient and the high lather sulfates produce (they really cut through oil!). However, this corrosive lather actually strips away precious moisture and protective barriers from the hair. The harshness of sulfates can also roughen up the cuticle of the hair, making it appear dull, dry and damaged. This stripping action contributes to increased porosity which dulls the hair, contributing to frizz and poor manageability. Sulfates have even been linked to follicular damage which can contribute to hair loss.
Our Be Gentle, Be Be Kind Gentle Cleansing Shampoo uses gentle coconut-derived cleansers, instead of sulfates, to effectively remove dirt, oil and other impurities from the hair.
Parabens are a class of distinct chemicals that are used to prevent the growth of microbes in cosmetics products. You can think of them as preservatives. They can be absorbed through skin, blood and the digestive system. Studies have linked parabens to several health concerns, including hormone disruption -- an effect that is linked to increased risk of breast cancer and reproductive toxicity. Parabens have also been linked to immunotoxicity, neurotoxicity and skin irritation.
Briogeo uses dehydroacetic acid and benzyl alcohol to inhibit the growth of bacteria to prevent product spoilage and to preserve the shelf life of our products. Both dehydroacetic acid and benzyl alcohol are acceptable ECOCERT ingredients and meet the organization's stringent guidelines on the standard for natural and organic ingredients.
Silicones are a class of synthetic materials that are found in many hair care products on the market. You may have seen them on ingredient panels listed as dimethicone, cyclomethicone, and amodimethicone, to name a few. You can easily spot a silicone because the ingredient will typically end with a "-cone". Silicones create no natural benefit for the hair. Instead they give the appearance of healthy hair by coating the hair strands to make them appear sleeker, frizz-free and healthier. Given the chemical structure of this material, the use of silicones eventually creates build up that weighs down the hair, reducing its natural volume and body. The "silicone coat" also creates a barrier around the hair strand which prevents it from receiving moisture, which can ultimately lead to hair dryness. Furthermore, given the buildup nature of silicones, removing them from the hair often requires a harsher shampoo.
Instead of formulating Briogeo products with silicones, we use natural ingredients like daikon radish oil, rosehip oil, almond oil, and avocado oil to add superior sheen to the hair while also helping to tame frizz and dryness – without weighing down the hair.
Phthalates are a class of several different chemicals that are used to hold color and scents. Studies have linked phthalates to several health concerns including hormone disruption, infertility and birth defects. Recently, the National Toxicology Program (NTP) expressed concern over the adverse development of babies born to pregnant women who take in DEHP, the most widely used phthalate, at the normal levels estimated for an adult. Given the extensive concern and adverse research linked to this ingredient — it is certainly one we avoid in all Briogeo products!
Artificial fragrances and artificial dyes are often made from chemicals that are easily absorbed into the body and can be toxic at certain levels. Given the volatility and inconsistency of many artificial fragrances, the different levels of risk can vary. We at Briogeo are quite fond of the many amazing fragrances created by mother nature herself and have opted to experiment with different natural fragrance blends (like ylang flower oil and papaya fruit extract!) to create the unique scents found in all of our products. We also avoid using artificial dyes to tint our products and instead allow the natural color of our ingredients to shine through our transparent bottles!