Hair care is a part of our everyday lives and should be safe to use. So, when we revamped five of our classic collections with clean formulas, we had to consider how sulfates, silicones, and parabens affect hair health. For the safety of customers like you, we made the choice to be free of them all, including phthalates and dyes.
Wondering how sulfates, silicones, and parabens affect your hair? Here, we're doing a deep dive into these controversial ingredients, what they do, and the naturally-derived ingredients we use instead, with the help of FEKKAI's in-house R&D Director Marc Reiner.
WHAT THEY ARE & WHAT THEY DO
Sulfates: A group of surfactants (cleansers) that contribute to the foaming attributes (rich flash foam and sustained lather) in shampoos, body washes, and face washes.
Silicones: "There are a broad range of silicones," Marc informs us when discussing how sulfates, silicones, and parabens affect hair health. "From very lightweight, volatile silicones that provide the 'dry oil' feel to high viscosity, substantive silicones that provide skin protectant properties such as those in barrier creams."Silicones are a broad group of synthetic compounds that add shine, slip, and frizz control in haircare products.
Parabens: A classification of preservatives that are very effective and normally used at very low levels in various cosmetics and beauty products.
Phthalates: A group of chemicals that were generally used in plastics, but which were also used as solvents in fragrance oils. Marc explains: "Over the past few years, fragrance houses have migrated toward phthalate-free fragrance oils." FYI: all of the new FEKKAI fragrances are phthalate-free.
Synthetic dyes: Used in hair care products to provide colors (excluding semi-permanent and permanent dyes), but generally at very low levels. "As they're not necessary for performance, many hair care brands have moved toward the more natural aesthetic of free of any dyes or synthetic colorants," Marc says.
HOW SULFATES, SILICONES & PARABENS AFFECT HAIR HEALTH
Possible hormone disruption: Studies have linked both parabens and phthalates to hormone disruption, but no definitively toxic outcomes from either have been determined. The former is said to mimic estrogen in the body, while the latter has been linked to reproductive issues.
Irritation: Marc warns that "the more irritating and potentially stripping sulfates (such as sodium lauryl sulfate) provide rich foaming properties, but have more potential for irritation and stripping moisture and color." But gentle sulfates like Sodium Laureth Sulfate are quite gentle and non-stripping. "In order to avoid consumer, retailer, beauty editor, and social media confusion, many brands have gone to sulfate-free formulas as all sulfates now have a negative connotation."
Buildup: Silicones act as filler, coating your strands and keeping moisture from penetrating your hair shaft instead of actually infusing it with nutrients. Over time, this can cause buildup.
Dryness: We've excluded sulfates because they tend to strip your hair of moisture, leading to dehydration, dryness, and eventually breakage.
WHAT FEKKAI USES INSTEAD
Coconut and corn-derived surfactants: As FEKKAI products are sulfate-free, we incorporate natural, safe surfactants to gently and efficiently cleanse your hair.
French Cold-Pressed Organic Olive Oil: This highly-pure, organic oil French-pressed in Provence is rich in antioxidants and vitamins A & E—helping to protect the hair’s keratin and boost shine.
Jojoba and olive-derived silicone alternatives: These natural alternatives to silicone provide slip and shine without being coating.
Our proprietary protection complex: Everything is best when used in moderation, though it's hard to say no to getting outside and basking in the sun. We've infused panthenol (pro-vitamin B5), speciality rice protein, and edelweiss flower extract into every FEKKAI product to protect against heat styling, the sun's powerful rays, pollution, and any environmental aggressors your hair may come up against.