Why is Creating Natural and Luxurious Hair Care So Challenging?

09 17 2015

The truth is, creating natural hair care products—ones you actually want to use—is way more challenging than you could ever imagine.

A few weeks ago we launched our first hair care products—True Nature Botanicals Shampoo and Conditioner. A few of you have asked why it took so long. The truth is, creating natural hair care products—ones you actually want to use—is way more challenging than you could ever imagine.

Most conventional shampoos use harsh, potentially harmful surfactants to get that foamy lather. Most conventional conditioners use silicones and mineral oils to make your hair shine. And they both load up on synthetic fragrances to make your hair smell good. Unfortunately, most natural shampoos and conditioners fall short on all three fronts because it’s very tough to achieve those benefits using safe, natural ingredients.

Here are the 3 key challenges we faced...and figured out:

1. How do you create the lather we all crave without harsh surfactants?

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), and Ammonium Laurel Sulfate (ALS) are definitely on our “no” list of ingredients. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics agrees. These surfactants, detergents and emulsifiers are used in nearly all shampoos, as well as in industrial cleaners, because they create a frothy, foamy lather. Although SLS originates from coconuts, the chemical is anything but natural.

The real problem with SLES/SLS is that the manufacturing process (ethoxylation) results in SLES/SLS being contaminated with 1,4 dioxane, a carcinogenic by-product.

We replaced those harmful surfactants with one that does no harm Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine.

Naturally derived from coconut, this mild surfactant gives a luxurious lather while offering excellent cleansing and moisturizing properties that leave the hair and scalp clean and moisturized. Why isn’t everyone else using it?

Because it’s quite expensive! By selling direct to our customers, we can include higher quality ingredients like this one in our products, regardless of cost.

2. How do you deliver a luxurious scent without synthetic fragrances?

We are committed to using whole essential oils in our products because they are the most beautiful and least allergenic. For our shampoo and conditioner, we wanted to create an unusually fresh natural scent and it took the brilliance of our French perfumer to come up with the unique combination of essential oils to achieve our goal. The feedback so far has been resoundingly positive...we hope that you agree!

3. How do you preserve water-based products without harmful ingredients?

The final challenge in the process was finding a preservation system that would hold the test of time and not require the use of sodium benzoate, pehnoxyethanol or parabens— preservatives that have raised health concerns and should be avoided.

Thanks to conversations with our advisor and respected green chemist, Terrence Collins, we opted for the use of phenethyl alcohol to preserve the integrity of our ingredients. We’re so pleased with the results.

At times, we really wondered about taking on the challenge of creating a clean and beautiful shampoo and conditioner. Now that we have, we couldn’t be happier.

Shop this article

True Nature Botanicals Shampoo

True Nature Botanicals Conditioner

Hair Care Duet