Why are plant-based shampoos a better solution for hair loss?

Consumers now have access to a wonderful array of natural, plant-based hair care shampoo and styling products that offer amazing results.  And the demand by such savvy consumers continues to grow.

To understand why plant-based shampoos and styling products are better for those with hair thinning and hair loss, first, we need to understand the differences between products that identify themselves as “organic” vs “natural” vs “plant-based.” 

The term “organic” means that the ingredients inside the shampoo are organically farmed.  In order to use the “organic” seal, the product must be regulated by the FDA and prove to them that the shampoo contains a certain percentage of organic matter to be declared “organic” on its label.  The amount varies from state to state.  In California, for example, it’s 70%.  Look for a USDA Organic seal which means that the product contains at least 95% organic ingredients.

There are many great, certified organic products on the market that offer gentle cleansing and don’t further worsen hair loss issues. Most of these do not, however, contain ingredients that help promote hair growth or offer thickening agents to give hair a fuller appearance.  The choice is yours – organic products are great for you and the environment.

But be careful when purchasing products that use the word “organic” in their marketing materials.  The term is loosely regulated and is used often without certification by the USDA.  Many brands will call out a particular, single ingredient that is organic and make it appear the whole product in “organic.”  Look for the USDA Organic seal to be safe if a truly organic shampoo is right for you.

Products that are labeled “natural” or “plant-based” are not regulated in terms receiving certification from the USDA.  Typically, products described as natural or plant-based contain many if not most natural ingredients but also may contain safe synthetic ingredients at much lower levels. 

The most common reason to include some synthetics is to effectively “bind” certain natural ingredients together.  These are often called “stabilizers” and serve to keep the mixture of ingredients blended in the bottle so that each pump contains a balance of all the great ingredients.  

Safe synthetic preservative ingredients also improve shelf life.  Certified organic products tend to need to be used in a very short amount of time because they don’t contain preservatives effective enough to extend shelf life.  Some organic shampoos even “spoil” before they get to your shower.  You might notice a strange, spoiled smell from organic products that are past their shelf life.  

There are many safe synthetic preservatives that natural brands use to make sure your product is fresh.  But beware of any shampoos that contain a synthetic preservative called Parabens. 

Many popular shampoos contain synthetic preservatives called parabens.  Parabens are manmade preservatives used in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and personal care products.  Controversy over the safety of parabens began in 2004 when researchers found that parabens were present in 90% of human breast tumors, as published in the US National Library of Medicine.  Not surprisingly, the same parabens in those tumors are also common ingredients in anti-perspiring underarm deodorants used by women. These studies imply that parabens can penetrate the skin and enter the body when applied topically.

The US Environmental Protection Agency’s published research suggests consistent long-term paraben exposure can also disrupt your endocrine system. A healthy endocrine system, composed of your thyroid, pancreas, adrenals, testes, and ovaries is absolutely critical to your health. 

To be safe, many professionals recommend eliminating all topical products that contain parabens because they can potentially affect the body, contribute to hair loss and serious health issues.

You may see many natural/plant-based shampoos contain fragrance.  If you see “fragrance” at the bottom of the ingredient list, that usually means that it contains less than 1% fragrance at safe levels simply to create a pleasant, universal scent after combining all of the natural ingredients together.

Since products labeled natural or plant-based aren’t regulated for certification, your best bet is to review the ingredient list and look for plant-based ingredients at the top of the list.  But still do your homework!   Many funny sounding ingredients are actually natural.  For example, sodium chloride is just sea salt and citric acid is a compound found in lemons and other citrus fruits. 

The bottom line is that those that suffer from hair loss or thinning hair have fragile scalps and hair strands.  They are uniquely vulnerable to harsh chemicals and stripping agents found in formulas that are mostly synthetic.  

For example, ingredients like AMAZONIAN COPAIBA OIL (Copaifera Officinalis) naturally aids in cleansing the scalp and hair.  Its natural antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties nourish the scalp and hair strands without weighing them down.  CANADIAN WILLOW HERB (Epilobium Angustifolium) soothes the scalp as it gently removes impurities and works to gently cleanse.  It also fights free radicals from further damage, promoting hair growth.  Both of these and many other gentle, natural ingredients are found in THIQUE’s Gentle Cleansing Shampoo.

If you’re suffering from thin, thinning or hair loss, avoid shampoos with moisture stripping sulfates. Many popular hair loss shampoos remove dirt or build up by using a blend of ingredients called surfactants, most commonly listed as Sodium Laurel/Laureth Sulfate (SLS). Surfactants bind with things like dirt, soil, dead skin, and sebum – and when the shampoo is washed away, it takes these things with it.  It’s also what creates that foaming or bubbling when you apply to your hair.  But these sulfates have shown to strip natural oils your scalp and hair need.  And consistently fade color of those with color-treated hair.


None of THIQUE's line of hair loss treatments for women contain parabens or sulfates.

There are great articles online about ingredients, trends in organics/natural/plant-based products and how you can maneuver among all the options.  The best part?  Never before have there been more choices and solutions for your hair care needs.

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