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Hairy Hair Care

Why would anyone want to pour chemicals over themselves? But you do every time you shampoo your hair. These same chemicals then go down the drain and into our environment.

Some shampoos and conditioners contain very nasty ingredients that have been shown to be harmful to you and the environment! Conditioners can contain chemicals used for 'detangling' like Stearalkonium chloride, Benzalkonium chloride, Cetrimonium chloride and cetrimonium bromide... even the names will give you a headache! They're also used in fabric conditioners and are used in hair products from the supermarket because they're cheap.

Many ingredients are made from oil or tar, some of the shampoos smell nice because it's synthetic (man-made) perfume, usually the same stuff that goes in your laundry powder. Research studies show that many of these chemicals commonly found in shampoo and conditioner cause all sorts of health problems like dermatitis, asthma and even affects each cell's development....not good, really not good!


Easy...just use a shampoo and conditioner which has been made using natural ingredients. Instead of using cheap chemicals, they use natural proteins from wheat and herbs to keep your hair clean and shiny. Because they use natural organic ingredients, they do cost more.

But how good are they? Freya and I took it on ourselves to be human guineapigs for hair treatment! (*squeak*)

We tested 2 natural ingredient brands, Al'chemy and Avalon, and two non-natural ingredient brands, Pears and Decore. Here are our results*:

Shampoo Conditioner Use Next Day 3 Days Notes
Intensive Moisture
Macadamia Wheat Protein
Treatment Conditioner
Strong herbal smell
Medium lather
Conditioner applied OK
Hair is feeling a bit ‘heavy’, like it needs a wash again. Hair definitely feels greasy and needs washing. The moisture shampoo and treatment conditioner are just too much together.
Intensive Moisture
Very Gentle Conditioner
Strong herbal smell
Conditioner = very light fragrance.
Hair feels clean and moist Starting to feel a little heavy again, but would last another day. We spoke to Will at Alchemy & he said to try this conditioner instead…much better!
Mandarin (normal)
Very Gentle Conditioner
Light smell of oranges
Lathered nicely
Hair feels clean and bouncy Hair still OK, Clean & shiny We really loved this one! Knowing the ingredients were completely harmless was a bonus.
Lavender Nourishing
Smells of lavender,
lathers reasonably
Need quite a bit of conditioner
Gah!!! Hair feels awful, heavy and ‘dirty’. This is Hell! Hair feels like a swamp monster has slimed it. Horrible….however, it might improve with a lighter conditioner but Avalon didn’t return our emails.
Lavender Nourishing
Smells nice n’ minty Gah!!! Hair feels coated. Awfully heavy, greasy and coated. Ditto
Smelt of laundry powder
Conditioner smelt of baby lotion. Loads of lather. Conditioner feels a bit slimy.
Clean, shiny hair Still have clean, shiny hair, feels a bit dry Average shop shampoo…does the job, but at what cost to your health?
Clarifying & Moisturising
Moisturising Conditioner
Nice fragrances, loads of lather, easy to use. Clean, shiny hair Still have clean, shiny hair, feels a bit dry at ends As above…basic shampoo.

Avalon Shampoos and Conditioner
Pears Shampoos and Conditioner
We 'blind-tested' (put the products in a plain container, marked with A, B, D etc by our mum, so only she knew which was which). The easiest to use were Decore and Pears, but they ended-up making our hair feel dry. Afterwards, looking at the chemicals on the bottle didn't make us feel too good.

The Avalon left our hair with a horrible coating but the Al'chemy Mandarin shampoo and light conditioner was fab and reading ingredients that sound more like an exotic grocers was brilliant.

Al'chemy was our favourite
So, the best hair care for the environment, your hair and you is : Alchemy! Al'chemy shampoos and conditioners can be bought from health food shops and some pharmacies.

Note: Al'chemy also does other things. Freya is a brilliant flute player and so has to REALLY look after her lips, all flute players like Blue Bonne Belle, but the Al'chemy lip balm is better but comes in a tin, they're looking at putting it in a tube so watch this space.

Story by: Imogen Wadlow

Freya's hair - a challenge!
*These results were with our hair, you might have different results. Just look at the photo of Freya's hair (which is the same as mine). It's a challenge for any shampoo & conditioner.

Have you got a favourite natural shampoo....let us know.