Safe Beauty – Why all the Fuss?

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Charlotte Singh-Dhanraj, Junior Stylist, Turning Hedz Creations Hair Studio

It is my absolute pleasure to be guest posting on the blog today, especially about a topic I am so passionate about: “Safe Beauty.”

For those of you that are new to the term “safe beauty,” you may be wondering: what’s all the fuss about? Was this term created to cause yet another health panic? No, but it’s worth understanding so that you can make better decisions about the beauty products you use.

First, a little on the path that took me to where I am today as a safe beauty advocate:

My background in Environmental Studies has always made me consider my ecological footprint when making purchasing decisions of any kind, so naturally my choices in beauty products are no different. In addition, I’ve always had adverse reactions to fragrances (headaches, nausea), and after having a family and being more responsible for keeping our home tidy and sanitary, I also realized that I would get headaches after cleaning as well. I started to make a connection to the artificial fragrances found in cleaning products (not just my extreme distaste for cleaning, lol).

When I became involved in the beauty industry and was exposed to more products, I found myself favouring the ones that felt lighter on my skin, as opposed to those with “long-lasting” pigments or staying power that many other make-up artists seemed to prefer.

As I started to educate myself on the ingredients and their potential side effects, what I learned shocked and disturbed me: Many of the harmful chemicals in these products have been linked to cancer, reproductive issues and hormone disruption. No one should ever have to sacrifice health for beauty!

Here are some important facts that I learned since starting my journey of safe beauty activism:

  1. The U.S. has not passed a federal law to regulate ingredients in personal care products since 1938.
  2. In the U.S., only 30 ingredients are restricted or partially banned from cosmetics.
  3. The European Union has banned close to 1400.
  4. The Federal Canadian Government currently prohibits less than 600 substances for use in cosmetics through Health Canada.
  5. Chemicals in personal care products may poison water supplies. Two major culprits are 1,4 -dioxine (commonly found in shampoos and soaps) and parabens, which are washed down the drain through products like shampoos, and facial and body washes, are not biodegradable, leach into ground water, and ultimately contaminate drinking water.

So, what can be done in support of safe beauty activism?

The good news is there are safer products out there, but again you must take responsibility when making your purchasing decisions and do your research. Many products are labelled “natural” or “organic,” and in some instances there may be one ingredient in the product that may be one of those two things. However, that product may still be loaded with chemicals that the company is not compelled to divulge to you, due to lack of regulation.

Remember those fragrances I was complaining about? It turns out that the synthetic fragrances often referred to on labels as “Parfum” can include over 5,000 chemical substances, only 1,500 of which have been tested for human safety. Of these 1,500, over 850 are known to be toxic or carcinogens. Again, companies are protected because they are not required to divulge what’s in their “Parfum.”

At Turning Hedz Creations, we are diligent in doing our part for the health of our beautiful clients, as well as respecting the sustainability of our earth. Here are some ways that we are making a change and supporting the mission of safe beauty:

  1. We are a Green Circle Salon! Green Circle Salon is the beauty industry’s pathway to sustainability. They are innovators, pioneering truly sustainable solutions for repurposing, recycling, and capturing 95% of salon and spa waste.
  2. We offer Beautycounter – a safe but high-performing cosmetic and skin care alternative – to our clients. Beautycounter has a list of 1500 ingredients that will never be used in their products, called “The Never List”.
  3. We offer Neuma – a professional line of salon quality products with ZERO of the following: synthetic fragrance, sulfates, parabens, 1,4-dioxane, phthalates, glutens, neurotoxins, aluminum compounds, glycols, formaldehyde donors, ureas, carcinogens and environmental pollutants. Simply put, this is a genuine, sustainable brand. Neuma products are:
    1. Made of renewable, beneficial plant-based, colour-safe ingredients
    2. Contain Certified Organic Extracts
    3. Packaged in 95% post-consumer recycled bottles and 100% recycled fiber containers
    4. Manufactured using 100% certified wind power
    5. Vegan
    6. Not tested on animals

If you are ever in doubt about the products you are currently using, take the time to research on the Environmental Working Group website. Also keep in mind that we are here to support you when you are ready to switch to safer products, and are happy to customize a make-up, skincare and hair care routine just for you. We will also donate your gently used personal care products to 360 kids hygiene rooms if you’d like.

So, what do you think? Is safe beauty worth the attention? What’s all the fuss? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Happy hair health!

Charlotte

A Beginner’s Guide to Baby’s First Haircut

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In conjunction with this post, Turning Hedz is launching a promotion of 20% off all Glop & Glam shampoo, conditioner, detangler and styling today through the middle of September, while supplies last. Glop & Glam is a natural and organic hair care collection for children, formulated to be naturally tear-free and without parabens, alcohol and sulfates. Each product has been infused with blends of nutrient-rich raw extracts like Aloe, Echinacea and Green Tea, so your child’s hair stays nourished and full of moisture. There’s also a blend of Andiroba Oil, Tea Tree Leaf Oil and Quassia Amara Wood Extract to help prevent lice. Call today to book your appointment for your little one or stop by to check out this amazing line of parent-approved products! For more information on Glop & Glam, visit www.glopandglam.com

Believe it or not, children’s first haircuts can be pretty traumatic experiences. A piece of them is literally being cut away from their bodies and to an innocent little munchkin with no concept of how harmless the process is, this can be both frightening and extremely stressful. It’s always best to plan ahead for the big event and take the proper measures to ensure baby’s first haircut is as pleasant and comfortable as possible. It could be the difference between a kid who loves getting a haircut and one who loathes it.


Here are some tips I like to share with fellow parents:

ADVANCE PREPARATION

• Brush your baby’s hair and touch her headoften at an early age. Advance preparation is key! The more you touch her the less likely she is to react negatively to a stranger touching her head and hair. It also helps to hold her bangs between your fingers and even play with combs, brushes and spray bottles at home. Find a story about having a haircut. Get her excited about it! 

• Familiarize your baby with the experience and the environment. Before getting his haircut, bring him to see haircuts often (yours, friends, family members) and talk himthrough the process. Show him that it can be a fun, interactive experience (that doesn’t hurt). Eliminate any surprises. Also (and this is important), make sure you visit the salon you will be taking him to and introduce him to the stylist. You’re setting yourself up for disaster if you take him somewhere unfamiliar for the inaugural haircut, with new smells, sounds, people and a complete stranger touching him and bringing scissors near his head!

• Try to avoid using the word CUT. We constantly tell our children to be careful, thatwe may get hurt or CUT with sharp things like scissors. CUT is a harsh word and often used in a negative context, so it should come as no surprise that a haircut (using scissors) in a child’s mind is a scary thing. Use words like trim or snip and phrases like “we are going to tidy your hair”. Make sure to tell the stylist what word you use so he can avoid the word CUT as well. 

THE BIG DAY

• Go when you think your baby’s ready. There’s no right or wrong time to start getting haircuts, however I recommend early even if it’s just a tiny trim off the back or the fringe. Get her used to the experience before diving into a full-blown haircut. 

• Do your research. Pick a place that is good with kids (this may not necessarily be a kids hair salon). Ask around for where people take their kids and what their experience is like. Remember – other parents are your best resource.

• Book a good time for your child. Not during times of day where she is typically hungry or tired. The first appointment of the day is often good, as you avoid delays from other customers. 

• Have him choose a toy to bring to keep him occupied. Try to make it something that you don’t mind getting hair on.

• Bring a secondary shirt. Many children do not want to wear the capes and if they do they still may get itchy hair on them, which can lead to grumpy, uncomfortable tykes who don’t like getting their hair cut because it makes them itchy after. 

• Be ready to wear the cape and have your child on your lap – she may need the comfort of having a parent holding her in order to get over the initial fear. Remember: you’re her most dependable safety blanket.

• Stand in front where he can see you and interact with you. You are a familiar source of comfort to him and could provide him with a valuable distraction (which the hair stylist will appreciate).

• Be prepared to take evasive action! You may need to turn your child away from the mirror. It’s nice to try to get her to look at herself, but remember: someone they don’t know is standing behind them with scissors so they will often be trying to turn to look at what is going on behind them. We want to avoid scalp-related flesh wounds!

• Finally, make it fun! Bring along another adult to take pictures. Make the first time as enjoyable and interactive an experience as possible. Be excited for them. If you are apprehensive or nervous they will sense that and feel the same. Tell them how great they are going to look when their hair is all tidy. Eventually, your child will automatically associate hair cutting with a good time and look forward to going to the salon.


Remember that no child is the same. At the end of the day, you know yours better than anyone else, so decide for yourself which of the above tips work best for you.

Happy “trimming” everyone :)!

Best,

Sarah

Is Your Kid’s Hair Turning Green in the Pool?

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Blond_Swim_Girl

Spoiler Alert: It’s not the chlorine.

Summer’s here, which means swimming season is upon us. From pool lessons to lake swims, chances are your kids are going to get wet, which means their hair will be exposed to all of the wonderful chemicals and minerals found in treated and untreated water, which could result in (gasp) green hair!

I’ve had a few clients at Turning Hedz recently ask me how to keep their daughters’ hair from turning green in the water, especially chlorinated pools. This is one of the great mysteries in life. Why, exactly, does hair turn green in the water anyway?

The answer may surprise you.

It’s not really chlorine (or pool chemicals) that causes hair to acquire that lovely emerald hue. This is a common misconception. It’s actually the mineral compounds found in regular water – specifically copper – that create the green cast. This can happen in the pool or even the shower. As the copper is absorbed through the hair strands, the copper oxidizes, resulting in green hair. Think of the roofs of the parliament buildings in Ottawa, the Statue of Liberty in New York, or even an old penny – they’re all green because the copper they’re made of over time has oxidized. Chlorine in a pool certainly helps the process by drying and damaging the hair, making it more porous and allowing for faster absorption. Even dark hair can take on a green glow, although it is less noticeable.


How do I stop it, you ask?

Here’s a list of to-dos before your kids take the watery plunge:

  1. Keep the hair well hydrated so it is less likely to want to absorb outside contaminates. Use a quality shampoo and conditioner as well as the occasional treatment. We offer a Glop and Glam Trial Trio “Pool Kit” with a clarifying shampoo and conditioner and detangler. Perfect for packing in your swimming bag.
     
  2. Before getting in the water, it’s best to have wet hair from a clean source. Once the hair has absorbed water (like a sponge), it is less likely to take on more water. 
     
  3. Coat the hair with some conditioner before swimming. This will create a barrier until it rinses out (best if long hair is braided and tied up as it rinses out slower).
     
  4. Avoid products (typically from the drug store) with higher pH levels, as they actually dry the hair (a level of 7, even though it is classified as neutral, is too high for hair’s natural 4.5-5.5 pH levels). Instead, choose professional products formulated to have the pH similar to hair itself, which keeps it from drying out naturally without the use of added coating agents. 
     
  5. If your shower water is hard, or your house has older piping (likely copper), consider investing in a water filter that fits right on the shower head.  

Swimming is tons of fun for children and adults, but make no mistake – your hair will be waging ware against those chemicals, minerals and additives. Help arm it with my preventative tips, and don’t forget – we have some amazing products that are designed to keep your hair healthy and free from the green.

Thanks for reading!

Sarah