Adventure in Normal Life / beauty reviews / shopping / wellness

Looking for your GOOD Hair Day? Try these non-toxic options.

More than with makeup, I’ve gone through bottles and bottles of products that don’t work out. We have chemical sensitivities in our household, and in a perfect world, I would like to just have one set of shampoo + conditioner that we can both use. I’m dishing on the non-toxic plant-derived brands I’ve tried lately for cleansing as well as styling hair.

A little background:

Sulfates, parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate (they make shampoos suds), and fragrance are ingredients on the no-no list because SLS, at least, has been examined as a potential carcinogen. Fragrance is an ambiguous label umbrella under which 100s of proprietary chemicals that you won’t be able to look up and check on can be found. If you can’t find out what it is, you won’t be able to find out if you’re sensitive to it, or if it has been linked to hormone disruptors or cancer. Not the best, so when you can, avoid Fragrance.

I am careful to write non-toxic instead of organic, because while these products fall generally under the colloquial categories of “organic beauty” or “green beauty” or “natural beauty” and in the US, the label organic actually means something – it has to be USDA certified. Generally, this label is reserved for food-grade products, as the cosmetics industry is yet unregulated, but brands still use the label “organic” for marketing purposes while their ingredients may NOT be organic. California is one such state which requires >70% of the ingredients to be organic (excluding water or salt) in products, which is a higher standard than that held by the US as a whole. So, when you’re out shopping and looking for organic, just be a conscious consumer and check the label out before you assume that you’re getting the healthiest products out there.

As a fun exercise, let me try to think of the brands of hair products I’ve used in the past:

Garnier Fructis, Herbal Essences, Tresemme, Pantene, Suave, Sunsilk, Aussie, Biosilk, Biolage, American Crew, Loreal, Aveda, Avalon Organics, Jason, Shea Moisture, The Honest Co, Living Proof, Juice Organics, R&Co, Moroccan Oil, V05, Rahua, Josh Rosebrook, True Botanicals, Yarok 

**That’s quite a list. I’m putting up a Twitter Poll (#1 to #5) here to see which of these you’ve tried before – I think that mini study could be interesting.**

Hair care has clearly been a tough point of self care where I am still shopping around. I find my hair gets dry in different seasons, gets frizzy where the shorter hairs stand up, or weighed down from product buildup. I don’t wash my hair every time I shower, to preserve that balance of some of the natural oils, but sometimes I run to say, HELLO DRY SHAMPOO! when I don’t hit that balance/get too busy with life. It is normal, hair has different needs when climate or vitamin intake changes, so the trick is to not forget about your hair’s health either.

I don’t color my hair, and I don’t heat treat my hair often (on occasion, I’ll straighten or curl, but it is seldom). I also think water quality makes a difference. Water in parts of California has different minerals than in Boston, and my hair clearly reacts differently to climate and the water.

Recently, since I’ve been working on detoxifying other parts of my self-care routine, as with makeup, soap, lotions + butters, household cleaners, foods, I thought I’d give this ruffian of hair care a try. I partnered with Follain – my one-stop-shop for all things non-toxic self care – to share with you my honest opinions on some options I’ve tried for healthy hair care.

Follain: Captain Blankenship, Yarok Josh Rosebrook Haircare

#askwhatsinside // Photographed by Nishat Nguyen



I tried True Botanicals, and the stronger scent didn’t agree with me (although a lot of people love it!) It did a good job of cleaning my hair, but I can’t get past a scent that I don’t love in a product.

With Rahua, and I like the scent a lot – it is mild and makes me think I’m taking an outdoor shower in the rainforest – #adventure. The founders came to Boston and I had a chance to meet them, and wrote about it on the blog here. I have to shampoo twice, though, to get it to suds up. I don’t mind shampooing twice, but it takes a bit of adjustment condition myself to NOT expect sudsing when there isn’t Sodium Lauryl Sulfate to do that. Suds doesn’t equal clean. I use both the volumizing shampoo and conditioners, and they have travel size as well as full size bottles. The travel size bottles are a little hard to squeeze, but that’s my only complaint.

I recently got Josh Rosebrooks shampoo and conditioner to try, and so far, I like the scent and my hair seems to like it as well. Fortunately, you can mix and match his lines. He makes a balance shampoo and conditioner, and a nourish shampoo and conditioner. The balance smells more awake, with lemon and rosemary notes. The nourish line is softer and a little sweeter and floral with orange notes. Here’s my hack: I got the balance shampoo to soothe my scalp, which sometimes feels tight and dry, and the nourish to smooth and add shine to my hair. Strands aren’t weighed down, they’re light, not frizzy or brittle. I think shampoo and conditioner should provide a nice canvas to work with for either NO styling, or styling, depending on the kind of person you are, and these products made by a former hair stylist work well.

I want: WAVES

I’ve been eyeing this GOLD HAIR SPRAY  by Captain Blankenship for a few months now, and finally got it. I was a little shy about it because, well, I didn’t know how it would look on me since I have dark hair. I wouldn’t spray this on and go to work, but for a little extra special shimmer, for a night out, brunch on the weekend, beach days, this is your ticket to glow and glam spray. I can see little flecks of tiny sparkle (mica) when I spray it on, so it looks dressed up, and that is probably because I have dark brown hair. I don’t mind sparkle and glitter – in fact, I love it – but it isn’t an everyday shine spray. I have a benefit tonight called The Pedal Party (shameless plug: you can still come and hang out if you’re in Boston and looking for a fun crowd to hang out with-come 6-9 pm at Serafina Boston, and you can get tickets here or at the door + enter to win some awesome raffle prizes including a basket of luxe products from Follain!) for Boston Medical Center’s Child Witnesses to Violence Program, so I’ll spray this around. Also, it smells nice!

Their non-sparkly mermaid sea salt spray doesn’t have the shimmer, but it does have the sea salt texture (no synthetics for that real beach blown look – the beach is in the bottle with aloe, sea salt, and sea kelp) for that perfect beach look.

Captain Blankenship's Golden Waves Shimmer Sea Salt Spray

Captain Blankenship’s Golden Waves Shimmer Sea Salt Spray // Photographed by Nishat Nguyen


This leave in conditioner spray by Yarok is an everyday spray. I have been using it on damp and even dry hair and with a little zhuuuujjjjjing I get more lift and volume, and it lets my natural wave come out. It comes in a travel size and larger size, and I like the travel size.

Next, I want to try a hair mask, shine serum, and this dry shampoo and see how that goes!

What has your hair journey been like? What works, what doesn’t work, what do you wish you had? Is there a product you’d like for me to try out for you and review? I’d love to know, so please comment or write in! 

cheers blueboots


3 thoughts on “Looking for your GOOD Hair Day? Try these non-toxic options.

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