Green Eggs and Hair

I’m not the kind of girl who can wash and wear. I’m a mostly natural blonde with fine hair that prefers to be curled (I like to use steam curls–the ions make my hair shiny, the heat doesn’t dry out my ends, and the steam makes the curls last longer). Funny thing about San Francisco–it’s FOGGY and WINDY–two factors that constantly put a damper on my style. As a result, I’m always looking for “The Perfect Hairspray”.

Five years ago I forayed into the world of “natural” hair products, and was mildly appalled at the results. Two that I remember were Aubrey’s Miist, which made me sneeze uncontrollably. Aubrey hair products all have a very distinctive scent (is it the nettle?) that lasts and lasts. I could smell it on my hair all day, to the point of distraction, and considering that it’s not a particularly pleasant scent, even if the product worked spendidly (which it didn’t), I couldn’t consider using it.

Another one I tried was Giovanni’s Organics Hairspray. Though sold in most natural food stores it was not (and to this day is not) a clean product, (chock full of pvp’s and other unsundries) and it still didn’t manage to hold my hair–instead, it lied heavily upon my carefully placed curls and actually made them limp! That was as experimental as I got with green hair products. I would not use them in a box, I would not use them on a fox. After two weeks of bad hair, I decided to give up the green hair, and go mainstream.

I quickly found hair heaven with “Freeze It”, John Frieda’s “Blonde”, and Frederick Fekkai’s “Sheer Hold”. Nevermind that they’re all aerosol and full of chemicals I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy…they work.

But five years of great chemically-bound hair later, and now I’m the Green Makeup Artist. And it just won’t cut the mustard to use mainstream hair products while touting the importance of clean ingredients. So I’m back to the trial and error (emphasis on error) that is Green Hair. I know my green brides will thank me. At least, I hope so.

Here’s what I’ve hated so far:

Giovanni’s Organics L.A. Hold Hairspray: I decided to try Giovanni’s hairspray again. (I figured five years was long enough to work out the kinks. Apparently not. I’m waiting for “San Francisco Hold” to come out.)

Aubrey’s Miist: Okay, I didn’t actually try it again, but I smelled it and promptly began to sneeze. Why won’t they make something inoffensive?

Jason’s Finishing Spray: (with Aloe & Bergamot) It’s paraben free and non aerosol, but contains acrylates, copolymers and alcohol, which many folks don’t love. Did it work? Yes. Minimally. It sort of stiffened the hair, and held it somewhat in place without having any extra perks. (I compare everything to my mainstream favorites). The thing I really didn’t like was the smell which NEVER WENT AWAY. Since high school, I’ve not been a fan of hair that smells strongly of anything. (Remember Aussie products? The hairspray and scrunch spray smelled of green apples, and at an all girls school, I recall swimming in the scent of apples all day.) Hair should be seen and not smelled. Especially if it smells like Bergamot. Each time I used it, I couldn’t wait to shower it off again.

Jason’s Thin to Thick Hairspray with Biotin: Why did I try another Jason product? I’m a sucker for packaging. I want to have thick hair. I like the idea of biotin. Result? Within 30 seconds, I looked like I’d been caught in a thunderstorm. My steam curls went completely flat. This is NOT A HAIRSPRAY!! Granted, it is a product that you can spray on your hair, but why would you want to? I’m writing this in a cafe, and I wish I’d brought a hat.

So that’s the search so far. Not only am I bothered by the current state of my hair, but I’m also troubled by the lack of truly green hair products on the market. Alba Organics, Avalon Organics, and a few others have staked out shelf space in the natural aisles of my local market. On first glance, one might get the impression that I’m being a sissy. There seems to be plenty to choose from, right? I encourage you to take a product off the shelf and read the label. Does it contain the very ingredients (in however small a quantity) that you’re hoping to avoid by not buying the stuff you’ve been using for years? If so, why bother? For the glamour of the word “organic” or “all-natural” or “pure”? What is the advantage of using a pure petrochemical?

If you will not use them on your face, should you use them anyplace?

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