The Search for Safety – or why chemicals dont grow on trees

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Reading Time: 8 minutes

Prologue: With great power comes great responsibility

Formulating a consumer product for commercial use places a great moral responsibility on the person creating the product. On an average day, an adult using mobile, internet & TV can be exposed to more than 300 types of advertising messages. A neighborhood supermarket carries over 6000 products (in SKUs) on its shelves.

In the middle of this information overload, the consumer depends entirely on the brand’s key advertising message or the main declaration on the pack to make a decision. Nearly 100% of consumers make a purchase decision without complete awareness of every single ingredient or a complete understanding of the safety of each ingredient. This is why I stress upon the moral responsibility of the formulator or brand owner.

Let me illustrate this with the examples of three commonly used chemical preservatives and how the krya team manufactures genuinely natural products using Ayurvedic principles.

  1. “Green-Washing” the consumer with natural claims

Most commercial hair oil brands in India contain a very high proportion of liquid paraffin also known as mineral oil. Liquid paraffin is a petroleum derivative and is an inert substance that interferes with the normal functioning of human skin and scalp. Liquid paraffin has no place in a personal care product for humans, yet is it very widely used across the world. Even leading global brand baby product brands contain over 90% mineral oil in their hair oil & massage oil formulations.

mineral oil or coconut oil

Mineral oils can be tumorigenic and high levels of exposure to mineral oils can increase the risk of non-melanoma skin cancer. 

In this scenario where there is a significant dialogue amongst consumers on moving away from mineral oils, a TV yoga guru, has launched a hair oil which claims to be a  pure natural oil free from harmful mineral oil. This is at best a partial truth and actually a bit mis-leading. While this “natural” hair oil does contain a number of  herbs like neem , amla , bhringraj and a base of til / coconut oil, it also contains “BHT”, which is mentioned prominently on the pack.

However nowhere is the full expansion or function of “BHT” explained on the pack. BHT is Butyl HydroxyToluene , a very common preservative used in food and cosmetics to prevent rancidity and prolong shelf life. However like other common classes of preservatives like parabens or bromates, there are a number of safety concerns over BHT. Europe, Japan , Canada , Australia have banned the use of BHT in food products. In cosmetics, BHT is a known skin toxicant and allergen 

  1. The Krya hair & skin oils: with zero chemicals and NO preservatives

 So given the norm of adding preservatives everywhere, is it even possible to manufacture personal care products without using synthetic preservatives? Here’s an example from Krya .

For our range of skin and haircare oils, we follow the classical Ayurvedic “Sneha Kalpana” protocol, in which we extract the herbs in water & oil and then finally simmer the herb extracts in the base oils for 6-8 hours to create the final product. The Ayurvedic protocol defines 6 different stages or “paka” of progress and gives us two diagnostic tests (wicking and fire-sparks) that demonstrate that all the water from the mixture has been evaporated and that the levels of anti-oxidants are adequate to give long shelf life.

By cooking our oils on slow heat over 8 hours, and following the protocol to determine that the moisture has been eliminated completely from our mixture, we can ensure that our oils are free from bacterial and fungal contamination. As the base oils are processed along with herbal decocotions, swarasas and herb pastes, their tendency to turn rancid is checked . The herbs we use themselves also have potent anti bacterial and anti fungal action. So the Sneha kalpana process, the time taken to make the oil, and the herbs used, together eliminate the need for a chemical preservative like BHT.

Sneha Kalpana Process resized

However the process we follow at Krya is a very labor, fuel and time intensive process – there are no shortcuts, which is why very few manufacturers use it.

The short-cut process is to blend a very small extract of herbs in a base mixure which is mostly Liquid paraffin to which a small amount of vegetable oil is added along with perfume, and then add a synthetic preservative like BHT. This also helps it cutting costs to ensure a lower priced product- but is it really Natural? Is it genuinely Ayurvedic in thought, spirit and action ?

The Sneha Kalpana process gives a hair oil with a shelf life of 9- 12 months. It does not produce a product with a shelf life of 3 – 5 years. So if you come across a product that claims to be “natural” and indicates a shelf life of 3 years, you should suspect the use of preservatives like BHT.

  1. Paraben-free , Sulphate-free ( But still contains bromates & benzoate)

As a result of a global consumer back-lash to chemical cosmetic products sold by the big brands, a number of new start-ups have emerged to provide “natural” and “organic” cosmetics to discerning consumers. A common way in which they distinguish themselves is by declaring proudly on the their packs that they are “Paraben-free” or “Sulphate-free” since there is a clear global consensus that parabens and sulphates like SLS are not fit for human use.

However if you carefully read the label of such “natural” products, you will find that they use sodium benzoate and potassium bromate as preservatives. Once again you must ask for yourself some simple questions – on which tree does sodium benzoate grow? Is potassium bromate found naturally on the hillsides of Himalayas? Then on what basis do the brands that use bromates & benzoates call themselves natural?
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Sodium benzoate is a very common food and cosmetic preservative. Ascorbic acid which is one form of Vitamin C is also commonly used in food and now even cosmetic products. These two chemicals can react to release benzene, which is a known carcinogen. Today with the current research, several brands which claim to be safe and parabens-free are using benzoates and bromates. However once enough research is conducted on the toxicity of such chemical preservatives , we will have to re-evaluate their use in everyday products.

Your suspicion should be further aroused when these so called “organic” and “natural” look and work similar to chemical shampoos & conditioners. A genuinely natural product like Krya which strictly follows the Ayurvedic wisdom maybe presented in formats that are at first a little inconvenient to use – for example the Krya hair-wash range is in the powder format – which is the prescribed format according to traditional medicinal systems which delivers the power of whole herbs to you. Interestingly this is also the most environmentally friendly format for hair-care unlike liquid shampoos & conditioners, which are environmental hazards apart from being a hazard to your hair.

So many of the Krya products will present a learning curve before they become a part of your life but the end results for you, your family and the planet will make it a wholesome win-win solution.In this blog post we are very happy to share the journey of how & why, Savitha from Chennai made the switch to Krya.


We are a Krya Family ! – written by Savitha Saranathan

I had been on a lookout of an organic hair care product for more than 3 years because I felt that the synthetic ones weren’t good for our environment (well I didn’t know that they caused so much harm to our system as well until I read about the posts on the ingredients from Krya).

I was looking to move all my water pipes to the ground and so I was clear that I could not use synthetic products. Traditional homemade shikakai powder wasn’t doing a good job of removing oil and rendered the hair rough. That’s when, more than 2 years ago I bought the first ever Krya hair wash powder. I didn’t really appreciate it at first, because I was finding it difficult to mix the right amount of water and it did leave some kind of fine powder on my hair. And did not go despite repeated washing.

But then once I started using it regularly, I started appreciating the fact that it did a far better job than the other synthetic products that I have used so far.

Things that changed significantly in my case are the hair growth speed, hair texture, and hair density. I used to have thick, black, straight hair until I was in school (because amma was absolutely against shampoo and I had to sneak in a small pack of heads and shoulders. I thought shampoos do a far better job than natural hairwash powders). Post college, there was a significant loss (read: more than 40%) in my hair density. That was my first sign to move out of synthetic products.

My hair texture used to be straight and silky but post shampooing repeatedly for more than a decade, it became dry and wavy and broke frequently. And now, with my switch, my hair texture and density are back to where it used to be.

And this is not a post where actresses on TV with long shiny black thick hair (likely to be a wig) market a hair product. This is something that I have used for more than 2 years repeatedly and I have seen results.

My daughter who was 1 year old when I started using Krya, had sparse hair despite tonsuring more than two times. I was very clear that no synthetic products will be used on her. So, I used Krya (both hair oil and hair wash) and now, it has grown significantly more.

Seeing these results, the husband also has moved away from shampoo to Krya’s haircare products.  We are a proud Krya family! 🙂

Savitha pic Savitha works with a big data start up . She is a passionate advocate of living a life that is light on the planet. She is an enthusiastic gardener, home composter and monitors her home’s water footprint to ensure that she recycles as much of the water that she uses as possible. She lives in Chennai with her husband and two kids.


Krya would like to thank Savitha for several things – for her long term, sustained support of our work, for her environmental advocacy and walking the talk, and for this generous piece despite her busy schedule.

The search for safety can lead you down murky paths to many suspect products. At Krya, we are quite proud of our dark green credentials and the transparency and integrity we follow while designing and manufacturing our natural, good for your goodies.

Hair care is an especially murky path with most companies using toxic, health damaging, suspect carcinogenic ingredients in their formulations for temporary aesthetics.

Krya Hair Olympics challenge FB post Aug 1 2016If you are sick of the toxins and synthetics and are perpetually having a bad hair day, try the Krya switch this month. Throw away your toxin filled synthetic shampoo, conditioner and hair oil and try Krya’s goodness filled hair oils, hair masks and hair wash products instead. Your hair will thank you for this switch.

 

 

Every Krya hair care product for adults carries a special discount only in August 2016

  • 10% off if you buy a single piece of any Krya hair care product for adults
  • 20% off if you buy 2 or more pieces of any Krya hair care product for adults or a Krya hair care system for adults

Explore Krya’s huge range of good-for-you hair care products here.

 

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It’s the humidity – surviving your modern sauna-like Indian city

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Reading Time: 5 minutes

A recent break spent in Kolkata had me appreciating better ,the effect of high humidity on skin.  The most important function of the skin is maintaining a barrier against the entry of water into our body and protecting it from invasive foreign, microorganisms. If this barrier is severely damaged (third degree burns for example), we could die due to dehydration as the barrier will be unable to protect the body from severe water loss (and this is important as over 90% of our body contains biological liquid which needs to be kept inside the body).

Only if this barrier layer is kept intact, we can soak in water without damaging our internal organs or getting flooded by invasive, harmful microorganisms. The outermost layer of skin, the Stratum corneum has evolved only to maintain this requirement of maintaining a barrier layer.

The barrier function of the stratum corneum is achieved by 2 types of cellular structure: the intercellular lipid bilayer structure (which is a glue like layer between cells comprising of lipids, fats and fatty acids) and the corneocytes. The corneocytes and the intracellular lipd bilayer together form a brick and mortar structure which prevents the entry of water into the body and protects the biological water in the body from leaving it.

Krya blog post Aug 19th 2016 - pic 1

In order to do its barrier function well, the Stratum corneum needs to be in a plasticized state (much like soft chapatti dough), so it needs to hold water within it. This is accomplished by small cells which behave like little water balloons, holding water inside them. These small cells are called natural moisturizing factors . These natural moisturizing factors are found within each corneocyte – and depending upon the number of these small water balloons present per cell, your skin could have a hydration level between 10% – 30% .

The effect of using synthetic surfactants like SLS and other sulphates on your skin:

Dry skin and serious chronic conditions like Dermatits can arise by the constant use of synthetic detergent like substances on your skin and scalp like SLS and SLeS. This can also arise due to high exposure to the sun and UV irradiation of the skin, extremely low humidity and the use of alcohol based substances like deodorants or hand sanitizers on skin.

When your skin is exposed to high degree of sun, frequent use of harsh synthetic cleansers or alcohol based sanitisers, the water content in your skin can reduce to 1/3rd of its normal moisture level, from 30% to 10%!

effects of soaps on skin filtered

Specifically, anionic surfactants like SLS, SLeS, ALS (Ammonium Lauryl Sulphate) increase transepidermal water loss, irritate and cause skin inflammation and break its normal barrier function.

Combating high humidity:

Cities which are located near the equator and in coastal areas are among the most humid in the world and most of these cities are found in South & South east asia. So cities like Kolkatta, Chennai, Cochin, Trivadrum, and Vizag,  share this warm, sauna like weather with cities like Singapore, Djakarta, and Kuala Lumpur.

It's the humidity - FB pic Krya aug 19 update

The good thing about living in a city with high humidity that this natural abundance of moisture in the air, is great for skin and hair. In normal conditions, this would mean that wrinkles develop much slower, skin is plumper and looks younger longer, and its barrier function is generally much more intact, than say living in a drier city.

 

But the bad part of living in high humid conditions, is that the sauna like weather, high amount of sweat and discomfort, causes us to opt for stronger and harsher cleansers to give our skin and hair that feeling of cleanliness. Because of this excessive sweating, we also want to wash our skin and hair much more (using terribly bad for you synthetic cleansers). This high humidity, along with high levels of smog and urban pollution create a dirt and grime magnet on skin and hair sparking off conditions like acne, and fungal dandruff.

Over time this works against your skin and hair, and you will find your skin and hair becoming more and more patchy with inconsistent moisture and sebum levels, frizzy and drier hair and dull and lifeless looking skin and hair.

fb post aug 17th 2016 shampoo meme 4

Clean, fresh skin and hair that is healthy – even in humid weather

So if you have been feeling like you have been living in a sauna lately, and are concerned about the effects of chemical cleansers on skin and hair, may I suggest the very awesome range of skin and hair care products from Krya instead?

Our products are made from organic and forest collected herbs, lentils and grains, are inspired by the principles of traditional medicine, and work with and not against your skin and hair structure.

Here are some Krya alternatives you can use for utterly humid weather:

  • Krya Women’s Abhyanga Bath powder with Lotus Leaf & Lodhra – One of our extremely popular products and has been used extensively and loved by consumers across humid cities. It helps remove accumulated grime, oil and sweat from skin and is formulated using a mixture of bitter, aromatic and astringent herbs and cleansing grains like Himalayan turmeric, Black horsegram, Himalayan navrangi beans, Nut grass, Lotus Leaf, Rose petals & Bhringaraj. It leaves skin feeling fragrant, fresh, well nourished and with its sebum levels and barrier function intact.
  • Krya After Sun Bodywash with Ashwagandha & Arjuna uses our patented mixture of lentils that are steeped in 2 medicated herb decoctions before being processed. To this we add several Skin repair and healing herbs like Ashwagandha and Arjuna which are very helpful in treating specific skin issues that arise from excessive sun exposure like spotting, blemishes, skin irritation and inflammation. We also add pitta reducing herbs and bitters that draw out heat, cool down skin and assist it in achieving its natural state of balance.
  • Krya Men’s Abhyanga bath powder with Vettiver & Van Tulasi – designed to through cleanse men’s skin which is naturally higher in sebum secretion and is slightly thicker and accumulates grime faster. The formulation contains naturally cooling herbs like Indian sarsaparilla and Vetiver that refresh skin, astringent & citrusy herbs like lemon, and amla to condition skin and leave its pH intact, and cleansers like barley, nutgrass and zedoary that are deodorizing , refreshing and deep cleansing – Skin feels clean, smooth and smells great without any synthetics.

A happy Friday to you  and a Humidity High Five from the Krya team (and from one of India’s top 10 humid cities, Chennai!)

The Krya August Hair Olympics Challenge

Humid hair also deserves better! To inspire a change to toxin-free natural products and to give your hair a much better shot at real health, we are celebrating the Krya Hair Olympics Challenge this August.

Looking for thicker, healthier, stronger hair this August?

Throw away your synthetic hair care products and replace them with Krya’s nourishing hair care products instead.

Every Krya hair care product for adults carries a special discount only in August 2016

  • 10% off if you buy a single piece of any Krya hair care product for adults
  • 20% off if you buy 2 or more pieces of any Krya hair care product for adults or a Krya hair care system for adults

Explore Krya’s huge range of good-for-you hair care products here.

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Rapunzel Rachelle – my hair journey

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Reading Time: 6 minutes

This is a guest post written by Rachelle Chandran , a writer who explores subjects like environmental sustainability, feminism, spirituality, politics and other current issues.

The Backstory

I am a South Indian. I can hear groans of “do you madrasis always have to mention it?” And, yes you, wonderful reader, this time, you are right. I am a ‘madrasi’ but not born in Madras (wink wink). And, yes like most tamizh people, my mother used to oil my hair copiously and I used to wash my hair only once a week. So, as a child, I had super-straight, silky black hair. I mean, not to sound boastful, but my hair would have made to the ads for hair straightening and smoothening products. Yes, it was that good!

Empress_Elisabeth_of_Austria

Painting of Empress Elisabeth of Austria with thigh length hair in 1865 – by Franz Xaver Winterhalter

Fast-forward many years later, I suffered a long-drawn illness. It affected many things, including my hair (I was least bothered about it). And, during the past 4 years, I tried many alternative and traditional medicine and healing techniques to recuperate. All this while, the hair was not my focus because I had other major things in my physical and mental state that needed care.

The ‘winter is coming’ phase

Aug 12th blog post pic 3 winter is coming

Me: during the white flakes phase
Pic courtesy : HBO , Game of Thrones Series

Then, one day, I was casually scratching my scalp (as one usually does) and lo! And behold, there suddenly there was an outpour of white, tiny flakes. Winter was definitely coming! (Sorry, I had to say that). And, my nail bed had the most disgusting greyish grime-wax. These dandruff flakes were so bad, even my eyebrows had those flaky things.

Now they could have been dry skin flaking off, combined with the excess sebum production in my hair and dust that invariably accumulates during travel. If you have this sort of dandruff, read Dandruff dojo part 1 and part 2 on the krya blog. Before you go ahead and judge me, I must tell you I did use all those expensive salon-recommended shampoos and conditioners. And, they did help. But only for 2-3 days. But my scalp would return to their horror after that, forcing me to wash my hair 2-3 times a week. And for all my fellow long-haired men and women, ‘ain’t nobody got time for that’.

Also, I have to mention here that my hair was in this condition even without using any heating tools or colouring. But even with all the expensive shampoos, hair spa, and every other product, my scalp and hair health were dying a slow death.

As a personal healing journey, I started eating better and using eco-friendly and vegan products. I was shocked at the chemical output we put out in every product that we use and how it affects the earth and the multiple ecosystems in it. The first to go was my shampoo, body wash, face wash, and detergent. It was hard. Because I was attached to my shampoo-conditioner that I had to use 3 times a week to clean my hair, that smelled amazing and made me hair fall in natural curls.

The No-poo journey

I tried being ‘no-poo’. Because I saw the so-called ‘natural/organic’ products also had chemicals that were masked under ‘Indian-proud’ product prop. My intention of trying a natural lifestyle was more for the Earth/environment than for myself at this point. I couldn’t imagine the amount of soap-water that goes to the earth and endangers animals, fish and just multiple organisms, just from me.

So, I tried the classic baking soda, apple cider vinegar combination. The holy grail of no-poo lifestyle. I also tried tea washes, herbal flower washes. The latter worked but the former didn’t. I was part of a support group which was no-poo who all had wonderful results from BS/AC combo. Most were European/American, some were Indian. And as per the no-poo process, your hair/scalp will go through a detoxifying journey from all the chemicals dumped on it for years. So everyone goes through the process and for some it is harder than others. But in that process, my hair was falling out so much, I really needed an alternative. And I had been no-poo for close to a year and nothing had improved much.

How I found Krya

I am usually not the one to play the ‘Indians have a long history of innovation even before the dinosaurs’ card. But truly, Indians have washed their hair without shampoos and have had reasonably (awesome) hair and scalp health. So, I searched and searched for a product that would have organic products, vegan, no animal testing, would list all their products, and works well for my hair/scalp.

Surprise! I found Krya. I started with their clothes wash and dish wash. It was great. Then they had a hair wash powder. I tried it. But it just seemed to not be working for my hair. I have used hair powders before, so it really wasn’t about the convenience. The product didn’t wash off grime as well as I would have liked, those little grains stayed in my long hair and created so much tangle and knots that combing my hair was an exhausting upper arm workout. So, I stopped using it. And just washed my hair with water.

Aug 12th blog post pic 2 brave

Me, unable to comb my hair and feeling ‘Brave’

Picture courtesy – Pixar Animation Studios & Walt Disney Pictures

Finding the treasure-trove

The real breakthrough happened with the anti-dandruff hair mask, Krya launched. I had the anti-dandruff hair wash, it worked well for my hair. But the hair mask, just after one wash. And I really mean one wash, my hair was super smooth and all the white flakes were gone! The anti-dandruff hair wash removed all the grime. My hair was also easy to comb through.

Then, Krya launched the anti-dandruff hair oil. So, I used this triple threat. All my dry flakes/grime was gone. And, I went back to washing my hair only once a week. My hair when braided had such thickness, I was surprised. A little more than five months into washing my hair with Krya products and I am super excited to tell you that my hair is awesome!

And to satisfy the environment-love in me, the water from the hair wash/mask is recyclable. I mean, I would have continued using their product just for the environment sustainability and the no-animal testing values they hold. But, getting my hair- super soft, smooth, shiny, and most importantly manageable was truly a gift I had not expected. And, especially in such a short time. Now, my hair is back to proudly attempt auditions for hair products 😉

Aug 12th blog post pic 1 rachelle

 

Rachelle is a writer. She loves to write about things that matter to her deeply , be it environment sustainability, spirituality, politics, current labour issues, feminism, and other sensitive and seemingly controversial topics. She is an ardent fan of books, grumpy cat, and krya (needless to say). ‘Limited’ in this world but ‘unlimited’ in her imagination, she tries to merge those two worlds of parallel realities and has failed so far. But the experiments continue.

 

 

 

(Actual super-shiny hair with curls.

No filter or effects added.)


Krya would like to thank Rachelle for several things : her generous support of our work, constant feedback on both our products and the information we share – this helps us validate what is useful for our readers and also helps us refine our product formulations. Most importantly, Thank you Rachelle for sharing your hair care journey so authentically and generously for all our readers!

What Rachelle has shared today about the effect of synthetic products is literally the tip of the iceberg. Besides triggering contact dermatitis and seborrheic dermatitis (full blown dandruff), synthetic shampoos are extremely harmful for hair health in the long run, are loaded with unnecessary chemicals and are extremely harmful and toxic to the planet and the other living beings that share this earth with us.

We were there too, right where Rachelle was a few years ago – with hair that wouldn’t grow, chronic dandruff and colour and treatment damaged hair. From there, we have seen remarkable transformative results when we removed the toxins, cleaned up our diet and used health giving, completely natural products. This experience inspired the many Krya hair and skin formulations that you see today, because we wanted to give many more people the same health giving benefits we had experienced for ourselves.

To inspire more and more people to make the switch, we are celebrating this August as the Krya Hair Olympics Month.

Do you want stronger, healthier better hair? Throw away your toxin filled synthetic shampoo, conditioner and hair oil and try Krya’s goodness filled haircare products instead. Your hair will thank you for this switch.

Every Krya hair care product for adults carries a special discount only in August 2016

  • 10% off if you buy a single piece of any Krya hair care product for adults
  • 20% off if you buy 2 or more pieces of any Krya hair care product for adults or a Krya hair care system for adults

Explore Krya’s huge range of good-for-you hair care products at very special prices here.

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Foaming shampoo, Itching soap : a label lowdown

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Reading Time: 10 minutes

The Krya post yesterday shared a piece written by Dr.Anupama Santosh, an Ayurvedic vaidya at Shrestha Ayurvedic centre . In this piece she shared her concerns about herbal products and some of the issues she faces while recommending authentic natural products to her consumers.

We choose to focus on this important issue raised by Dr.Anupama in the blog today at Krya.

The modern soap and the modern shampoo find no place in the tradition of Indian skin and haircare. The traditional medicine pharmacopeia is vast, detailed and uses thousands of cleansing herbs and lists formulations that range from cures for baldness to simple hair growth.

This does not mean Indian traditional medicine is simplistic or primitive as is often assumed. Many of the discoveries and procedures described by Acharya Sushruta and Acharya Charaka (the fathers of Ayurveda) are still in use today.

Aug 9th blog post image 2

For example, a facial reconstructive technique described by Acharya Sushruta 2500 years ago uses parts of the forehead and cheek to reconstruct the nose. This procedure was developed as cutting off the nose was a common punishment in that era which necessitated the development of aesthetic surgery. This technique is still in use today and is now called the “Indian Rhinoplasty technique”.

So how did mass produced soap and shampoo evolve ?

The technique for producing a basic soap is ancient. Archaeological excavations and records suggest that it was in use in Ancient Babylon 2500 years ago. The Ebers papyrus , which dates back to 1500BC, also mentions the use of soap in cleaning textiles. Again we see evidence of the use of soap in the Roman world, where it was again used to launder garments.

Aug 9th blog post image 1

If you are seeing a pattern here, stay with me. We move over to Florence in medieval times where soap making has now become more evolved with the addition of perfumes distilled with knowledge brought in by the Islamic empire. Italy and France begin to compete with each other to produce finer grade soaps.

Soapmaking now reaches England. Soapmaking becomes a household art, guarded jealously by the main housekeeper of the Castle and is made in the still room.

So we have reached a point when soapmaking has become a household cottage industry. The fat trimmings from domestic meat of the animals raised for consumption would be used without wasting to be made into a cleaning soap. For the component of lye, water leached through wood ash would be used as a precursor to the commercially available Sodium Hydroxide we use. The Romans were much more economical – they simply used human urine from the public toilets, which is strong in ammonia to make Ammonium Hydroxide to make their soap.

Now here are 2 interesting facts: Soap originally started out as a textile laundering product and was generally considered extremely harsh for skin use as it was very alkaline in its pH. This alkaline nature made sense when it was used exclusively on textiles as this would help effectively cleanse out grease and dirt from wool, linen and other difficult to care for textiles.

Aug 9th blog post image 3

When soap was finally adopted for personal use, it was primarily adopted by countries which experienced extreme cold and where citizens bathed very rarely.

For example, England had a day called Shrive Tuesday which fell in early summer, which was a day when the peasants would have an annual bath. For this annual bath, the lye based soap was used. Yes, your read that right – ONE bath every 365 days.

An infrequent bath was not restricted to the peasant class alone. The nobility and the monarchy in most cold countries would have a bath only once a month. The perfume industry in France itself started as a way to ward off body odour. Frequent bathing was considered an unhealthy practice and this made sense given the extreme low temperatures that could occur in these countries.

 The soap and shampoo in the Modern Era:

The now ubiquitous mass produced shampoo and soap owes its origins to 3 inventors: Nicholas Leblanc, Michel Eugene Chevreul and Ernest Solvay. Their inventions in the mid 19th century,  transformed what used to be a home made cottage industry based process into a multi billion dollar commercial process which spawned the commercial shampoo as well.

Why soap is not good for skin:

The modern mass produced soap is quite different from its cottage industry ancestor which used just 2 ingredients – trimmed animal fat and lye. Today, the modern soap adds other additives like talc, bleaches, fillers, colours and chemical fragrances to the mix.

However, both kinds of soaps share one common trait – they are extremely harsh on skin.

Aug 9th blog post image 5

The key reason for this harsh effect on skin can be traced to a single factor – by design a soap is alkaline with a pH of atleast 8 or above. This alkaline pH makes sense if you are having a bath once a year like in Medieval England. The amount of dirt, dead cells and sebum accumulated in skin for a year would need an extremely harsh, tough cleansing product preferably with an alkaline soap.

But given our penchant for a bath atleast once a day, and often in hot water, an alkaline product like a soap alters the pH of skin. Skin’s pH has been carefully designed to be 5.5 and is kept that way by the natural oil secretions on our skin, our sweat and the presence of synergistic colonies of friendly bacteria on our skin.

When we alter the pH of our skin using a soap, this breaks this ecosystem, dries out skin, kills the friendly bacteria and leaves our skin open to the invasion of hostile bacteria. Consistent and frequent use of soap will leave skin dry, irritable and unhealthy.
(We’ve discussed much better, gentler ways to have a bath earlier.)

The issue with modern shampoos:

We have detailed the drying and scalp irritating properties of SLS in previous posts. We have spoken about how the commercial SLS laden shampoo cleans by stripping all the essential sebum from your scalp and hair. We also spoke about how this causes a counter reaction in your scalp, which then compensates with a greater amount of sebum production to make up for the lack of essential sebum.

SLS and SLeS also denatures scalp protein and damages the hair’s cuticular structure. Undamaged hair has a “hydrophobic” surface which is coated with sebum. This ensures water does not enter the hairshaft and damage hair. With the repeated use of synthetic shampoos, and harsh chemical treatments on hair like colouring and deep conditioning, this hydrophobic oily coating is rinsed away , leaving gaps in the cuticular structure through which water enters the hair shaft.

Yes I get synthetic soaps and shampoos are bad for me. What about my herbal shampoo?

Unfortunately, with the growing demand for natural products and the growing awareness for natural herbs and solutions, chemical consumer products companies have now made a clever addition to their toxin laden products.

They add, what is called in industry parlance as a “claim ingredient “ to their regular synthetic products.

 The claim ingredient as per Indian law:

Unfortunately the consumer products industry – both in India & globally is very poorly regulated industry compared to say the food or pharmaceutical industries.

marketing hype

 

 

 

 

The first problem with “regulation” is the fact that regulation always lags or follows the introduction of a new concept. The very concept of “regulation” is new and most regulatory bodies of the 20th century were set-up by governments in response to misleading or downright false claims made by manufacturers. Think about it, the concept of a BIS standard for a soap or shampoo can be defined only after there is a significantly large industry for these products.

The second major problem is the fact that the major manufacturers are often appointed by governments as experts to set up regulations. In this regard, several shocking loopholes or low standards that favor manufactures have now been enshrined as “government standards”.

industry collaboration

For example manufacturers can add just 1% of a ingredient  say amla and claim ALL the benefits associated with it – all they have to do is use phrases likes “with the goodness of  amla“  while the rest of the product could contain any manner of chemical bases or preservatives. Even organic food, a new and exciting sector , created by folks in response to pesticides & GMO has not been spared. An “organic” ready to eat food product can contain by law, preservatives like sodium benzoate. So much for “safe”, “organic” food!

Example 1:

Consumer VOICE, a leading, independent publisher did a comparative test of major Indian hair oil brands available in the market. The reference to this original article is given below. The independent study found the following in their research:

  1. All the brands of hair oil were based on mineral oil or Liquid Paraffin – while this was mentioned on the product label, the advertising for these products generally emphases only the goodness of the natural oils and herbs used. This test included even leading brands which claimed to be ayurvedic and natural. Light Liquid Paraffin was found to be between 62% – 91% in content. While BIS permits the use of Light Liquid Paraffin in cosmetic products, there is no maximum limit specified. This is grossly misleading as consumers are obviously buying the hair oils based on their claims of the hair oils containing vegetable oils and herbs,
  2. In 2 leading advertised brands of Amla (Indian gooseberry ) based hair oil, the Amla extract is less than 2%. Even with adding such a trace quantity of Amla, the Manufacturer is getting away by naming this product an Amla Hair oil, when it should really be called a Paraffin hair oil!
  3. A leading advertised brand of Almond hair oil contained , in fact, only a few drops of almond oil per bottle- the net weight of mineral oil was 76% and vegetable oil was over 20%.

Ayurveda has not been spared too

Unfortunately the bad habits from the chemical consumer products industry have defiled the Indian Ayurvedic sector as well. AYUSH standards from the GoI allow a range of “permitted” additives, base, preservatives etc. So you could find an “Ayurvedic” toothpaste, with one or two ingredients mentioned in the Ayurvedic texts but with the bulk of the product containing a synthetic base or with sodium lauryl sulfate as a foaming agent.

Example 2:

A leading South Indian brand of herbal hairwash powder has often been brought to our notice by Krya consumers. They check the foam generated by this herbal hairwash and tell us it is atleast twice more than the Krya hairwashes. The foam quality is also surprisingly similar to the foam generated by a synthetic shampoo – the foam is thick, and lasts for a long time on hair.

An analysis of this product’s contents proved difficult, as the Indian label lists only upto 60% of its ingredients. The natural foam generating herbs like Sapindus trifoliatus, Sapindus mukorossi (Different species of Soapberry / Reetha), and Acacia concinna (Shikakai) is less than 5%. The largest herb listed by volume is Coconut Shell powder, which has no nutritive action and is only a natural abrasive and filler.

So 2 questions you might have are: What is in the missing 40% of the product? And how is it foaming?

Both questions have one definite answer – SLS. This is not declared in the Indian pack as companies are not required by law to do so here. But SLS is listed in some of its export packs and the percentage volume is sometimes as high as 17%.The balance could possibly be made up of preservatives, other fillers, foam boosters and perhaps a fragrance – we say could, because, again the Indian law protects cosmetic manufacturers. We don’t have to disclose what goes into the products that are used so intimately by billions of consumers everyday .

Ok, dang! What are my options now?

So what is an Indian Consumer to do? If you find a product that is cheaply priced, colourful, easy-to-use, with a shelf life of more than 12 months and still “natural”, you may wonder, is this too good to be true ? Yes, indeed it is too good to be true.

Some of the points we ask our consumers to check on the label:

  1. Add the ingredients listed to check if they add upto a 100 % – if not ask the company what is not part of the declaration – this includes vague declarations like “base”, “q.s”, “lotion base”, etc
  2. Check the fragrance – if it lingers in your bathroom for a long time or on your person for a long time, it is probably not natural. Natural fragrances rarely last for long.
  3. Check the foam quality and consistency – synthetic foam derived from SLS / SLeS / ALeS and other chemical sources is usually extremely white, thick (think thick clouds of foam), and is retentive and substantive – so it will stay for a long time.
  4. Check for the mention of the words “extracts” vs. the use of whole herbs
  5. Check for the mention of surfactants which are described as being derived from coconuts . My favourite example is how SLS is repackaged as a natural coconut derived surfactant – My challenge back always is this – If I give you a coconut, can you make SLS for me without the use of manufacturing equipment and synthetic chemicals? If your answer is no, then stop linking this poor coconut to SLS. The coconut is as much a precursor to SLS as a real Nagpur Orange is to a synthetic orange cola.

The human body – designed for health:

Ayurveda and Siddha classical texts reveal a very wonderful fact – a normal human body is designed to live healthfully and well upto atleast 100 years of age. In fact, the texts classify middle age, as the age between 33 – 66, and old age begins only from 66 years onwards. Rasayana and rejuvenative treatments like Panchkarma are designed to internally balance the doshas and set the body back to its natural balance.

Aug 9th blog post image 8

The external use of whole herb based toxin free products along with the right diet and lifestyle gives almost magical results even in decades old stubborn hair and scalp issues like dandruff, scalp flaking, hair breakage, etc.

We have chosen this August to focus on hair health and care. And to inspire your transition to natural haircare and to re-discover just how good your hair can look / be, we have a very special deal on all of Krya’s haircare products with upto 20% off on all our haircare goodies!

The Krya August Hair Olympics Challenge

To inspire a change to toxin-free natural products and to give your hair a much better shot at real health, we are celebrating the Krya Hair Olympics Challenge this August.

BeFunky Collage

Looking for thicker, healthier, stronger hair this August?

Throw away your synthetic hair care products and replace them with Krya’s nourishing hair care products instead.

Every Krya hair care product for adults carries a special discount only in August 2016

  • 10% off if you buy a single piece of any Krya hair care product for adults
  • 20% off if you buy 2 or more pieces of any Krya hair care product for adults or a Krya hair care system for adults

Explore Krya’s huge range of good-for-you hair care products at special prices here.

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Is your natural product really natural? – an ayurvedic doctor’s perspective

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Reading Time: 4 minutes

This is a guest post written by Dr.Anupama Santosh of Shreshtha Ayurvedic Centre, Bangalore, an Ayurveda Centre that offers authentic, high quality and effective, personalised Ayurvedic therapies to meet people’s health needs . Dr.Anupama Santosh and Dr.Santosh, regularly prescribe Krya’s hair and skin products to their patients.

At the end of most consultations involving complaints related to hair& skin, I am often posed with this question:

“Doctor, what do you suggest to wash my hair with? Not that I use any brand, I am very careful and choose only herbal shampoos. Hope that’s fine, Doctor!”

In my practice, spanning over 15 years, I have tried to answer this query in various ways. I have often told my patients, what the label “herbal/ayurvedic product” can mean and to what extent, it can be herbal and (un)safe. A labeled herbal product can get away with containing a miniscule amount of herbs in it bringing a great deal of advantage to a pharma company which can just add a herb for namesake and marketing it.

I also mention my 7 years of experience as a consultant in the pharmaceutical companies where I am also involved in product development. I use this as a background to explain the concept of fillers, preservatives, artificial coloring agents and other additives to products. Thankfully, the understanding and acceptance of this kind of information is much more now than ever before.

So, after the shock and incredulity passes, their next question is this: “OK, doctor! Please give us some better and safe options and make them available.”

And this is exactly where I became less chatty. Not with an intention to hold back, but because of the lack of trustworthy products. Recommending a product to a patient, is a huge responsibility which I am not willing to take unless I am really, really sure.

Over the years, I have suggested herbs which patients can mix and use, which is practical only for a handful people who have the time and willingness to do it.

Krya blog post aug 8th - indian haircare herbs pic

At our clinic, we do make a lot of our own medicines and we did try and make a herbal hair wash and a hair mask which worked really well. But, we did not have the bandwidth and time to pursue these products for long. And another major requirement is also to have various options of hair washes and hair masks to suit specific needs like prakriti/dosha/roga/age. After all, Ayurveda is rogi-specific not roga-specific (specific to the patient and not specific to the disease)

And in this long pursuit for safe and effective hair care products for my patients, I came across Krya products. I was ecstatic to find their thoughts reflected mine. I immediately ordered a few products and started prescribing them. Initially, I had to spend some time educating patients (mostly the younger lot) about methods of washing hair with a powder as opposed to washing with a frothy shampoo. After a couple of months, the feedback has been really good.  Some of them have become more aware of the other unsafe products they have been using and have started picking up the face wash range as well.

My husband Dr.Santosh, specializes in treatment of Skin problems and is relieved to have found Krya products which he confidently prescribes to his patients with eczema and scalp psoriasis.

We are prescribing Krya products regularly for about 6 months now and are extremely glad to associate with their team. Thank you, Krya, for helping us to further our endeavor towards safe and chemical free healthy living.

About Dr.Anupama Santosh:

Dr Anupama SantoshDr.Anupama is an Ayurvedic consultant at Shreshtha Ayurvedic Center based in Bangalore. She believes that the Ayurvedic way of living is more relevant today than ever before. Her success in treating infertility cases has earned her immense love and gratitude from her patients. She is also a medical consultant for some Ayurvedic Pharmaceutical companies and advises them on product formulation and development of proprietary Ayurvedic medicines.

About Shreshtha Ayrvedic Centre, Bangalore

Shreshtha Ayurvedic Center, founded in 1997, is run by leading Ayurvedic consultants Dr.Santosh and Dr.Anupama. Though the center is located in Koramangala, Bangalore, patients from various parts of the country visit, owing to the genuine Ayurvedic treatment made available here. Apart from the consultation services, the center is equipped with a good pharmacy stocking Kottakkal medicines and organic lifestyle products. A Panchakarma center is also maintained at the center, which offers none of the spa kind of massages ( which is often confused for Panchakarma), but authentic, classical chikitsa with curative effect. To reach out to the growing demand of patients outside Bangalore, Shreshtha Ayurvedic Center started their Online consultation portal and also shipping facilty for prescribed medicines, which has had an overwhelming response.

You can explore more about Shreshtha on their website and facebook page

Team Krya would like to thank Dr.Anupama Santosh and Dr.Santosh for their generous support of our work. We are privileged that such reputed Ayurvedic Vaidyas have found Krya’s products useful for their patients.


 

To inspire a change to toxin-free natural products and to give your hair a much better shot at real health, we are celebrating the Krya Hair Olympics Challenge this August.

Looking for thicker, healthier, stronger hair this August? Throw away your synthetic hair care products and replace them with Krya’s nourishing hair care products instead.

Every Krya hair care product for adults carries a special discount only in August 2016

  • 10% off if you buy a single piece of any Krya hair care product for adults
  • 20% off if you buy 2 or more pieces of any Krya hair care product for adults or a Krya hair care system for adults

Explore Krya’s huge range of good-for-you hair care products here at very special prices.

 

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Hair care herbs around the world

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Reading Time: 8 minutes

My hair epiphany happened when I was 28. I was in a lab, with my friend who specialized in natural herbs and their application in skin and hair care products. We were discussing hair damage, and she made a remark that startled me.

“Preethi, almost every single woman I know has damaged hair”, she said. I hotly disagreed, and ran my hand through my hair to disprove her.

Yes, I coloured my hair, I added, but I spent top dollar to buy the best products money could buy. I was careful to choose ammonia free colours. I used the best shampoo, conditioner, and serum I could buy. I had even added a post wash spray on serum for care and gloss. Hell, I actually spent a significant proportion of my salary buying high quality haircare products – surely my hair wasn’t damaged?

“So give me a strand of your hair”, she said, “and let’s look at it under the microscope”.

And I did.

My hair was appalling.

The cuticular scales were missing and damaged. I could see gaping portions of the hair shaft visible under the 200X pitiless magnification of the sophisticated microscope in my friend’s lab. She pointed out places where atleast 6 layers of my cuticle were missing.

And she exhaustively listed every single treatment I was doing to my hair which was damaging it – shampooing with an SLS / SLeS based shampoo, blow drying it with my fancy hair styler, colouring it every other month in different colours, perming it (once), straightening it (twice), and washing it almost every single day to keep it bouncy and ungreasy.

“You do know that your hair isn’t supposed to be washed so often, or feel so greasy, right?”, she casually added. “Your hair is supposed to be healthy and look good, without using so many synthetic products”.

We believe all kinds of things about hair – but if there’s one thing we should believe in, it is this. Like my friend said to me 9 years ago, your hair is supposed to look good. It is designed to look awesome. And its awesomeness is not just aesthetic, it is also functional. The same stuff that keeps it glossy and shiny, also keeps it strong, whole and protects it from damage.

Unfortunately, almost every single synthetic product we put on our hair to wash, condition, straighten, colour or perm it damages it. Pretty badly.

Yet human hair, like the human body, is resilient. It is capable of healing itself and repairing damage, if the damaging conditions are removed.

I am the very first user of all of the products we make at Krya. In the 8 years that have passed since I peered into a microscope to study my hair, convention dictates that my hair should have gotten more fragile, more damaged, and less healthy.

On the contrary, as I transitioned to better food (read mostly organic, whole grain, and plant based), cut the stress (somewhat – I do run a business!), got more air and light in (and stopped working in an air conditioned environment), my hair damage started to reverse. Somewhere along this way, I threw away all the synthetic products I used and started to use only 2 products – a Krya all natural, toxin free shampoo with frequent oiling using a Krya all natural, herb filled oil.

My hair is growing more, breaks less, is less greasy (so I do not have to wash as frequently) and my scalp is flaking less.

Most hair that is damaged due to lifestyle reasons can be coaxed back into good health. And we are going to be spending a lot of August, telling you just how, on the Krya blog. We are also going to be running some fun contests and giveaways on the Krya facebook page, so do join us there as well.

And to inspire your transition to natural haircare and to re-discover just how good your hair can look / be, we have a very special deal on all of Krya’s haircare products with upto 20% off on all our haircare goodies!

When we write / speak about natural haircare, we often draw a strange blank. We are met with a sense of panic when we recommend you throw away your synthetic shampoo / conditioner and You ask us this: “Just how do I then care for my hair? Am I supposed to just look unfashionable without my serum?”

Hair and herb history – or how people looked good without the SLS

A recent paper I read that studied the plants used in traditional haircare  by Bhil tribals in 3 taluks (Vijaynagar, Khedbrahma and Bhiloda of Aravalli ranges ) in Sabarkantha district in Gujarat . They treat hair ailments with plant remedies based on their inherited knowledge handed down from their local vaidyas in the tribe. Nearly 25 plants were listed in the research conducted among tribals from 3 taluks in a single district in India.

The traditional Ayurvedic texts like Charaka Samhita, Sarangadhara Samhita and Bhaisajya Ratnavalli are full of formulae, herbs and preparations both internal and external to cleanse hair, treat scalp infections, promote hair growth, and even colour and condition it. Siddha texts including the more recent “Anubhava Murai vaidyam” by Raja Serfoji includes a similar compendium of hair care herbs.

A reading of Nicholas Culpepper’s seminal work published in the 17th century contains a rich account of herbal and pharmacological knowledge. Culpepper spent most of his life in the outdoors, cataloguing the medicinal herbs found in the English countryside, and was one of the most well known astrological botanists of his day. His approach to herbal medicine have had a far reaching impact on how modern medicine is practices today. For example, he prescribed the medical use of foxglove, a precursor to digitalis , used to treat heart conditions.

These materia medica list thousands of local and indigenous herbs that can be used to safely care for hair. Apart from these formal systems of learning, ethnographic studies or oral traditions in tribal communities also records the rich and varied use of herbs to treat ailments and to enhance beauty.

Today we have presented just 5 of these many thousand herbs used for healthy haircare.

  1. Mushta / Nagarmotha /Indian Nutgrass / Cyperus rotundus

Mushta is discussed elaborately by Acharya Sushruta, acharya Vagbhatta and Acharya Charaka.  Acharya Charaka describes this plant to cool pitta and treat pitta related conditions like diarrhea and skin infections. Acharya Vagbhatta described Mushta as a febrifuge that cools down pitta induced fevers.

 

In Cambodia, Mushta is known as a diuretic herb. Traditional Chinese medicine describes Mushta as being effective against liver disease (interestingly the liver is considered the seat of Pitta in Ayurveda). In srilanka, Mushta decoction is taken internally to reduce fevers, diarrhea and stomach complaints.

mushta - krya aug 4 blog 4

As Mushta brings down pitta and has a woody fragrance, it was often used as a decoction or a paste to cleanse hair. It was also added to hair oils to delay graying and keep hair soft, well conditioned and healthy.

Mushta can be found in many of Krya’s skin and haircare products including the Krya Classic Hair Oil, the Krya Classic Hairwash, the Krya Abhyanga bath powder for women, the Krya After Sun Bodywash, The Krya Body wash for Men, etc.

  1. Nimba / Neem / Azadirachta indica

In vedic literature, Neem is mentioned several times. Acharya Charaka classified Nimba as a Kandughna (anti pruritic) drug. Acharya Charaka used the flowers of Nimba in Nasya treatment and indicated that it is to be used extrenaly in skin diseases.

Acharya Vagbhatta described the seed oil of Nimba as being very effective in the treatment of grey hair and hair fall.

Neem leaf , neem seed oil and neeem flowers are traditionally used in hair and skin care. Neem helps bring down scalp itching, scalp dermatitis and scalp psoriasis. It is a very effective anti bacterial cleanser and deodorizes scalp and skin with regular use.

nimba - krya aug 4 blog 3

The crushed seeds and leaves are applied over hair as insecticide to kill lice. The infusion of fresh leaves is applied on the head to cure dandruff. The mixture of seed and exuded sap from trees growing near water, is massaged on the scalp for promoting hair growth.

Nimba can be found in Krya’s anti dandruff system, the Krya Kids ubtan, and the Krya Anti acne face wash.

  1. Amalaki / Phyllanthus embellica / Indian gooseberry

The Indian gooseberry is renowned in Ayurveda and Siddha and is called the “Dhatri” or the Nurse. It is one of the few herbs that contain all 6 tastes, and is therefore considered a perfect food. It is not a surprise, therefore to see such frequent mentions of this fruit in Vedic literature and in Ayurveda.

The Texts classify Amlaka as a Chavanaprasha and Rasayana (rejuvenative, life expectancy enhancing, youth promoting) herb. It has extremely strong anti microbial activity, hypoglycaemic activity, hypolipidimic activity and anti emetic activity.

amla - krya aug 4 blog 4

It is a strong, health giving and hair nourishing herb which promotes hair growth, retards graying, removes excess pitta and conditions hair. It is also an extremely rich source of Vitamin c which stimulates healthy hair and skin growth even in the boiled / dry form (a unique fruit as generally Vitamin C is water soluble and disappears on boiling).

Amlaki is found across all Krya hair formulations including the Krya Classic hair system, the Krya extra conditioning hair system, the Krya damage repair hair system and the Krya anti dandruff hair system.

  1. Saw Palmetto / Serenoa repens (Peruvian ginseng) /

Saw Palmetto is a palm like plant with berries that grows in the south eastern united states. The berries were a staple food for Native Americans. The active ingredients in Saw palmetto include fatty acids, plant sterols and flavonoids. Saw palmetto is prescribed in Europe for Benign prostrate hyperplasia (a non cancerous enlargement of the prostrate gland). The berries are also expectorant, a mild sedative and help expel mucous. The herb is also used to treat urinary disorders.

saw palmetto - krya aug 4 blog 2

Historically, saw palmetto was used to stop hair loss and trigger healthy hair growth. Research suggests that saw palmetto inhibits DHT (dihydotestosterone), an enzyme that is associated with male pattern baldness.

  1. Soapwort (a cousin of the Indian soapberry ) / Saponaria officinalis

Soapwort comes from a family of nearly 30 species of saponin containing plants found in Europe, parts of Asia and Western Siberia. Soapwort leaves and roots can be used as a gentle cleanser for hair and skin. Historical anecdotes indicate it was used to clean the Shroud of Turin.

soapwort - krya aug 4 blog 1

It has also been used historically, much like its Indian cousin, the Soapberry to clean delicate fabric like wool and garments with lace.

So there you have it – we read about 5 herbs that have been used historically around the world to cleanse and care for hair.


 

As we are fond of saying, the chemical consumer product industry is about 150 years old. But human beings have been washing, bathing and keeping themselves clean for millennia. And we did pretty well (apart from that brief blip during the Black plague in medieval Europe). The most brilliant thing about the human body is its ability to heal itself, if the conditions that cause it harm are removed. Similarly, hair that is damaged due to lifestyle reasons can be coaxed back into good health.

To inspire this change and to give your hair a much better shot at real health, we are celebrating the Krya Hair Olympics Challenge this August.

Looking for thicker, healthier, stronger hair this August?

Throw away your synthetic hair care products and replace them with Krya’s nourishing hair care products instead.

Every Krya hair care product for adults carries a special discount only in August 2016

  • 10% off if you buy a single piece of any Krya hair care product for adults
  • 20% off if you buy 2 or more pieces of any Krya hair care product for adults or a Krya hair care system for adults

Explore Krya’s huge range of good-for-you hair care products at special prices all of August here.

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The Krya Classic Hair nourishing system

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Reading Time: 5 minutes

“Dear Team Krya , thank u so much for your product. Both my daughters hair is so soft n beautiful. Couldn’t have asked for more. In love with your product. Thank u! Also I have to add the amount of hair fall has drastically reduced. When I used SS synthetic shampoo for them, esp my elder daughter, bunches n bunches of hair used to come out as I wash. Today I hardly had 5 – 6 strands in my hand (Which is very normal).

Also I need to know whether I can send this for my relatives in Australia. do pls find out n let me know. Thank u “ – FP, a recent Krya consumer.

 

Why does using the Krya hairwash cause an immediate reduction in hair fall? This is one of the questions our customer service team often asks during our internal product training sessions. Ayurveda considers hair an extension of the Shushumna – the Shushumna is considered the energy spine and along with the Ida and the Pingala forms the 3 mains “Nadis” – The nadi system carries the life force energies  / “Prana” throughout our body.

Hair is said to be an extension of this Shushumna, and it reflects the condition of the overall body, as healthy hair comes only from a healthy body. Hair can change because of an inherent lack of balance in the 3 doshas – this lack of balance can come in from what we eat, and the lifestyle we are wedded to, and can be exarcebated by the products we use.

Damaged, falling or prematurely graying hair is usually a sign of too much pitta in the system. This pitta can come from the food we eat (a fondness for and a tendency to constantly choose spicy and sour food), and the kind of work we do (working in a hostile environment, for instance). It can also increase by certain chemical treatments and products we use – hair treatments that increase heat (colouring, “deep conditioning”, excessive use of a blow drier) can also increase the pitta in the body.

For pitta damaged hair, we generally advise the use of cooling foods (ashgourd, pumpkins, fresh, seasonal local vegetables), the addition of herbs like Amla to your diet and a change in hair regimen – like adding a good herb oil, switching to a natural shampoo and boosting hair health through special herbs.

Vata is another dosha that tends to get deranged, especially in urban city dwellers. Deranged vata leads to sleep disorders and insomnia, and increases basic dryness in the hair.

Vata is a dosha which increases with the use of drying products on the hair and skin. Vata also increases in the presence of drying substances like synthetic soaps and synthetic shampoos with SLS & SLeS. Even in body types that have an excess of sebum, consistent use of these synthetic cleaning aids removes moisture from skin and hair leaving both dull, lifeless and with a tendency to get damaged easily or break (in the case of hair).

Oiling forms an important, inescapable part of a healthy hair regimen, especially when the Vata is deranged. For people with extremely dry hair or hair that has a tendency to break easily, feels frizzy and gets tangled easily and desperately needs a synthetic conditioner, we advise adding oil generously to their regimen.

Night time hair oiling is especially beneficial in these cases. This allows the herbs in the oil a much longer window to soak through and work on damaged hair. It also helps calm deranged vata which has accumulated through the day and calms down a hyperactive mind allowing restful and deep sleep.

Oil is the major weapon in the ayurvedic arsenal to control vata. Oiling is extremely beneficial even for the body, especially when you notice signs of vata derangement like frequent catches in the spinal system, an inability to sit still and stay focused, a tendency towards insomnia, etc. Traditional medicine recommends using cooling herbs and base oils like coconut, almond, and sesame for this.

In addition to our hair oils and hair washes, we have long been contemplating adding a nourishing series of herb masks for different hair conditions. We already have started this in our skin care range with our very popular after sun face mask and our classic face mask.

Every product comes with a basic core functionality. Most short action wash off products are designed to cleanse. So while we can add beneficial herbs to them, the action of these herbs is restricted because the product stays for a short while on the skin.  Plus the main function of a cleansing product is to remove superficial dirt and dead cells – so the herbs chosen help maximize this function.

Our masks therefore give us a way to load high quality herbs on skin and hair for much longer. Our after sun face mask for instance, uses our special medicated mung bean which steeps for over a day in herbs like lodhra, liquorice and Manjishta. Apart from this, we use expensive, high quality fruits like mulberry, guava and other herbs which cool skin, remove excess pitta which increases as a result of high sun exposure,  and bring the skin back to its normal state. Regular use brings down skin tanning and blemishes due to sun exposure. Obviously, the product works both because of the herbs used and the amount of time the mask stays on skin.

We already have a hair mask which is a part of our dandruff fighting system – many consumers report successful control and relief from dandruff when they use all three products (oil, hair wash and hair mask) together to combat dandruff. We have been able to make  difference in even decades old dandruff with our system within 2 – 3 months of regular product usage.

This week, we worked on another hair mask, this time as a part of our classic nourishing hair system. Our classic system already has our Bhringaraj and amla based hair oil and our ever popular Classic hair wash. We recommend it for hair that is reasonably healthy, does not have special problems like dandruff, and is not especially dry. Consumers love our Classic hair range because they notice a quick reduction in hair fall brought by the use of synthetic shampoos. The oil is also extremely cooling and beneficial for the scalp, and we have had good reports of improvement in hair texture and hair fall as a result of using this oil.

Our classic hair mask relies on both traditional and non traditional herbs and oils. We have added a huge amount of organic, shade dried red hibiscus flower – this herb is renowned in traditional medicine to cool the body and add texture and volume to hair. Apart from hibiscus, we also add the classic Amla and Bhringaraj which go into both our Classic hair oil and our Classic hairwash.  Bhringaraj is a master hair herb in Ayurveda, Siddha and TCM and it helps cool the seat of pitta, the liver and the entire body’s metabolism.

Our classic hair mask also uses certain unusual hair herbs. We add organic guava leaf which helps boost micro circulation, stimulates the scalp and aids hair growth (this also goes into our classic hair oil). Rosehips which are extremely high in Vitamin C, and help detox the scalp also goes into the mix. And to top it off , we add raw, organic kokum butter and apricot oil to add much needed texture and moisture to hair.

So that’s our Saturday update from Krya: the Krya classic hair nourishing system with a hair oil, hair wash and a hair mask.

Because, good hair (and good skin) comes with doing a few simple things, consistently, every day, and is built brick by brick.

Here’s where you can explore our Classic Hair nourishing system:

  1. The new Krya Classic hair mask
  2. The Krya classic hair oil
  3. The Krya classic hair wash
  4. The Krya classic hair nourishing system (a bundle pack of all 3 products)
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The Suspicious Seven – 7 deadly villains hiding in your baby’s skin and hair care products

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Reading Time: 6 minutes

A recent verdict by a Missouri based jury left many parents feeling both shocked and angered. This jury passed a verdict asking Johnson & Johnson to pay damages of 72 million dollars to the family of Jacqueline Fox, whose death by ovarian cancer was linked to her daily use (of over 30 years) of Johnsons baby powder and Shower to shower powder.

One of the questions we often get asked at Krya, is about the safety of synthetic baby products and alternatives to these which are completely natural and safe for tender skin.

Human skin is the largest sense organ in our body. It is considered the seat of the indrayas / sense organs and is literally the seat of sight, sense, touch, feeling and hearing. It is our first barrier layer and helps protect our internal organs from damage and bacteria. It is a marvel of bio engineering and hosts a massive colony of micro organisms which work along with us to ensure a constant pH of 5.5, with an acidic mantle that keeps harmful organisms away from us.

The skin and hair structure in children, is one of the last major systems to be formed. This along with the sweating mechanicm is only fully developed when a child reaches the age of three. This makes children’s skin and ahir especially vulnerable and easy to damage, which therefore makes their internal organ systems also easy to damage as their barrier function is still not properly developed.

A study by the campaign for Safe Cosmetics examined baby and children’s products for the presence of 2 probable human carcinogens – 1,4 dioxane and formaldehyde. Both of these are not put in intentionally by manufacturers, but are toxic by products that are formed because of the presence of other chemicals in tehse products. The research study showed that over 61% of the baby products surveyed (across leading brands), contained these 2 chemicals in more than trace quantities.

We are often asked at Krya, what the hidden dangers are in using synthetic baby and child care products. So in this newsletter, we’ve compiled a list of the Suspicious 7 – deadly, carcinogenic and plain irritating ingredients that you would find in your favourite brand of synthetic baby products.

  1. Talc

Talc is extremely useful to dry out baby’s bottom, but it also often contains asbestos as a contaminant. This is because talc is a mineral that occurs in rock formations – these rock formations are found mixed with other magnesium silicate minerals like asbestos. When mining talc out of the ground, it is extremely difficult to avoid picking up some asbestos as well during the mining process, which is how it comes to contaminate products like baby powders and other cosmetic powders. Asbestos is a probable carcinogen and a lung irritant, and is extremely polluting to the environment as well.

  1. Fragrances

Fragrances generally made from coal tar and petroleum derivatives, are generally used in the consumer products industry to mask the odour of the other chemicals that are added to the product and to cue a particular scent or emotion among consumers when they use the product: for example, that innocent, sweet smelling “fresh baby” smell that comes from synthetic baby products. The effects of synthetic fragrance are long lasting as they tend to linger on skin for hours and can cause respiratory damage, neurological damage and skin allergies. Growing evidence points to fragrance being an important trigger for childhood asthma as well.

Fragrance 1

Identifying Fragrance in baby, beauty and household products

Unless the label specifies “un fragranced” or “unscented” or declares 100% of the ingredients without any mention of scents or fragrances, every single baby, beauty and household product contains a synthetic fragrance.

 

  1. 1,4-Dioxane and Ethylated surfactants (like SLS, SLeS) – the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that 57% of baby soaps are contaminated with 1,4-Dioxane. Although it is never listed as an ingredient, 1,4-dioxane is an unwelcome intruder in many beauty products, as it is a toxic by-product that occurs when ethylene oxide is added to the many chemicals in your synthetic baby / beauty product. Ethylene oxide is a known breast carcinogen.

foam and bubbles 1

Identifying 1,4-Dioxane & Ethylated surfactants in baby, beauty and household products

Ingredients that contain the letter “eth” indicate the possible presence of 1,4-dioxane – this includes polyethylene, polyethylene glycol, SLS (sodium Laureth sulfate), ceteareth, oleth, oxynol, -xynol, and PEG.

  1. Proplyene Glycol is a “penetration enhancer” that is added to cleansing and certain moisturizing products to forcibly open the pores of skin and let the chemicals in the products in. This chemical is easily absorbed by skin and may be carcinogenic. Propylene glycol is found in wiper fluid and to remove ice from the windshields and bodies of airplanes after high altitude flying. It is also found in disposable baby wipes. Look out for close cousins Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) and Polypropylene Glycol as well.

Avoid at all costs:

Proplyene Glycol, Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) and Polypropylene Glycol .

  1. Mineral Oil

Synthetic baby oil is basically a combination of mineral oil, sometimes a scanty amount of hexane extracted vegetable oils and some fragrance thrown in. Mineral oil is a by product of petroleum processing, which I wrote about in detail in my last newsletter. It creates an occlusive barrier on skin , essentially forming the equivalent of plastic cling film on skin, and does not allow skin to interact with the environment or to freely release toxins.

What to look for in your baby / beauty product label:

Masquerades under the innocent sounding mineral oil, white oil, paraffin oil, light liquid paraffin

  1. We have written before about the 2 deadly Ps on the Krya blog (Parabens and Pthalates) . Parabens are a big family of preservatives found widely in the cosmetic, food and pharmaceutical industries and are the synthetic industry standard for anti bacterial and anti fungal properties. Research from the CDC’s National Centre for Environmental Health found that the blood of over 60% of the children surveyed during the National Health and Nutrition examination survey was contaminated with more than 8 toxins including significant levels of 3 kinds of parabens.

One alarming property of parabens is their ability to enter the body through the skin, something that most people are not aware of. This has been widely studied in underarm cosmetics like deodorants and whiteners. Breast cancer research shows a higher concentration of parabens in the upper lateral breast near the armpit corresponding to the use of deodorants which contain parabens. Globally most governments have not re-examined the safety of parabens. Some outliers are the Danish government which has banned the use of products for children below 3 years. In India parabens are commonly used in cosmetic and other applications.

What to look for in your baby / beauty product label:

Is labeled as ”X-paraben” – for example Methyl Paraben, Ethyl Paraben, Propyl paraben. Also stay away from benzoic acid and Propyl ester.

  1. Triclosan is an anti-bacterial agent and will find its way into your home in a surprising number of products. Triclosan is an endocrine disruptor and is also being linked to cancer. A new concern is also looming. Due to the uncontrolled use of Triclosan, several strains of bacteria are developing resistance to it causing new “super-bugs”.

Triclosan renders our environment sterile, weakening the development of baby’s natural immunity, increasing the likelihood of allergies and makes anti bacterial treatments less effective when we really need them to work. Is found in anti bacterial soaps, washes, and a whole lot of “sanitized” or “bacteria free” products like toilet seats, baby furniture, wipes, etc

What to look for in your baby / beauty product label:

Is labeled as Triclosan. Suspect any product that claims to be sanitized or “anti bacterial”.

 

We are going to spend most of May talking about synthetic baby products and talking to you about the healthy natural alternatives to commercial baby products. I hope you found this newsletter informative and thought provoking. See you next week!

Krya now has an authentic, natural baby, toddler and children’s range of skin and hair care products , inspired by the wonderful Indian system of medicine. Krya’s baby range is free from the suspicious Seven and. Does NOT contain mineral oil, SLS, SLeS, Parabens, Preservatives, thickeners, colours, fragrances and anything synthetic.

krya's baby ubtan range
Here are our current set of baby , toddler and kids products:

  1. Krya For Baby (Newborn – 1 Year)
  2. Krya For Toddlers & Kids (1 +years)

 

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Shampoo Seppuku – Throw away that shampoo part 2

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Reading Time: 7 minutes

Our last post on SLS in a synthetic shampoo has set the cat among the pigeons. We have received a huge number of emails, calls and messages from You stating your concern on the issue ( and you should be concerned!).

We’ve also had several of our consumers sending us pictures of the labels of their current brand of shampoo – and we’ve played Sherlock decoding the labels to them. Almost every brand of “natural” or gentle shampoo label that has been sent to us contained Sodium Laureth sulphate (SLES), that we write about and some other toxic animals like Methyl and Propyl Paraben.

And that is the point of this post. If you thought the only villains hiding in your shampoo were SLS, SLeS and silicones like DiMethicone, well, you were mistaken, weren’t you.

Instead your Shampoo has an entire secret society of villains hiding in it – (yes, we love DC Comics and aren’t ashamed of it !)
If SLS was the Lex Luthor in your shampoo, meet The Wizard, Gorilla Grodd, and the Funky Flashman, right here.

 

MEA, DEA and TEA (Monethanolamine, Diethanolamine and Tri-ethanolamine)

DEA, TEA and EA (Ethanolamine) are produced when aqueous ammonia reacts with ethylene dioxide.

Ethanolamines are clear, colorless, viscous liquids which reduce the surface tension of oil and water combined products so that the oil and water can mix together without separating. Ethanolamines are found therefore in shampoos, face washes, body washes, bubble baths and gels, sunscreens, hair dyes, eyeliners, mascaras and also in dishwashing detergents, liquid detergents, metalworking fluids, paints and printing inks.

TEA is commonly used in cleansing milks or creams – because it is so strongly alkaline (a 1% solution of TEA has a pH of 10), it is used as a dirt remover in ironically named “gentle cleansing creams”.

What the Industry says about MEA, DEA and TEA – rinse fast, and thoroughly:

Even industry supported and funded bodies like the cosmetics Ingredient review Panel (established in 1976 by the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance association and supported by the U.S FDA), recommended that TEA and DEA concentrations should not exceed 5%.

They also recommend that if you use a product containing any Ethanolamine, you should use the product briefly, and not continually and thoroughly scrub and rinse to ensure there is no ethanolamine lingering on your skin or scalp.

This recommendation does not take into account the fact that most of us linger when we use wash off products (and definitely more than the recommended 5 minutes). It also does not address the issue of continuous usage – many of us have now graduated to shampooing every single day. Nor does it answer the concern of DEA in leave on products like conditioners, and skin care products like mascara or even medicine like ear drops which are supposed to linger.

tea dea lingering prohibited

Why you should keep away from MEA, DEA and TEA

Effect on hair:

The excessive use of shampoos containing TEA and DEA can irritate your scalp, make your hair feel dry and lifeless, and breakdown your hair’s keratin structure,

Contact dermatitis:

3 studies spaced several years apart found that TEA based products occasionally cause contact dermatitis – the products studies were as diverse as a sunscreen, and ear drops.

Environmental toxicity:

When TEA hits water bodies, as is common when the shampoo we use goes down our drains, into our sewers and into our rivers, it can potentially cause acute and chronic toxicity in several aquatic species.

The last word on TEA:

TEA is a scheduled chemical listed in Schedule 3, Part B of the chemical Weapons Convention. This Control treaty outlaws the production or stockpiling of dangerous chemicals or their precursors that can be use to create chemical weapons.

So if we manufactured or used more than 30 tonnes of TEA every year, we have to declare this, and allow ourselves to be inspected just to make sure we weren’t manufacturing weapons. And we cannot export TEA to countries who have not signed off on the Chemical weapons Convention treaty.

Not so Fun fact: TEA is used to manufacture Nitrogen Mustard a chemical warfare weapon. In World War 2, several countries manufactured and stockpiled Nitrogen Mustard but did not use it (thankfully!). Nitrogen Mustard has a strong cytotoxic (cell destroying) effect and is today used in cancer chemotherapy.

Krya WTF moment: What the fish is a chemical scheduled under the chemical Weapons Treaty doing in your shampoo / sunscreen /shaving cream / ear drops?

Here are some avatars of Ethanolamines you could find in synthetic products around your home – our recommendation? Toss em out:

  1. Cocamide DEA
  2. Cocamide MEA
  3. DEA-Cetyl Phosphate
  4. DEA Oleth-3 Phosphate
  5. Linoleamide MEA
  6. Lauramide DEA
  7. Myristamide DEA
  8. Stearamide MEA
  9. Oleamide DEA
  10. TEA-Lauryl Sulfate
  11. Triethanloamine

 Parabens

Parabens are a class of synthetic preservatives widely used in cosmetics, personal care products and medicines. They have been used in these products for about a hundred years now and are the industry standard for anti bacterial and anti fungal properties.

You can find Parabens in almost every single synthetic cosmetic and personal care product from shampoos, to skin creams to under arm deodorants. They are also used in fragrances, but as fragrances are considered trade secrets, manufacturers do not have to disclose what goes into their fragrances, including deadly villains like Parabens.

What the Industry and Governments say about Parabens:

In spite of extensive literature on the hormonal effects of Parabens, the 2006 Cosmetic Industry Review compendium trivializes the problem. They maintain that Parabens “must certainly be considered safe”.

However, after the work of many consumer awareness groups like EWG, companies like Johnson & Johnson pledged to remove both parabens and formaldehyde from its baby care and adult skin care products by 2015 including brands like Aveeno & Neutrogena.

Globally most governments have not re-examined the safety of parabens. Some outliers are the Danish government which has banned the use of products for children below 3 years. In India parabens are commonly used in cosmetic and other applications.

Why you should keep away from Paraben containing products:

Effect on skin and Hair – aging and cell damage

The irony is not lost on us. Parabens are commonly found in anti aging products. However, research shows that they actually accelerate the skin aging process!

Researchers from Meijo University, Japan concluded that Methyl Paraben could cause carcinogenic skin damage when people who used the compound in skin care products were exposed to sunlight irradiation. Similarly, Researchers from Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Japan concluded that UVB exposure to Methyl Paraben when used on skin significantly increased cell death and oxidative stress in human skin.

Endocrine disrupting function

The European Commission on Endocrine disruption have listed Parabens as a category 1 priority substance because they easily penetrate skin, and interfere with the function of the hormones. In our body, Parabens can mimic estrogen.

Penetrative ability into the body:

Parabens have been detected in urine, serum, breast milk and seminal fluid, but the most worrying fact has been their detection in breast tissue from patients with breast cancer. In one important North American study, it was calculated that the average person is exposed to 76 mg of parabens every day, with 50 mg from cosmetics, 25 mg from pharmaceuticals and 1 mg from food.

Research from the CDC’s National Centre for Environmental Health found that the blood of over 60% of the children surveyed during the National Health and Nutrition examination survey was contaminated with more than 8 toxins including significant levels of 3 kinds of parabens.

One alarming property of parabens is their ability to enter the body through the skin, something that most people are not aware of. This has been widely studied in underarm cosmetics like deodorants and whiteners. Breast cancer research shows a higher concentration of parabens in the upper lateral breast near the armpit corresponding to the use of deodorants which contain parabens.60% of breast cancer tumors occur in the precise area where we use deodorant sprays!

 

An important point to note here is the route we allow to Parabens when we apply then on our skin and hair. While eating Parabens in your food is not the best thing to do, in the oral route, Parabens are metabolized better, and are less estrogenic.

However in the dermal route, we allow Parabens to directly enter our blood stream and make their way to our organ systems, increasing our exposure risk.

Effect on Male reproductive health:

In addition to Paraben’s estrogen like properties, this chemical has also been associated with interfering with the Male reproductive system. Studies report low sperm counts, and decreased levels of testosterone in Men linked to the absorption of Parabens form personal care products.

Intersex fish:

Boulder Colorado in 2008 undertook a multimillion dollar upgrade of their waste water effluent plant. Until then, intersex fish were a common sight – stimulated by the chemicals in personal care products like shampoos and pharmaceuticals like steroids, male fish across species developed female characteristics. This multimillion dollar plant has not removed the problem – however, with efficient sewage treatment, the male fish are taking slightly longer to get feminized.

Krya WTF moment: What the fish (pun intended) is a gender bender chemical that has been found in cancerous breast tumors, decreases sperm count and ages skin and hair doing in your shampoo? I mean, really?

krya wtf moment 2 - parabens

Here are some labels Parabens hide under in your shampoo or skin care product:

  1. Benzylparaben
  2. Butylparaben
  3. Propylparaben
  4. Methylparaben
  5. Ethylparaben
  6. Isobutylparaben

This isn’t over – far from it. Look out for our next post on this September on more Super villains hiding in your synthetic shampoo.

A happy hair month to you!

This article is a part of Krya’s series on healthy and happy hair, which we are writing all this September. Through the Krya healthy hair series, we hope to inform, educate and inspire you to restore your hair to its natural state of great health. Synthetic shampoos and hair products contain a huge host of suspect industrial chemicals that are not just toxic for us to use, but are polluting and toxic to the planet as well. The natural world is full of safe, environmentally sustainable, cruelty free options to care for your hair, and our series will try to present atleast a small part of this exciting world to you. 

 

Consumers love our all natural, synthetic free, gentle hair washes- explore more here. We are running an introductory offer on all of our skin and hair care products this month – just subscribe to our super useful newsletter above to get the coupon code in your inbox.

 

If you would like to explore our series further, here’s what We’ve written about hair health before this piece:

  1. What goes into your Shampoo – part 1
  2. What’s the deal with SLS and SLES – and why it shouldn’t come anywhere near you or your hair
  3. What is your hair supposed to be? A trial? A challenge? Or simply, your best friend
  4. Is beauty external? We think not
  5. What should you be looking for on that product label?  
  6. Common carcinogens implicated in breast cancer found in your home 
  7. Is it a conspiracy? A pre-planned genetic supremacy race? Or simply misinformation? Some reasons behind common toxics & why they continue to be used 
  8. Are we putting our children at risk by using these products on them? Here are 3 toxins that plague children through the products we use on them. 
  9. Do the products we buy contain toxins? How do we decode what goes into them? Here’s Urban Survival 102 telling you how to decode a cosmetic label
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Hair hara-kiri – throw away that shampoo Part 1

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Reading Time: 6 minutes

My biggest hair problem as a teenager was hair that wouldn’t dry fast. I had waist length hair back then which was as thick as my palm. My hair literally took hours to dry, and before I started using shampoo, I would sometimes have to comb out clumps of shikakai from my home made hair wash after it dried.

Yup, pretty much a case of my diamond shoes being too tight.

Of course, I grew up. Started to use synthetic shampoos, and then of course, all hell broke loose. Because just a few years later, my biggest hair problem, was that my hair, simply would not grow.

Instead, I grappled with hair that broke easily, was thinning everywhere, and just didn’t grow as fast as it used to. So to keep the focus off my non growing hair, I kept cutting it shorter, until at one point, I sported a pageboy cut.

The reasons for my hair’s state are now quite apparent – I committed every single one of those 5 hair mistakes we wrote about last time on the Blog. If there was a treatment or a new hair product out, you could be sure I was right there, asking for it.

But today I want to focus on the single hair mistake almost all of us are committing – and this one is a hara kiri (a hair-a-kiri?) – using a synthetic shampoo.

A dated report I’m reading tells me that the world spends close to 60 billion dollars every year buying shampoo. Yes, you read that right. We are as a race, spending collectively the equivalent of the GDP of Zambia,or Slovenia, on just Shampoo!

The modern shampoo was “invented” in the 1920s. Of course, this news was not as exciting for people in general because all of us had been washing our hair with herbs, clays and water for time immemorial. Shampoos therefore cleverly position themselves as modern, scientific products that provided a great experience and gave us what we did not have with herbs – Lots & Lots & Lots of Copious lather.

Today’s shampoo formulation has evolved, dangerously from its 1920s version. Besides being actually harmful for your hair, a shampoo today contains ingredients that are extreme irritants, environmental toxins and are even carcinogenic.

 What’s in that foaming, coloured, scented mess?

1. Detergent

The most important ingredient in a shampoo is the part that cleans. And this comes ingredients like SLS, SLES or even ALS (Ammonium lauryl sulphate) and its ethoxylated cousin ALES (ammonium Laureth sulphate).

We are extremely concerned about the all pervasive and toxic nature of SLS and SLES – you will find SLS / SLES in almost everything that foams and is a cleanser of some sort from your laundry detergent to your baby wash and of course your shampoo. We actually spent a whole post talking about the dangers of SLS and SLES .

Sulphates were initially used as cheap detergents – typically in car washes and mechanic workshops to easily cut through axle grease. They are today widely used to lift off grease from hair and to clean your body, face and even your clothes.

We have 3 major concerns over the almost obsessive use of SLS and SLES by the consumer product industry:

Sebum stripping ability

The first is that both these Lauryl Sulfates  are almost too effective at stripping hair (and skin)  of its protective layer of oil – the result, all the vital and necessary sebum in your hair which protects the cuticles and its integrity is stripped out, leaving it dull and lifeless.

Irritant nature

The Journal of the American college of Toxicology notes that concentrations of SLS that are as low as 0.5% (and upto 10%) cause slight to moderate skin irritation, while 10% – 30% routinely causes skin corrosion and severe irritation. Ironically, in lab testing of skin care products like healing creams or lotions, skin is first irritated using SLS before it can be healed with the test product! SLS also causes severe eye irritation which is a point of note if you want to use it in a shampoo that is definitely going to reach your eyes.

Role in cell destruction and premature aging

This should get your interest right now. SLS is described as a protein de-naturing compound. So with consistent use, it will break down the protein matrix of your hair, effectively stopping hair regeneration and impeding its health.On skin, SLS will disrupt the protein structures in it and could hasten skin aging.

2. Silicones

Silicones like dimethicone or PEG-12 dimethicone are often described as “conditioning agents”. Silicones are an interesting addition to shampoos. They were added precisely because of the detergents in shampoos – because the detergents are harsh , strip sebum and break your cuticular scales, the silicones are added to coat hair.

Silicones are laboratory made chemicals which are made from combinations of silicon, carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. They are flexible and plastic like with a rubbery feel and are used in adhesives, sealants, lubricants, cooking utensils, insulation AND personal care products.

It is important to note here that silicone should be accurately described as a “coating agent” and not a “conditioning agent”. So a silicon cannot “penetrate” or “deep condition” your hair. But what it can do is form a layer on top of your hair, hiding the damage caused by the detergent in the shampoo – and this coating is precisely why it takes so long for you to find out that your hair is damaged (hint: its because your shampoo is doing a darn good cover up job after damaging your hair).

Silicones are found both in hair care products and skin care products. It is the primary ingredient in hair conditioners and is also used in make up products like foundations and primers, because it does the same job of coating over the damage on your skin and helps the rest of the product glide smoother.

Because silicone covers the damaged cuticular scales of your hair, it produces a kind of gloss/ shine – which deceives you into thinking your hair is healthier than it is.

And because it coats your hair, it also decreases the ability of natural oils to penetrate your hair or skin – so if you are regularly using a conditioning shampoo or a conditioner, and trying to oil and restore your hair to health, then chances are that your oiling is not going to be very effective.

If you apply a silicone containing product on your skin, you can have similar bad results – because the silicone coats your skin, it prevents healthy skin functions like sweating, and sloughing off dead cells. You are also probably keeping in dirt, dead cells and bacteria much longer leaving them to linger on your skin. This is probably why people with sensitive or acne prone skin suffer greater breakouts when using silicone containing products (which is almost all synthetic skincare products).

We are still not sure about the toxicity of commonly used silicones like dimethicone. Environment Canada have put this ingredient on their toxics watchlist – what we do know is that in the very least it could be a persistent (lingers on for a very long time), bio-accumulative (stays and builds up within the bodies of fishes and organisms that eat it) environmental toxin.

Here are some possible silicone agents you could find in your shampoo / conditioner: Methicone, Phenyl trimethicone, Dimethicone, Cyclomethicone, Dimethiconol, Dimethicone copolyol.

 

blog post graphic sept 4

This isn’t over – far from it. Look out for our next post on Monday for more straight dope on what goes into your synthetic shampoo.

A happy hair month to you!

This article is a part of Krya’s series on healthy and happy hair, which we are writing all this September. Through the Krya healthy hair series, we hope to inform, educate and inspire you to restore your hair to its natural state of great health. Synthetic shampoos and hair products contain a huge host of suspect industrial chemicals that are not just toxic for us to use, but are polluting and toxic to the planet as well. The natural world is full of safe, environmentally sustainable, cruelty free options to care for your hair, and our series will try to present atleast a small part of this exciting world to you. 

 Consumers love our all natural, synthetic free, gentle hair washes- explore more here.

If you would like to explore our series further, here’s what We’ve written about hair health before this piece:

  1. What’s the deal with SLS and SLES – and why it shouldn’t come anywhere near you or your hair
  2. What is your hair supposed to be? A trial? A challenge? Or simply, your best friend
  3. Is beauty external? We think not
  4. What should you be looking for on that product label?  
  5. What are the 5 beauty mistakes you are probably committing right now on your hair

 

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