Are you looking for a safe, completely natural kids shampoo that suits your child’s curly hair or for hair and scalp that is slightly dry? Many synthetic kids’ shampoos confuse well-meaning parents by pretending to be truly natural and safe for children’s tender scalp, hair and eyes, without actually being any of this.
The synthetic products we use on ourselves and on our children contain many suspect chemicals, possible carcinogens and irritant ingredients knowingly or unknowingly. About 10,100 ingredients now form the master list of ingredients that go into the stuff we use to bathe, shampoo, condition and cleanse ourselves and our kids. 90% of these ingredients have never been examined, tested or even evaluated by any manner of competent authority.
When parents look for mildly cleansing and strongly conditioning kids curly hair shampoos to suit drier hair and scalp, such products are extremely loaded with clogging synthetic silicones, and other artificial thickening agents. In addition to the overall toxic load, we also have to worry about scalp clogging and sealing off the hair without allowing nutrition to be absorbed, in these products.
Kids personal care: much harsher than we suspect
Children’s bath products like soaps, bodywash and shampoos are often marketed as safe and gentle on skin. The same is the case with baby care products where clever advertising misleads parents into believing that these products are milder, safer and gentler on skin. In fact, many adults use baby and kids personal care products in the mistaken impression that as it is gentler it is probably safer.
However, research into the nature of personal care products and the chemicals they contain throws up very different, potentially frightening information. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found that children’s bath products in the U.S have a widespread contamination of both 1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde. According to the U.S EPA, 1,4-Dioxane is a probable carcinogen. This appears in many personal care products as a by product of a chemical processing technique where cosmetic ingredients are processed with ethylene oxide. It is possible to remove some part of this toxic by product by adding an additional step to the manufacturing process, but many companies do not do so, as they are not required by low to ensure that the final product does not contain 1,4-dioxane as a by-product.
Another toxic by-product of the manufacturing process in synthetic cosmetics and personal care products is Formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is also listed as a probable carcinogen. It also triggers conditions like atopic dermatitis and contact dermatitis in sensitive children and adults. Quarternium-15 is a common thickener and preservative used in many leave on products like moisturizing lotions. This ingredient slowly releases trace amounts of formaldehyde over time in the container in which the product is stored. In the CSC report, 61% of children’s products tested contained both 1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde.
These 2 chemicals are only the toxic by-products in the manufacturing process. Besides these 2 accidental chemicals, kid’s shampoos and bath products contain plenty of known villains like SLS and SLeS, parabens, phthalates, MEA, TEA and DEA, fragrances, etc.
Kids curly hair shampoos are also loaded with a notorious amount of emulsifiers, thickening agents and silicones all designed to make the product feel thicker and therefore more gentle to parents. These chemicals seal off hair and scalp artificially and clog the scalp, reducing the availability of real nourishment to hair from hair oils.
The new crop of SLS free and Sulphate free kids shampoos: not as safe as we think
Many new age surfactants and other chemical additives are now being marketed as a “gentle”, “non toxic” replacement to more familiar villains like SLS, SLeS, parabens and phthaltes. However, these formulations are no less suspect, and could potentially have much higher hazards.
Sodium Lauryol Sarcossinate: used as a substitute to SLS and SLeS. Chemical surfactant derived from Sarcosine which has been linked to severe allergic contact dermatitis. It is of lower concern than SLS and SLeS, but it has its own concerns. Under certain conditions it can break down and release nitrosamines which are carcinogenic. It is considered a penetration enhancer, so when it is used with certain colours and fragrances that are harmful for internal absorption, it can increase their likelihood of getting transdermally absorbed. It is not recommended for use in Japan as a part of their Cosmetics Safety protocol. It can only be used in limited concentrations of up to 5% in leave on products and up to 15% in wash off products, provided other risky colours, fragrances or any such ingredients are not used in the formulation.
It forms a part of many modern brands that market safe, gentle or toxin free baby and kids shampoos. It is touted often as a replacement to SLS and SLeS and marketed as a “coconut-based plant cleaner”, but it is far from being natural, harmless, or innocuous.
Cocamidopropyl betaine: is similar in chemistry to other related amidopropyl betaines like Lauramidopropyl Betaine. 2 manufacturing by products that can occur when these betaines are processed are (3,3-dimethylaminopropylamine [DMAPA] and amidopropyl dimethylamine [amidoamine]), a fatty acid. Both DMAPA and amidoamine are skin allergens. So there is a continuous focus while manufacturing amidopropyl betaines to keep the concentration of DMAPA and amidoamine low. However, this does not seem to be entirely successful. In fact there is an increasing sensitization to cocamidopropyl betaine, possibly due to the presence of these contaminants resulting in occupational contact allergy. Certain classes of people like hairdressers who regularly handle shampoos containing this chemical do demonstrate higher degree of contact allergy.
Caution is hence advised when this chemical is used in products meant for children and babies as they are much more vulnerable and sensitive to any such adverse reaction.
Coco glucoside, Lauryl glucoside, Decyl glucoside: These are all examples of surfactants from the alkyl glucoside family. They are used in baby products, bath products, kid’s shampoos, skin care products, eye make-up and hair colours and baby wipes and baby cleansers. Alkyl Glucosides have been increasingly used from the 1990s as they are considered gentler in nature compared to surfactants like SLS, SLeS, etc. They are frequently marketed as hypoallergenic of great for sensitive skin. The North American Contact dermatitis group declared Alkyl Glucosides as the “contact allergen of the year” in 2017 to sensitise customers to the rising cases of contact allergy triggered by this class of chemicals. It is wise to completely avoid products containing these chemicals.
If your child has developed allergic dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis or simply has sensitive skin that is itchy / dry in certain seasons, the skin and hair care products you use and the home care products that your child is exposed to could be an important trigger for these conditions. Please read our eBook on sensitive skin and also read our blog post on how to handle different kinds of dermatitis in children .
The Ayurvedic approach to formulating children’s haircare: multifaceted, holistic and safe
The Ayurvedic texts state that the first 7 years of a child’s life is characterized by a very high degree of mental growth. The foundation for learning, memory and intelligence and application in this stage can be developed well by taking certain judicious measures. The proper ahara (diet), right Dinacharya and Ritucharya (daily and seasonal regimen), right visual, auditory and mental stimuli helps properly develop the child’s manasa and sharira (mind and body).
The external products we use on children like the hair oil, shampoo, skin cleansers, skin moisturizing oils and abhyanga products can all help support this mental and physical growth by building and retaining immunity, skin and hair health, etc. The Ayurvedic hair care routine aims to support the child’s brain development. As the brain grows and is excited by stimulus, the pitta emanating from the scalp and eyes is constantly kept in check, and medhya and Rasayana herbs are used in the child’s hair oils and hair care products to support the activity of the scalp.
This is a critical part of formulating a natural children’s shampoo or a natural children’s hair oil designed to deliver nourishment to a child’s scalp. We must use vata and pitta balancing, and medhya enhancing and Rasayana herbs in the formulation. In addition for children with curly hair a kid’s curly hair shampoo must also contain very mid cleansing herbs and deep conditioning herbs to help manage the scalp and hair. We have discussed more on this in our blog post on natural children’s shampoos.
The Krya Kids Hair wash (Conditioning): a natural kid’s curly hair shampoo powder for normal – dry / curly hair
The Krya Kids Hair Wash (conditioning) is a 29 ayurvedic whole herb, completely natural, toxic free, ayurvedic kid’s curly hair shampoo powder. This product is FREE from all chemical additives and uses whole ayurvedic herbs and whole organic grains processed separately and then harmoniously blended together to make this ayurvedic natural shampoo powder.
All Krya hair wash products are made in this Ayurvedic Choornam (powder) format . By following the Choornam format and not adding water to make a liquid shampoo, we are also able to completely avoid the use of synthetic preservatives like parabens. This format also allows us to completely skip synthetic surfactants like SLS and SLeS, thickeners, foaming boosters, thickeners like MEA, TEA and DEA, fragrances, etc.
All our natural shampoo powders are gentle on scalp and hair, stimulate healthy hair growth. They cleanse without stripping the scalp’s natural sebum layer and do not irritate / aggravate the scalp / hair in any way. By using plant-based surfactants like Shikakai, Soapberry, Desert date and plant based conditioning herbs like Hibiscus, Liquorice, Fenugreek and other anti-bacterial, astringent and hair growth promoting herbs, we are able to make a highly potent, yet extremely gentle natural kid’s shampoo. Hair and scalp are healthier, cleaner and growth is much better when you switch out of synthetic shampoos to our natural shampoo powder.
The Krya Kids Hair wash (conditioning) contains a carefully chosen set of natural ayurvedic herbs. The product uses gentle natural plant surfactants like Arishtaka, Desert Date which cleanse without irritating the scalp. To balance vata build up in the scalp and hair, we use Vata balancing herbs like Bala, Moringa Leaf, etc. To improve hydration and softness of curly hair, we add natural conditioning herbs like Albizia, Hibiscus leaf, Hibiscus flower, roselle, Liquorice, etc. Finally, we add the Medhya and Rasayana herbs as suggested in Ayurveda like Brahmi, Guduchi, Mulethi.
Krya declares 100 % of the ingredients used in our products as a part of our Radical Transparency value. Please go through the ingredients tab to see what goes into this product.
Who can use the Krya Kids Hair wash Conditioning variant?
The Krya Kids’ hair wash- Conditioning variant can be used by children with curly hair with normal – dry scalp. If your child has normal – oily scalp, or hair that tends to get easily greasy and dirty, please use the Krya Kids Hair wash (classic) product.
The Complete Children’s Hair care regimen
Head oiling is a key Dinacharya in Ayurveda. It offers various benefits for the body besides clarifying the scalp and improving hair growth. Head oiling is an important practice to initiate in children from babies and toddlers to kids. Hair and scalp must be oiled regularly (atleast 3 – 4 times a week). Before every hairwash also, hair and scalp must be generously oiled – this prevents hair damage due to hard water, and ensures that hair does not go dry.
For babies, we recommend the Krya baby hair oil and the Krya baby hairwash. Toddlers (between 1-3) can use the Krya baby hair oil along with the Krya toddler hair wash. For Kids, we have 2 hair oil variants: the Krya Kids Classic hair oil (for normal -oily hair) and the Krya Kids Conditioning hair oil (for dry or curly hair). For children with curly or dry hair, we recommend using the Krya Kids Conditioning hair oil to go with the Krya Kids Conditioning Hair wash.
In addition a regular Body Abhyanga is extremely useful for children. Just like in adults, a regular Abhyanga helps re-set all 3 doshas, improves nutrient absorption, balances all 3 doshas, reduces growing pains and fatigue and improves bone strength and muscle tone. We suggest a once / twice weekly abhyanga for children using the Krya traditional baby massage oil along with the Krya Kids Ubtan Boy or the Krya Kids Ubtan girl. IF your child plays active sports and has dominant Vata dosha, he / she would also benefit from regular pada abhyanga. For this, the same Krya traditional baby massage oil can be used.