Beauty no image

Published on August 25th, 2009 | by Shayna Teicher


Ask the Beauty Chick…

Dear Beauty Chick,
At a popular hair salon the stylist recommended that I use a hair oil to make my hair silkier, shinier and in better condition. It’s argan based which I’ve heard is good, and he told me it was natural, but there seem like an awful lot of chemical-sounding ingredients in it. I really liked the smell and how my hair looked when I used it but I’m wondering how ‘natural’ it really is. These are the ingredients as listed on the bottle.

Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Cyclomethicone, Butylphenyl, MethylPropional, Argania Spinoza Kernal Oil (Aragan Oil), Linseed (Linum Usitatissimum) Extract, Fragrance Supplement, D&C Yellow-11, D&C Red-17, Coumarin, Benzyl Benzoate, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone

Thank you,

Dear B,

That’s great that you’re willing to look for a more natural alternative to this product that you, admittedly, like the end results of. I know how difficult it is to feel like you have to sacrifice results for questionable ingredients. Unfortunately, your concerns about the ingredients are not without merit, but the good news is that there are some awesome products out there with a much better ingredient profile that should give you just as great results.

You are absolutely right about Argan Oil being a great ingredient. One of the rarest (and consequentially, one of the most expensive) oils in the world, Argan oil is exceptionally rich in natural tocopherols (vitamin E) and is also rich in phenols and phenolic acid, carotenes, squalene and essential fatty acids (a.k.a. omega oils). Basically, the chemical makeup of this natural oil gives it the ability to improve hair strength and health as well as help increase shine and decrease frizziness. Linseed Oil is also a great ingredient for hair products as it is moisturizing and high in linoleic acid, an unsaturated fatty acid and antioxidant which studies have shown to be effective in cell regulation and skin-barrier repair as well as having anti-inflammatory benefits.

The first three ingredients listed are silicones. While silicones are derived from Silica (a naturally occurring mineral) they are generally considered to be synthetics. Silicones do have many legitimate medical uses, however in hair products they mainly serve the purpose of coating the hair shaft to give it a silkier feel. They also have water-repelling properties, which help to cut down on frizz. The downside, they can build up over time, weighing down the hair and making it dull a limp. It is not so much that the silicones themselves damage the hair, but rather that they simply coat it, masking any damage rather than actually improving it at a cellular level. The silicones coating the hair can also prevent other, more beneficial ingredients from actually penetrating the hair so that they can improve it structurally. Essentially, the silicones aren’t necessarily bad, they just don’t provide anything more than a temporary benefit.

The rest of the ingredients, I regret, are questionable. Butylphenly MethylPropional is a synthetic fragrance/odor-masking ingredient (it worries me when there is more of a fragrance ingredient in a product than the active ingredients!). Then, of course “fragrance supplement” indicates a synthetic perfume, otherwise they would promote that they use all-natural fragrance, although you could always call the company to check. Then you have some dyes (in my opinion, unnecessary). Coumarin and Alpha Isomethyle Ionone are also fragrance ingredients as well and are often synthetic. Benzyle Benzoate is a fragrance ingredient as well as a solvent.

Rare-El-ements_imageMy verdict: the argan and linseed oils are great, everything else is expendable, but if the other products you use are largely natural in formulation and you really love this product and aren’t sensitive to it, it’s not the worst product you could use. Please note, however, that if you were putting it directly on your skin I would have a very different opinion since, unlike the hair, the skin much more easily absorbs ingredients into the body and bloodstream. If you still want to go for a purer product (it’s certainly worth a try) I highly recommend Rare Elements El Treatment as a weekly treatment. It contains only 100% pure natural oils and no silicones, dyes, fragrances, or preservatives. Having used this myself I can tell you it is a fantastic product and the more you use it, the more you see real, long-term results in your hairs’ appearance, shininess and scalp health.

Jonathan Green Rootine imageAn option for styling is Jonathan Product Green Rootine Silkening Crème. I’ve found that, depending on your hair type, this one can require a little playing to find the best way to use it but once you get it right, it’s brilliant. I rub a pearl-sized amount between my palms and then work it through towel dried hair-staying away from the roots-and it give me perfectly soft, shiny waves with no greasiness. I did search rather extensively for a hair product that was argan oil based but did not contain the types of ingredients we are trying to avoid and was unable to find one, however you can purchase pure argan oil and use it as a treatment on its own.

The Beauty Chick

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About the Author

After nearly three years managing a bath and beauty boutique, Shayna Teicher decided to open Butterfly Effect, a holistic, eco-conscious beauty boutique based in Sarasota, Florida. Our very own Beyond Beauty Editor, read Shayna’s other intriguing articles and product reviews here.

6 Responses to Ask the Beauty Chick…

  1. Eric Sebbag says:


    I was reading your article on Argan oil, and how companies are using this amazing oil in there products.. Unfortunately they mix it with other chemical base ingredients that defeat the whole purpose of the magic of this oil can do naturally.. I am a third generation Hairstylist from Morocco and i have been using Argan oil my whole life! And would love to share with you my serum I created using only natural essential oils from Morocco and I made the perfect blend!Over 65% of Argan oil infused with Orange blossom in each 4oz amber glass bottle, Its Organic and Vegan and smells great! Its as Moroccan as it gets..

    Please share with your readers the importance of purchasing real!! Natural products and how much more you can benefit from it. Yes my Argan oil is expensive. But It will last longer and show instant results for along time.. Not like other imitation products.

    Thank you,
    Eric Sebbag

    • Modern Hippie says:

      Hello Eric! Thank you for reading Modern Hippie Mag and for commenting. I have forwarded your information to Shayna our beauty correspondent and will have her contact you to follow up, perhaps we can do a feature article on your company and product.

      Thanks again, and spread the word about Modern Hippie Mag to your friends and clients!

      Modern Hippie

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  5. Design Plus says:

    I would just source the pure oil if it was up to me. All the toxic chemical ingredients get absorbed through our scalps, and really adds to the overload on our poor stretched immune systems. Modern cosmetics are quite the slow poison, and the more consumers become aware of this fact, the more the demand for natural products will increase. We're only seeing the beginning of a great awakening, and for the entrepreneurial types out there great opportunity exists in developing and marketing natural alternative beauty, hair care and other cosmetic products.

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