Are Your Hair Products Destroying Your Health?


Zoe Osayuki 

Zoe is a makeup artist from Toronto, Canada. Her true love for makeup started at 17 years old, after that she realized she loved consulting with others and helping them achieve a perfect makeup look for any occasion. When she realized the conventional makeup she was using had negative implications on herself she switched to clean beauty and strives to teach/introduce her clients to the clean beauty world. Zoe strives to change the conventional beauty trends and market and proves there’s no compromise, clean beauty is real beauty. 

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Imagine reading the ingredient list on the back of your hair products and knowing the side effects of each. It doesn’t seem like a lot to ask, although many companies in the haircare industry would not be as successful as they are today if they had to explain themselves for their reasoning behind choosing certain ingredients. 

As a young black girl (at the age of one and my hair was long enough to be styled) my mother would sit me down and braid my natural hair weekly. To manage my natural thick hair that formed tight curls my mother would use hair products found at beauty supply stores that were specifically catering to black women.  

At the age of one, my parents had to take me to Sick Kids Hospital due me being overdue in losing my developed breasts.

Normally, hormones from the mother are passed down through the placenta and affect newborns. High levels of estrogen in pregnant women will cause breast enlargement in the mother, resulting in some newborns having breast swelling. However, breast swelling in newborns is supposed to go down, much before they reach their one year mark.  

The doctor let my parents know that hair products, specifically ones that are catered towards black women and children can have a negative effect on hormones due to the chemicals that are in them. So already, at the age of one, I was experiencing the terrible side effects that are caused by endocrine disruptors found in hair products. 

So what are Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals? The Environmental Working Group states that EDC’S can “play on our bodies: increasing production of certain hormones; decreasing production of others; imitating hormones; turning one hormone into another; interfering with hormone signalling; telling cells to die prematurely; competing with essential nutrients; binding to essential hormones; accumulating in organs that produce hormones.”

The Hormone Health Clinic also examines how EDC’S can cause early puberty. 

After this, my parents took more caution with the products they used on me; however, when I was 11 years old, I decided I didn’t love my natural hair and wanted to get it relaxed. I had already seen a couple of other girls I knew do the same and I really wanted hair that seemed more “normal.” Normal to me was the straight hair I saw on countless magazines and ads. To achieve my desired hair I started relaxing my relaxing my hair until I was 15 years old. Relaxers, hot oil treatments, anti-frizz products, leave-in conditioners and root stimulators were studied and found to contain multiple chemicals associated with endocrine disruption. Furthermore, the study states, “The prevalence of parabens and DEP is consistent with higher levels of these compounds in biomonitoring samples from Black women compared with White women.”  There needs to be more conversation around toxic hair products that are being sold to black women. We need to be informed about the effects that these products have because they are essentially destroying our health. 

Looking back I wish I had never relaxed my hair. I also wish that it was more known to consumers about how toxic and dangerous relaxers are and other hair products that are used DAILY by black women. I am loving and rocking my natural hair now and thankful that I have found quality products that my hair has long been craving for.

Now that you know about my toxic hair journey it’s important that I let you know about clean non-toxic products I have found that are safe, for black women, children and honestly, ALL women.  


1 Shampoo

Innernse Hydrating Cream Hairbath

The Innersense Hydrating Cream Hairbath is my favourite shampoo to use when I'm in need of a gentle cleanse. Formulated with Tamanu and Sage this shampoo balances the oils in my scalp to encourage healthy hair while nourishing emollients like Shea butter results in bouncy defined curls. I love how this shampoo leaves my hair soft and hydrated after shampooing as opposed to the dry and brittle feeling you get when you use sulfate shampoos. Sulfates are commonly used in detergents, cleaning products and shampoos to create a lather although, it is often very irritating on the scalp which can lead to irritation such as redness and dryness. How to use: Use a generous amount onto scalp and massage to create a lather. Rinse and follow with a mask or conditioner. 

Evolvh Smart Curl Hydrating 

I reach for the Evolvh Smart Curl Hydrating Wash when I need to get rid of product build-up or simply want a deeper clean for my scalp. This shampoo resets my scalp and hair yet leaves it still feeling soft and looking shiny. Castor oil in it helps to penetrate deeper into the scalp and also smooth hair cuticles. Almond oil helps to seal moisture in for long periods of time which means less split ends and more growth! How to use: A little goes along way with this product! Use a dime size amount onto scalp and massage to create a lather. Rinse and follow with a mask or conditioner. 



Acure Ultra Hydrating Conditioner

 I recently discovered the Acure Ultra Hydrating Conditioner and I fell in love with it after my first use. Due to the coarse, curly and thick nature of my hair, it needs all the hydration it can get. Infused with Rooibos this conditioner helps to prevent hair loss and promote healthy hair growth while Sweet almond oil is rich in antioxidants to encourage lustre and shine. How to use: After shampooing apply this to wet hair and detangle using a comb. Leave in for 5 minutes then rinse out.

  The Innersense Hydrating Cream Conditioner

The Innersense Hydrating Cream Conditioner helps to detangle and provide hydration especially throughout cooler and dry seasons. I love using this as a leave-in conditioner as it is formulated Rice protein to nourish and protect my hair strands while Aloe vera hydrates and coats my hair to provide definition and shine to my curls. It is important to look for silicone-free hair products. Silicones coat your hair with a plastic that leaves your hair feeling soft and silky although, it prevents moisture from penetrating into the hair shaft which leads to dry and brittle hair. How to: Apply to soaking wet hair and rinse out after 5 mins. As a leave- conditioner apply to damp hair post-shower.  

3 Masks 

The Briogeo Don’t Despair Repair Mask  

The Briogeo Don’t Despair Repair Mask is my all time favourite hair mask. I have repurchased this 3 times now. This mask contains B Vitamins and Biotin to revitalize and strengthen heat or chemically damaged hair while Rosehip and Argan oil provide intense hydration to control frizz and prevent split ends. My curls are defined, frizz free and super bouncy after every use! How to use: After shampooing I apply two teaspoons like amounts on wet hair and leave on for 30 minutes to 1 hour. I use this weekly

Rahua Omega 9 Hair Mask 

I use the Rahua Omega 9 Hair Mask as a monthly protein treatment for my hair. This mask is life saving as it keeps my hair strong and full of life. They key ingredient behind the magic of this mask is Rahua oil. Rahua oil is derived from the rahua nut that can only be found in the amazon. The oil fortifies penetrates the hair shaft to fortify damaged hair and preserve color while also maintaining healthy scalp and hair health. How to use : Apply this to wet hair after shampooing and leave in for 30 minutes and rinse out. 



4  Styling 

The Alikay Naturals Dulce Hydrating Curl Lotion

 This is a brand I am extremely happy about mentioning as all their products are clean and is black owned!  The Alikay Naturals Dulce Hydrating Curl Lotion has Argan oil and Apricot kernel oil to nourish, revive damaged curls, and promote hair growth. Styling creams usually have a plethora of ingredients you can’t come close to knowing or understanding what they are. The goal is to look at the back of your hair product and know what is in it. As this stylish cream is packed with nourishing oils while being free from silicone and phenoxyethanol I know that my curls are not being coated with harmful unnecessary substances. How to use: I section my hair in four parts and use one pump for each section. Apply this on damp hair to style or use to refresh your curls the next day

 Innersense I Create Hold 

 I have been looking for a high performance gel that helps to hold my curls and keep the frizz away and I am happy to say that The Innersense I Create Hold gives me exactly what I need . High performance gels can be super hard to find in the non-toxic hair world so this is a must have in my hair cabinet. Many gels contain Tetrasodium ETDA which is a known carcinogen. I Create Hold uses a safer and natural approach by using Nettle and Rosemary extracts that create long lasting hold and shine. How to use: After using my styling creams if I want extra definition for my curls I rake through about 3 pumps of this throughout my curls.



We do not yet have the luxury of full transparency in our hair care products. The description of a shampoo may market itself as being “a must have for thirsty hair” while the ingredient list is packed with carcinogens and endocrine disrupters. Nothing is more empowering than being in control of your well being and that includes our beauty products. Let’s ask questions, demand transparency and vote with our dollars by choosing routines that are beneficial for your long term beauty goals and your heath.