Pureology claims that its Nanoworks Restorative Hair Treatment ($52) designed for chemically colored hair "has it all". I am inclined to agree. If you want a hair conditioner that has many of the irritants and toxins known to the cosmetic industry, this does indeed have it all.

Pureology was bought by L'Oreal a couple of years ago. I don't know what its products were like when it was independent, but I can say that these days it would be more appropriately named Kidology. Nanoworks Restorative Hair Treatment starts off well with organic chamomile, avocado lipids and sage. Perhaps Pureology assumes that no one reads past the first three ingredients because many of the remaining 50-odd ingredients are pretty hair-raising.

Take, for instance, the surfactant cetrimonium bromide. According to the EWG, one or more animal studies show brain and nervous system effects at low doses, there is strong evidence that it is a human skin toxicant, and animal studies show reproductive effects at low doses.

Or how about the dimethylamine in behenamidopropyl dimethylamine behenate. It is well known for causing severe irritations to the skin, eyes and mucous membranes. Studies have shown that short term skin contact may cause minor irritations, and that prolonged contact may result in necrosis of the skin. Furthermore, available data suggests that it may act as a carcinogen and toxin to the immune system, respiratory system, nervous system and liver. For this reason, the European Union has set restrictions on its use.

Then there is linoleamidopropyl Dimethylamine Dimer Dilinoleate (also known also as Necon-Lo-80), which has been shown in animal tests to be a strong skin irritant. C12 13 Pareth 3 is made from petroleum and ethylene oxide and is used as a surfactant in a variety of cosmetics and skin care products. Ethylene Oxide is considered highly toxic and was even used as a component of nerve gas in WWII. Ethylene Oxide can also turn up in PEGs (including Trideceth-12) according to a study published in the International Journal of Toxicology. Propylene glycol is classified as an irritant. A Danish study published in the April 2006 issue of Contact Dermatitis found that Iodoproynyl Butylcarbamate can be a toxicant, cause contact dermatitis and have immune effects.

To be fair, there are around 20 botanicals and antioxidants in Pureology Nanoworks Restorative Hair Treatment as well. Yet, for me, they are overwhelmed by the number of silicones, fillers and potentially irritating preservatives such as methylchloroisothiazolinone or ingredients such as disodium EDTA that help other ingredients (including the unwanted ones) penetrate.


Botanicals of Chamomile (Certified Organic), Avocado Lipids, Sage, PPG 3 Benzyl Myristate, Emulsifying Wax NF, Octyldodecyl Ricinoleate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Polyquaternium 91, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetrimonium Chloride, Cetrimonium Bromide, Behenamidopropyl Dimethylamine Behenate, Linoleamidopropyl Dimethylamine Dimer Dilinoleate, Glycereth 26, Citric Acid, Polysorbate 60, Jojoba Esters, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Divinyldimethicone/Dimethicone Copolymer, C12 13 Pareth 3, Amodimethicone, C11 15 Pareth 7, Laureth 9, Glycerin, Trideceth 12, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein PG Propyl Silanetriol, Polyquaternium 37, Propylene Glycol, Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, PPG 1 Trideceth 6, Panthenol, Wine Extracts, Lactic Acid, Malic Acid, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract (Green Tea), Persea Gratissima Butter (Avocado), Pistaschio Butter, Wheat Amino Acids, Super Oxide Dismutase, Melanin (Antioxidants), Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Ascorbic Acid, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Cinnamidopropyl Chloride, Sunflower Seed Extract (Heliogenol), Butylene Glycol, Polamide 2, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Polyquaternium 55, Methyl Gluceth 20, Disodium EDTA, Dimethiconol, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, DMDM Hydantoin, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Methylparaben, Aromatherapy Fragrance