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I regard Redken Fresh Curls Anti-Frizz Shiner ($14.95) as one of my cosmetic frenemies. I like what it does, although I don't really like how it does it. But I have to hand it to this chemical cocktail - it does what it says on the box: "Lasting power humidity sealer". Fresh Curls gives shine, gives control over frizz and fly-aways for, in my experience, up to two days (!) and all this is achieved with the lightest of touches that never makes my hair feel weighed down.
Yet, it is not without a spasm of guilt that I squirt a little of this white lotion. Actually, Greenpeace will probably confiscate my membership card if they read this post. The problem with Redken Fresh Curls is not so much what it is doing to me (most of these ingredients are unlikely to penetrate my body from the ends of my hair) but what they do to the environment. For example, the main ingredient is a silicone (cyclopentasiloxane) that is particularly useful in hair tamers because it provides a silky feel with out weighing the hair down with greasy residue. Because of its water thin consistency, it helps deliver heavier silicones also contained in a product, and for this is reason is often used in conjunction with dimethicone. The main concern is, given the evidence of toxicity, that silicones do harm in the environment (especially to marine life) and for this reason the Canadian government is pressing the industry for more information on its safety.
There are similar environmental concerns about parabens, of which there are two here. They can also be skin irritants, as can butylphenyl methylpropional, a fragrance additive that is classified as an allergan in Europe. Another fragrance, alpha-isomethyl ionone, is also considered an irritant.
Many of the ingredients have a bark worse than their bite. Polyquaternium-4 sounds scary but is a benign polymer that neutralizes positively charged ingredients and helps the hair stay flat. Although there isn't much information about 2-oleamido-1-3 octadecanediol, even the EWG doesn't seem to be concerned about it. Similarly, disodium cocoamphodipropionate seems to be more friend than enemy.
Go natural with John Masters Organics styling gel
In the enemy camp: RedKen Extreme
Water, cyclopentasiloxane, phenyl trimethicone, propylene glycol, acrylates copolymer, polyquaternium-4, PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil, aminomethyl propanol, amodimethicone, phenoxyethanol, fragrance, capryl glycol/caprylyl glycol,carbomer, polyethalene glycol, methylparaben, C11-15 pareth-7, coconut oil, hydrolized soy protein, C12-16 pareth-9, glycerin, trideceth-12, hydroxypropyl guar, butylphenyl methylpropional, limolene, linalool, 2-oleamido-1-3 octadecanediol, oleth-10, citronellol, bambusa vulgaris extract, alpha-isomethyl ionone, disodium cocoamphodipropionate, coumarin, citral, ethylparaben, sorbitol, octylacrylamide/acrylates/butylaminoethyl methacrylate copolymer, lecithin, phosphoric acid, polyquaternium-10, disodium EDTA.