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Salon Naturals and why is ECOCERT backing a carcinogen

Is a Solution for:
Oily Hair, Thinning Hair & Shedding, Dry or Brittle Hair
March 29, 2010 Reviewed by Marta 3 Comments
My experience with Skin Naturals Hydrating Shampoo ($16) and Conditioner ($16) has been a lesson in theory and practice not always being aligned. Skin Naturals’ hair products look good with mostly natural, organic ingredients and, perhaps for some people, they are good. But, in practice, for me they didn’t work at all. But more than that, one of its ingredients, got me thinking about the theory and practice of certified organic materials.

After using both the shampoo and conditioner my hair looked limp and dull. Moreover, for something termed a ‘hydrating’, I was surprised that my hair felt a bit dry; it certainly didn’t feel soft and silky. I think one of the issues with Salon Naturals is that both the shampoo and conditioner take quite a bit of rinsing out. I seemed to be standing under the shower for an awful long time before I was satisfied that my hair didn’t have any residue left.

Although Salon Naturals has a gentle surfactant, coco glucoside and a non-irritating detangler Behentrimonium methosulfate, as well as botanical ingredients, I really can’t get over the fact that there is sodium benzoate. This is the preservative that goes by the name of Geogard Ultra and is approved by ECOCERT. In my opinion, ECOCERT has no business approving it for anything.

Sodium benzoate is an extremely controversial ingredient was the subject of a media storm in the UK when it was discovered that it is carcinogenic when mixed with vitamin C and that, along with artificial food colorings, can cause children with ADHD to be more hyperactive. Coca Cola started to remove sodium benzoate from its drinks in 2009. Not only that, but lab animals regularly fed a 5% concentration of sodium benzoate have a habit of dying. The most damning indictment comes from a British scientist whose in vitro tests showed that “these chemicals have the ability to cause severe damage to DNA in the mitochondria to the point that they totally inactivate it: they knock it out altogether.”

Sodium benzoate is readily absorbed by the skin, although there is arguably less to worry about when it is in a wash off product such as shampoo.

I don’t want to pick on Salon Naturals and I am sure other people enjoy using their products. But I do think that ECOCERT has some answering to do. This body was established in France around 20 years ago and it is extremely opaque as to its methodologies. The website’s ‘about’ page merely says: “ECOCERT is a control and certification organisation, whose activities are governed accordingly by the public authorities and legislation.”

With Earth Day coming up in April, expect ECOCERT to come under criticism for giving its seal of approval to brands that call themselves organic even though many of the ingredients they use are not. Similarly, the USDA is being accused of allowing organic fraud by personal care  companies in the US in a campaign that will be stepped up over the coming weeks.

Ingredients in shampoo

Aloe barbadensis 1 (aloe vera juice), Coco Glucoside 4, Vegetable Glycerin 2 (glycerin), Behentrimonium Methosulfate 2 (&) Cetearyl Alcohol 2 (BTMS), Carboxymethyl Cellulose 2 (cellulose gum), Shea Butter 2 (Butyrospermum Parkii), Pantothenic Acid 2 (pro vitamin B5), Geogard Ultra 4, Potassium Sorbate 2, Citrus Sinensis 1 (sweet orange essential oil), Mentha Piperita 3 (peppermint leaf extract), Yucca Schidigera Stem Extract 3 (yucca leaf extract), Equisetum Arvense 3 (horsetail leaf extract), Urtica Dioica 3 (nettle leaf extract), Melissa Officinalis 3 (Melissa leaf extract)

Ingredients in conditioner

Aloe barbadensis 1 (aloe vera juice), Vegetable Glycerin 2 (glycerin), Behentrimonium Methosulfate 2 (&) Cetearyl Alcohol 2 (BTMS), Coconut oil, Pantothenic Acid 2 (pro vitamin B5), Geogard Ultra 4, Potassium Sorbate 2, Citrus Sinensis 1 (sweet orange essential oil), Mentha Piperita 3 (peppermint leaf extract), Yucca Schidigera Stem Extract 3 (yucca leaf extract), Equisetum Arvense 3 (horsetail leaf extract), Urtica Dioica 3 (nettle leaf extract), Melissa Officinalis 3 (Melissa leaf extract)

1Certified Organic 2Natural 3Botanical 4ECOCERT Certified
  • February 11, 2018

    by Co

    First off, look at the main ingredients in both. They're the same. So, it looks like they're taking a conditioner, adding a surfactant, and calling it a shampoo. The amount of shea butter in there is probably why it takes forever to rinse out. This is why your hair is limp. There are far better choices than butters/oils that are hard at room temp, such as super lightweight oils, or, better yet, esters. Coco glucoside is a super cheap surfactant. It's ok and I use it, but is so much better when blended with other surfs. The one I have is GMO free but has a really high pH that needs to be adjusted. There are no ingredients in the above list that indicate that it is. This might be why your hair is dry. To be brutally honest, this looks like a recipe a beginner would create. I hope they've improved since this post. lol
    As far as the sodium benzoate, I believe what Kim posted is accurate. I could make you hair care products that you would love, but what do I know. I'm just some random person on the internet. Peace!

  • May 27, 2014

    by Kim

    In my search for a more affordable yet healthy alternative to shampoo & conditioner for my family I decided upon Salon Naturals Hydrating Shampoo & Conditioner. We love it. After almost 2 years of dry, severely itchy & flaking scalp (I tried toxic Suave, then Nioxin, then natural castile soaps and even a raw honey wash with no success) I bought this. After 2 washes my dry scalp was relieved, and I no longer have a problem. We found the soap and conditioner to rinse out easily, not heavy at all. It is 2014, and maybe the formula has changed since the date of this article? This was rated overall very well on the EWG. Here is an excerpt taken from Salon Naturals website regarding Sodium Benzoate being carcinogenic.. FYI:

    When Sodium Benzoate, the primary ingredient in Geogard Ultra, is combined with ascorbic acid they create a chemical known asBenzene. This occurs due to the decarboxylation of benzoic acid when in the presence of ascorbic acid. This happens most consistently when these two components are exposed to heat and light. Benzene is carcinogenic. Additionally, Benzene fed to mice causes mitochondrial degeneration - one of the primary causes of aging and cell death. It is important to note that both components must be present for this change to occur. Sodium Benzoate on its own is considered non-carcinogenic.

  • June 24, 2010

    by gay timmons

    Hi -

    You do not say waht claim is on the bottle. EcoCert has 2: "Bio = to organic in teh US and they require 95% org. ingredients and
    Eco or Ecoological - which is essentially and verified natural claim. I can;t tell from the picture. Can you share that?


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