Review: The Body Shop Rainforest Balance Condtioner

60 ml/250 ml/400 ml

The Body Shop UK: £2/£4/£6

The Body Shop DE: 3€/6€/9€

http://www.thebodyshop.co.uk/hair/conditioner/rainforest-balance-conditioner.aspx

http://www.thebodyshop.de/haarpflege/conditioner/ausgleichende-pflegespuelung.aspx

Does not contain parabens, silicones, or colorants

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Body Shop Rainforest Balance Conditioner is a conditioner specially formulated for oily hair. It is made with pracaxi oil, white nettle, seaweed, and aloe vera. It claims that it “lightly conditions to reduce excess oils for hair that looks clean and fresh all day without weighing it down. Like it’s matching shampoo, it has a very thick consistency.

Ingredients

Aqua, Kaolin, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Distearoylethyl Hydroxyethylmonium Methosulfate, Glycerin, Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil, Parfum, Hydroxypropyl Guar, Propylene Glycol, Fucus Vesiculosus Extract, Salicylic Acid, Sodium Benzoate, Pentaclethra Macroloba Seed Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Alcohol, Citric Acid, Lamium Album Extract, Sodium Hydroxide, Tocopherol.

This was a really disappointing product for me because I really like the shampoo that goes with it. It just did nothing. First of all, it had a strange consistency, thicker than normal conditioner with a weird almost gritty texture. It kind of felt like a mud mask in conditioner form. It didn’t condition my hair at all. On top of that, it smelled like a mix of the afore-mentioned mud mask and a chlorinated pool. Yeah, not really a good smell, and especially not a comforting smell for something you are putting on your hair! Luckily the smell doesn’t linger, so you didn’t walk around smelling like pool for the entire day.

There really isn’t much to say about this product. It didn’t work. It smelled bad. End of story. A really disappointment, I must say. Don’t waste your money! The price may have been well worth it for the shampoo, but for this it is really too much.

Rating: D

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Review: The Body Shop Rainforest Balance Shampoo

60 ml/250 ml/400 ml

The Body Shop UK: £2/£4/£6

The Body Shop DE: 3€/6€/9€

http://www.thebodyshop.co.uk/hair/shampoo/rainforest-balance-shampoo.aspx

http://www.thebodyshop.de/haarpflege/shampoo/ausgleichendes-shampoo.aspx

Does not contain parabens, sulfates, silicones, or colorants

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Body Shop Rainforest Balance Shampoo is a sulfate-free shampoo for oily hair. It is formulated with pracaxi oil (whatever that is), white nettle, seaweed, Community Trade sugar (???), and aloe vera. It claims to “reduce excess oil for hair that looks clean and fresh all day”. It has a very thick consistency and a pleasant, herbal smell.

Ingredients

Aqua, Sucrose, Disodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Lauryl Betaine, Laureth-5 Carboxylic Acid, Propylene Glycol, PEG-55 Propylene Glycol Oleate, Sodium Chloride, Glycerin, Polyglyceryl-4 Caprate, Parfum, Sucrose Laurate, Sodium Benzoate, Isopropyl Alcohol, Salicylic Acid, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Fucus Vesiculosus Extract, Alcohol, Citric Acid, Pentaclethra Macroloba Seed Oil, Lamium Album Extract, Sodium Hydroxide, Tocopherol

The two main things that you should have gotten out of the description (no, I’m not talking about the weird ingredients…) are the fact that it is a sulfate-free shampoo, and that it is for oily hair. This brings up a major question… namely; does it clean your hair properly? The answer is yes, it does. And quite well, surprisingly. For people with normal or oily hair it seems that sulfates are useful sparingly, every other day to every three days ton once a week depending on how oily your hair gets and how frequently you wash it. This is because you don’t want to use sulfates on your hair too often, as that would dry it out, but if you don’t use sulfates you may not properly break down the oils in your hair, leaving residue that would make your hair look dull. With this shampoo I don’t feel the need to use a separate shampoo containing a sulfate because it really does what it claims to do, reducing the excess oils in my hair. This is great because I can have my hair clean without running the risk of drying it out too badly. I honestly have no clue how this would work for dryer hair, but it doesn’t have sulfates in so it may work. The Body Shop does have other formulations, which I assume are also sulfate free, so you may try those.

As for lathering, this shampoo is relatively good for a sulfate shampoo. It takes a little more effort and time to get it there, but it does lather up. Obviously not as well as a sulfate shampoo, but it does do the job without too much stress. I have found that you only need a small amount of the shampoo because it is so thick. My hair is of a normal thickness, and I only need like a nickel-sized amount of product. For the Europeans and the Brits, that would be roughly the size of a 10 euro cent coin or a penny. I have found that it helps to distribute the shampoo through the roots of your wet hair and work it in as per usual, but then duck under the shower stream again and then work the product some more. I think this really helps with the lather.

Because you only need a small amount of product means that it takes forever to use up the bottle. Coupled with the fact that you have the option to get it in bigger bottles, this means that if you intend to purchase the product regularly you don’t have to run to the store so often. This is particularly helpful because you can only find this product at a Body Shop store, not just at your local Rossman or Boots. It is also a little more expensive than something you may buy at a drugstore, but I think the long life of one bottle, plus the fact that you can get the more cost-effective bigger size makes this product not that much more expensive in the long run. Plus it is sulfate free, which is sometimes a struggle to find in cheaper shampoos!

Overall, I would really recommend this product. It smells great, does a great job despite not containing sulfate, and is a quite reasonable price for the amount of product you get and how much you have to use at one time.

Rating: A

The Nasties Glossary

Oftentimes, you see labels claiming that they are “free” of something. This something has a chemical-y sounding name, which means that I have no clue what it is or what it is supposed to do. You must have heard it as well, sometime: sulphate free, paraben free, formaldehyde free (or three free)… As I am completely clueless, I figured that there should be at least one other person out there who also has not the foggiest notion about what is going on. For you, comrade, I have compiled a list describing what the hell these things are, and why people are going crazy.

Parabens

Parabens are a group of chemicals that act as preservatives, to stop the growth of microbes (little tiny organisms, for example bacteria or fungi). They can be identified by looking at the ingredients list, they are all long words ending in “paraben”, for example methylparaben, butylparaben, and propylparaben.

The concern over parabens is mainly linked to cancer. Some studies have shown concentrations of parabens in the tumors of breast cancer patients. This is not a clear link at all, they did not investigate paraben levels in the tissue of non-cancer patients, or in other body tissue. According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, the concern comes from the fact that the chemicals are not altered at all by the body’s metabolic processes, and is free to penetrate the tissue and accumulate there. This may or may not be bad. In addition, the parabens have the tendency to mimic the activity of estrogen, a hormone that the body produces. Estrogen has established connections to breast cancer, around 80% of breast cancer tumors rely on estrogen to grow (Wikipedia). Parabens bind to the estrogen receptors on cells, perhaps leading to breast tumor cells growing and multiplying. According to the FDA, parabens don’t have nearly as much estrogenic activity as actual estrogen, so they may not be able to aid in the growth of the tumors.

Nothing has been proven, and the FDA has investigated the harmfulness of parabens more than once. However, I think it is better to be safe than sorry when it comes with cancer, so I think I will start to avoid parabens.

Sulfates

Here is the place where the beauty community is split right down the center… sulfates are the ingredients in shampoo or body wash that make them foam up. There are three that are most commonly used: sodium laureth sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate, and ammonium laureth sulfate. What they do is break down the oils in your hair, stripping your hair. Some say that this is a horrible thing, some say that it is a necessary ingredient for clean hair. Who’s right? LIke in most circumstances, they both are to a certain extent. Based on what I have read, it really depends on the individual. From what I can tell, if you have curly hair sulfates are pretty bad. Curly hair is more porous than straight hair, making it more brittle and more likely to get dry. It also means it soaks up the shampoo better, and the sulfates really dry it out further. Some people actually say that you shouldn’t wash curly hair at all! I assume they mean really curly hair, like African-American hair. So if you have curly hair, sulfates are definitely a problem. Similarly, if you have skin that tends to be dry, or a sensitive scalp, sulphates may irritate that, maybe giving you eczema. For other hair types, sulfates may be necessary to give you really clean hair. But you can’t use it every single day, and you can’t use it without conditioner, if you do it will dry out your hair too much. With these products, there have also been claims that they thin out your hair. I have not seen any evidence to back up these claims, although there may some out there.

Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is a colorless, strong-smelling gas that is a cancer hazard and can cause irritation in the nose, eyes, skin, and respiratory tract. It is supposedly found in some cosmetics, most commonly nail products and keratin treatments (it’s one of the “three free” toxins). This is a well established fact that you can read about on the websites of many government institutions, including OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and the California Department of Public Health. However, formaldehyde is not what is being used in cosmetics, as it is a gas. Instead, formalin is used, a solution of formaldehyde and water, normally with a stabilizing agent (mostly methanol is used). This is where the debate comes up. Many cosmetic manufacturers believe that the formaldehyde is soluble in water, although the Cosmetic Ingredients Review (CIR)* recently proved that this was not the case. When introduced to water, the formaldehyde produced a new chemical called methylene glycol, which is safe for use in concentration under 0.2%, but the safety of the chemical when used in aerosol cans is sketchy. However, the California Department of Public Health says that formalin is dangerous. It is unclear whether they have taken the methylene glycol into consideration.

*the CIR is an organization that reviews the safety of ingredients used in cosmetics. It is sponsored by, and works closely with the FDA, but it is an independent organization.

**The Nail Manufacturer’s Council is an organization founded by the Proffesional Beauty Association.

Dibutyl Phthalate (DPB)

DBP is one of the “three free” toxins found in nail products. As for acute toxicity (how bad it affects you if you are exposed to it only briefly) is low, even in concentrations higher than is what is in nail polish. According to OSHA, someone who swallowed 10 grams of the stuff got sick, but he recovered completely. There goes my habit of drinking my nail polish…? Anyway, you probably don’t even get 10 grams of nail polish in the bottle, let alone 10 grams of pure DPB. However, a study on the effects of DPB introduced to pre-natal boys found that “environmental levels” of the substance impaired testicular function. They didn’t specify what the “environmental levels” were, so I don’t know if that is more or less than what is found in nail polish. I guess just make sure the area where you’re painting your nails is well ventilated, and don’t use nail polishes containing DPB if you are pregnant. Oh, and don’t drink the nail polish…

Toluene

Toluene is an ingredient in nail products that makes them easy to apply, the last of the “three free” toxins. It is a clear colorless liquid, and has been found to be highly toxic. According to the National Library of Medicine, exposure to low levels of toluene can result in confusion, light-headedness, dizziness, headache, fatigue, weakness, memory loss, nausea, appetite loss, coughing, wheezing, and hearing and color vision loss. Exposure to toluene can cause birth defects in pregnant women. Yeah, that sounds pretty bad. The concentrations of toluene in nail products were deemed safe for use by the EU, but they recommend that the areas where you do your nails be kept well ventilated. Still, I think I will not risk this: no more toluene for me! Luckily there are some fabulous brands that make toluene-free nail polish…

Three Free/Toluene Free Nail Polish Brands:

butter London (3 Free)

Wet n Wild (3 Free)

Orly (3 Free)

Essie (contains formalin, called formaldehyde resin)

Nicole by OPI (3 free)

Ulta (3 free)

Red Carpet Manicure (3 free)

Revlon (toluene and formaldehyde free)

OPI (toluene and DPB free, some hardeners contain formaldehyde)

Resources:

Campaign for Safe Cosmetics on Parabens: http://safecosmetics.org/article.php?id=291

FDA on Parabens: http://www.fda.gov/cosmetics/productandingredientsafety/selectedcosmeticingredients/ucm128042.htm

Wikipedia article on Estrogen: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estrogen#Breast_cancer

OSHA fact sheet on Formaldehyde: http://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_General_Facts/formaldehyde-factsheet.pdf

California Department of Public Health fact sheet on Formaldehyde: http://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/hesis/Documents/formaldehyde.pdf

Article by Doug Schoon (Co-Chair of Nail Manufacturer’s Council) on Formaldehyde in Cosmetics: http://personalcaretruth.com/2010/08/exposing-the-formaldehyde-myth/

CIR Council Thing (not quite sure what it is called…): http://www.cir-safety.org/sites/default/files/119_final_formyl.pdf

Report on CIR decision: http://personalcaretruth.com/2011/11/cir-confronts-confusing-chemistry/

Nail Manufacturer’s Council: http://www.probeauty.org/nmc/

Cosmetics Ingredients Review: http://www.cir-safety.org/

NY Times article on Sulfates: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/30/fashion/30Skin.html?pagewanted=all

TheBeautyBrains.com on Sulfates: http://thebeautybrains.com/2007/06/30/sulfates-in-shampoos-what-are-they/

Environmental Health Perspectives study on DPB: http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/info:doi/10.1289/ehp.8100

OSHA on DBP: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/healthguidelines/dibutylphthalate/recognition.html

National Library of Medicine on Toluene: http://toxtown.nlm.nih.gov/text_version/chemicals.php?id=30

European Union Scientific Committee on Consumer Products on Toluene: http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_risk/committees/04_sccp/docs/sccp_o_076.pdf