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Holistic Hair Care – How & Why?

Have you been duped by the cosmetics industry? Do you suffer from acne, eczema, psoriasis or rosacea? And can’t figure out how to get rid of it? What foods can you eat for strong, shiny and healthy hair? Are you using safe shampoo, conditioner and styling products?

Check out this video on holistic hair care for answers! P.S. There is a surprise ending!

Food Babe’s Holistic Hair Video Notes & Extra Tips:
  1. Your skin is your largest organ!  What you put on your hair, is absorbed into your blood through your scalp and face. Nurture it, be kind to it, and most importantly LOVE it!
  2. Eat foods that have a rich source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids & all the essential amino acids like chia seeds, hemp seeds and flaxseeds. Your hair is made up of protein, getting all the essential amino acids will help it get stronger and grow more lustrous
  3. Silica found in cucumbers, cabbage and celery are great to improve elasticity of hair preventing split ends!
  4. Joy McCarthy, a registered holistic nutritionist recommends to eats lots of dark leafy greens like Kale that provide Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Iron which are critical for healthy, strong and shiny hair. She also says to eat lots of legumes too! Brittle hair is often caused by a deficiency in biotin which is found in beans.
  5. Choose hair care products fragranced with natural smells from essential oils, herbs, fruits and vegetables.
  6. Sleep on a 100% silk pillowcase – not only will this help you prevent bed head – it will help you get less wrinkles on your face.
  7. Have you tried searching for the hair care products you use on EWG’s cosmetic database?  I did and was saddened to learn so many popular hair care brands were rated 8-10!
  8. Try to pick hair care products that are all below a rating of  3 on the EWG cosmetic database.
  9. Check all your hair care products individually for safety.  Don’t assume if you use a certain brand, your product is safe.  Many companies have products across the spectrum from really safe and natural to horribly deadly.
  10.  Stop relying on fancy marketing and celebrities to choose brands.
  11. Vote with your dollars!  Stop supporting companies that are harming the environment, your family and most importantly your own body with crazy chemicals!
  12. What works for me, may not work for you – there are so many great natural products available now, you WILL find some that suit you.  It might take you some time navigating through the “old” world of natural beauty!  God knows, I’ve been through several trials and errors.

Here are my absolute favorite holistic hair care products below and links on where to get them-


If you know someone who is suffering from facial skin problems like eczema, acne or roseaca or needs some hairy advice, please share this post with them! 

Food Babe


Check out my past posts on safe cosmetics –

Be a Drug Store Beauty Drop Out

So Fresh and So Clean Skin Care Tips

And Part 2 of this post – Hairy Afterthoughts, Holistic Hair Care

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175 responses to “Holistic Hair Care – How & Why?

  1. How do you feel about Lush products? They are marketed as being so healthy and pure but that’s just marketing! Lush just popped up in my area and I started using out of curiosity but I want to be sure it’s worth the $$$!

    1. What do you think about Acure products. They rate from 0-3 on EWG. I’ve been using them for a while and I like them. I was using Arbonne and couldn’t find any proof they were non-gmo and/or organic. I liked them as well but they are also way more expensive than Acure

      1. I also LOVE Acure products!! I use them all – lotions, face wash, shampoo, conditioner, night cream – to name a few. I’ve liked them all!

      2. You should comment instead of replying to my comment– now I get notifications about your question!

      3. The silk is secreted as a liquid from two glands in the caterpillar’s head. While they are still in their pupal stage, the cocoons are placed in boiling water, which kills the silkworms and begins the process of unraveling the cocoons to produce silk thread. Thanks for sharing

    2. LUSH is terrible! When they opened in my city I bought a bunch of their stuff and two weeks later I was breaking out in hives! They claim to be all natural but a closer look at the ingredients revealed all kinds of chemical fragrances and dyes.

    3. I went into a Lush store about two years ago when I figured out eliminating products that list “fragrance” as an ingredient was clearing the horrible breakouts of hives I was getting … Thinking they were natural. I found fragrance in the ingredients and the girl insisted that they were “only essential oils” that they didn’t want to disclose which ones so people wouldn’t copy their products… she put a hair product sample on me and I broke out in a fresh set of hives within twenty minutes. I will not set foot in a Lush store again. Too bad. I would have been a big fan if their products were really ALL natural.

  2. I used to use John Master’s Haircare. But, then I took a hard look at the ingredients. 70% of the ingredients may be organic, but the other 20% are chemicals! Take the evening primrose shampoo for example. It contains babassuamidophropyl, decl glucoside, sodium lauryl sulfoatate, hydrolyzed soy protein (doesn’t say not GMO), sodium benzoate… and this isn’t even all of the chemicals. Unfortunate.

  3. Hi Foodbabe…..are there any 100% organic shampoos that exist? I guess 70% is better than nothing, for sure!

    1. Check out 100% Pure online, great all natural and organic products. Or the no poo method is about as “clean” as you can get.

    2. I use miracle soap (the moisturizing kind) for my hair. I have used it for years, only stopping for brief periods to try the no poo method (only lasted a month) and the water -only method (lasted about 5 weeks).

      It is so non-toxic you can eat it and it won’t harm you.

      I use it for so many things – to wash my face, to shampoo my dog, even as part of my cleaning regiment around the house — good luck!

  4. Have you heard of a hair product brand called Zerran? I think its Canadian and they market as 100% vegan. Thanks

  5. I can smell a honeysuckle bush from miles away. I love them!! I have thick curly hair, normally, but over the past couple of years it has thinned out dramatically. I’ve tried pretty much every single brand out there. Everything from Paul Mitchell to Tresemme to Biolage and they all made my scalp itch, break out and my hair was falling out. Baldness does not run in my family so I knew it had to be my product. Within a month of switching to Avalon Organics Rosemary line my scalp is not longer breaking out, no more itch and my hair is feeling thicker plus I love the smell!! I seen the Aubrey Honeysuckle Rose in Mountain Rose Herbs and ordered it, cannot wait to have some springtime in winter via my shower 🙂

    1. Hi Teresa,

      I read your post and it hit a chord with me – I have a similar problem. I have very thick, wavy, coarse hair, but a condition called sebborheic dermatitis on my scalp (Oily, Itchy, inflamed, breaks out in pimples, crust, sore, ouch! I can’t even brush my hair most of the time because it promotes the oil, which aggravates the scalp! Frustrating!). After many years of frustration and spending too much $$$ on shampoos, I started using natural products. Giovanni Tea Tree Shampoo works well for me. I also do not use any conditioners on my scalp – it tends to make it break out. Instead I use a Braggs Cider Vinegar rinse (a few tablespoons of Braggs and the rest water) and a little dab of coconut oil. Hope that helps! You have my sympathies! If you or anybody have any questions, you can let me know.

      PS. You can also make a rosemary tea, let it cool, and use that as a rinse to promote a happy scalp and encourage hair growth. I make this sometimes too.

      Maria In Mass

      1. Hi Teresa & Maria. As a curly girl myself, I just wanted to point you towards a book called “curly girl – the handbook,” “”, and the aussie facebook group “aussie curly girls” (not sure where you’re from, but I’ve come across sites for some amazing curly hairdressers in the states). I’ve learnt so much about my hair lately, and natural products…. check it out if you haven’t already! Lee 🙂

      2. Hi Teresa & Maria,
        I have the EXACT same story! MANY products and $$$ later I found DEVACURL. It is actually made by the woman who wrote the book that Lee is talking about. I have been using it now for 6 years. I’ve tried different ones (Wen, etc.) but immediately My scalp would be on fire again. Since recently it is now sold at Sephora and even Target!!! I, myself use the Care line since my scalp and hair is naturally SUPER dry. But I wouldn’t know what to do without this product. 🙂
        Good luck to you ladies! Would love to hear if it works for you as well. 🙂

      3. PS: At its worst (allergic reactiom) my scalp was also SUPER oily with major itch, blisters, pus, hair falling out and bald spots. I saw many dermatologists, had a ton of tests done and was given a ton of meds.
        I’m surprised by many of the products mentioned because I have tried them all (with no prevail) and know for a fact they still have chemicals.

  6. have you looked into Rahua haircare products? products are made with organic and natural ingredients. i’ve used it and really loved what it did for my hair (silky soft). just curious what you think of their ingredients.

  7. In response to discovering that Burt’s Bees was owned by Clorox who in turns is fighting GMO labeling, I sent BB an email yesterday telling them my BB was going in the trash at that very moment and why. Here is there response:

    Dear Mrs. Mosca,
    Thank you for contacting us about your Burts Bees and Clorox. We always appreciate hearing from our consumers.
    Our parent company Clorox supports food labeling that protects people’s health and safety, but believes the labeling program on the Washington ballot initiative is misleading and confusing. For example, I-522 contains arbitrary exemptions for a number of foods and alcoholic beverages even if these foods contain GE ingredients. When a similar measure was proposed and failed in California last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said this kind of labeling policy “would be inherently misleading.” Clorox believes the only thing I-522 will accomplish is higher food costs with no increase in food safety.

    The discussions around GE ingredients have received a groundswell of attention that we hope will lead to greater understanding. As part of our ongoing commitment to responsible sourcing practices, Burt’s Bees asks all of its suppliers to sign a non-GE declaration and, to date, the majority has done so. Our team has continual dialogue with raw material suppliers to ensure the quality of ingredients in our products.

    Again, thank you for contacting us.

    None of that changes my mind and since I have some Dr Brommer’s organic lip balm sitting here, that’s what I’ll be using going forward 🙂

    1. not sure why we want government labeling food anyways. politics are messy and corruption is huge. you’re better off doing your homework and purchasing product that you’re sure are gmo free. there are ways around it. for instance, organic and the non gmo project.

  8. I’m an avid follower of FoodBabe and have changed many items I use and eat because of her excellent recommendations.

    However, before you purchase a silk pillowcase to reduce wrinkles and keep your “do” in check as you sleep, please know that silk is not cruelty-free in the commercial market as noted below.

    What is Silk?

    Silk fabric is made from the silk that is spun by silkworms when they form the cocoons for their pupal stage, before becoming a moth. Vegans do not wear silk because it is an animal product that results from the exploitation of animals.

    Mass-produced silk is made from domesticated silkworms, Bombyx mori, raised on farms. The silkworms, who are in the caterpillar stage of the silk moth, are fed mulberry leaves until they are ready to spin cocoons and enter their pupal stage. The silk is secreted as a liquid from two glands in the caterpillar’s head. While they are still in their pupal stage, the cocoons are placed in boiling water, which kills the silkworms and begins the process of unraveling the cocoons to produce silk thread.

    If allowed to develop and live, the silkworms would turn into moths and chew their way out of the cocoons to escape. The chewed silk strands would be much shorter and less valuable than the whole cocoons.

    Approximately 15 silkworms are killed to make a gram of silk thread, and 10,000 are killed to make a silk sari.

    Other Methods of Silk Production

    Silk thread can also be produced by killing silkworms while they are in their caterpillar stage, just before they spin their cocoons, and extracting the two silk glands. The glands can then be stretched into silk threads known as silkworm gut, which is used mainly to make fly fishing lures.

    Silk can also be made without killing the caterpillars. Eri silk or “peace silk” is made from the cocoons of Samia ricini, a type of silkworm who spins a cocoon with a tiny opening in the end. After metamorphosizing into moths, they crawl out of the opening. This type of silk cannot be reeled in the same way that Bombyx mori silk is reeled, and instead is carded and spun like wool. Eri silk represents a very small portion of the silk market.

    Another type of silk is Ahimsa silk, which is made from the cocoons of Bombyx mori moths after the moths chew their way out of their cocoons. Because of the chewed-through strands, less of the silk is usable for textile production and Ahimsa silk costs more than conventional silk. “Ahimsa” is the Hindu word for “non-violence.” Ahimsa silk, though popular with Jains, also represents a very small portion of the silk market.

    1. Thank you for this information (which everyone else, including FoodBabe, seems to have ignored). I have long known about conventional silk harvesting and am happy to know about the alternatives.

      1. Wow, what makes you think she is ignoring it. Perhaps she is tackling more important things like food that goes into the mouths of millions of people and kids. Not down playing the silk worm issue – I can’t harm anything so I honestly do get it… But I don’t wear/use silk/silk products – but I do eat… I’m sure most people can say the same. That being said, I have seldom seen someone with so much on her plate and working on our behalf non the less. I do not believe she is IGNORING this issue, she is just triaging, and in the correct order!

    2. Thank you so much for making others aware of the problems with silk. Although I am all about using and eating healthier products and foods, I also am a animal welfare advocate. Its important to consider the impact your choices have on the planet, all of your choices and all of the things that are impacted by those decisions. If we pick and choose to be aware of some problems but not others, we really aren’t doing the planet any favors, or ourselves. Its important to know where products come from, how they are produced and if any animals are harmed in the process. Although I am not vegan I make sure I know exactly where my meat, dairy and eggs come from and how the animals are treated. Just as chemicals are a problem so is the way animals are being mass killed and the ways they are treated and altered. Factory farms have a bad impact on health, as do these silk worm farms. Why!? Because, anytime you kill large amounts of a species and begin to breed them on large scales, the health of the species declines, and the natural balance that once existed vanishes. Not to mention, if it is a living creature, it does feel pain. Period. Please consider these things when you spend money. Think about the practices your dollar supports.

  9. I am looking for a hair vitamin. Please recommend. Some claim to stimulate growth, shine, etc.
    Please advise.

  10. Would you recommend buying homemade shampoo bars from sellers on etsy that use essential oils and baking soda, etc? Also — there are tons of blogs discussing washing hair with baking soda/water mixture and rinsing with raw apple cider vinegar/water mixture.

    1. DONT use baking soda mixed with anything, i did that mixed it with my conditioner i have very silver and white hair, i put it on and i had a little brown underneath my hair that dident turn silver, i put it on and noticed my hands turning a copper color i rinsed it off as fast as i could, my hair is ruined all my silver and white now has a brown tint all over it , i cant get it out. i should have known better because i use baking soda and vineger to remove stains from my oven, and to unblock drains, when the two are put together it explodes lightly, so why would i put it on my hair? i thought its all natural but big mistake that i have to look at everyday..

  11. I have worked with hair products as a stylist for 30 years. I have use a;; expensive to inexpensive products! After using the Shielo Sealing Mist on my clients for the last 2 years – I noticed that it was also healing their split ends. Even on really short or really long styles. Besides the fact that it smells great, my clients hair soft and alot easier to comb through.

  12. Do you use a filter for your shower water? Fluoride has also been linked to Alzheimer’s and I worry about all the chemicals in the water soaking into my skin.

    1. Arbonne is far from natural. Check out their ingredients lists and you’ll see, though it can be hard sometimes to find a full ingredient list online.

  13. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Morrocco Method products. They are raw, vegan, wild-crafted, and organic! They rate 0 on the EWG site…AWESOME! Been using for about 3-4 months now. There was definitely a transition period but now my hair is better than ever!

    1. I just ordered my first sampling of Morrocco Method. I am really excited to start using their raw, vegan hair care products!

  14. Andalou Naturals is a fabulous option…for skin care and hair care. They have great ratings on the skindeep website
    The best, readily available option that is lovely to use too!

  15. How do you feel/have you heard about Acure, Andalou Naturals or MyChelle products?

  16. Please make sure whichever cosmetic product you use is verifiable sustainable, especially if there is palm oil. Rainforests and indigenous cultural groups are adversely effected: being destroyed at alarming rates due to increased demands for palm oil.

  17. Vani, I’d love to know what you think of Beautycounter products! I sell them and every product has an EWG of 2 or less! We have a kids line too, and lip sheers, sunscreen, etc. There are no mystery “ingredients” or secret “fragrances”…every ingredient is listed!

  18. FYI, Giovanni does use synthetic fragrance and phenoxyethanol in some of their products. Two things on my “NO” list. For those asking about Arbonne, they are not a natural brand. If you can find full ingredient lists for their products you’ll be able to see it, they aren’t very forthcoming with that info though. The most natural shampoos are castile soap based ones like Bubble & Bee Organic, Wild Willow Pure Olive Foaming Soap & Shampoo, etc. If you are like me though and want something cleaner, but not soap based, I like MiEssence, O-Hair and Flourish the best. They are listed in order of the cleanest ingredient wise being first. Besides synthetic fragrance (sometimes listed as parfum) and phenoxyethanol, some other ingredients to avoid in shampoo are: optiphen, germall/germaben, sodium lauryl/laureth sulfates, cocamidopropyl betaine, japanese honeysuckle, dimethicone or other “cones”, parabens, methylisothiazolinone, and sodium hydroxymethylglycinate.

  19. I love the Giovanni products – I use the Avocado and Olive Oil shampoo and leave-in conditioner and they leave my hair healthy, shiny and supple. 🙂

  20. I am looking for styling products. My hair is very curly, thick, and long (and frizzy without product). Does anyone have any recommendations for curl gel, cream, styling spray etc? Or a combination that works well with curly hair? Thanks!

  21. I love Acure products. I also like Nature’s Gate and John Masters, but Acure is a reasonable price and very clean. I use John Masters lotion for my face…it’s fast-absorbing and very light.

  22. Real Purity products are great! I have used most of them and the shampoo and conditioner work really well. They are organic and natural and also give free samples of the products! Check them out!

  23. Hi!

    I would like to know if anyone know if any of these products are available in a store in Germany.

  24. Natural products can even be found at Target! I go to the baby section for sunscreens and cleansers from California Baby, and also use a brand called Shea Moisture that is sold there. It’s for ethnic hair, so I’m not sure if it’s available in all areas, but everything they sell is made from yummy ingredients like shea butter, coconut and argon oils, etc. Everything smells wonderful.

    I am also a fan of Mojo Spa (Chicago) and online at

    All the above brands are very reasonably priced.

  25. Thank you for all your research Food Babe! Are Andalou products in the “safe” cateory?

  26. I’ve been using Ava Anderson Non Toxic products since the beginning of the new year and I’ve been happy with the results. The shampoo and conditioner are fantastic, hair is softer, shiner. I’ve been so happy with the results with no only a truely organic shampoo, but all the fabulous organic cosmetics, household cleaners, baby wash, diaper cream, and shampoo and deodorizer for our pets. Love Ava Anderson http://www.Ava

  27. Just learned about you and I am so excited to connect and learn from the Food Babe!
    I want to know about Biotin. I’ve been trying to research this derivative of vitamin B, but I am left with a lot of questions. I think it is the gelatin in it that does most of the work. But is that healthy for the body? I remember my mom taking gelatin to help her weak nails. I also remember taking it myself when I was younger, but it seemed to add to my weight. What can you tell me? I know it is supposed to help your nails, hair and skin. I do desperately need help. I will appreciate any knowledgable thoughts!
    Thanks so much!

  28. Is there actually a hair product out there that would stimulate hair growth/thicken hair even though someone is genetically dispositioned to thinner hair as they grow older?

  29. Hi Food Babe! After reading your book (loved it!!!!!!) I’m more concerned than ever about avoiding dangerous chemicals! (“No chemicals ever!” is my new fave motto) That’s why I love all your suggestions, like the ones on this page. Keep up the good work!

  30. Hi Food Babe,
    Do you know if Karen’s Naturals Organic SCS Jojoba Shampoo with ingredients purified water, organic aloe vera, sodium coco-sulfate, organic jojoba oil, xanthan gum and cosmocil is good? Are any of these ingredients not safe? Please let me know.

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