Should I fear Parabens?

The quick answer: no

For the long answer: I quote the American Cancer Society and the summary is no too.

“Parabens are chemicals used as preservatives and as food additives. They can be found in many types of make-up (like lipstick, mascara, concealer, and foundation) and skin care products (like lotion, shaving products, and sunscreen). Parabens can be absorbed through the skin.

Intake of parabens is a possible concern because studies have shown that parabens have weak estrogen-like properties. Estrogen is a female hormone known to cause breast cells (both normal and cancerous) to grow and divide…

In 2004, a small study found traces of parabens in some samples of breast cancer tumors…there are some points about the study findings:

They looked only for the presence of parabens in breast cancer samples, it did not show that parabens caused or contributed to breast cancer development in these cases – it only showed that they were there. What this meant is not yet clear.

…parabens have weak estrogen-like properties, the estrogens that are made in the body are many times stronger…natural estrogens (or hormone replacement) are much more likely to play a role in breast cancer development.

This study did not contain any information to help find the source of the parabens found in the breast tissue – it’s not clear if they might have come from antiperspirants or from some other source.

Most people are exposed to parabens…studies have found some form of parabens in the urine in up to 99% of people in the US…so far, studies have not shown any direct link between parabens and any health problems, including breast cancer…many other compounds in the environment that mimic naturally produced estrogen”

A few Myths & Facts about Parabens

Myth: Parabens cause cancer.

Fact: Parabens have been extensively studied to address this claim and have been deemed safe.

Myth: Parabens are harmful to skin & hair.

Fact: Some people are allergic to parabens & fragances in cosmetics therefore those who are sensitive will have a negative reaction and should avoid them. It is important to visit your doctor if you have any skin concerns, a physician is the most qualified person to help you with your skin concerns.

Myth: Parabens are bad for the environment or “nasty” beauty.

Fact: In a study published in 2015 parabens were found in Marine life, but there seemed to be no negative effects on the study subjects. The significance of this finding is yet to be determined, and probably more studies will be conducted in the future. As of today no environmental damage can be attributed to parabens, partly because what is known about this compound is that it degrades quite fast so it does not seem to accumulate.

What is the use of parabens, anyways?

Parabens are preservatives and preservatives are important to keep our personal care products free of contamination by bacterias or other harmful agents and extend their shelf life, they are not active ingredients but more of an agent necessary to maintain the integrity of a product from it’s manufacturing process until the moment it reaches the consumer and while it is being used by said consumer, basically all of us.

Preservatives are not a bad thing, fear mongering is.

Let me know if you have any questions and if you would like to see more posts like this one in the comments section or find me on IG: The Hair Lab

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Summer Holiday Haircare tips

  1. Always wear a sunscreen for your hair & skin.
  2. Always saturate the hair before swimming.
  3. Head scarfs & Hats are a must, they protect the hair from the aggression of the environment and look super cute.
  4. Do not be afraid of silicones, they do help protect your hair just make sure to remove them well after the holiday is over.
  5. Co-wash if you intend to use the pool or swim at the beach for several days in a row.
  6. Keep at hand a spray bottle with either water only or water mixed with your fave conditioner.
  7. Take a travel kit with a few curl essentials either repack in small travel bottles your holy grails or buy one with a full set of products. I will try to review my favorite travel kit on a future blog post.

There are many ways to saturate the hair before swimming

1. Water only: this is particularly useful when using public pools where conditioner might not be allowed and/or as a courtesy to fellow swimmers.
2. Apply deep conditioner before swimming or any kind of conditioner for that matter just let it get absorbed into the hair and coat it very well. I like Aussie hair 3 minute reconstructor because it’s a good one for on the go.
3. Seal with oil before swimming so that way you reduce the amount of external agents that can enter the hair shaft, you can saturate with water 1st and then seal or just seal with oil if you like (I don’t do this as I use products with silicones that have a similar function but I think it is not a bad idea)

After Sun Hair Care

Apply a good conditioner right after swimming even if you don’t wash or co-wash your hair right after your swim, this step will prevent your hair from drying out more until the time that you do so and at the beach it would give you a very nice “summery look” and maintaining hydration while you enjoy the sunny days by the pool or at the beach.

Once back home

Clarify with a deep cleansing shampoo. I like kinky curly come clean and if this step is not enough you can also use clay masks such as bentonite clay to remove any traces of product and keep your scalp clean and free from build up.
Deep condition as soon as you get back home, and more frequently, 2 times a week would be ideal; your curls will thank you for that.
Consider doing a protein treatment if your curls are still feeling off balance after deeply cleansing & frequent deep conditioning.

It seems like a lot to do but you can pick & choose how to protect your hair, this is just a collection of things I have found useful and I hope they can help you too.

Big big big hair Curly Hair Routine

About the wash

Prepoo/Detangle with a conditioner with good slip, I used L’oreal Botanicals Fresh Care Camelina.
Massage scalp with a shampoo brush.
Alfa Parf Volumizing shampoo, focusing on the roots and avoiding piling up the hair on top of the head.
Alfa Parf Volumizing conditioner for about 3 minutes
Then applied more conditioner while still in the shower, using the squish to condish method, in which you take soaking wet hair and scrunch in conditioner without rinsing it out so it works like a leave in conditioner, you should hear a squish-squish squishy sound. The idea behind this is that the water provides the hydration pulling the conditioner along with it into the hair fibres.

Styling wet in the shower

Without removing the excess water I applied all my styling products with my head flipped upside down.
First use a primer like condition & sculpt from Jane Carter Solution, which helps to set your curls but without weighing them down; something very important when going for really big hair.
Then I applied a small amount of Jane Carter solution curl defining cream specially in the lower layers and scrunched very well with my hands.
This seems a bit complicated but honestly it was quite fast, the whole process took no longer than 15 minutes.

Drying

I carefully scrunched some more with a soft tshirt, this removes excess product and water, you can also use a microfiber towel; just make sure it is a soft fabric as this step can encourage too much frizz, this big hair routine takes advantage of frizz but it also needs some curl definition to work, at least for me.

I set my curls using a hair dryer with a Remington diffuser attachment but any conventional one should work to be honest.

Start with low heat alternating with cool shot, then you can either use a devafuser attachment to lift the roots using cool mode or skip this step and continue using your conventional attachment at medium heat alternating with cool, dry until about 60% dry without any attachment only medium heat.

Tips & tricks

At about 60% dry I like to spray a volumizing mist like Shea Moisture yucca & baobab Volumizing Moisture Mist for fine thin hair focusing on the roots, I find that if I use a Volumizing mist, I can really give that extra hold to my hair strands so they go up and stay up.

I continue drying the roots using my deva fuser attachment low speed/low heat until 90% dry and then finish off by removing all diffusers and drying at medium heat/low speed and a final with a cool blast all over.

About the Volume

Once the hair is 100% dry you can use a hair pik to increase the volume of the top layer, you can encourage frizz if you do it vigorously (this is how I do it) or preserve the curls if you go more delicately, just make sure it is 100% dry or you wont be able to control the desired texture.

I also use my fingers to fluff some more. I used a pea size amount of nourish & shine to not frizz to much while fluffing, but any lightweight oil or butter is fine.

My hair type

I have high density, fine-medium thickness, low porosity hair and it is quite frizz prone so this routine also allows to take advantage of the frizz for a lot of volume while still retaining some curl definition.

The haircut

FYI: I have a layered cut with short layers on top to be able to create a voluminous final result and long layers in the back.

….And that’s it big hair for short-medium length hair in less than an hour!
If you have any questions or comments please let me know, I’d like to hear from you. I preferred to take a video so you could see the texture but for more pictures & routines feel free to visit my IG: The Hair Lab PS. I did not manage to take many pictures that day so I included a texture snapchat vid…and the only selfie I could find. I will write another post using the same routine with different products where I did take a proper selfie 🙂 let me know what you think of this routine!