Why synthetic hair products are cheaper - it's very simple!

September 30, 2017

Why synthetic hair products are cheaper - it's very simple!

The mainstream cosmetic industry has one goal in mind: that is to keep their costs as low as possible in order to gain the highest possible profit margin. This is what drives them to synthetic based formulations.

Consider that a naturally-derived ingredient might cost £50 per kilo, while its synthetic counterpart might cost as little as £5 per kilo. This shouldn’t come as a surprise because natural ingredients need to be harvested, pressed, extracted, heated, processed, etc. and all of this takes time and effort, while lab synthesis can be far more cost effective and less time consuming.

Greenwashing is rife in the cosmetic industry today in general with little transparency about ingredients and philosophy. Mainstream haircare products contain long lists of ingredients, touting the presence of 'natural' ingredients. Mainstream haircare manufacturers also keep their costs low by using a lesser percentage of natural ingredients, or by increasing the bulking or filler agents such as water. While many products today claim to be made with the presence of natural ingredients, the reality is that the overwhelming majority of haircare products are formulated with the opposite, promoted alongside selective 'free from' claims i.e. only a certain range or product is free from a particular product, making it difficult for the consumer to find full transparency. 

Studies reveal that textured haircare products contain more hazardous ingredients and substances compared to their counterparts, with less safer options being available for textured haired women. A report by the Environmental Working Group notes that ''although “natural” hair products presumably have fewer toxic ingredients than traditional, many of these products still contain harmful ingredients.''

As natural haircare formulators, we believe in the power of not just natural formulas, but potent formulas that work in synergy with the natural chemistry of the scalp. Ingredients are the driving force behind products with real therapeutic benefits. This is the kind of relationship that we believe in at Flora & Curl: potent natural formulations with honest intentions to produce safe products that are truly effective and high in quality. 

Mineral oil and synthetic fragrances are good examples of ingredients that offer virtually nothing in terms of therapeutic benefits and is widely used by the mainstream industry. Mineral oil contains no active compounds, works as a cheap moisturizing and effective scalp occlusive agent with high stability against oxygen, water and microbial degradation. 

Conventional and mainstream cosmetics apply plant extracts and oils to as low a concentration as possible. In addition, ready-made extracts can be diluted with other additives. In mainstream products plant extracts are often mixed with mineral oil derivatives, paraffin and PEG-derivatives. Petrolatum or mineral oil or liquid paraffin: unlike the beauty that radiates from golden, green and yellow plant oils, mineral oil is a colourless and odorless liquid. It is a by-product of crude oil. It is widely used in mainstream haircare, mainly because it's a cheap ingredient and it has an occlusive and shiny effect on the hair. On skin, it hinders normal skin respiration/transpiration by keeping oxygen out and clogging the pores. More importantly, it doesn't have any nourishing or healing effect on the hair, because it only lays on the surface of the shaft and prevents absorption. This ingredient belongs in your engine, not on your hair. There is a huge difference between mineral oils created in a lab versus plant derived oils that nature provides like the ones we use in our plant powered formulas.

Much like our skin, our scalp absorbs much of what we put into it, which is why it is important to look at the labels of the products you use. At Flora & Curl, our love for using real ingredients (such as botanically derived scents, potent natural ingredients, clean extracts and high-quality, unrefined natural oils and butters) to create haircare formulations that are not driven by cost or outdated views on what a haircare product should look and feel like, is what sets artisan haircare makers apart. Our natural hair deserves care the way nature intended.




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