Influencers starting brands is a common phenomenon these days, and while I totally support women making money moves and being their own boss (heck it’s my dream too!), I was sorely disappointed with gisou. Started by mega fashion blogger, Negin Mirsalehi, Gisou is a haircare line featuring natural honey from her family’s business, the Mirsalehi bee garden, as the key ingredient. Gisou advertises itself as a blend of minerals, vitamins, amino acids and anti-oxidants formulated to rebuild and repair the hair from the core. While I don’t pay too much attention to the continuous launch of new conventional brands, gisou’s beautiful packaging and design caught my eye. I thought it might have a natural focus since it boasts honey and being sulfate-free, but looking past its flawless exterior, I was sorely disappointed by the ingredients.
For a steep $84 price tag, gisou sure has a lot of terrible ingredients. The first ingredients of gisou’s Honey Infused Hair Oil are silicones: Dimethiconol & Cyclopentasiloxane. Cyclopentasiloxane is a cheap alternative to organic compounds like vegetable glycerin and acts to lubricate & offer a temporary shine. But those aren’t the worst offenders – they’re simply to keep production costs low & profits sky high. Below I’m breaking down some of its worst ingredients:
BUTYLPHENYL METHYLPROPIONAL (also known as LILIAL) functions as a fragrance & masking ingredient, is linked to possible bioaccumulation, organ system toxicity, endocrine disruption, allergies, and contact dermatitis.
COUMARIN is a synthetically produced fragrance that gives perfumes, shower gels, lotions and deodorants a tangy scent of lavender or moss. It can damage the liver of particularly sensitive individuals & in animal experiments high concentrations of the substance have triggered cancer. No coumarin should be used in cosmetic products for infants and toddlers. Just by using products containing coumarin, we may be exceeding the tolerable daily intake (TDI) just by using cosmetics.
BHT (synthetic antioxidants used as a preservative) is classified as a possible human carcinogen by The International Agency for Research on Cancer & the European Commission on Endocrine Disruption has also listed BHA as a Category 1 priority substance based on evidence that it interferes with hormone function. It has been shown to cause liver, thyroid and kidney problems in rats & mice with long-term exposure and can act as a tumor promoter.
CI 26100, which can also be listed as D&c Red No. 17, Solvent Red 23, and Red 17 (CI 26100), is a danger to human health and was added to the List of Toxic Substances by Canada’s government in 2017. When the chemical bonds of CI 26100 break, it releases a classified carcinogen called 4-aminoazobenzene.
It also contains CI 47000 Yellow 11, which is part of Environmental Working Group’s Unacceptable List for Personal Care products, to give this product its beautiful hue. It’s rated slightly lower in toxicity than CI 26100, but it may be toxic to the liver and upper respiratory tract. and multiple exposure may be damaging to organs.
The Honey-Infused Hair Oil’s younger baby sister Honey-Infused Hair Perfume contains many of the same ingredients in the hair oil, and lists Benzophenone-4 (shown to lead to several kinds of tumors) and other chemical colorants in its ingredient list. Benzophone-4 is often used as a photoprotectant to extend product shelf life and to protect the color in products. It is linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, developmental and reproductive toxicity, organ system toxicity, irritation, and is toxic to aquatic organisms. Though there isn’t sufficient evidence to classify it as a known human endocrine disruptor, the European Food Safety Authority classifies benzophenone as a known toxicant because it can cause liver hypertrophy in rats even at low doses.
And of course, on top of all that, fragrance which can be a mixture of up to 4000 endocrine-disrupting chemicals. The Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, for instance, tested the product Summer’s Eve Freshening Spray & they discovered several toxic chemicals used to make up the product’s scent, including DEHP — a widely known phthalate linked to reproductive and developmental harm, & banned in Europe. DEHP was not listed on the label.
The problem with these products is you’re not only dousing yourself in harmful ingredients that have long term health implications, but you’re also only temporarily making your hair look healthy and making it worse in the long run. Even worse if you’re causing product build up and not properly clarifying your hair. If you’re looking for a healthy organic hair oil that will actually nourish your hair from root to strand, look into these better options that have high-nutrient ingredients for half the price.
After using Evolvh products for years I’m finally getting around to documenting my thoughts on the world wide web. A luxury natural haircare brand based out of the Bay area, Evolvh has certainly evolved a lot over the years with many new additions to their expanding line. What I appreciate about Evolvh is that instead of using ingredients that simply coat the hair to make it “look” healthy, they use ingredients that are backed by science to meet the molecular needs of strands at their very core. They are also a “no nasties” committed brand that is:
Fabian Lliguin, a renowned hairstylist and colorist in New York City was visiting the Amazon rainforest as an environmentalist, educating indigenous people about their land rights and human rights when he realized he was surrounded by women with fantastically long, lustrous hair that cascaded past their waists. For centuries the members of the tribe, who live deep within the rainforest, had relied on Rahua oil to nourish their hair and skin. He took a bottle that he was gifted back home to NYC and used it on his clients only to be amazed by the transformative results. Rahua oil was -and is- produced by the Quechua-Shuar tribe in the same complex, ritualistic, and sustainable fashion it has been for generations. In 2008 Fabian and his wife launched Rahua together. Today, more than 500 families from the Quechua-Shuar, Achuar, and neighboring tribes work with Fabian and Anna to cultivate the rainforest grown ingredients used in the Rahua hair care and body care collections.
This bottle is made with one main ingredient – 100% pure handmade Rahua oil. It’s a luxurious, concentrated hair and scalp treatment that delivers better results than your run-of-the-mill hair oil. Sustainably harvested in the Amazon rainforest, the oil is works to revitalize and strengthen weak, damaged strands and leave hair healthy with its infusion of active antioxidants, antibacterials, and microcirculatory properties working together to balance and restore the scalp. The super-fine molecules in the oil push color pigmentation deep into the hair shaft, greatly extending color endurance. It has a little bit of Palo Santo oil to give it its woodsy fragrance.
I’ve used this as both a leave-in treatment and defrizzer as well as a scalp treatment (both overnight and in for a few hours with steam). It impressed me across all uses. This is by far the driest hair oil I have tried, meaning that it does not weigh hair down or make it look greasy. Instead, it absorbs instantly and makes your hair shine as if you sprayed on the best conventional shine spray on the market. I used to be obsessed with the Frederic Fekkai shine spray- this oil is just as good if not better. My preferred method of using the Elixir is as a scalp treatment because this is where my hair needs the most nourishment to truly be healthy (rather than a fake glow) and because each drop of this oil is precious and pricey. As you all know by now I battle frizzy and tragically damaged hair from years of balayage and sometimes overfrying. I’ve always done regular oil treatments but this oil is on a different level. I would not be able to allow myself to purchase this unless during a major sale, but it is worth it and if you can make it go a long way, even more so.
This kit helps to loosen and remove synthetic product build up and environmental residue while infusing hair and scalp with much healthier plant based molecules. It comes with enough product for 2 uses. There are 2 jars each of Step 1, which is a cream detoxifying base, and 2 vials of Step 2, an oil blend of: sunflower, rahua, jojoba, argan ,sacha inchi, buriti fruit and palo santo. You mix Step 1 and Step 2 together, apply to wet or dry hair (I did on dry both times) for 20 to 30 minutes, then shampoo and condition as usual. The detoxifying base is made of Aloe, Green Tea Leaf, Molasses, Colza oil, Rosemary Leaf, Raspberry Leaf, Rahua oil, and Shea Butter.
The cost of this product is nearly a hundred, making each use about $50. So you betcha I put in each use for well over the recommended time. The first time I left it in for 1 to 2 hours and also applied a warm towel continuously for about 20 minutes to let it seep into the hair follicles. Note that I applied most of the product to the scalp. The results from the first use was in a word, transformative. Not because these are the marketing words used on their website, but because I saw that it had visibly transformed my hair. My hair had dried naturally looking practically like it does after a major deep conditioning and blowout at a hair salon – incredibly light as feather, bouncy, soft and super shiny. Many of you saw these results in my stories, and if you missed it, they are saved under the Highlight “HAIR DETOX.” For 100% natural and organic ingredients, I thought yes this is the holy grail treatment. And not only does it condition and renew, but it detoxes hair from all the environmental pollutants and synthetic buildup that I’m sure has been plaguing my hair since I was born.
BUT, and there is a but, the 2nd time I used it I wasn’t impressed. It could be because I used it a different way- as an overnight mask. If I had done this both times I would definitely not be recommending this but the first time I near fell off my chair from the results. So moral of the story is, it’s better to leave the Detox Kit in max a few hours with steaming than to leave it in overnight as the results are not compounded. But I believe this product is totally worth the purchase and have resolved to get it during Black Friday to use again when the seasons change.
i n t e r v i e w w i t h f a b i a n & a n n a o f r a h u a
In honor of Earth Month I interviewed Fabian and Anna of Rahua on what the company is doing to help the plant.
– What is Rahua’s current carbon footprint?
Through Rahua® by Amazon Beauty®, Inc.’s environmental work with Ecoagents, the nonprofit organization created to defend and protect the untouched natural areas of the world from damage, pollution and further destruction, with a special focus on the Amazon Rainforest, we have been able to preserve 37,500 hectors of pristine and biodiverse tribal lands deep in the Amazon for perpetuity. Ultimately, producing oxygen and offsetting the carbon footprint for every single one of our customers, retail partners and more. We are proud to say we are beyond carbon neutral and generate oxygen surplus. Beauty is Power!
– How does Rahua strive to be a greener company?
Rahua® by Amazon Beauty®, Inc. is a green beauty company committed to sustainability in so many aspects. First and foremost, our formulas are created with rainforest grown, organic, plant-derived ingredients hand-harvested by the indigenous Amazonian tribes from self-sustain forests which help them sustain ancient traditions and grow their local economies. Rahua® promises to never harvest non-regenerative rainforest ingredients. Our ingredients are “Symbiotic®,” meaning they are grown wild (not farmed) and the makers are paid above fair trade.
The plastic package we use is PET #1 which is 100% recyclable, recycled worldwide and reused to make everything from park benches, designer carpets, clothing and lots more. Our potent plant-derived, organic ingredients create high-performance, concentrated formulas which require less usage than synthetic formulas. Less consumption reduces package use dramatically. In collaboration with our environmental group, Ecoagents, Rahua created the Pink Flamingos Project, a continuous environmental clean-up effort working with locals to clean natural habitat areas of the pink flamingos and other endemic species in the Galapagos Islands where trash washes ashore from garbage buildup in the ocean.
– Does Rahua have any sustainability goals it’s working towards?
Water conservation is extremely important to our planet. Water is the source of all life and we’re talking about our precious waterways and spreading the word that we all remember to care for this pure, sacred substance. We created Rahua to help keep our waters clean. When Rahua formulas wash down the drain, the plant-powered ingredients absorb into our waters and become nutrients for all types of life. We use natural and organic ingredients because we care deeply for our planet’s health, and for our clients. We encourage everyone to conserve water as much as possible and choose the right products that won’t harm our water systems.
– What are the toughest challenges in innovating to be greener?
To be a true green company, you must count your success by how much contamination you remove from the environment per each bottle that you put out there (sell). The process of incorporating the most up to date organic, clean and natural ingredients in your products, including registrations tests, documentations, certificates, etc. and then explaining to your clients why this new version of their favorite product is better than the previous good one that they are used to, is a challenge.
– Any new product launches you can tell us about?
Our most recent product launch is Rahua Palo Santo Oil Perfume. Rahua® was the first hair care company to incorporate this natural oil into the brand’s hair and body care products as a natural preservation, along with its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties as well as its captivating, beautiful scent. It has become a cult favorite and Rahua signature scent.
Palo Santo has incredible benefits and for centuries the people of the Andes have been using this compelling form of tree medicine for spiritual purification, healing, energy or cleansing. Along with shamans and saints, it is believed that many who seek a stronger spiritual connection with the world use Palo Santo to protect, heal, and experience a feeling of well-being. Our Palo Santo oil is artisanal, made through traditional processes. Rahua® only uses naturally fallen, weather-aged wood and does not harvest live trees. Above and beyond preserving existing trees, we work with local communities to plant Palo Santo seedlings and balance the loss population over-harvested in other areas.
Our Palo Santo Oil is artisanal, made through traditional processes. Rahua® only uses naturally fallen, weather-aged wood and does not harvest live trees. Above and beyond preserving existing trees, we work with local communities to plant Palo Santo seedlings and balance the loss population over-harvested in other areas.
Rahua has now made this powerful, natural fragrance available in a perfect, purse size oil perfume. The fresh, sophisticated earthy scent, with sweet notes of citrus and gardenia enfleurage, is created with the highest quality, pure plant-derived essential oils. Housed in an elegant, sleek rectangular glass with a rollerball application, this energizing and uplifting scent cleanses “mala energía” (bad energy) and promotes positive thinking. It can be gently applied on pulse points throughout the day to bring positive energy to your wellness routine.
Check out their Earth Month video “Green Utopia” here.
This post was kindly sponsored by Triesta Organics, whose funding will help with running OBL CLUB, a product testing platform for organic beauty lovers.
Triesta Organics is a brand new haircare line that’s 100% Organic, Vegan, Cruelty-Free, Non-GMO & Gluten-free & features a Clarifying Treatment, Shampoo, Conditioner & Styling Gel – and today you’ll be able to try out the entire full-sized set (value $110) for FREE! (US only).
I’ve been using this set for about 7 weeks now and wanted to wait a little longer before writing my thoughts but since this special offer is for a very limited time, here goes..
I really appreciate that the line has a Clarifying Treatment which works to remove build up from styling products, lift away mineral deposits from hard water, and the chlorine and other chemicals that stick to hair from swimming pools. It’s like a detox treatment for your hair & scalp and is designed to clean more thoroughly than a shampoo. It’s also great as a pre- hair mask step (think of how it’s essential to exfoliate your skin before doing a face mask & exfoliate in general), helps prevent blonde hair from turning brassy and helps jumpstart your hair regimen when nothing seems to be working. As a skincare fanatic it’s easy for me to neglect my hair which actually needs a lot of help since I do a lot of balayage, I do believe that haircare needs to be switched up often because hair just like your skin adapts to the products you’re using and you see less benefits over time. So onto how I use the clarifying treatment – I apply a dime sized amount to my fingers and massage through my scalp and hair for a few minutes before rinsing it out. For me, it does lather well.
This shampoo reminds me of Josh Rosebrook’s shampoo in terms of texture and consistency. It’s an aloe vera -based formula (promotes hair growth, rejuvenates the hair follicles & reduces thinning) with African Black Soap (natural source of vitamins A & E), evening primrose and maracuja (absorbs moisture & works with natural proteins to prevent hair breakage and stimulate healthy hair growth). Then it also contains Argan, Jojoba & Babassu whic are all rich in vitamins E and C, Omegas 3 and 9. This shampoo lathers extremely well for me, has a fresh crisp citrus scent & does its job of cleaning my hair. I haven’t had any issues of dandruff developing either.
The conditioner is lightweight and does a decent job of conditioning my hair & leaving it soft and manageable. I’m not going to say it transforms my hair – their Hair Conditioning Masque has a more dramatic effect on my hair- but as a basic conditioner to alternate between conditioning & masks I can recommend it. It contains Sustainable palm oil extract and vinegar to remove dirt and oil from hair while replenishing it with vitamin E and vitamin A, Gum Arabic and Guar Gum to provide calcium & prevent hair breakage and oils to nourish.
I don’t blow dry my hair ever, but this product can also be used as a heat protectant so I apply just a tiny dime sized amount through the ends of my hair before I go in with my curling iron. It’s a lightweight bouncy clear gel that also has a subtle citrus scent. It comes in a gigantic bottle – the same size as the rest of the products from the collection – which I feel is way too much product.
Vitamin infused *aloe gel; *argan oil; oils of: *jojoba, *apricot, *grapeseed, *meadowfoam, *hempseed and *evening primrose; herbal infusion of: *rosemary, *alfalfa, *nettles, *burdock root, *calendula, *linden, *catnip, *ginseng, *peppermint, *chamomile, *rose hips, *dandelion and *yucca; plant sourced, kosher and vegan potassium sorbate; organic essential oils of: lavender, rose and pine needle.
A small idea turned into a goal and a vision in the span of 1 week and we could not be more excited. We are now accepting volunteer product testers to test green beauty products for free in exchange for a review!
So how did this initial idea come about? I was actually chatting with my friend in LA and complaining about the fact that I don’t write enough blog posts for organicbeautylover. She joked that I should have ghost writers for the blog which made me think of ghost testers. She then suggested volunteer testers. I owe the start of all this to a conversation with my friend complaining about life & everything else. Cheers to many more!