Thursday, February 28, 2013

Scientists And Cosmetics


I am tired of reading false information about cosmetic products and ingredients on the Internet and elsewhere. Although I am not a scientist, I am very careful with what I write about cosmetic products and ingredients. When I refer to specific scientific research studies and articles, I also provide them and more information for you to access and read, and you can verify the information I have written.  

There are scientists online who are not careful with what they write about cosmetics and ingredients, or the sources used. I have checked out references referred to but not made accessible although they are online in most cases, only to find that what has been written is not actually what has been stated in the scientific study, or a quote has been taken out of context. This has happened numerous times. After searching for details about these scientists, I learned that they are not cosmetic chemists or formulators and I was left even more disappointed.  

There are many scientific disciplines and areas of research. I prefer to read what is said on the topics by cosmetic chemists and sources like the Mayo Clinic, as well as what is written in scientific research information itself. Cosmetic chemists know how ingredients are developed and have access to information on whether they are all natural. They also have access to the latest information on the safety and effectiveness of both the oldest and newest ingredients, and can write about it all in understandable, not esoteric detail. There are reputable and well referenced articles written by cosmetic chemists on the Internet. They are included as references here.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

What You Will Not Find In This Blog


This blog is not sponsored.

I was asked in an email about information on wholesale cosmetics available through this blog. 

The advertising of products on and the sponsorship of a blog or website can be tricky, not because one is obvious and the other should be declared. For me, it would be about what I believe in and know. I have worked in advertising. You do not upset a client even though you would only recommend a limited number of their products. 


Despite disclaimers about honesty, if someone receives free goods or money and reviews a product, I am skeptical of the review if it is all positive. If the brand also pays for advertising on the same blog or website, I am even more skeptical of the review. Can I use extra money? Of course but not by making certain compromises.

There are a number of brand options for most types of products. Well-made and formulated inexpensive cosmetic products can work equally well and often much better, than expensive ones. This blog is about innovative approaches to hair and skin care and reputable information, not increasing the hype and false information which have become prevalent about cosmetic products and ingredients.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Scalp Issues And Hair Care Tips


I continue to get email questions regarding hair care and scalp issues.

Here are some tips.

1. If you have a serious scalp issue of any kind have it checked out by a qualified medical doctor, or dermatologist. Doing so is to eliminate or treat an underlying medical condition and determine whether your scalp condition requires medical treatment.

2. Do not use too much product to clean your hair and scalp. One lather with any cleansing product is usually sufficient to clean both.

3. Do not clarify your hair too often. Clarifying products, like baking soda at the right strength, or a commercial shampoo are strong cleansing products and can be harsh and drying if overused. While baking soda or sodium bicarbonate has been shown to have antibacterial properties, high concentrations of it used for cleansing skin or hair are very drying.

4. Sulfate-free shampoos can be strong cleansing products too. Avoid multiple cleansers in a shampoo if you want a milder one to use regularly. Read the label to see if it is formulated to deep clean, if there is only one cleanser.

5. Vegetable oils and butters (because of their fatty acids) may make scalp issues or conditions worse. See this blog postthis one, and this one.

6. Do wash your scalp and hair often enough with cleansing products like shampoo, soap or washing herbs, to remove bacteria that can cause scalp issues. "Often enough" is determined by your scalp's response to extended time not washing with any of them.

7. Vinegar is not a clarifying product, or a scalp or hair cleansing product substitute.

8. I was asked in an email if I thought ethnic hair needs to be treated differently, than the recommendations for hair care in this blog. The answer I gave was this. It is not about hair ethnicity. It is about the condition of the hair. A product that adds moisture or to be precise, helps keep moisture in the hair and by extension can affect the scalp, will do so for any type of hair.

The key questions are for how long and how does it affect the scalp and hair otherwise? Typical ethnic hair care products tend to be filled with ingredients that cause: build-up, the hair to be greasy and heavy, or all of that. See this blog postthis one and regarding build-up causing the appearance of dandruff, this one.

Update in response to email inquires about vegetable oil use on the scalp
1. While scalp issues are present, consider avoiding vegetable oils and butters in shampoos, conditioners, treatments, styling products and as grooming aids. The same applies to emu oil because of its saturated and unsaturated fatty acids and like vegetable oils, it can become rancid.

2. You can still use coconut and argan oils as a pre-treatment, once a month or so before conventional dyeing or lightening, or the use of natural henna, to assist dye uptake. See number 3. The oil(s) do not need to be left on the hair and scalp for too long. They are removed at the end of the processes by washing out the products used.

3. It is not a good idea to dye or lighten your hair, until you have fully recovered from a scalp condition flare-up. Conventional dyes and lightening products are not recommended on their labels, to be applied to broken or irritated skin. See all cautions and directions on the labels and paper inserts. Specific warnings are government regulated.

See Also
FDA, "Cosmetic Labeling and Label Claims", updated 2014
The International Academy of Cosmetic Dermatology, "PETROLATUM, GREASE, AND ACNE"
The International Academy of Cosmetic Dermatology, "WHAT IS COSMETIC DERMATOLOGY?"
The American Shea Butter Institute, "Frequently Asked Questions", 2013
This blog post
And this research study, 2013

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Honey And Cinnamon As A Cure-All


I will be adding to this post.


While honey combined with cinnamon in a honey lightening recipe can be great, there is disturbing information on the Internet, I was sent in an email, that the combination can be a cure-all for medical applications. You should be very careful of what you read, that could prevent you from seeking or continuing with proper, qualified medical care. Research adverse effects and the dosing of any botanical from reputable sources to discuss with your qualified medical professional before self-medicating. 


National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health 

"Cinnamon", updated 2016, color and bolding added by me, 
 
"Studies done in people don’t support using cinnamon for any health condition ... Cassia cinnamon contains varying amounts of a chemical called coumarin, which might cause or worsen liver disease."

"The glycaemic outcomes of Cinnamon, a review of the experimental evidence and clinical trials", 2015

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4609100/
"inconclusive ... long-term trials ... establish ... efficacy ... safety ... cinnamon .. needed"

"The Antibacterial Activity of Australian Leptospermum Honey Correlates with Methylglyoxal Levels", 2016
"manuka honey..potential..further investigation is needed" = UNPROVEN

Added November 23. 2015, Updated June 11, 2016
(EUFIC) European Food Information Council 
"Honey" 2014
http://www.eufic.org/en/healthy-living/article/honey"honey appears to offer certain health benefits ... need for further human research data" = UNPROVEN

Added September 20, 2015

"The manuka honey scandal", 2014, bolding added by me
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/features/the-manuka-honey-scandal-9577344.html
"According to the Food Standards Agency (FSA), there is no legal definition of the "activity" or "total activity" of manuka honey ... "activity" can fade between the time of testing by producers and use by consumers.""

Added September 22, 2015

Includes manuka honey, 2014, color and bolding added by me
"Reading a New Zealand Honey Label"
https://mpi.govt.nz/exporting/food/honey-and-bee-products/resources/
"Currently, no honey producers have met ... legislative requirements to include “health claims” on honey sold as food ... claims such as “aids digestion” or “soothes sore throats” are not allowed ... Medical grade honey ... shown to be effective for topical use (use on skin) due to its anti-bacterial properties ... no scientifically substantiated evidence ... these anti-bacterial properties are effective when honey is eaten/drunk. Honey sold as food cannot carry any of these claims ... In the past, some grading systems have been based on properties associated with honey when topically applied. Such grading systems are not allowed."

Added October 11, 2015 

"Important Changes to the Definition of Medicines and Medical Devices Effective 1 July 2014", color and bolding added by me

"examples ... selected for inclusion in the table ... illustrative of product types that will change categorisation from 1 July 2014 or product types that lie close to the medicine / medical device interface ... Manuka honey dressings provided the action of the honey is not described as being an antibiotic / antibacterial

"Honey and Honey Based Products - Food Standards Exemption", 2015, color and bolding added by me

 
"The existing prohibition on therapeutic claims still applies and is not affected by this notice. As such, applications to use statements such as “Anti-bacterial”, “Non-Peroxide Activity”, “Total Peroxide Activity”, “Peroxide Activity”, “Total Activity” and “Active” will not be approved. ... This notice applies to food businesses which process honey or honey based products for export."

Added September 21, 2015 

"Honey isn’t as healthy as we think", 2015, color and bolding added by me

"researchers gave subjects daily doses of each of three sweeteners - honey, cane sugar and high-fructose corn sweetener - for two weeks at a time ... then compared measures of blood sugar, insulin, body weight, cholesterol and blood pressure in the 55 subjects ... researchers found that the three sweeteners basically have the same impacts"

The study (above) abstract, 2015, some bolding added by me
"Consumption of Honey, Sucrose, and High-Fructose Corn Syrup Produces Similar Metabolic Effects in Glucose-Tolerant and -Intolerant Individuals1,2
"Conclusions: Daily intake of 50 g carbohydrate from honey, sucrose, or HFCS55 for 14 d resulted in similar effects on measures of glycemia, lipid metabolism, and inflammation."
"Footnotes 
1 Supported by a grant from the National Honey Board and by the USDA Agricultural Research Service ... 2 Author disclosures: SK Raatz, LK Johnson, and MJ Picklo, no conflicts of interest ... funding sponsor had no role in the design of the study; in the collection, analysis, or interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript, or in the decision to publish the results."

"WHO calls on countries to reduce sugars intake among adults and children", 2015, color and bolding added by me

"new WHO guideline recommends adults and children reduce their daily intake of free sugars to less than 10% of their total energy intake ... further reduction to below 5% or ... 25 grams (6 teaspoons) per day would provide additional health benefits ... Free sugars refer to monosaccharides (such as glucose, fructose) and disaccharides (such as sucrose or table sugar) added to foods and drinks by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, and sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates.

"Apples And Bananas Dominate But Too Many Children Get Fruit From Juice", 2015, color and bolding added by me, @forbes 

“Juice is not sating and lacks the fiber and nutrition of whole fruits. Juice is primarily water with a great deal of free sugar ... is more fairly compared with soda, than the fruit it once came from.” ... “Liquid calories from juices ... shown to decrease satiety cues ... may contribute to excessive calorie intake in children,” explained Laura Gearman, a pediatric registered dietitian at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital.Excessive intakes over an extended period of time will lead to weight gain and contribute to obesity in children.

I concentrated on the epilepsy information for this blog post, as an example. Snopes disappointed me on this one.


There are cassia cinnamon cautions. This information is also in my honey lightening blog post, along with this post (That should have read "to not get too much coumarin". Cardamom safety information can be found here.)


The truth, 2013
"traditionalChinese herbal remedies known by the Japanese names saiko-keishi-to and sho-saiko-to have also been suggested for epilepsy ... supporting evidence for their use remains highly preliminary. ... Both of these combination treatments consist of bupleurum, peony root, pinellia root, cassia bark, .... but the proportions vary."

See also, a journal article that no doubt complicates it all, with conspicuously missing references for the cancer research mentioned, let alone where the dosing information came from for honey and cinnamon. 

Tabloid journalism, the source1995! Scroll down, to view the entire article. Personally, I like the demons article, not! The publication is referred to in several articles online, including Snopes but I like to see more for myself. Doing so gives me a better perspective on any source. 


There is nothing mentioned about epilepsy in the original article, which is about honey and cinnamon. The bone and stomach cancer "research" reported in the journal article is not "recent". I am not sure how reading more of the tabloid will affect those who took the article seriously. The original article is more conservatively worded than subsequent versions and regarding cancer, cautions that "patients should consult their doctors first". In defense of the tabloid, cautions are included.



Update February 16, 2013

There is nothing like a remake or rehash it seems, these days. This time, no cautions are included, the tabloid online, 2012. What about that "recent" cancer "research" is said? Yes, the old information (referred to as "recent" in the 1995 version) is repeated and it is new again or "recent" now. 

What is alarming about all of this to me is that this information is still appearing all over the Internet, often with no source credited and as if there are references for the "research" mentioned. I found no such references anywhere, not even close, to the "research" referred to on cancer. The online tabloid is still what it was in print and that is fanciful. 


Can honey or cinnamon do some of the things mentioned? Yes and No. Honey should not be fed to infants under one year of age because of the possibility of botulism, 2011. See also this information, 2013. Current information on botulism can also be found on PubMed Health. Honey has been scientifically researched and has been "validated" for some types of wound treatment and more, with manuka honey being the best choice for medicinal purposes, according to the research. However, See below at the end of this post - updated 2015, more and better research is needed for the claims made.


There are differences in honeys sold for medical applications, according to an interview with Professor Molan, 2012. More information about claims made for manuka honey, by Professor Molan can be found here, 2012 and here. Current scientific research results on cassia cinnamon and Ceylon cinnamon can be found on MedlinePlus.


My mother gave me honey and lemon juice mixed in water to drink for a sore throat, when I was a child. I am not sure it helped but it caused no harm. The honey was used as a sweetener, in my opinion but it can be soothing for such a purpose. There was more lemon juice than honey in the mix, as I recall. I used a manuka honey topically, to help heal a minor infection in one of my toes. It worked. My toe infection was not serious enough to see a doctor for and may have been self-limiting! I also used it the same way, to help heal a more serious skin infection, near one eye. It helped. However, I was taking oral antibiotics for that too, so I cannot attest to the honey working. The manuka honey I used is from New Zealand and has a UMF rating. 


Honey combined with cinnamon is not a cure for hair loss, mixed with olive oil or not. 


Significant hair loss has a number of causes and that requires seeing a doctor or dermatologist or both first, to determine what the problem may be, before self-medicating is done, that can delay needed medical treatment. Avoiding vegetable oil scalp massage may be helpful too. Hair loss can also be caused by certain medications. That is why reporting all adverse medication effects to your doctor or dermatologist is important.


I do understand how desperate and terrified people can be when there are serious medical issues. However, qualified medical care is best to be able to deal with them in their earliest stages. Their are some alternative treatments that can be used with conventional medicine. That is why consulting with a qualified medical practitioner, who is open to your questions and can give you sound opinions, based on the most current, actual medical information is important. 


Regarding propolis and its anticancer properties, that information has not been scientifically validated yet either. See propolis on MedlinePlus, for current scientific information, which is supported here, 2012 and in other recent research studies, the abstracts of which are available to view online, on PubMedSimilar abstracts can be found on PubMed, for honey, cinnamon and various other botanicals tested in cancer research. More and good quality studies are required before conclusions can be made as to the effectiveness of the choices studied, although some study results are 
promising. 


Added June 11 and 14, 2015 - See also 

"The antibacterial activity of honey and its role in treating diseases", by Professor Molan, 2012, color and bolding added by me
"Honey is effective ... in localised contact with bacteria, not after infection has penetrated into the blood-stream"

And more information on honey from the Mayo Clinic, 2015 

Bottom line regarding health claims evidence - more and better research is needed for all claims listed!

"The truth about 'miracle foods' -- from chia seeds to coconut oil", 2015, color and bolding added by me

theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2, 
"Manuka Honey ... A medical-grade version ... is used in sterile wrappings. As with most honeys it has hydrogen peroxide, which gives it its antibiotic qualities. It also has methylglyoxal, an antibacterial component, in much higher quantities than found in other honeys. Studies have suggested that manuka honey might help to ease symptoms of infections ... coughs ... not clear whether the honey is having an antimicrobial effect or whether it is just soothing like all syrups. Any of the claims for eating manuka honey, all of which have been rejected by regulators, are vague. Any health benefits must be balanced against the very high quantities of sugar compared with the very small amounts of these proposed active compounds." 

In case there is any doubt - neither honey, nor cinnamon - any honey/cinnamon - is a "cure-all", and has never been proven to be so!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Can Scalp Massage With Vegetable Oils Worsen Excessive Hair Fall Or Shedding? Possibly.


Much hype has been made about certain essential oils diluted in vegetable carrier oils, as a treatment for hair loss or to promote hair growth. Scientific research on the subject although promising is limited, or lacking.

While one hyped study indicated success with essential oils used to help treat alopecia areata, the condition can reverse without any treatment. Hypnotherapy worked best in another, somewhat questionable study, discussed in the link.

I wrote about scientific research on vegetable oils being ill advised used under certain conditions, here and in another post linked in that one.

I received emails from someone who had excessive shedding and had regularly been using vegetable oils for scalp massage and as a remedy, between hair washes. They live in a country of high climatic temperatures and humidity. One of the oils is an ayurvedic recipe in sesame and coconut oils and the other is pure coconut oil. Both oils were stored well before and after opening. There was no dandruff, or underlying medical causes for the excessive hair fall. Since this person has stopped the vegetable oil scalp massages and is using mineral oil baby oil for the moisturizing and conditioning of their hair, shedding has been significantly reduced.

Excessive shedding can be caused by a number of factors including: diet, hormone levels and stress. Scalp massage can result in more hair shedding than simple hair grooming because the scalp is manipulated, similar to the way it can be during hair washing. Such shedding is usually not excessive. In this case, scalp manipulation during massage was considered and not overly done. The scalp in question is on the dry side of normal and only a small amount of either vegetable oil was used.

There were no allergic reactions or sensitivity to the oils otherwise observed. I think that in degrading while on the scalp in the usually hot, humid climate, the vegetable oils caused the hair fall to worsen.

See Also
PubMed Health for "Alopecia areata", 2012
And this blog post

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Getting Past The Buzzwords In Cosmetic Marketing


A growing number of marketers believe that consumers need buzzwords, that we respond to and love them. In my experience, after having researched quite a few that had no meaning for me regarding cosmetics, buzzwords are simply made-up, or often misapplied.

The idea of a "detox" shampoo, for example, may stop you in the shampoo isle, which is the idea and encourage you to try the product, with you thinking "Here is something new!" Well, shampoo is shampoo in that, in spite of any ingredients you do not want being absent, or you do want being present, it is designed to clean your hair and scalp.

Fragrance? That is no reason to buy a cosmetic to me, other than ones like body spray, cologne, or perfume. If a product smells bad, that is a reason to avoid it. Buying a product based solely on it smelling wonderful? Be careful of what you wish for, unless the product can deliver on what it has been formulated to do.

When any other kind of cosmetic product is marketed mostly for its fragrance that is telling me, that the marketing team was limited by actual product performance. This is most evident in often unintentionally hilarious, theme-based but irrelevant, sometimes not properly licensed, print, TV, or online advertising. A fanciful theme cannot make up for needed results, no matter how nice a product may smell. You can find yourself "paying through the nose", when a product far less expensive can work much better.

The front of a shampoo bottle is carefully designed to pull you in visually with colours and text. The back of the bottle is usually where it gets interesting. There is more text which should tell you more specifically, how the shampoo can affect your hair. Is it deep cleansing? Is it formulated to help keep your expensive in some cases, new hair colour vibrant? Here is where you need to skip down to the real story, the ingredient list.

In spite of any product looking or sounding amazing, the ingredient lists tell you the truth, if you can read them correctly, in terms of how they actually work. Most ingredient lists today are regulated to be in descending order. Staying with shampoo, in any liquid one, the first and largest percentage ingredient is water. On some shampoo ingredient lists, the term "herbal infusion", or aloe vera juice, replaces the word water, listed first. Some shampoos do not list water at all, other than in the term "aqueous solution".

Herbal infusions in commercial cosmetics are herbal extracts in water. Aloe vera juice naturally contains water. A number of aloe vera juice vendors claim that extra water is added to aloe juice in many commercial products. Next come the cleanser(s) and with some herbal based shampoos, such an ingredient can appear in the middle of the list, which can mislead you.

That infusion or solution, with botanical ingredients often listed by Latin names in addition to, or instead of their common names, ahead of a cleanser is the water base, just drawn out. It does not mean that there is less of the cleansing ingredient(s), than would be found in another shampoo.

Multiple cleansers, some of which you may know and others that may need investigation, tell you more. If a product has multiple cleansers in it, it is highly likely that it is going to be stronger than one that has fewer of them. Many of those plant extracts are going to be coating your hair, likely causing build-up.

A basic shampoo does not necessarily have the edge on being mild. A good clarifying or extra strong shampoo has few ingredients, including cleansers. It is about the cleanser itself and the other ingredients.

The answer to this dilemma? More and more consumers are becoming product savvy. That entails reading reviews, which these days can be tainted by being bought and sold and researching ingredients, on reputable websites, like cosmeticsinfo.org. I know many people buy products in a hurry, as we are all busy these days. However, taking a bit more time to read a label and do the research can save you money and cause less frustration, like when a product does not work out to be what you had in mind.

The buzzwords? Research them too. They are often found questioned online because others have no idea what they mean either. You may often find: that a "revolutionary", or hyped natural ingredient in an expensive cosmetic product: is just a name given by a manufacturer's marketing team to an ingredient or combination of ingredients that upon investigation is nothing special, it has no safety history or history of working well, more scientific research needs to be done to duplicate previous results, or it is not all natural as claimed.

Do consumers really need or love buzzwords? No, not in my opinion. I do not need, love to read, or see nonsense about a product. Many marketers need and love buzzwords and fanciful ideas, to promote products that cannot be sold based on how well they can work. I need and love cosmetic products that are safe, work well and are not expensive. From the feedback I get through this blog, so do many other people.

There are straightforward marketing campaigns that do not circumvent a product's performance by not: concentrating mostly on its fragrance, hyping questionable ingredients natural or otherwise, or using fairy tale themes. They are unfortunately, increasingly harder to find. As consumers become more savvy about real cosmetic product performance, I have no doubt that will change and there will be more of them.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Consensus On Favorite Hair Oils, From Emails I Received


I get feedback on products used in hair care and how they are used. Here are results from the emails I received, on the top 2 favorite hair oils. Both of the following oils are natural, cost-effective and are preferred for different reasons and applications.

Coconut Oil
1. Works best on well clarified hair as a treatment (fractionated coconut oil did not work nearly as well and most contain no lauric acid for hair penetration)
2. Works best added to shampoo that does not cause build-up, after the hair has been well clarified, with no need of conditioner to follow
3. Works best for hair more frequently washed, as it cannot hold moisture in hair too long, without reapplication between washes, just like any other vegetable oil
4. Not the best detangler, or used over a lot of residue (it causes "crunchy" or dry hair) and not the oil to use when there are certain scalp conditions, like real dandruff, or in conditions of high or low humidity, or under conditions that can cause it to break down on the hair or skin (no vegetable oil is recommended under those conditions), See this post
5. Very little needs to be used as a grooming oil, or the hair can become heavy, greasy, sticky and stringy.
6. Works superbly as a pre-treatment before dyeing with a dye that contains peroxide, or lightening with peroxide alone, or bleach, to help with dye uptake and help prevent hair damage
7. Can work well  used as a pre-wash oil, or added to any shampoo as a surface oil, or used over conditioner, as a surface grooming oil
8. Although it is a honey lightening recipe booster oil, it has not been reported to lighten hair used on its own, in the applications listed above.

Cosmetic Mineral Oil (USP/BP)
1. It is the best oil for moisturizing, or keeping hair moisturized, detangling and preventing static hands down, compared to any other oil, or silicone. It can hold moisture in hair longer than other oils, silicone, natural sebum, or other detangling products, without causing build-up.
2. No need for reapplication between hair washes, if small drops of it are distributed well throughout the hair
3. It is the easiest oil to use. You do not need to use it as a pre-wash oil to prevent hair from getting too much water in it while washing. It is already on the hair coating and protecting it used post washing.
4. Can work very well used with other products, like conditioner, if too much conditioner or other product is not used, or residue present
5. It is lightweight enough as baby oil to prevent hair becoming heavy, greasy or stringy, when not too much is used. It spreads most easily to do that. It is never sticky. It is very easy to wash out. No need to clarify or use a sulfate shampoo to remove it
6. The best oil to help hair recover from any type of damage, by reducing mechanical friction, keeping needed water in hair longer than any other oil, or product and help protect hair from further abrasion, split ends and breakage
7. Can replace the need for conditioner, treatments and thermal protectants
8. Works well when there is real dandruff, or other scalp conditions present, without issues and works well under all atmospheric conditions, especially high and low humidity to help prevent frizz
9. I received several more reports of it helping protect hair from UV damage and helping protect hair from swimming in pools and sea water. I still believe the best protection to prevent UV damage to hair is covering it with a tight weave hat, scarf or using an umbrella. Regarding using it before swimming, very little of it is needed to coat the hair.

For those who do not want to pollute swimming waters, as any amount of oil, added conditioner or product can be seen as too much, rinsing hair with club soda following swimming and using it to saturate hair or help saturate hair, prior to swimming is a hair and environmentally friendly option. Club soda neutralizes chlorine and needs no dilution, as its pH is about 5 and it helps remove sea water minerals from hair, that can cause hair to become very dry. Club soda is different than plain soda water. A typical example of its ingredients can be found here. The sodium bicarbonate in it is used as a buffering agent, to keep the pH stable. Potassuim sulfate information can be found here.

The 3rd and 4th favorite oils are argan and camellia, respectively. Both are classified as vegetable oils and coconut oil is too. Argan oil is great as a pre-treatment before dyeing and lightening, used on top of coconut oil because it cannot penetrate hair as deeply to saturate it, or instead of coconut oil. Camellia oil is fairly lightweight and can help with tangles. The only issues with those oils are price and quality. The best quality pure oils, yielding the best results, tend to be expensive but definitely worth it, compared to lower priced versions. All 4 oils are safe to use. The only caution with argan oil is that it can make skin photosensitive (the link to that text no longer works) and it is best used at night for that reason.