I recently read a few scary articles about all the bad stuff in normal sunscreens
. Please note: I've linked to the articles there for reference, but if I were you, I wouldn't read them. Ignorance is more blissful (and a lot less expensive) than obsessing over ingredient lists and buying only all-natural personal care products.
Anyway, I didn't think it'd be too hard to find all-natural hair products I liked. For years, I almost exclusively used conditioner from an all-natural brand, Nature's Gate
, not for fear of chemicals but because I just loved the smell and how shiny it made my hair. I'd kind of forgot about Nature's Gate and hadn't used it in the past couple of years, but I figured it'd be easy to buy a couple of bottles at my trusty neighborhood health food store
and get back on the wagon.
Well, they had Nature's Gate products, but they definitely weren't the same. First of all, the brand has a new slick look, which was disappointing, since I loved the old hippie bottles.
But the really awful part was how much they've changed the formula. This is the ingredient list from the old Nature's Gate conditioner:
Purified Water, Extracts of Chamomile, Nettle, Ho-lien-hua, Nelumbo Nucifera, Comfrey Root, Cherry Bark, Schleichera Trijuga, Kusambi Bark, Burdock, and Yucca, Vegetable Emulsifying Wax, Coconut Oil, Methylparaben, Myrrh Oil, Lavender Oil.
This is what goes into the stuff that's now sold under the Nature's Gate label:
Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Quaternium-87, Polysorbate 60, Chamomilla
Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Extract,
Prunus Serotina (Wild Cherry) Bark Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia
(Lavender) Flower Extract, Arctium Lappa (Burdock) Root Extract, Yucca
Schidigera Root Extract, Lilium Candidum (White Lily) Bulb Extract,
Nelumbo Nucifera (Sacred Lotus) Flower Extract, Quercus Alba (Oak) Bark
Extract, Butylene Glycol, Glyceryl Undecylenate, Phenoxyethanol,
What's up with that? Well, a little digging seems to shows that the formula changes got under way in August 2006, about a year and a half after Levlad, the company that's always made Nature's Gate, was acquired by a private equity firm. Surprise, surprise.
Don't get me wrong: I know M&A can often be a great thing for brands, but what the acquirer did here puzzles me. Why would they buy Levlad only to make so many unpronounceable additions to its flagship product right now, as
more and more people are scrutinizing ingredient lists? The new formula may be cheaper to make, but I'd personally be happy to pay double what I used to pay for Nature's Gate just to have the old formula back-- and I'm sure I'm not the only disappointed former fan.
Oh well, it's back to the haircare drawing board for me. Any suggestions for *truly* all-natural shampoos and conditioners are very welcome!