Thursday, 19 September 2013

Can I Use My Hair Products On My Toddler?

This is a question I see over and over in natural forums.

I think the answer is: It depends. 

On what? You ask..

1. What Products You Use
I am quite careful about what products I use on my hair. I read labels before I buy and, if there is an ingredient I am not sure of, I google it right there in the shop. (What did we do before Google? Or Mobile Phones? Or Internet??) 

Many a shop assistant have looked at me in confusion as I spend ages browsing a small selection of products, phone in hand. Occasionally, one comes up to ask if I need assistance and my response may be 'PEG-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate; Friend or Foe?' They usually back away slowly. I Kid, I Kid! But you get the gist. Actually I found one of the assistants at the Healthy U in junction quite knowledgeable on Sulfates!

I try to avoid products that have long-lists of ingredients for use on my child. Not only is it tedious to read through them all, but you would also need a chemistry degree to have a chance in hell of knowing and/or understanding them all. It is also much easier to miss potentially harmful ingredients. See my post on Creme of Nature

2. Budget
This should probably be number 1.  For me, the rule of thumb should be, buy the best product YOU can afford for your tot. 

Best product should ideally be one that contains naturally derived and, if possible, certified organic ingredients. Failing this, it should be one that avoids harmful ingredients, particularly those that affect health. For example, ingredients that are carcinogenic are big no-nos in my book, much more so than those that only affect hair health, like mineral oil. For a list of ingredients that are potentially harmful see

3. Allergies
If your child is prone to eczema and/or allergies, it may be that they will react to products you use, even if you can not see a specific ingredient in the product they are sensitive to. There are many hypo-allergenic products on the shelves for use on hair and body but sadly, many of them are not curly girl friendly and often contain sulfates or silicones. 

4. What about child-friendly products? 
Often, products formulated for babies or very young children try to avoid ingredients that are harmful or may irritate the child's sensitive skin. This could be, for example, the elimination of fragrance and other common irritants. 

However, products marketed for older children often don't differ greatly from those of adults. The re-formulation may be merely aesthetic, e.g. having a fragrance or packaging that will appeal to children. Or they may have milder versions of ingredients that you may have chosen to avoid, such as sulfonates rather than sulfates. But, particularly if you choose to avoid sulfates and silicones, you will find that many child-friendly products still contain ingredients you would rather avoid. 

Reading labels diligently, understanding ingredients and making informed choices is the only way to decide whether the products you use for yourself are also suitable for your little one.  

As a neurotic new mum, I have chosen not to use the same products on my daughter as I use on myself. Not that I don't want them for myself, mind. But they are quite costly, considering the size of bottle and amount I would need to use on my hair. She, on the other hand has a teeny tiny head and very fine hair, making it a viable option for her. 

This, however, is a personal choice. I believe that many of the products I DO use (see Current Arsenal post) do not have harmful ingredients and I will comfortably use them on her once she is a little older. 

No comments:

Post a Comment