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"Organic" Conditioner Exposed

Back in January I published an enlightening article, exposing the incomplete ingredients list on a suposedly "organic" shampoo.  Today I would like to talk about the conditioner from the same brand.  

The ingredients on the label read:

Purified Water, Vegetable Glycerin, Olive Oil, Spearmint Oil, Panthenol (Vitamin B5), Vitamin E (Tocopherol), Olive Leaf Extract, Ginger Extract, Chamomile Extract, Comfrey Root Extract, Rosemary Extract, Grape Seed Extract.

Let's start at the beginning...purified water.  That's pretty common.  Most conditioners are 80% water, so that makes sense.

Next...vegetable glycerin.  Vegetable glycerin is a water-soluble humectant that could be used in small amounts in a conditioner to draw moisture to your hair.  

Olive oil, used in small amounts, can add shine to hair.

Spearmint oil would give a nice scent to the product.

Panthenol can be used as a humectant (however, it doesn't nourish hair like commercials say it does.  Hair is dead, so it can't absorb and use nutrients.) 

Vitamin E helps keep the oils and extracts from turning rancid.

Olive Leaf Extract, Ginger Extract, Chamomile Extract, Comfrey Root Extract are likely used more for marketing purposes. May add a small amount of conditioning properties to the product.  

Rosemary extract also used as an antioxidant.

Grape seed extract is likely the preservative that helps keep the product from growing bacteria.  

So, now that we know what each ingredient does, looking at this list we can see that the product is missing something very key: an emulsifier.  How is the oil and water being combined? How is this product not just a runny mess of oil and water? 

So, I thought I'd do an experiment.  I gathered all the ingredients on the label and tried a number of things. Adding the oil to the water, adding the water to the oil, adding the glycerin and the oil, heating it--every combination turned out the same: a runny liquid with a film of oil that separated and floated to the top.  Not a stabilized emulsion with a lotion-like texture that this product is. On a chemical level, this is what make sense. Water and oil and glycerin plus some extracts don't equal an emulsion.

In a previous response to my article about their shampoo, their chemist verified that the ingredients underwent and "intricate chemical process" in order to give it the physical properties that the product has.  In other words, the ingredients were altered from their original state, and thus, the ingredients list not a true reflection of what's in the bottle.  Perhaps the ingredients once were water, glycerin, and olive oil, but now they're new unknown substances.  The conditioner has the same lack of full disclosure that the shampoo does.  The extracts alone aren't enough to give it "slip" which, the conditioner has a fair amount of.  Are there hidden quaternary ammonium compounds?  Are there ethoxylated chemicals in the emulsifier? Because of the lack of full disclosure, we simply don't know.  

Reader Comments (2)

This is interesting. do you reveal who the product is made by or not?

Sun, April 20, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterliz

What could be used then as an organic emulsifier?

Fri, August 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterZulma

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