Here at Flora & Curl, part of our plant powered philosophy means that we are doing our part to eliminate the issue of harsh and harmful chemicals from our everyday beauty regimens, by way of using the cleanest ingredients. Eliminating these harmful chemicals can lead to better health and an understanding of triggers that exist in our everyday routines.
There is no such thing as a chemical-free beauty product. Chemicals are natural substances of life, found within oxygen and hydrogen. We stay clear from the ones that do not aid our hair or our bodies. Our haircare products are designed with your healthiest hair in mind — no proven harsh, damaging or harmful chemicals or substances.
All Flora & Curl ingredients meet the criteria set out in the European Union Directive for Cosmetic Safety (the strictest cosmetic safety standard in the world).
We value transparency and believe that knowledge is power. We list the complete ingredient listings next to the products we stock and on the labels, in plain English and in INCI, so if you know you are sensitive to certain ingredients you can check whether or not they are in our product.
Ingredients We Avoid
Listed as “perfume”, “fragrance”, or sometimes as “natural fragrance”, present in most beauty products. Yes, they may smell like heaven, but fragrance oils are manufactured scents. Sometimes a fragrance can be formulated to smell like a concept, “cherry blossom”, “winter fresh”, or “Christmas pine”, but Fragrance is the only ingredient that gets a free pass on ingredient labels but can contain separate ingredients and substances that do not have to be disclosed. The takeaway: what’s nested under the umbrella term “fragrance” matters, and in many conventional formulas, hidden health risks might be lingering.
A 2001 study by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that artificial fragrances were often shown to contain hormone (endocrine) disruptors. Certain chemicals do not act in isolation in a woman's body. Artificial fragrances are one of them.
Synthetic fragrance oils can carry a number of harmful chemicals such as benzyl acetate, benzaldehyde, propylene glycol, parabens, and methylene chloride.
Why are synthethic fragrances used if they don't serve a purpose?
Scents produced by labs are significantly cheaper than scents obtained naturally.
Our scents do more than make you smell nice
Synthetic fragrances do not contain any functional properties. Part of our plant powered philosophy means that we only blend scents derived and extracted naturally from nature, from flowers, fruit, grasses, seeds, bark, wood, roots and leaves. They've been used for thousands of years and have stood the test of time.
The essential oil synergies in our formulations have been chosen for their beneficial qualities on the scalp such as penetration, potency, natural antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, stimulating, balancing, soothing and fungicidal properties and improvement in circulation, including therapeutic benefits for the mind and wellbeing.
We recommend that you patch test the product, just in case you have a sensitivity (Just because it's natural, doesn't mean you won't react).
Present in fragrances, these chemicals are used to make plastic flexible and they are also used in plastic wrap, wood furnishing, lubricants, insecticides, and detergents. They are linked to endocrine disruption and developmental and reproductive toxicity, have been banned from cosmetics in the European Union, but still remain prevalent in U.S. products. They are widely used to make scents and fragrances linger, although it is rarely found on labels because it is a constituent of the ubiquitous ingredient “fragrance”.
This ingredient often begins with Cl and ends in numerical codes such as e.g. Cl 63738, Cl 143857 (or FD&C Red No. 40 in the US). Synthetic colors are potential irritants, and many color pigments can cause scalp sensitivity. Read more on the regulatory changes here. Coal and tar based dyes such as FD&C Blue 1 (CI 42090), most commonly found in toothpaste, and FD&C Green 3 (CI 42053) and mouthwash. We prefer plant-based extracts and oils, which provide hydrating and protective properties, to create subtle and beautiful colours.
Often ends in 'cones' or 'siloxane' such as dimethicone or the synthetic oil cyclopentasiloxane. Silicones form a film and coat the hair strands to give the appearance of smoothness, less frizziness and gloss and may seem like the perfect curly solution. Over time however, silicone overload on textured strands prevents moisture and protein from penetrating the hair shaft. This is key because silicones can slide off straight hair more than they can on curly hair, and could be damaging in the long-term if you are trying to retain moisture in your hair or your hair is prone to dryness. In addition, most silicones are not water soluble, and can only be removed with harsh detergents. Water-soluble silicones can be washed away with water. If someone is not using these harsh detergents to remove the silicones, they can build up, creating a barrier on the hair shaft. This barrier prevents moisturising conditioners from penetrating the hair, further drying it out. Our moisture-based formulas mean that our creations are always sulphates and silicone free.
Sodium Laureth Sulphate
Textured hair, from loosely curled to tightly curled, is naturally dry because sebum (our natural scalp-produced oil) has a hard time journeying down our strands, usually stopping nearer to our roots unlike straight hair where there are no curves present. This is the simple science that differentiates the needs of textured hair from straight hair, which tends to be oilier in nature. This particular sulphate is a harsh detergent used to create foaming properties in shampoos. It is a key ingredient in industrial detergents, including engine degreasers and garage floor cleaners and is found in over 90% of shampoos. It risks overdrying and dehydrating fragile strands and frequent application can sensitise a delicate scalp environment. When using a shampoo that has harsh surfactants in it, the curls are often left stripped, parched and feeling like straw. We aim for minimal and gentle cleansing and conditioning, and we care about being harmonious with the natural chemistry of our hair in order to maintain the natural oils meant for a balanced scalp environment.
We avoid harsh preservatives like Methylisothiazolinone (MI) and “parabens” (methyl, ethyl, propyl, butyl). Parabens have been used as cosmetics preservatives for many years, yet only in the last decade have scientists questioned their safety. Studies have shown that parabens can be absorbed into the bloodstream and disrupt the endocrine (hormonal) system.
This is a widely used cosmetic preservative, and is a known neurotoxin. In 2004, the European Scientific Committee on Cosmetic Products and Non-Food Products Intended for Consumers (SCCNFP) suggested that companies limit the maximum concentration to 0.01% (100 ppm). However, US companies are not required to follow this guideline. It is known to be absorbed through skin. A study at the Pittsburgh School of Medicine concluded that “prolonged exposure to low levels of MIT and related compounds may have damaging consequences to the developing nervous system”.
Also known as “rubbing alcohol”, is a specific type of alcohol that helps other ingredients dry on your hair quickly. It is used in antifreeze and wood finish and is designed to dissolve oils, which can strip the natural oils in your hair. Many hair gels, root lifters, volumizers and hairsprays use this substance to help you hold a hairstyle's look. This group includes ethanol, SD alcohol, SD alcohol 40, Alcohol denat, Propanol, Propyl alcohol and Isopropyl alcohol. It can create dry, frizzy hair as it may cause the cuticle to be roughened (often used as astringents in skincare products for just this reason). Isopropyl Alcohol has an odor resembling ethanol and it has a slightly bitter taste. Isopropyl Alcohol is volatile and produces a cooling effect upon evaporation. However, other alcohols, known as longer chain, naturally derived fatty alcohols such as Lauryl alcohol, Cetyl alcohol, Myristyl alcohol, Stearyl alcohol, Cetearyl alcohol can help to condition our hair.
Petrochemicals such as petrolatum or mineral oil or liquid paraffin
Unlike the beauty that radiates from golden, green and yellow plant oils, mineral oil is a colourless and odorless liquid. It is a by-product of crude oil. It is widely used in mainstream haircare, mainly because it's a cheap ingredient and it has an occlusive and shiny effect on the hair. On skin, it hinders normal skin respiration/transpiration by keeping oxygen out and clogging the pores. More importantly, it doesn't have any nourishing or healing effect on the hair, because it only lays on the surface of the shaft and prevents absorption. This ingredient belongs in your engine, not on your hair. There is a huge difference between mineral oils created in a lab versus plant derived oils that nature provides like the ones we use in our plant powered formulas.