As part of my campaign to cut fragrances from my household, I’ve picked up Whole Foods’ fragrance-free shampoo.
While it’s not 100% clear to me what harm fragrances cause, especially when we’re merely rubbing them over our bodies and not ingesting them orally, some of the headlines about fragrances frighten me. Their ability to mimic hormones in the body can lead to maladies from improper nervous system and sexual development in children to weight gain in adults. The problems may not stop there; anything that can cause those types of changes in our bodies may well cause other problems, and they don’t sound like things we should be exposing ourselves to if we can avoid it.
So, I’m experimenting with products that don’t have fragrances. Whole Foods’ fragrance free shampoo so far shows some pluses and minuses.
On the plus side, it seems to work. My hair gets clean (no easy feet given how greasy it can get) and looks thick enough (something I’d been relying on Garnier Fructis’s Length & Strength to achieve until now).
On the negative side, this shampoo smells terrible. Not only does it lack a pleasing, herbal fragrance, but it emits a (ironically) chemically stench. Get it near your nose and you’re in for an unpleasant sensation. I have no idea what causes this stench, or why the stench can’t be masked by essential oils or something else that’s natural but emits a tolerable aroma; but the stench definitely is there.
So, what do I think about the product as a whole? Assuming it gets my hair clean and leaves it looking thick and healthy, I’m willing to put up with an unpleasant stink or two while I’m washing my hair. After all, no one on the street has told me my hair smells funny. And that includes my wife, who I think could pick up the faintest scent from the other side of a football stadium.
So there’s really only one test left for my new Whole Foods shampoo. My hair is very short right now, but usually I wear it very shaggy. Once it grows out a bit more, it may be much harder for a shampoo to keep it both thick and clean. And that’s where my new shampoo will have to really earn its stripes. In the meantime, I’m happy enough with it to keep on going.