Haircare Promises

Have you ever paused in the shower to read the back of your shampoo/conditioner bottles and attempted to comprehend even one word of the active ingredients?  I have been jumping in between shampoo and conditioning systems lately based on advertisements I see for these brands because I simply don’t have the time to research individual ingredients across hundreds of brands.  I switched back to Pantene Pro-V from Garnier about a month ago and noticed that my hair now has more split ends in these 30 days than it has had in the past two years.  I became frustrated as I was going through my hair, dusting my split ends  and grabbed the Pantene volume bottle to comb through the ingredients and compare them to another set of shampoo/conditioner sitting in the shower (John Frieda’s Sheer Blonde).  

Almost every active ingredient ended with the word alcohol, acid or sulfate.  Right off the bat I internalized those words picturing a FirsAid kit, doctor’s office, laundry detergent and then chemical cleaners.  It turns out that sodium sulfates, alcohol, hydrogens and acids are all highly effective surfactants in the removal of oily stains and residues.  These compounds can be found in engine degreasers, floor cleaners, car wash soaps, pesticides, and ah yes, toothpastes, shampoos, shaving creams and bubble bath formulas for their abilities to effectively lather.  I can’t speak for other people but I was very uncomfortable with the fact that the products I’m using to clean my mouth, body and hair have the same ingredients found in harsh, dangerous chemical cleaners.  Women’s Health Magazine explains each common ingredient in shampoo and conditioner and why manufacturers need them to all balance each other out.

So what products are safe and trustworthy?  Top 10 picks by TotalBeauty readers:

  1. Arbonne FC5 Nourishing Shampoo
  2. Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention Shampoo
  3. Kerastase Bain Oleo-Curl Shampoo
  4. Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Wild Ginger Moisturizing Lather Shampoo
  5. Aubrey Organics Blue Chamomile Hydrating Shampoo
  6. Mizani Thermasmooth Shampoo
  7. Kerastase Bain Satin 2 Shampoo
  8. Beecology Natural Honey and Botanical Sulfate-Free Shampoo
  9. Dove Nourishing Oil Care Shampoo
  10. Giovanni Smooth as Silk Shampoo



“Skin Improving” Red Light Therapy

Red light therapy consists of exposure to daylight or to specific wavelengths of light using polychromatic, polarized light, lasers, light emitting diodes, fluorescent lamps, dichroic lamps or very bright full spectrum light, usually controlled with various devices.  The light is administered for a prescribed amount of time and, in some cases, at a specific time of day.  Light therapy is a common form of treatment for a variety of conditions from auto immune disorders like psoriasis, eczema, vitiligo to wound healing, depression, seasonal affective disorder and circadian rhythm sleep disorders.  Two forms of phototherapy exist, non-targeted phototherapy (from sunlight or a light box like those found at tanning salons), and targeted-phototherapy, in which light is administered to a specific, localized area of the skin.  Current targeted phototherapy is administered through excimer lasers, elemental gas lamps, or LED lights.

The FDA has cleared devices on the market including XTRAC excimer laser, BClear, Theralight, and Psoria-Light LED phototherapy.  Targeted phototherapy is administered in a doctor’s office and is only administered to the affected skin, not the entire body, thus sparing healthy skin from UV rays which may lead to other health issues including skin cancer.  While different wavelengths work for different conditions, treatment is most often done with narrow band UVB (NB-UVB) as this is the safest wavelength. Non-targeted phototherapy can be delivered at doctor’s office or at home via prescription using a booth, multidirectional unit, or wand; the unaffected skin is simply covered. Several devices are FDA-approved for home including the Panosol 3D, Richmond Light and Solarc Handheld.  

Red light easily penetrates the skin and boosts circulation, releasing more blood and nutrients to the area. It also stimulates vital collagen and elastin production; collagen helps plump the skin, while elastin firms the skin. The red light is energizing as it repairs damaged cells and restores skin back to its youthful look.


  • Reduction in wrinkles and fine lines
  • Tightening and firming (non-surgical face lift alternative)
  • Reduction or complete loss of blemishes and redness
  • Anti-aging properties
  • Reduces sun and age spots
  • Corrects hyperpigmentation on face, hands, neck
  • Improves/diminishes severe acne and acne scars
  • Can drastically reduce the appearance of cellulite with continued sessions