Birchbox Ingredient Breakdown: August 2012: Oscar Blandi Jasmine Conditioner

This came in my August Birchbox.


Let’s find out what’s in it.

Water—nuff said.

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride—an emollient derived from coconut oil.  Sounds fine to me.

Isopropyl Palmitate—another emollient derived from my least favorite ingredient ever: palm oil.

Behentrimonium Methosulfate—sounds scary, but it’s derived from rapeseed oil (which also sounds scary, but it’s a beautiful yellow flower).  Helps detangle your hair.

Dimethicone, Anodimethicone, Dimethicone Copolyol—silicones.  I talked about silicones in the boscia BB cream post.  To summarize, I couldn’t find enough information from unbiased sources to decide whether I approve of them.

Stearalkonium Chloride—derived from stearic acid, which is found in plants and animals.  It reduces static.

Cetearyl Alchohol—an alcohol derived from coconut oil.  So, I generally try to avoid alcohol in cosmetics, because I figure they are drying.  I looked into it and what I’m hearing is that some, including this one and cetyl alcohol, are not.  Something about the structure of the alcohols is supposed to make this emollient and nice.  I don’t know.  I am a lip balm obsessed lady.  I probably own 6-8 at a time and I never leave the house with less than two on me.  In high school I used to put that stuff on every half hour.  Really.  Someone told me that the cetyl alcohol in Chapstick was drying out my lips, requiring me to reapply so frequently.  So I switched to natural lip balm and I’ve never looked back.  The difference was extreme.  I use the natural kind every few hours and my lips are never dry.  Seriously, I haven’t had chapped lips since 2003.  I am not claiming that you should trust my personal experience over what chemists are saying about the structure of alcohols, but I still prefer moisturizing products that don’t contain alcohol.

Glyceryl Stearate—an emulsifier composed of glycerin and stearic acid.  Shouldn’t be harmful.

PEG-100 Stearate—an emollient derived from coconut or palm or produced synthetically.  PEGs are controversial.  They help other chemicals penetrate the skin and can be irritating.  They should not be used on damaged skin.  However, they are not currently considered dangerous by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review.

Olea Europaea Fruit (Olive) Oil—just olive oil.

Polyquaternium-11—here’s what the EWG Skin Deep database says about this ingredient “Polyquaternium-11 is a quaternary ammonium polymer formed by the reaction of diethylsulfate and a copolymer of vinyl pyrrolidone and dimethyl aminoethylmethacrylate.”  Doesn’t sound good does it.  This ingredient, Quaternuim-80, Cetrimonium Chloride and Polyquaternium-7 are positively charged, which helps your hair lie flat.

Jasminus (Jasmine) Officinale Extract—just jasmine.  Probably just included for fragrance, as it doesn’t do anything special to hair.  It’s ridiculous that companies throw a miniscule amount of some nice sounding, botanical ingredient into their formula so they can call it “Jasmine Conditioner.”  Really, this should be called Oscar Blandi Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride Shampoo.  Blergh.

Macrocystis Pyrifera (Kelp) Extract—an Antarctic kelp.  Full of minerals.  Makes your hair shiny.

Lavendula Angustifolia (Lavender) Extract—lavender for fragrance.

Geranium Maculatum—geranium for fragrance.

Distearyldimonium Chloride—a detergent and surfactant that the European Union and a Canadian environmental group have classified as toxic to wildlife.  Sigh.  Anti-static.

Glycerin—don’t worry about glycerin.  It’s fine.

Hydrolized Wheat Protein—a moisturizer derived from, you guessed it, wheat.

Hydrolyzed Soy Protein—a moisturizer derived from soy.

Panthenol—a form of Vitamin B5.  Moisturizing.

Tocopherol Acetate—Vitamin E.  An anti-oxidant that penetrates skin easily.

Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride—sounds scary, but it’s derived from guar beans.  Another one of those negatively charged ingredients.  Makes it easier to get a comb through your hair, apparently.

Diazolidinyl Urea—goat piss.  Just kidding!  A widely used antimicrobial preservative derived from formaldehyde.  Hmm, so I just learned that there’s formaldehyde in many baby wipes.  That’s great.

Methyl Paraben—an antimicrobial that is naturally derived, mostly from blueberries.  That being said, it has been found in tumors.  It messes with estrogen and some researchers hypothesize that it may be one reason why women are hitting puberty earlier.  May reduce sperm count.  I am not making this up.  Known to increase UVB damage.  Gross.

Propyl Paraben—another paraben.  Less is known about this one.  There is a theory, proposed by scientists not just hippies, that parabens in deodorant explain why most breast tumors occur in the area near the underarm.  Blergh.  Aren’t you glad Birchbox sent you this conditioner?

Final thoughts—it’s crazy to me that we manufacture all these chemicals and expose ourselves and the environment to them.  It’s so unnecessary.  I don’t need all this crap in my conditioner.  My conditioner has 8 ingredients, none of which are synthetic.  I’ll post about it soon.


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