Ingredient Alert: Are you spraying your hair with old prawn shells?

A few weeks ago Alana delivered some news that rocked my hairspray-loving world. In a gross turn of events, it turns out most hairsprays and gels contain prawn shells! Ew.

“I am not hairspray.”

Apparently the shells increase glossiness and volume while moisturising our locks. And all our little crustacean friends need go through first is a major manufacturing process involving treatment with hydrochloric acid then sodium hydroxide (that’s caustic soda) to remove the shells’ proteins and colours and then round after round of refinement to create chitin then chitosan.

According to this BBC vid, manufacturers don’t mention on their labelling that chitosan is derived from animals because it’s a well-known product in the industry. Interesting logic.

If you’re as creeped out by this as I was, check out Giovanni Cosmetics. Their LA Hold Hair Spritz is prawn-free – and it still does the job! It also has the added bonus of being certified organic, not tested on animals and free of a whole range of nasties like parabens, phthalates and Sodium Laureth Sulfate.

It is more expensive (I paid about $17 for a 147ml bottle from Fundies) but I find you don’t need to use as much compared to the supermarket brands.

Mmm. Prawn-free hair.

– Koren

2 Responses to Ingredient Alert: Are you spraying your hair with old prawn shells?

  1. luminousvegans January 27, 2012 at 1:38 pm #

    Eww.. It’s so strange how this stuff is figured out..I mean, who was the person that was all ”
    I think I’ll try using prawn shells on my hair”.

    • korenhelbig January 29, 2012 at 8:40 pm #

      Exactly! That trial and error process must have been fun. But it’s horrible that we’re shielded from knowing what goes into these sorts of things by some inexplicable chemical name. Time for that to change, me thinks.
      – Koren