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  • Writer's pictureNicole Salter

The Pantene ProV dilemma

At a recent flea market, I met a fellow vendor who has stopped using shampoo of any kind. She only washes her hair with clay. As I listened with interest to her process, a corner of my mind began to fantasize about the masses of creamy bubbles available to me at any time in the nearest bottle of Pantene. I began to wonder: Is this obsession with natural really necessary - or are we going too far?


Does anyone else remember when two-in-one shampoo was first introduced to the mass market? It was called Pert Plus, it was green and smelled great, and I bet the ingredients list was a mile of unpronounceable words. People weren't as worried about synthetic additives back then. But it seems like today, little has changed. While it's definitely possible to buy shampoos that are cleaner and greener - i.e. no sulphates, no parabens, nothing outright toxic - there are still non-naturally derived ingredients, like Phenoxyethanol, Polyquaternium-7 and PEG-150 Pentaerythrityl Tetrastearate, even in most so-called "natural" shampoos.

Is this a bad thing?

It depends on your perspective. If you are actively pursuing a reduction in your carbon footprint, are deeply concerned about the environment, want to protect your children from toxic overload, or have medical conditions/allergies/sensitivities that require you to use the most natural products possible, these additives are definitely a problem. The sheer amount of synthetic chemicals in just about everything we consume - from VOCs coming out of the carpeting to preservatives in processed food to pollution in the air - should be concerning to anyone.

At the same time, we want our skin care products to deliver in certain way. I call it the Pantene ProV dilemma: We have been brainwashed to expect products to do things and work in ways no truly natural product could. For example, moisturizers should penetrate, not sit on top of the skin (impossible for a pure emollient). They should smell intensely strong, bubble up extraordinarily, last forever on the shelf - and if they don't, we aren't happy.

At this point we have to make some decisions about what to do. Do we throw up our hands and say 'Well these horrible chemicals are everywhere and there is nothing I can do about it, let's go buy some Old Spice' or do we decide to try to find viable alternatives? Does finding alternatives mean sacrificing high-performing products for ones that don't really work?

I personally don't believe it has to be that way. For me and my family, it is about balance: yes, I want a lot of lather when I wash my hair, so I'm not going to be using clay or going 'no poo' anytime soon. But I don't feel the need to use fake bubbles in the tub when natural mineral salt is a vastly superior bath additive. No, I don't mind a touch of synthetic colour in a product; I don't necessarily need it, but it doesn't bother me in an otherwise natural skin care product. The same goes for synthetic fragrance. As long as not everything I'm using contains phthalates, surfactants or other chemicals, I feel I am doing well.

This is the philosophy behind SaltZ: A cleaner, greener option for your skin care needs that still performs well. Many of our products are 100% natural, and we are certainly going in that direction with everything that isn't. If we can't make it look great and perform well with a maximum of 1 or 2 additives that we consider acceptable, then we won't make it at all. That way you know every bar of soap, every bath soak, every mask or scrub, is going to work for you - without harming you, without hype.

There's a time and a place for ProV - and a time and a place for SaltZ as well! What is your stance on the natural skin care issue? Leave a comment below.

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