Here at The Mod Cabin we are big believers in living natural lifestyles. With beards growing in popularity and gaining more acceptance in the work place, a lot of beard care companies have popped up claiming to be “all natural.” With that in mind, we have created this all natural beard care guide to help you make informed choices that will aid you in growing a healthy, happy beard as well as cultivating a healthy, happy lifestyle. This is part one of a three part series on all natural beard care.
What does all-natural mean?
When it comes to beards and skincare, the FDA defines natural ingredients as ingredients derived from natural sources (dermascope.com). At The Mod Cabin, we strongly believe in using only ingredients derived from natural sources like birch tar, jojoba and argan.
But we also believe that natural means more than just what you put on your skin and beard, natural is a way of life. That is why we take a holistic approach to beard care and life in general.
Why all-natural beard care?
Natural beard care is important because using synthetic chemicals on your beard can not only damage your facial hair and skin, it can cause permanent skin problems such as contact dermatitis and skin sensitivity. In some cases synthetic beard care products can even be toxic. (dermnetnz) Many of the ingredients used in beard care products in the United States are banned in other countries due to their toxicity. (http://ec.europa.eu/)
Beard care companies often boast that their products contain “No Parabens.” This is because parabens are antifungal agents used as preservatives in foods and pharmaceuticals. They have been linked to skin sensitivity and contact dermatitis (dermnetnz). Natural beard care products contain no parabens. Unfortunately some unscrupulous beard care companies boast about being paraben free while replacing parabens with even worse synthetic chemicals such as Diazolidinyl Urea and Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate.
Often found in paraben free “beard washes,” these chemicals are even more dangerous than parabens. Diazolidinyl Urea, often found in paraban free “beard wash” is known to be a primary cause of contact dermatitis (American Academy of Dermatology). Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, also used in paraben free beard washes and conditioners is even worse than Diazolidinyl Urea. It was originally used in paints, primers, and even coolants. (Annmariegianni) and is toxic to humans. In fact, it is even restricted in some countries due to its toxicity! (Badreshia, S; Marks Jr, JG (2002). “Iodopropynyl butylcarbamate”. American journal of contact dermatitis) Yet you will find various beard tonics, beard shampoos and beard washes containing this ingredient.
So how can you tell if a beard care product is safe and good to use? First off, you want to make sure the ingredients are prominently listed on the packaging and product description.
What to use
The following ingredients are all-natural, paraben and chemical free and safe to use on your beard:
- Unrefined Jojoba - Natural, unrefined Jojoba (like the kind used in The Mod Cabin’s beard care products) has a light golden color and is non-allergenic and non-comedogenic so it will not block pores. It moisturizes, softens and conditions facial hair leaving your beard strong, healthy and attractive. (incaoil)
- Pure Argan – Pure Argan (also used in The Mod Cabin’s beard care products) is a plant oil produced from the kernels of the argan tree and is also non-allergenic and non-comedogenic. Argan oil is full of vitamins and antioxidants that repair damage caused by synthetic ingredients as well as damage from overexposure to the sun (vizeribeauty)
- Shea Butter - Unrefined shea butter is a yellow or ivory colored natural oil which is produced from the crushing and boiling of shea nuts. Unrefined shea butter conditions your facial hair and seals in moisture without damaging your skin and beard like synthetic alternatives (fao)
- Beeswax – Beeswax is similar to shea butter, it is a natural sealant that is safe to use on your beard and skin and will not damage your skin like synthetic sealants can.
- Pure essential oils – Pure essential oils, unlike their synthetic counterparts; fragrance oils, are obtained from plants, using natural extraction methods, that has not been altered in anyway.
- Birch Tar – Birch tar is made from the dry distillation of the bark of birch trees. This process is old. Really old. There is evidence that people were dry distilling birch tar in what is now Germany 40,000 years ago to make a glue necessary to create weapons for hunting. People have benefited from the restorative qualities of birch tar for centuries. Acne, eczema, seborrhea, psoriasis, dandruff, and itchy skin have all been successfully treated with birch tar, and because of the naturally occurring salicylic acid (an organic plant hormone) and methyl salicylate (an organic ester) in birch tar, it acts as a natural exfoliator that sloughs off dead skin and tones new skin. Birch tar is also an excellent diuretic; it is used for body detoxification and cleansing. It helps enhance the body’s blood circulation and prevents toxins from collecting in muscles and skin. Birch tar can even be applied to small cuts and wounds to prevent infections and speed up the healing process because of it’s disinfectant and antiseptic properties.
What to avoid
The following ingredients are synthetic and should never be used on beards or skin:
- Petroleum Jelly – Petroleum Jelly is a derivative of oil refining originally found coating the bottom of oil rigs in the mid-1800s (Huffington Post). The components that are removed from the oil during the refining process of petroleum jelly are carcinogenic in some cases. And since petroleum jelly is water-repellant not water-soluble like beeswax and shea butter, you dry out your pores by keeping out air and moisture.
- Iodopropynyl butylcarbamate - Iodopropynyl butylcarbamate is a preservative originally used in paint and coolants and is a suspected gastrointestinal and liver toxin, and is thought to present risks to human reproduction and development. (Ingredient Watch)
- Diazolidinyl Urea - Diazolidinyl Urea is a primary cause of contact dermatitis and should be avoided.
If you treat your beard right it will treat you right.
Every one of The Mod Cabin’s beard care products are all natural and safe to use. You can find all our beard care products here.
The next installment in this series will focus on proper nutrition for healthy beard growth and maintenance.