There are so many hair and body products to choose from, many of which over promise only to underdeliver.

If you are a product junkie, under your bathroom sink is probably stashed with formulas guaranteeing to keep the frizz down, curls poppin’, and your skin hydrated. I spoke to four amazing women, all of which are at the top of the beauty chain, who offered up real insight on how to keep our curly tresses and radiant skin both safe and beautiful.

Sara Schmidt, Outreach and Organizing Manager at Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, is working hard to make sure that all personal care products have stricter guidelines before they are available to the public for retail.

Did you know that the laws that regulations for personal care products are severely outdated? “The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is the federal agency with authority over personal care products and cosmetics," Schmidt explains. "However, current legislation is over 75 years old, and does not give the FDA much authority at all to actually regulate the industry. As a result, the industry ‘self-regulates’ the ingredients used in personal care products.”

While this may sound alarming, there are product lines that focus specifically on the science of their formulations.

Pictured: Urbanella founder, Keneesha Hudson

Keneesha Hudson, Founder and creator of Urbanbella, lets us know that her brand is all about performance.

Urbanbella is a beauty brand that is known for offering our high-performing curly hair products," Keneesha emphasizes. "During our twelve years in the natural hair market, our focus has been on educating women on how to manage their naturally textured hair. Urbanbella delivers both healthy ingredients and superior performance for textured hair. There are a lot of products on the market that really do well with ingredients and smell great, but very few of them make hair easy to work with…We style our clients with our own line and have only used Urbanbella products for 6 of our 11 years as salon. We know that if it works the way we intended, it is because it has been tested in our salon for usually a year before it is for sale.”

How hard is it to formulate a brand that is all-natural?

When I posed the question, Keneesha replied, "formulating and Product Development is a challenge when ingredients are critical for you. It definitely means formulating in house since most companies approach formulating with more traditional ingredients. The other challenge is getting the consumer to understand that all products are not created equal. Urbanbella’s focus is to bring more education and light around that.  It makes me think of my eggs, they cost ten bucks for a dozen. I understand why and I don’t compare my $10 eggs to $2 eggs because the brands have communicated the difference to me. This is what we are working to overcome this year. We want the consumer to be aware that our products don’t compromise their well-being.”

Although formulating may be a strenuous task, it can be done...and who would know any better than the following women?

Kiran Stordalen and Nicole Rechelbacher are co-owners of Intelligent Nutrients, a company that was founded by Aveda founder, Horst Rechelbacher, AKA the "the father of Safe Cosmetics."

Kiran’s thoughts on the Safe Cosmetics Act: “Everything we put in and on our bodies must be nutritious and safe. That is our guiding mission, and we think IN is very different because of our science, ingredients, process and solutions for beauty that are safe for you and the planet.

As a curly girl who cares about what I put on my body as well as how great my curls look and feel, Intelligent Nutrients assures me that they are the crème de la crème of personal care products.

Kiran and Nicole go on record stating, “Intelligent Nutrients is an environmental company. We make non-toxic, certified organic beauty and lifestyle products that work for you and the planet. Our message is saving the planet and ourselves. Truth matters, so we list every single ingredient on our packaging. Our third-party certification seals let you know that products are verified as 65-100% certified organic, cruelty-free and made with renewable energy.”

Nicole further explains, "we actually do not use the word ‘natural’ in any of our messaging or education. Technically, ‘natural’ can mean many things to different people; it does not communicate the whole story. We focus on safe and certified organic, and will always turn to nature for solutions that perform beautifully. In terms of connecting to the planet and tapping into plant resources and science, that is never a fad. The key is to do it wisely, as sustainable as possible and keep improving.”

How to be sure that what you are using will keep your curls and body safe and sexy

"The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has many tools for consumers, including the Red List of Chemicals of Concern," says Sara Schmidt. "We suggest consumers start by reading labels to become familiar with ingredients. There are smartphone apps, such as Healthy Living and Think Dirty, which allow consumers to get a rating of the safety of many products. We also suggest consumers look for the Made Safe seal, which means the product is certified as non-toxic.”

Want more?

Stacy is the owner of Augusta, GA-based curly hair salon, DyeVerCity. Follow her on Instagram @DyeVerCity.

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