A'Kin Colour Protection Ylang Ylang & Quinoa Shampoo
Colour Protection Shampoo
— Ylang Ylang & Quinoa.
A’kin by Alchemy’s best-selling shampoo is their colour protection formulation of Ylang Ylang and Quinoa. For an entry-level price of $26.95, this product is easily accessible. We’d imagine the busy 9-5 consumer dropping into the supermarket on their way home from work, and feeling good about their choice of going ‘natural’.
This shampoo nonetheless promises to protect and enhance colour treated hair, with its gentle ingredients and enriching Quinoa additive to reduce colour fade. Provitamin B5 (as Panthenol in the ingredients) and natural Arginine work together to repair damage and strengthen hair strands by conditioning the breaks.
This product claims to be 'Silicone Free', ‘Cruelty Free’, ‘Australian Made and Owned’.
What does this mean?
A’kin by Alchemy is an Australian brand focused on pure, high quality and effective natural beauty products. The brand was born on hair care, and later evolved into skincare. The philosophy of A’kin is to keep their products simple; pure, authentic, and beautifully aromatic. They are crafted without parabens, sulphates, artificial colours or fragrances. This includes ethoxylated cleansers, silicones, mineral oil, phthalates, and DEA. A’kin call this group the “Nasties” due to their synthetically manufactured nature. They employ local botanical chemists that are experienced in the natural beauty field to manufacture their products.
The brand focuses on achieving overall excellence in all areas, including their sustainability approach. On A’kin’s website, they state their commitment to reducing their carbon footprint and make efforts to minimise waste by consciously avoiding excess packaging where possible. Their bottles are recyclable, and they encourage their customers to recycle once the product is finished.
A'kin is owned by parent company Alchemy, who also has Dr. LeWinn’s, Manicare, and Lady Jayne as part of their group.
A’kin’s Ylang Ylang shampoo has a strong scent of – you guessed it – Ylang Ylang. It’s a highly fragrant scent, heavy and sweet, and has slight fruity floral tones. It has a slight banana scent with jasmine nuances. The botanical essence of this shampoo is very rich, which is necessary when aiming to strengthen and enhance colour treated hair.
A thick gel like consistency that immediately forms a light foam when under water. One pump would do the trick, however A’kin advise to introduce more water to increase lather, and rinse and re-apply if necessary. This is perhaps because the key ingredients in this shampoo are naturally derived, and generally do not foam or lather as much as ‘conventional’ (more appropriately, synthetic) products due to no sulfates. Depending on the thickness of your hair would depend on how much product is sufficient to cleanse.
Generally, if using natural shampoo for the first time, hair does need to go through an adjustment period. The buildup of parabens and silicones in the hair will take about 3 or 4 weeks to be completely removed, as they coat the hair strands and will take a while to be broken down. The Quinoa and Ylang Ylang offer a natural coat of the hair strands, however this will reach desired effect over time and prolonged use.
Panthenol, a pro vitamin of B5.
Arginine is an amino acid that once in the body, changes into nitric oxide.
Hydrolysed Quinoa, whose proteins penetrate into the hair shaft and provides high moisture retention.
Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, a foam booster, an antistatic agent and a thickener.
Chlorphenesin, a synthetic preservative is known to cause dermatitis and infant respiratory distress.
This product uses 2 types of plastic in its packaging and a plastic label.
The A’kin shampoo bottles are identified as code #2. This is a high density polyethylene (HDPE), and can be likened to products like milk bottles, and crinkly shopping bags. If recycled, this plastic group can be recycled into wheelie bins, detergent bottles, or agricultural pipes. Generally, this plastic can be recycled, and Alchemy do encourage the recycling of their product once finished.
Their business model does not offer product stewardship or refills however, which is a shame given that they are a parent company to many brands that use all kinds of different plastics. A recommendation would be to offer product stewardship to consolidate their impact and recycle their plastics in-house for reuse across their sister brands.
Formulation full analysis
Panthenol has so many great benefits when used topically, as well as having a highly soluble quality that makes it a dream ingredient for many cosmetic companies. This ingredient is actually present in all living skin cells, and once it hits the hair and skin, it results in a conversion to pantothenic acid; readily absorbed by the skin and penetrating past the initial surface layer. The hydrating and moisturising properties of Panthenol is extremely high, as Pantothenic acid works as a humectant by infusing water into cells, and when used regularly over the period of four weeks or more, takes on an anti-inflammatory role.
Panthenol is a pro vitamin of B5, and as we know deficiency in vitamin B5 can result in dermatological disorders; this may explain its anti-inflammatory properties.
Arginine is an amino acid that once in the body, changes into nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a powerful neurotransmitter that assists in protein production, relaxing blood vessels and improves circulation. As a cosmetic additive, Arginine is used as a conditioning agent.
Hydrolysed Quinoa is a fantastic ingredient for a product aiming to colour protect. The retention of colour can last much longer by adding this into a product, as well as it’s other benefits of increasing shine and healthy appearance of hair. The proteins penetrate into the hair shaft and provides high moisture retention and conditioning.
Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine. Let’s start here – it’s second on the ingredient list therefore this product has an epic amount of this in comparison to the rest of the list. This is a foam booster, an antistatic agent and a thickener. It’s found in hundreds of products – from shampoo, body wash, cleansers, the list goes on. The process of manufacturing this product is by blending raw coconut oil with a chemical called dimethylaminopropylamine (DMAPA). Although there is not sufficient information on the chronic toxicity of DMAPA, this chemical is under extreme scrutiny by National Cancer Institute due to its widespread demand and volume in personal care products. There are still studies to show death in animals that were exposed to high dose over a 28-day period, and workers exposed to DMAPA experienced weakened respiration.
Chlorphenesin is a really alarming ingredient choice for A’kin given they are focused on no ‘nasties’ in their products. This synthetic preservative is known to cause dermatitis and infant respiratory distress. It’s widely used because of its ability to prevent products from going through colour changes, pH changes, emulsion breakdowns and bacteria growth, however in 2008 the FDA issued a press release advising mothers not to purchase a particular product for it had Chlorphensin in it. The properties of Chlorphenesin is that it is a muscle relaxant, which for infants would have disrupted the nerve impulses travelling to the brain, in turn affecting its nervous system. The other warning was for the mothers, as the chemical causes irritation and dermatitis. Particularly for those with sensitive or dry skin, even using a shampoo that contains this ingredient could easily irritate your scalp, and around the face.
Do you think A’Kin by Alchemy is guilty of greenwashing?
Have you tried this product for yourself?
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