This post was last updated on December 14, 2022 by Preethi Sukumaran
Have you been looking high and low for a truly natural children’s shampoo that is safe and toxin free? Have you been frustrated in your search by brands which pretend to be natural, but are not? Read on for more about the issues with chemical shampoos for children and what a truly natural , safe organic children’s shampoo and conditioner looks like.
A natural children’s shampoo: How mild / safe is your child’s shampoo?
Just how bad / toxic are synthetic baby and kids products? The short answer: very
The long answer: Do you have a lifetime to listen to our rants?
We often blog about the myriad suspect chemicals, possible carcinogens and irritant ingredients that are knowingly or unknowingly a part of the personal care pantheon designed for kids. About 10,100 ingredients now form the master list of ingredients that go into the stuff we use to bathe, shampoo, condition and cleanse ourselves and our kids. 90% of these ingredients have never been examined, tested or even evaluated by any manner of competent authority.
It is a matter of surprise to most people when we decode their child’s synthetic shampoo for them. Somehow, mislead by all the advertising, everyone believes that a baby shampoo or the special kids bodywash is milder and healthier for children. This is why when many adults are advised to change their shampoo to a mild shampoo (especially if they have developed dermatitis, or if they are pregnant), they choose a baby shampoo. And most often they find that their symptoms do not subside, leading them to conclude rightly that the baby shampoo is just another shampoo and is not very mild.
So when we say something is natural, how do you as a responsible parent believe what we say? This skepticism is important to have because it helps you cut through the lies, and really evaluate whether what you are putting on your child is really natural.
If you are reading the back of pack of a synthetic skin / hair care product, you could be in trouble. We’ve got you covered on how to read and decode consumer product labels – we actually think it is a part of Urban Survival skills and something you should definitely do with Food you buy in a supermarket as well.
But things get a lot easier when you try and decode what goes into a Krya product, like the Krya baby hair wash or the Krya toddler hair wash or the Krya Kids hairwash. As a company that believes in radical transparency as a value, we declare 100% of our ingredients (yes, you read that right, 100%). So you have a good chance to read every ingredient and do your own research or write to us to ask for information on why a certain ingredient is used, or if you have any concerns about it.
A natural children’s shampoo: hair, scalp and brain development of children according to Ayurveda
Ayurveda is a holistic, deep and ancient Indian science. The texts give us excellent information, and understanding about how children develop and what herbs we must use for hair, skin and general care of children in different lifestages.
The Ayurvedic texts state that the first 7 years of a child’s life is characterized by a very high degree of mental growth . The foundation for learning, memory and intelligence and application in this stage can be developed well by taking certain judicious measures. The proper ahara (diet), right dinacharya and ritucharya (daily and seasonal regimen), right visual, auditory and mental stimuli helps properly develop the child’s manasa and sharira (mind and body).
The Ayurvedic diet for a child is designed to support this massive growth in the brain. The Ayurvedic children’s diet plan also helps support the child’s body through a good combination of healthy, good fat filled diet with the right medhya (intelligence)promoting herbs, tonics and supplements. Medhya improving nitya rasayanas like A2 Ghee, and good quality A2 cow’s milk are to be a part of the child’s diet. Curd is not to be given often – instead well churned buttermilk should be given as a part of the diet along with local , seasonal organic fruits and vegetables.
As the child grows and responds to the environment, Ayurveda says that it is important to ensure there is no vata disorder arising either from improper diet, or through improper mental stimulation. To ensure vata dosha is in balance, all Ayurvedic external products will always have warming and vata controlling herbs like Vacha, Daruharidra, Tulsi, Babchi, etc. The Ayurvedic nursery is therefore also advised to be warm, sunny, with pleasant and cheerful toys and a great deal of care is taken to ensure a cosy, happy and positive atmosphere to drive away any anxiety or fear from the child. Fear can be highly debilitating to a child’s normal growth – so parents are asked to avoid exposing children to heights, lonely places or any fearful objects.
The Ayurvedic hair care routine aims to support the child’s brain development. As the brain grows and is excited by stimulus, the pitta emanating from the scalp and eyes is constantly kept in check, and medhya and rasayana herbs are used in the child’s hair oils and hair care products to support the activity of the scalp.
This is a critical part of formulating a natural children’s shampoo or a natural children’s hair oil designed to deliver nourishment to a child’s scalp. We must use pitta balancing, and medhya enhancing and rasayana herbs in the formulation.
A natural children’s shampoo: additional issues with children’s scalp and hair
Research also tells us that the sebaceous glands are not as fully formed in young children ,as they are during puberty . When sebaceous glands are under-developed, a child’s scalp and hair can quickly get dry when exposed to chemicals, chlorine in the swimming pool or harsh shampoos. There is also a greater change of developing contact allergies to chemicals in synthetic shampoos, conditioners and paraffin oil containing commercial hair oils.
Research also tells us that a child’s blood barrier is easily breached as their microbiome is still forming and their immune systems are still not fully developed.
At Krya, both these factors are critical when we begin formulating for children. Our hair and skin products account for the underdeveloped and delicate nature of sebaceous glands on scalp and skin. We also limit the herbs we use to a small number of highly researched and commonly prescribed herbs for children. To account for the under developed sebaceous glands of children, our formulation uses a much milder level of surfactants compared to our adult formulations. We make up for this by using a higher proportion of cleansing substances that cleanse by adsorption (cleansing through lifting off oil and grease, instead of working like soap).
Parents who are concerned about their children’s slightly dry / sensitive skin are extremely happy when they switch their children from using soap to the Krya Kids Bodywash (unisex) or the Krya Kids Ubtan for Girls or the Krya Kids Ubtan for Boys. The switch from a synthetic soap to a gentle herb and grain based cleanser makes a huge noticeable difference to the condition of the skin.
The Krya Kids hairwash products (both variants for oily hair and fro dry / curly hair) is best used along with the Krya Classic Kids hair oil or the Krya Conditioning Kids hair oil. The combination of oil + hairwash helps nourish the scalp, gently cleanse the scalp and promotes good hair growth . These are secondary benefits. The primary benefits of the oil and hairwash together is to support and cool the eyes, and supports the rapid development of brain.
A natural children’s shampoo: How season impacts Krya kids hairwash
Ritu / Ayurvedic season is an important factor that we keep in mind when we formulate our hair and skin products. From Greeshma (Indian Summer) upto the end of Sharad Ritu (Indian Autumn), we expect to have varying heat from very high to moderate and high levels of humidity. This usually triggers high sweating, body odour and scalp and skin oiliness among everyone, including children.
Our summer and non summer formulations are always different, because they need to be adjusted for humidity and heat levels as per the season. Our summer formulations are adjusted to have a higher weight-age of cleansing and cooling herbs. In this way, we assist the scalp and skin’s natural thermo-regulatory function to help sweat out the toxins and excess dirt better. The herbs also help release excess pitta so our summer formulations always leave you feeling cool and refreshed.
As the weather transitions from autumn to early winter, there is a drop in humidity levels across India. This means that the sebum production in the scalp also drops slightly, so your hair is generally less greasy and does not get as dirty as it does in summer. For children whose sebum production is already slightly low compared to adults, this means that the scalp can get extra dry if not careful.
A drop in humidity and natural oil levels also means that the hair has less natural oils circulating through it. So children’s hair can get frizzy or extra dry, and combing can become a nightmare if your child has long hair.
To keep the frizz low in your child’s hair, we usually up our level of conditioning herbs in the Krya kids hairwash in this season. We use nutrient and mucilage rich natural herbs like fenugreek, hibiscus flower and liquorice for the Krya kids hairwash, which are soothing for the scalp and also help keep the cuticular structure in place reducing tangles. At all times, whether it is winter, summer, monsoon or autumn, it is wise to nourish your child’s hair with a well crafted ayurvedic hair oil. Please explore the Krya Kids Classic hair oil or the Krya Kids conditioning hair oil for your child along with the Krya Kids hairwash (both variants).
A natural children’s shampoo: the Krya Kids hairwash with 2 variants
All Krya hairwash products are in the ayurvedic choornam (powder) format. This format is useful on many levels: It helps us make a formulation that is absolutely loaded with whole processed herbs at un-heard of levels in the consumer products industry.
Most regular CPG brands get away with claim level ingredients(ingredients that the tv aid claim the product has in plenty like milk proteins, saffron, amla, badam, etc) at percentages that are less than 1% by weight in the final formulation, sometimes at super minuscule levels. In an interesting study done by Consumer VOICE which is now up on the Ministry of Consumer affairs website,a study found that the percentage of almond in a leading brand of “almond” hair oil was less than 2% ,although the advertisement extensively talks about almond as a prime ingredient!
Bu following the choornam format and not adding water to make a liquid shampoo, we are also able to completely avoid the use of synthetic preservatives like parabens. This format also allows us to completely skip synthetic surfactants like SLS and SLeS, thickeners, foaming boosters, thickeners like MEA, TEA and DEA, fragrances, etc.
By using plant based surfactants like Shikakai, Soapberry, Desert date and plant based conditioning herbs like Hibiscus, Licorice, Fenugreek and other anti bacterial , astringent and hair growth promoting herbs, we are able to make a highly potent, yet extremely gentle natural children’s shampoo.
The Krya Kids hairwash comes in 2 variants. We will now look at how each variant is formulated.
The Krya Kids hairwash – Classic variant is a 29 ayurvedic whole herb, completely natural, toxic free, ayurvedic shampoo powder. This product is FREE from all chemical additives and uses whole ayurvedic herbs and whole organic grains processed separately and then harmoniously blended together to make this ayurvedic kid’s shampoo powder.
The product uses gentle natural plant surfactants like Arishtaka, Desert Date which cleanse without irritating the scalp. The Hair wash also contains natural conditioning herbs like Japa flower, Japa leaf, Fenugreek. To balance Pitta, and gentle cleanse a scalp that is oil prone, we use Pitta balancing herbs like Mushta, Vetiver, Khadira. Natural shine enhancing and conditioning herbs like Japa flower, hibiscus leaf, curry leaf, etc, are used. Finally, we add the Medhya and Rasayana herbs as suggested in Ayurveda like Brahmi, Guduchi, Mulethi.
The Krya Kids Hair Wash (conditioning) is a 29 ayurvedic whole herb, completely natural, toxic free, ayurvedic kid’s curly hair shampoo powder. This product is FREE from all chemical additives and uses whole ayurvedic herbs and whole organic grains processed separately and then harmoniously blended together to make this ayurvedic natural shampoo powder.
All Krya hair wash products are made in this Ayurvedic Choornam (powder) format . By following the Choornam format and not adding water to make a liquid shampoo, we are also able to completely avoid the use of synthetic preservatives like parabens. This format also allows us to completely skip synthetic surfactants like SLS and SLeS, thickeners, foaming boosters, thickeners like MEA, TEA and DEA, fragrances, etc.
The Krya Kids Hair wash (conditioning) contains a carefully chosen set of natural ayurvedic herbs. The product uses gentle natural plant surfactants like Arishtaka, Desert Date which cleanse without irritating the scalp. To balance vata build up in the scalp and hair, we use Vata balancing herbs like Bala, Moringa Leaf, etc. To improve hydration and softness of curly hair, we add natural conditioning herbs like Albizia, Hibiscus leaf, Hibiscus flower, roselle, Liquorice, etc. Finally, we add the Medhya and Rasayana herbs as suggested in Ayurveda like Brahmi, Guduchi, Mulethi.
Other Krya Kids hair care products: Anti Lice hair products
If your child has lice / nits, the Krya Anti Lice hair Wash along with the Krya Anti Lice Hair Oil is a better set of products. For very high Lice infestation, we recommend the use of the Krya Anti Lice hair system which contains in addition to these 2 products the Krya Anti Lice Hair mask. All 3 Krya Anti-lice products are completely natural, contain no toxic herbs or substances, are extremely safe and repel lice and deactivate nits very effectively.
To sum up:
Parents today are extremely concerned about the high toxic load on their children’s hair, skin and bodies due to the unprecedented number of synthetics we have to deal with from plastic packaging to toys to paint , furniture and finally the products we use on our children. Because of the underdeveloped nature of a child’s sebaceous glands, delicate nature of skin and scalp , what we apply on our child’s skin and hair can quickly cause unintended harm.
Further more, Ayurveda tells us that children are in an exciting growth phase. This is the time in which their brain sees the maximum development in size and multiple connections are fired between neurons as children absorb sounds, sights, fragrances, odours, tastes and interact with the world. It is important to nourish and relieve stress in the eyes and support the brain during this rapid growth.
Taking all these factors into account, plus accounting for how the change in seasons also affects children’s sebum levels and scalp, we have formulated the Krya Kids hair wash with 2 variants, Classic and Conditioning variants for different hair issues. These 2 products are ayurvedic hair choornams designed to replace synthetic shampoos and conditioners. When used along with the Krya Kids hair oil, this helps parents set up a healthy hair regimen for their children.
Our ongoing Formulation series is designed to give you a glimpse into how we think about, research and work on our product formulations. We believe that it is imperative for companies to be transparent both about their products and their manufacturing process. This, we believe, helps consumers make better choices for themselves and be more involved in what enters their home, is applied on themselves and is released into the soil and water.
Information helps us all make better choices. We hope you found this post both interesting and relevant to read. If you too would like help to switch to our all natural range of Children’s hair and skin products, please DM us on WhatsApp or write to us.