Is OUAI a Clean Beauty Brand? Exploring Their Philosophy and Products

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Have you heard of OUAI? It’s that chic haircare brand that’s all over Instagram, looking all pretty and promising great hair days. But here’s the thing – with everyone talking about clean beauty these days, it’s got us wondering: Is OUAI as clean and green as it is stylish?

So, we’re going on a little detective mission in this blog post. We’ll dig into what OUAI is all about, peek at their ingredients, and see if they really fit the bill for being a clean beauty brand. Let’s get to the bottom of this together!

Table of Contents

About The Brand

Founded by celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin, who’s worked magic on the tresses of the rich and famous, OUAI was born out of the desire to create real, effortless haircare for real life. It’s all about luxury meeting accessibility – because why shouldn’t we all have fabulous hair without the fuss?

OUAI’s philosophy? It’s simple: good hair days should be easy and accessible to everyone. They’re big on nurturing your hair to health with nourishing ingredients and cutting down on the unnecessary stuff that weighs both your hair and the planet down. That means saying a big “no thanks” to sulfates (yep, they’re SLS & SLES free), parabens, and they’re all about being cruelty-free. It’s hair care that’s kind to your hair and the earth – a win-win in our book.

So, from the get-go, OUAI has been on a mission to simplify our hair routines with products that are straightforward, effective, and, dare we say, a little luxurious. They’re committed to ditching harsh chemicals and keeping their lineup as friendly as they can, with a nod towards more conscious beauty practices. But, how clean are their products really? Stick around, and we’ll dive into that together.

Clean Beauty Defined

Clean beauty is all about products made without ingredients shown to harm our health or the environment. It often focuses on natural ingredients, ditching harsh chemicals like parabens, sulfates, and phthalates. The shift towards clean beauty comes from a growing desire to use products that are safe, sustainable, and kind to our bodies and the planet. It’s beauty that feels good and does good.

OUAI’s Product Philosophy and Standards

At the heart of OUAI’s philosophy is a commitment to high-quality, thoughtful ingredients—whether they’re derived from nature or created in a lab. The brand understands that not all synthetic ingredients are bad and not all natural ingredients are good, focusing instead on safety, effectiveness, and environmental impact.

Their focus is not to be 100% natural or even close; instead, it’s about striking the perfect balance. OUAI aims to blend the best of both worlds, offering products that deliver on performance without compromising on their principles. It’s about choosing the right ingredients for the right reasons, making beauty routines both effective and conscientious.

When it comes to silicones and other controversial ingredients, OUAI takes a measured approach. They include silicones in some products where they provide significant benefits, like smoothing frizz and adding shine, although this is not always clear when buying a product online. By finding this balance, OUAI shows they care about what goes into their products and how they affect us and the planet.

OUAI Shampoo for Fine Hair

Diving into the OUAI Shampoo for Fine Hair, it’s all about lifting and nourishing fine locks without weighing them down. It blends Biotin for strength, Hemp Seed Extract for moisture without the heaviness, Chia Seed Oil for thickness, and Hydrolyzed Keratin to smooth and reduce frizz. This formula is a pep talk for fine hair, encouraging it to look its best with a mix of natural and enhancing ingredients.

Ingredient Highlights and Analysis:

Natural Ingredients:

  • Biotin (Vitamin B7),Salvia Hispanica (Chia) Seed Oil, and Glycerin are naturally derived and known for their hair-strengthening, moisturizing, and hydrating properties, respectively.
  • Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate – mild surfactant derived from coconut.

Synthetic Ingredients and Concerns:

  • Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate and Cocamidopropyl Betaine are synthetic surfactants used for cleaning, which can be harsh for sensitive scalps but effective for removing dirt and oil.
  • Fragrance/Parfum is a common ingredient with undisclosed components, which can be a concern for those with sensitivities or allergies, as it might include allergens or irritants.
  • Phenoxyethanol and Benzyl Alcohol are synthetic preservatives known to be potential irritants but are considered safe in small quantities by regulatory bodies. Given their wash-off nature in shampoos, they pose a lower risk of irritation for most people.
  • Silicones (e.g., Propoxytetramethyl Piperidinyl Dimethicone): Silicones provide hair smoothing and conditioning effects. However, they are synthetic and not natural. Overuse of silicones can lead to buildup on the hair and scalp, requiring clarifying treatments to remove. They’re a point of debate in clean beauty due to their synthetic origin and environmental concerns regarding biodegradability.

Wrapping it up, the OUAI Shampoo for Fine Hair leans more on the synthetic side and has a couple of ingredients that might not sit well with everyone. But, it’s still crafted to be kind to your hair. Sure, it’s got its share of naturals like Biotin and Chia Seed Oil that are great for your locks. But if you are looking for a clean product, this is definitely not it. It’s mostly synthetic which doesn’t mean it’s all bad but it’s not for everyone.

OUAI Detox Shampoo

The OUAI Detox Shampoo steps up as a heavy-duty cleanser designed to give your hair and scalp a deep clean. It’s the ultimate reset button for your locks, especially if you’ve been overdoing it with styling products or if hard water has left its mark.

The shampoo claims to strip away dirt, oil, product buildup, and mineral deposits without stripping your hair of its natural goodness. The result? Hair that feels refreshed, with its natural volume, bounce, and shine restored.

Key Ingredients Analysis:

Natural Ingredients:

  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Known for its clarifying and shine-enhancing properties, it helps exfoliate the scalp, remove buildup, and balance pH levels.
  • Glycerin: A natural humectant that draws moisture into the hair, keeping it hydrated and soft.

Active Synthetic Ingredients:

  • Chelating Agents: These synthetic ingredients are crucial for tackling the minerals and metals in hard water, preventing damage and color fading.
  • Hydrolyzed Keratin: A protein that replenishes hair’s natural keratin, reducing frizz and making hair smoother.

Other Noteworthy Ingredients:

  • Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate and Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isethionate: Synthetic surfactants effective at deep cleaning but gentle on the scalp.
  • Fragrance (Parfum): Adds a pleasant scent but could be a concern for those with fragrance sensitivities, as the exact composition is not disclosed.
  • Preservatives (Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate): Necessary for product shelf-life but can be irritants to sensitive skin.
  • Synthetic Colouring Agents (CI 14700 (RED 4), CI 19140 (YELLOW 5), CI 61570 (GREEN 5)): These synthetic colours are not that innocent and most have a medium hazard rating on EWG.

While the OUAI Detox Shampoo includes a couple of natural ingredients like apple cider vinegar and glycerin, it predominantly relies on synthetic components to achieve its deep-cleaning effects.

The blend of natural and synthetic ingredients is designed to ensure efficacy without harshness, maintaining the brand’s ethos of gentle yet effective haircare. However, those strictly following clean beauty standards might have an issue with the synthetic surfactants, fragrance and colour additives used in the formula.

Scalp & Body Scrub St. Bart’s

Infused with a dreamy St. Bart’s scent featuring dragonfruit, orange blossom, tuberose, and musk, this scrub promises to transport you to paradise. It’s a sweet blend of sugar and coconut oil that gently exfoliates and nourishes, making every day feel like a spa day.

Key Ingredients Analysis:

Natural Ingredients:

  • Sucrose (Sugar): A natural exfoliant that helps to slough off dead skin cells, revealing smoother, brighter skin.
  • Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil: Deeply moisturizes and conditions the skin and scalp with its rich fatty acid content.
  • Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil: Known for its nourishing properties, it softens and revitalizes the skin.
  • Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice: Soothes and hydrates, making it perfect for calming the scalp and skin.
  • Hydrolyzed Hibiscus Esculentus Extract and Apium Graveolens (Celery) Seed Extract: Offer additional skin conditioning and soothing benefits
  • Epilobium Angustifolium Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract: Known for its soothing properties, this extract is great for calming irritated skin and scalp.
  • Lactobacillus Ferment Lysate: Probiotic ingredient that helps to protect and maintain a healthy skin barrier, offering both soothing and hydrating benefits.
  • Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate: A natural alternative to synthetic preservatives

Synthetic Ingredients and Concerns:

  • Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isethionate and Cocamide Mea: Mild synthetic cleansers that help the scrub foam and cleanse effectively.
  • Fragrance (Parfum): While it adds a lovely scent, the lack of specifics could be a concern for those with sensitivities to certain fragrances.
  • Preservatives (Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate): Extend the product’s shelf life but can be irritating to sensitive skin types.
  • BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene): A synthetic antioxidant used to extend shelf life. While effective, it has sparked debate regarding its potential effects on skin and the environment.
  • Sodium Metabisulfite: Used as a preservative and antioxidant. It can be an irritant, especially for those with sensitive skin or sulfite allergies.
  • Peg-100 Stearate and Peg-150 Distearate: These are synthetic emulsifiers and can be concerning for their potential contamination with ethylene oxide and 1,4-dioxane, compounds of health concern, though this risk is considered low in cosmetics regulated in many countries.

The Scalp & Body Scrub St. Bart’s predominantly features a rich blend of natural ingredients, from sugar for exfoliation to coconut oil for deep moisture, enhanced by skin-friendly extracts and probiotics for soothing and balancing the skin.

However, it’s important to note the presence of synthetic ingredients, including mild cleansers for efficacy and preservatives for safety. While BHT and Sodium Metabisulfite add to the product’s stability and effectiveness, they might raise eyebrows among the clean beauty enthusiasts due to their potential for irritation or environmental impact.

So, while this product is much better in terms of natural ingredients compared to Quai’s shampoo, it is still not considered clean due to all the synthetics it contains.

Final Thoughts: Is Quai Considered a Clean Beauty Brand?

No, OUAI is not considered a clean beauty brand by the strictest definitions, which often require a high percentage of natural ingredients. OUAI mixes natural elements with synthetic ones, including fragrances and silicones, to ensure their products are effective and pleasant to use.

They focus on excluding harsh chemicals like SLS & SLES and are committed to being cruelty-free. So, while they prioritize safety and quality, their approach includes a balance between nature and science, not fitting the narrowest clean beauty criteria.

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