This is not a normal post for me but it has got to the point where I need to warn you about the damaging effects of a product as the brand is not addressing it. The Organic Care shampoo and conditioners are causing hair loss as well as irritation, wounds and scabbing on many peoples scalps. The brand has been notified but only today have they sent out any form of acknowledgement, and only because there was a combined effort for many people to inform them of the harm their products are doing.

Warning: Organic Care shampoo and conditioner is causing harm to customers
Warning: Organic Care shampoo and conditioner is causing harm to customers

I first looked into the Organic Care brand because it was one of the few cheap hair care brands that was accredited by Choose Cruelty Free (who have the best accreditation as I’ve explained in previous blog posts) and vegan friendly.  I would have started using the Organic Care shampoo and conditioner at the end of 2014 and finished using it at the end of 2015 when I realised that the severe hairloss and scalp irritation and scabs were to do with this product. During that period I used both Normal Balance shampoo and conditioner and the Dry Nourish shampoo and conditioner. At the time I didn’t email the company (in hindsight I should have) and instead set about trying to fix the damage that had been done. The only reason why I realised it was this product was because other people were complaining about the same problems being caused by the Organic Care range. It got to the point this year where I saw more and more complaints being posted in a vegan beauty facebook group that I thought I should email Natures Organics about the damage their products were doing to their customers. The email I received on the 7th March 2017 was not good enough. See the bulk of it below.

Like any manufacturer of household and personal care products, one of our biggest challenges is the ever-increasing number of ingredients to which people are sensitive. At the same time, our products contain very mild, predominantly plant-based ingredients. Although we do not test on animals, all our ingredients are well-researched and our products undergo thorough testing for both stability and sensitivity during the development process.

We receive a lot of positive feedback – and very rarely any negative – in relation to the high volume of products that we sell each year. Our contact details are on the pack for all our products and we hear from customers regarding far less serious issues.

I have seen emails from another customer (who wishes to remain anonymous), with Natures Organics again stating that complaints are very rare. This email was received by her on the 3rd July 2017, many months after I had told them that the Organic Care was harming many people. See below:

At the same time, this is a bit of a mystery to us as we have not changed the formula for this product since 2014 and very rarely receive any complaints about irritation: I would be grateful if you could give me the BATCH CODE of the product so that our Lab can check whether there was anything abnormal about the manufacturing. The batch code is printed in black on the back of the bottle above the label and will look something like 10:59 17123 AB.

They offered this customer a voucher for either woolworths or coles but that doesn’t address the widespread damage they have done. On the 4th July 2017 they followed up with this email to her:

Again, I am sorry that our product was not suitable:  Because you have experienced a similar reaction to more than one Organic Care product, it is possible that you are sensitive to one of our base ingredients – the main difference between these products is the amount of each ingredient in the base, fragrance (if applicable) and the choice of natural plant extracts which make each product suitable for different hair types.

Because the ingredients in Organic Care are so mild (and because we have continued to sell so many bottles), like you, I would put this down to a personal sensitivity. Of course, this doesn’t help the person WITH the sensitivity – such as yourself! However,  one of the biggest challenges for manufacturers of household and personal care products is the ever-increasing variety of ingredients to which people are sensitive, and I can advise that we are currently working on a product within the Organic Care range with a different base –  which we hope will be suitable for more sensitive people.

In the meantime, thank you for your honest feedback … the very worst feedback for any manufacture is NONE! And I trust that you have been able to find another brand that works for you.

Natures Organics then asked another affected customer to provide them with information on the people losing hair. She posted in the vegan beauty group yesterday and had a large number of people came forward (well over 100) who had experienced hair loss, irritation, scabs and hair breakage from Organic Care shampoo and conditioner. Some people stopped using the products once they realised their hair was becoming coarse and brittle but many (like myself) didn’t believe it was the products fault until it was too late and started suffering from scalp sores, itching, flaking scalp, and eventually large amounts of hair loss, with many people experiencing bald patches. Here are just a couple of affected people who have allowed me to quote them from their comments in a facebook group:

My hair got so coarse and brittle using it. Was losing quite a bit of hair as well.
But the worst was what it did to my scalp. My entire scalp was very red, tender and itchy. It was also covered in sores. It took several months for it to get back to normal after switching products.
I have never had sensitivities to other products. – Esther Clapperton

and

I was using their dry nourishing shampoo and conditioner for a few months, would have gone through two bottles.
My hair is fine and of normal thickness, but using Organic care shampoo and conditioner made it fall out in handfuls when I washed out the conditioner. At first I didn’t think much of it until I realised that this was happening every time in the shower and when I would brush my hair out afterwards, too.
While it did make my hair feel incredible, my hair was thinning super fast and now eight or nine months later, I have a lot of wispy hair around my face from the fallout growing back. There is almost so much fine wisp that I can make a fringe with it.
I also seem to be having flakey scalp issues as well, which doesn’t seem to be dandruff but it does make me wash my hair more frequently now to get rid of it. –  Katarena Savage 

and

So glad I saw this post because my skin has been so irritated and sensitive lately, my hair is normally thin but it’s thinned out a lot more and falls out in chunks when I wash it. I use the earth washing liquid and organic care shampoo and conditioner so I will definitely be changing products . – Ashleigh Whyte

and

I had used it for the past year and a half and such a dry scalp, itchy and lots of dandruff. So horrible. Changed to Davroe a month ago and I’ve noticed a difference already. – Brittany Mcleod

and

It is still so ridiculous when I think about how much bloody hair I lost when I used their stuff. It was a massive ball. – Adrianna Ciaverella

and finally

I emailed them after I discovered it was the cause of my hair loss after years of investigation. They were already well aware of the issue, telling me lots of people contacted them with similar stories, and were rude and dismissive, telling me we were all wrong. – Jess Spilling 

That is just that couple of people who would let me quote them. There were over 100 more affected in that facebook group alone, I can’t imagine how many there are Australia wide.

Only today (after being inundated with complaints and unable to pretend this is no longer a problem), did they send an email to Jessica Riley, another affected customer. This is a snippet of the email in regards to the Organic Care Colour Shield shampoo:

At the same time, I am sorry that our hair shampoo is not providing good results for you and I would definitely suggest that you stop using it. Even though we had hair breakage tests performed during during development of the Organic Care range with excellent results, it is still possible that the product may not be suitable if its not providing enough moisture to condition your hair. Unfortunately, although we sell many bottles of our products, we realistically acknowledge that it is not possible to provide a product that is suitable for everybody.

I can honestly advise (like any manufacturer), we do hear from a few customers that a product is not suitable and we sincerely value honest feedback: Our company policy is to reimburse the cost of a product that is not suitable – and to evaluate and investigate any comments about our products.

Then a refund is offered and the email finishes with:

Thank you again for your feedback which I will forward to our marketing and product development teams for their assessment in relation to the formula.

It is true that not every product will suit every customer but this is much worse than that. The Organic Care products are causing serious harm to their customers. The only appropriate way to address this is to admit that this is a widespread issue, apologize to all those affected, immediately remove the stock from the shelves and not put it back until the formula has been changed and they can ensure that the products will not harm people.

There is speculation that so many people are being affected because they are using Methylisothiazolinone as a preservative. A 2014 report from the European Commission Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety reported that there has been a “dramatic rise” in cases of contact allergy to Methylisothiazolinone due to increased customer exposure. So the European Commission Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety banned the use of it in leave on products in 2014 but it can still be used in rinse off products like shampoo up to a certain concentration. There is so much evidence against the use of this as an ingredient, so I hope Natures Organics replaces it, even if it isn’t the cause of all the hair loss and open sores that the Organic Care products have caused.

Warning: Organic Care shampoo and conditioner is causing harm blog post on Polish and Paws
Warning: Organic Care shampoo and conditioner is causing harm blog post on Polish and Paws

Whilst my main concern in this post is warning people about the Organic Care products, a few people have asked what product I’ve been using since, that has helped me to regrow my hair. I switched to using the A’kin Rice Amino & Wheat Protein Shampoo along with the A’kin Macadamia & Wheat Protein Conditioner with the occasional hair mask using either Hask products or the A’kin Ginkgo & Jojoba Intensive Moisture Hair Mask – they are by no means budget products like the Organic Care but after what I went through with those products I was willing to spend whatever to get my hair back. I will often buy up big when Priceline has the hair care sales on as 50% off is such a good deal. My scalp was the first thing to start to recover, it took my hair a few months to begin to grow back and then a few months after that I had to deal with what I refer to as a cocky’s crest as the spots where the bald patches were had such short hair. The regrowing hairs were extra coarse for a while but now they are soft and blend in with the rest of my hair – it is 18 months since I stopped using those Organic Care products though, so your results may vary. Even my doctor and hairdresser are pleased with how healthy my hair is now after going through such a bad patch with those products.

Once this blog post is published, I will send it to Natures Organics and ask for them to take responsibility for the widespread harm they have caused to their customers and ask for the product to be recalled immediately. The way they have dealt with customers previously doesn’t give me much hope that their response will be adequate but I hope it is as I don’t plan on giving up. This product is not safe for consumers and I won’t stop until it isn’t available anymore – I know many of those who were badly affected feel the same way too. Even if these products didn’t cause me harm, I still wouldn’t want to support a company that has shown a complete lack of care for the safety of their customers. If you know of anyone using the Organic Care hair products, please share this blog post and warn them about the potential risks, no one should go through significant hair loss because of these products. If you have been affected by these products, please email Natures Organics and ask for a recall on the Organic Care shampoo and conditioners.

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Alinta McMurdo