Safe Synthetics

Safe Synthetics

Plant Based Ingredients and Safe Synthetics


We often hear that natural ingredients are the best option, and that synthetics are always less valuable or more harmful. In some instances, a safe synthetic is healthier for you or has less environmental impact than a plant-based ingredient. We use plant-based ingredients wherever they are a better alternative, and most of the time they are. Plants are the all-stars in Kavella products!

Here’s an example of how we pick out a safe synthetic over a both a toxic option and a similar plant-based option:


Our Moisture and Recovery Oils contain a synthetic hydrocarbon called C13-15 Alkane to make them more lightweight and spreadable on the hair. We use it as a beautiful alternative to cyclomethicone or cyclopentasiloxane, the most common silicone bases used in hair oils and serums. (These volatile silicones bioaccumulate and don’t break down easily in the environment, and they are also found to be endocrine disruptors and toxic to the nervous system.)

There is a similar ingredient to our alternative called C15-19 Alkane, and that version is plant-derived instead of synthetic. Sounds like a done deal, right? Not quite. The C15-19 Alkane it is derived from palm, and as we all know, palm crops contribute to the detrimental clearing of rain forests. The supplier is working toward using 100% sustainable palm for this ingredient, but until they achieve that goal, the safe synthetic in this instance is a more mindful choice than the plant-based alternative. 


Sometimes an ingredient that sounds like a “bad chemical” is actually very safe and may even be plant-derived. Guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride is an example of this. The long chemical name represents a cationic (positively charged) derivative of guar gum (from cluster beans). It is a commonly used conditioning ingredient that helps deposit active ingredients onto the hair while fighting static. This naturally derived ingredient is effective and has no adverse side effects, despite it’s very long, chemically-sounding name.

Everything is made of chemicals: water, aloe vera extract, parabens and sulfates.


The key is to use the best possible chemical for the job. Safe, effective and low impact. When choosing ingredients, Kavella stays true to our tagline by creating the most mindful, beautiful, clean formulas possible.