Click on the + sign for an answer.
We do not! We use a blend of Decyl Glucoside and Coco Glucoside as our non-ionic surfactant and they are made from non-GMO corn and/or coconut oils and sugars. Truly sulfate-free, they effectively remove dirt and debris from hair and skin without stripping it of its natural moisturizing factors.
Besides being a formaldehyde producer, sulfates are quite harsh on the hair and many companies simply replace them with another form (or derivative of) — but we choose to eliminate them completely. Our formulas are gentle and non-abrasive.
Anionic surfactants are the most commonly-used ingredients in commercial shampoos, but they’re also riddled with problems. Most, such as sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate, are inherently irritating and drying to hair and skin. Their strong negative charge effectively removes dirt and debris from hair, but does so without leaving behind any of hair’s natural moisturizing oils. Overuse of these surfactants creates dry, brittle hair. They may also be contaminated by 1,4-dioxane, a cancer-causing chemical. For these reasons, we do not use them in our formulas.
Cationic surfactants are positively-charged, and are attracted to the proteins in hair’s natural structure. This attraction causes them to cling to and adhere to hair, leaving it feeling conditioned and smooth. They are commonly used in hair conditioners to replace the vital oils that shampoo removes. We use safe, non-toxic cationic conditioners in our formulas.
Non-ionic surfactants are not inherently charged, so they dissolve oils and remove dirt from the hair without stripping it excessively. They are gentle and sugar-derived. They are also not contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, making them both safe and effective for non-toxic applications. Because they are non-drying, gentle and not electrically charged, they are color-safe and will not strip hair color from the hair. These are the type of foaming agents we use to power our shampoo formulas.
Yes they do! Quite well in fact! A precise blend of Decyl Glucoside and Coco Glucoside create a rich, luxurious lather not commonly found in sulphate free products. Simply make sure the hair is completely saturated with water before applying shampoo! You may notice a less “chemical – airy” feel and a more “creamy – rich” feel to the lather.
Please note that if you continue to use conditioners and styling products with silicones (dimethicone, cyclopentasiloxane and cyclomethicne) and acrylates (plastics) you may need to use a sulphate-based formula.
Creating our line in 2014, we were able to utilize ingredients new to the market — many just developed. Our mission was to seek out and use cutting-edge “green” technology and chemistry in all of our formulas so they are developed with the latest resources in our sector.
We believe having a lather is extremely important and we wanted to accomplish it without the use of sulfates (or derivatives). We sent our formulas back to the drawing board several times until our chemists created the perfect composition.
The “no-poo” movement is quite popular right now and folks are shampooing less. The main ingredient to achieve a proper cleanse is water, and so we suggest — if you are going several days between shampooing — making sure your hair is thoroughly saturated with water before applying our shampoo. This is especially important if you have long hair, thick hair or any product/hairspray buildup.
We formulate our styling products without plastics and synthetic polymers — and so our shampoos do not contain the harsh chemicals needed to remove them. It may take 2-3 shampoos to remove “plastic” buildup (acrylates, silicones and polymers in traditional hairsprays and styling products) from the hair, but once removed (and the use of such products eliminated), one shampoo is typically enough to properly cleanse. If you are using AHNESTI styling aids, you will get an immediate and thorough cleanse.
We formulate with a combination of high-tech ingredients that start from natural botanicals, as well as natural raw plant oils and organic plant extracts. Our Utiliti Intuitive Gel and Authoriti Whipped Paste are Made with Organic Ingredients and are 70% and 72% organic, respectively. Our shampoos and conditioners are labeled as “Made with Organic Ingredients” but we do not cite a specific percentage because it is presently impossible to derive cleansing agents for shampoo or cationic conditioning agents for conditioners from USDA-Certified raw plant materials.
Our signature blend of beneficial plant extracts is produced in the US from only Certified Organic ingredients sourced in the US. The producers of our raw actives are compliant with United States standards for Organic cultivation. This means that the ingredients cannot be treated with pesticides or herbicides at any point during their cultivation, cannot be genetically modified, and cannot be grown in soil that has been treated with synthetic fertilizers within a definite period.
Our cleansing ingredients are made from non-GMO corn, coconut and/or palm sugar in a non-toxic, 100% plant-based (non-ethoxylated) process; although they are made from 100% natural and renewable resources, the final product is no longer a “food grade” ingredient (i.e. it is no longer considered edible) and therefore it cannot be certified by the USDA for use in organic cosmetics. It IS approved by Ecocert and the Soil Association Organic Standard for use in cosmetics. It is the safest, most non-damaging type of cleanser currently available on the market, and it is fairly unique due to its higher cost than traditional sulfate-based ingredients.
The conditioning agent we use in our hair conditioners, Stearalkonium Chloride, is the only partially-synthetic ingredient used at a percentage greater than 0.5% of the total formula. It is non-irritating and safe for all ages and hair types. To date, no organic or natural alternative exists to this type of ingredient; if it did, we would be using it. However, we chose this ingredient after combing through a rigorous criteria for safety, purity and environmental standards because it has been proven non-toxic, 100% biodegradable, and renewable.
Our range is 97% naturally-derived. Products within the range vary from 89.5% to 100% made from ingredients of natural, organic, and aqueous origin. We are able to trace the origin of all of the botanical ingredients utilized in our formulas to their source. Any synthetic ingredient we use has been proven to be non-toxic, 100% biodegradable, renewable and safe.
At this time, technology hasn’t reached the point where we can create a 100% natural and/or 100% organic haircare product that gives us the performance we demand. Therefore, we use a small percentage of safe, synthetic ingredients only when absolute necessary.
All but the Authoriti Whipped Paste are Certified Vegan (it contains certified organic beeswax.)
Yes, all of our products are cruelty-free.
Our founder is Celiac and so, yes, all of our products are formulated gluten-free.
What makes a shampoo/conditioner color-safe?
There are two main factors: pH and the choice of surfactant (foaming/cleansing agent). Sulfate free and pH balanced formulas naturally protect color and therefore eliminate the need for additional “color-locking” chemicals. Alkalinity destroys color. (Lower pH = more acidic product, higher pH = more alkaline product). Therefore, products with a pH of 7.0 or higher will generally have a detrimental effect on hair color. Our shampoo and conditioner are formulated at a pH that falls between 5.0 and 7.0, making them slightly acidic to pH neutral and appropriate for color-treated hair, closing the cuticle, and preserving color.
Surfactants also play a large role in determining whether a shampoo/conditioner will be color-safe. There are three main types of surfactants at play in haircare products: anionic (negatively-charged) surfactants, non-ionic (non-charged) surfactants, and cationic (positively-charged) surfactants.
Shelf life is 24-36 months unopened; 6-8 months once opened. It’s a common misnomer that all natural and organic products have a shorter shelf life than standard, non-organic ones. You will not have to follow any specific storage instructions to maintain the shelf-stability of my product (aka; no refrigeration).
We utilize a robust preservation system made from a combination of two non-toxic, food-grade preservatives to ensure that our products remain fresh for the duration of use. Advances in green chemistry have revolutionized the way that natural hair/skincare products are produced. While it was never necessarily accurate to say that organic products have a comparatively short shelf-life and lower ability to perform, it is now possible to create organic/natural formulas that match or exceed the shelf-life of conventional cosmetics using completely non-toxic, non-controversial plant- and probiotic-based preservatives.
We do not. Our paraben-free formulas are preserved with a 100% vegetable-derived antimicrobial agent (Glyceryl Caprylate (and) Glyceryl Undecylenate); our gel is preserved with 100% natural Honeysuckle flower extract.
The combination of food-grade preservatives and new, non-toxic phyto-preservatives, minimize the risk of irritation while providing adequate protection from fungi/microorganisms.
AHNESTI products are designed with sensitivities in mind. While we realize that the scope of allergies has become ever more broad, our chemists are experts with extensive training and awareness of the relevant scientific research regarding the potential for irritation.
Our plant actives pose an extremely low risk for irritation versus comparable synthetic agents. This means our ingredients are appropriate for sensitive skin/scalp, and are gentle enough for sufferers of psoriasis, eczema, rosacea and dermatitis — and in many cases, healing and relieving of external symptoms. We always suggest doing a patch test if you are concerned.
Common irritants that we do not use include: sodium lauryl sulfate; sodium laureth sulfate; ammonium lauryl sulfate; ammonium laureth sulfate; DEA (diethanolamine)/TEA (triethanolamine); limonene; linalool; citral; geraniol; hexal cinnamal; synthetic fragrance; FD&C colorants (Red 40, Yellow 5, etc.); methylisothiazolinone/chloromethylisothiazolinone, and phenoxyethanol.
As the wife of a three-time cancer hero, our founder understands firsthand the effects that cancer can have on an individual and his/her loved ones. Cancers can be genetically-induced, but many are also greatly influenced by lifestyle; specifically, by exposure to known carcinogens.
Our products are designed to do no harm. They contain zero parabens (possible carcinogens), phthalates (known carcinogens), sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate (irritants, potentially contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a known carcinogen), synthetic color, synthetic fragrance (typically containing phthalates, known to be carcinogenic), silicones (potentially nano-sized particles, which can penetrate deep into the skin and potentially enter the bloodstream), or animal products aside from cruelty-free beeswax (in our pomade only).
We do not. We call our scent blend a “functional aromatic”, because it has benefits for mind, body and spirit. Made from 100% natural essential oils of rosemary, geranium and ylang-ylang, our aroma is uplifting and grounding at the same time. It purifies the hair and scalp, invigorates the senses, and promotes a sense of balance and well-being. And because it’s made from only essential oils, you can be assured that it is completely free of phthalates, 100% non-toxic, and safe for all ages.
Our gender-neutral, essential oil scented formulas are very light and suitable for those with scent-sensitivities.
(Essential oils are generally recognized as safe (GRAS) but can pose the risk of skin irritation in some individuals. Women who are pregnant or nursing should always consult with their doctor(s)/medical professional(s) before using our products or any products containing essential oils).
We’d love to! Plant technology is comprised of plant ingredients that have been transformed through a variety of chemical processes into functional ingredients in a laboratory. We utilize plant technology that is produced using only non-toxic, non-harming chemistry. This means that the actives themselves and the byproducts of their production have a minimal impact on the ecosystem, do not produce industrial toxins, and that any residues produced as a result of the production of these ingredients have been disposed of in an appropriate manner.
Our plant actives are broadly classified as belonging to one of two categories.
Category I: 100% natural actives — like the name would suggest, these ingredients are 100% natural, minimally processed, and not manipulated in a laboratory. Includes our certified organic blend of plant extracts, our functional aromatic blend, and our plant emollients.Our plant actives serve as preservatives, smoothing agents, anti-static agents, and cleansing conditioning agents. All of the plant technology utilized in our formulas is 100% biodegradable, not made with the use of nano-technology, not contaminated with 1,4-dioxane or other by-products of ethoxylation (we do not formulate with ethoxylated ingredients), and is safe for use on the skin/hair.
Category II: Earth to Earth Approved Phyto-actives — These ingredients are either 100% naturally-derived (from non petroleum-based plant or mineral ingredients) and processed into functional materials in a laboratory, or are composed of a natural component and a non-toxic synthetic component, and are created in a laboratory. Includes our plant-derived hold agents, smoothing agent, and hair conditioning ingredients.
Organics are ingredients that are: Certified by independent boards to have been grown without synthetic pesticides/herbicides, free of genetic modification (non-GMO), cultivated in soil not treated with synthetic fertilizers, and generally grown in a more sustainable and soil-friendly manner.
Synergistics are ingredients that are: Of natural origin but are not certified by independent bodies as Organic, often organically-grown in that they are free of pesticides/GMOs but are not compliant with USDA standards due to the exceedingly high cost of certification, and produced by small growers or cooperatives.
We also classify our breakthrough phytotechnology as synergistically-produced. This means the plant actives/functional ingredients are: Rendered from plant ingredients using non-toxic chemistry in a laboratory, are of natural origin or combine a natural component with a non-toxic synthetic component, are produced without toxic reagents / catalysts / solvents, and contain no toxic by-products (i.e. 1,4-dioxane), and are 100% biodegradable & non-harming to terrestrial or aquatic ecosystems.
Organics and Earth-Synergistics are the core of our brand. We utilize a variety of organic and synergistic ingredients to power our formulas, to make them effective, and to make them sensorial to the end user.
We care deeply about the sustainability of the ingredients we utilize, and have chosen to formulate with only those actives for which we can guarantee that the method of production /extraction is renewable, non-harming, non-toxic, and earth friendly. For example, we utilize essential oils extracted using only the non-toxic supercritical CO2 method. This method uses only liquid carbon dioxide, which is non-toxic and safe. Choosing ingredients produced via this and other non-toxic methods, we not only eliminate the risk of contamination of our product with industrial-grade solvents (i.e. trichloromethane), but also ensure that the suppliers are working in a safe environment, and that the soil will not be contaminated with solvent runoff.
When an ingredient is processed using industrial solvents, there’s no guarantee that the ingredient is not contaminated with by-products from the manufacturing process. This was the case with sodium laureth sulfate, which has been found to be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a by-product of the manufacturing process, and a suspected carcinogen. We believe that essential oils and ingredients manufactured using industrial-grade solvents have become void of their life force, and are no longer considered healing, instead becoming harming ingredients.
We are troubled by the loss of native primate habitats that has become an ongoing issue due to the unsustainable harvest of palm as a commercial crop. We have chosen to formulate using cleansers derived from sugar, and have minimized our use of palm-sourced ingredients. There are some conditioning agents that are currently considered the ‘gold standard’ whose production depends on the use of palm oil; while our products are not completely palm-free, compared to other brands, our products contain a much more diverse ingredient portfolio and are made with high proportions of ingredients that are more sustainable, such as olive, rapeseed (cabbage family) and castor-derived emollients.
Thank you for noticing! Our goal when creating AHNESTI was to bridge the gap between the “organic world” (high-integrity ingredients) and the “salon world” (high-performance results) and so design was incredibly important to us! We wanted to show the best of both worlds and so we chose esthetics for the external and integrity for the internal. We think AHNESTI displays beautifully in the shower or on a shelf.
We are extremely confident in the performance of our formulas. New, plant-based ingredients designed for skin and hair have enabled us to now introduce formulas that effectively smooth and restore the hair as effectively as ingredients of petrochemical origin—without the use of silicones, formaldehyde, or other bio-accumulative and/or toxic ingredients.
The result of our advances in green chemistry: safe, pure products that can be used by all the members of the family; products that deliver the performance that is expected of a professional brand, without all the controversial and potentially toxic ingredients that are archetypical of professional products.
Our founder is a veteran hairstylist, former salon owner and developed AHNESTI with one singular goal: To combine high-integrity ingredients with high-performance. Honesty — With a Side of Vanity!
Our goal is not to shame the consumer, or to make him/her fearful of the products he/she uses on a daily basis; instead, we hope to educate and inspire our customers to make positive changes in their lives. We now have the technology available to make natural, organic and non-toxic products that really work—so why not choose non-toxic options?
We wanted to create a product that was both appealing to the consumer and also incredibly effective at what it set out to do—without being harmful to either the consumer or the earth at large. We believed, and continue to believe, that innovation, creativity, and education define our business, and that these three qualities will define the future of our industry. It’s not enough to market a product that can pass an internal claims-substantiation test and be marketed as a wunderkind—it has to be able to deliver on its promises, and to have a positive impact on its user(s) without negatively impacting his/her health, or the environment.
There’s a lot of misinformation about natural/organic products floating around online. There’s a misconception that pure, safe products cannot deliver the same benefits as synthetics/conventionals. Some also believe that natural products require special care, such as refrigeration, to maintain their efficacy. The truth is, green chemistry has revolutionized the way that natural actives perform. In fact, new technologies made from pure plants actually outperformed ingredients once considered to be the “industry gold-standard” in tests of color penetration and retention, smoothing, and ability to control flyaways and frizz. We’re encouraged and inspired by the strides we’ve made, and it’s become our mission to demonstrate the power of these incredible botanicals.
The majority of salon-quality ‘natural/organic/toxin-free’ brands use ingredients that we choose to avoid due to their adverse effects on hair, body, and the ecosystem at large. There’s also a phenomenon called ‘greenwashing’ whereby certain companies create an aura of purity and environmental stewardship that is unwarranted based on their ingredients. Some, have even stated clearly that they will never allow a specific ingredient (known as a toxin) in their formulas, yet actually DO allow it. This only increases consumer confusion and mistrust.
Many haircare brands you find at a natural store or co-op, do have the highest environmental standards, but sadly fall short with their level of performance.
Though our products are formulated according to exceptional standards of purity, we consider performance to be an equally important factor in creating our formulas. We choose ingredients that have been clinically validated for their ability to deliver top performance, and we use these ingredients in appreciable amounts to ensure that our products actually deliver on their promises. And we stand by those promises.
Finally, we hold ourselves fully accountable to third-party certification/standards. This means that our products have been formulated to comply with third party organizations that regulate ingredient and manufacturing standards. As of this writing, our products comply with standards established by the NSF Organic Program and Soil Association; they are also gluten-free, vegan (except our paste, which contains beeswax), biodegradable, and cruelty-free.
Our conditioners and styling aids have been clinically proven to deliver 20% more shine instantly, and reduce breakage by up to 75%.
No. We don’t like the way silicones feel in our hair, or the controversial impact they have on our bodies and the environment, specifically our waterways. AHNESTI uses a revolutionary new plant smoothing complex made using a completely sustainable, solvent-free process. It is biodegradable, non-toxic, and produces no wastes other than water.
This revolutionary complex, derived from coconut and castor oils, actually outperformed dimethicone (the most commonly-used silicone in haircare products — think Moroccan Oil) in shine tests performed by an independent laboratory. The process by which it is made does away with the heavy feel of plant oils, creating a weightlessly conditioning final product with the same feel as silicones, without the residue/buildup that silicones can leave behind. And unlike silicones that give a false sense of conditioning and actually dry out the hair, this plant emollient effectively replenishes and repairs the hair, so with prolonged use, hair condition actually improves. This makes it a superior option, and one that has zero negative environmental consequences
You can find this wondrous ingredient (Diheptyl Succinate (and) Caryoyl Glycerin/Sebacic Acid Copolymer) in our Utiliti Intuitive Gel (lotion) and both of our conditioners.