Hairy Thursday Preview: Warning Dihydrogen Monoxide!

Dihydrogen monoxide (DHMO) is a colourless and odourless compound that has been shown to participate in mutating DNA and denature proteins. DHMO is found in many poisonous substances and is routinely used in hair products. DHMO even in small amounts can kill humans. Yet, the US government and the CDC (Centre for Disease Control) do not classify DHMO as toxic or carcinogenic.

Are you scared? Is it really true? Let us split this up - Dihydrogen means two hydrogen (H2) and Monoxide means one oxygen (O) therefore making H20 or water. Yes all the above refers to water!

The DHMO story was concocted up by some University students to display misinterpretation of science. What they say about water is true although clearly exaggerated and in some cases misleading. But if you display it on a website with authentic looking science, could it be true?

What is the relevance to hair? Well when people are trying to sell you something, I think sometimes they try to DHMO you.

Large companies: They need volume sales and employ scientists to ensure that the claims they make can be proved. This does not necessarily mean that the claim is useful to you. For example Conditioner X promises stronger hair in 4 washes. The scientists will have tested this to make sure it is true but perhaps the hair was not combed between the 4 washes or perhaps the hair was chemically treated and therefore pretty much any coating will make it stronger, the list of ‘if’s’ is endless

Small companies: They need sales but do not have the money to employ scientists to back up their claims. So what can they do? They have to show that they are better than the large companies and care for your health and well being. So here come the all natural, chemical free, preservative free, safer etc claims. But are they really more natural or chemical or preservative free?

Hairdressers: They need to sell you their ‘professional’ products and so must convince you that despite the hefty price tag (in many cases) that this extra spend is useful for you. So here come the claims that it is a ‘professional’ product, tried and tested and developed for hairdressers who know firsthand what is great for your hair. Is a professional product any different from a supermarket brand? So, who are you to believe? Well (shameless plug warning) The Natural Haven cuts through the claims and gives you the facts. I also have to point you towards who have done so much work already on a similar line. I am focussing purely on natural hair, so if you have read something elsewhere and would like a scientist to look at it email it to me! I'll let you know what is true and what is marketing.

The hairy topic tomorrow will be exploring just how natural/chemical free are some natural/chemical free products with a case study!!


  1. That was a very interesting post and I loved the story about H2O!

  2. Okay!
    I'm officially hooked. I wanted to read from the very begginning of your articles so I have read all of the March 2009 blogs and absolutley love them! Very imformative and is SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN!!! I love how you embrace oppossing view points because that is SCIENCE!!!
    I'm a SUPER NERD (O and very proud of it) you have gotten my little neurons excited and synapsing lol. I'm really thinking about my natural hair journey in a more scientific way and you are defiantly contributing to this.


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