Urtekram – Danish Organic Hugs for your Hair and Skin

My local health food shop (Well Natural in Salisbury) is small but manages to cram a lot into its shelves, stocking everything from vitamin supplements to vegan chocolate and even a little coffee shop. The staff aren’t particularly knowledgeable, especially when it comes to being vegan (I’ll probably have a little rant about this in another post). But it has been a life saver over the past few newly vegan months.

I’ve been able to research brands they supply to see which would be suitable for a vegan with über sensitive skin like mine and was excited to see a new brand: Urtektram on the shelves in the shampoo section. The excitement came, not only because it was cruelty free and vegan but because it have ‘NO PERFUME’ in bright yellow on the front of the bottle – score!

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In the days prior to my enlightenment regarding my allergy triggers (fragrance/SLS/lanolin etc) I had to wash my hair wearing rubber gloves. This has been a source of great hilarity for my friends and family.  I still do in fact, many years of bad reactions has left me nervous of risking days of steroid ointment and white cotton gloves as my poor hands recovered. I’m very fond of my yellow marigolds! However, in order to test how gentle a seemingly ideal product is, I give it the no gloves test over a week. It has been a revelation. The only other shampoo that I have found as good as this has been Jason Naturals Fragrance Free. However, I think this beats it hands down. I have super-fine flyaway hair and it leaves it clean and residue free. It also foams which makes it easier to ensure you have cleaned it thoroughly. I used to wash my hair every other day but this easily adds one more wash-free day which in the long is better for you hair. You can see from the water on this bottle that I have just used it!

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In the last few months I have been researching the positive effects of certain natural plant and nut oils on sensitive skin and it is really interesting to see that the main ingredients of this shampoo are Sodium Coco Sulphate ( a mild, non irritating surfactant made from coconut oil) and aloe vera. There are lots of interesting articles around Sulphates on the internet, most around the negative effect of Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulphate which are irritants and often both toxic and carcinogenic. But it is not ‘Sulphates’ that are the problem as there are many that are useful and not harmful to you or the environment, the issue is the word that comes before it. If you see a sulphate that you don’t recognise – check it before you buy.

Urketram is a brand that has been around in Denmark since 1972, selling herbs at a time when awareness about the environment was “an idealistic matter of the heart to a few people”, they pioneered the use of organic and fair trade produce. In the 1990s they led the way in bringing organic products into the mainstream and their stockists are ever-increasing. Their name is a clever play on the traditional Danish word for a herb seller, “urtekræmmer” and the work for a hug: “kram”.  They have a new fan in me. My local shop only stocks their shampoo and conditioner so I will need to look online for other products in this range and see if they are great as this.

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