Understanding the Attitudes of and Perceptions Toward Organic Hair Product Use

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Stapleton, Heather M.

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Routinely used cosmetic and hair products can often contain chemical ingredients with known toxicity or health hazards. The goals of this project were to evaluate consumers’ perceptions and attitudes toward organic hair product use, and encourage consumer research of product components before purchasing. To understand the variables that contribute to consumer decision-making processes, 47 participants completed a 17-question survey with questions about factors driving their hair product purchasing decisions. Participants were also shown the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Skin Deep cosmetic database, which includes rating and health information on the products, and then asked if the information would deter them from using the product in the future. Study results show that product price and efficacy are the dominant factors driving consumer purchasing behaviors. Results also reveal that there are misconceptions about whether a product is truly organic/all-natural. Said finding is possibly attributable to participants’ reliance on non-scientific sources such as, YouTube/vlogs, blogs and friends’ recommendations when forming their opinions of products. While the mentioned sources can provide insight to a product’s effectiveness, they should not be heavily relied upon for product safety information. Consumers should instead utilize scientifically supported sources to obtain product safety information as these sources are based on empirical testing and chemical behavior. Recommended sources for researching hair products or product ingredients include the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database (Smartphone application available for download), PubMed and ChemSpider.com to name a few.





Hawkins, Brit'ny (2014). Understanding the Attitudes of and Perceptions Toward Organic Hair Product Use. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/8532.

Dukes student scholarship is made available to the public using a Creative Commons Attribution / Non-commercial / No derivative (CC-BY-NC-ND) license.