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Is Hask Clean & Sustainable? Our Surprising Findings

Better Goods

Jun 23, 2022

Hask is a New York-based hair care company founded as HASK Toiletries, Inc. in 1946. Their product lineup currently consists of shampoos, conditioners, and hair treatments. The brand is available in stores all over North America and prides itself on being "clean beauty."

Upon visiting Hask's website, you'll likely notice the large "CLEAN BEAUTY" section at the top of the page. A bold statement like this always sets off our alarms, so it's important that we take a deep dive into the brand to see if they're genuinely a clean beauty brand.

We're disappointed to report that Hask is greenwashing and is NOT as clean as they would like you to believe.

Our Methodology

At Better Goods, we rank brands on our three pillars: ingredients, sustainability, and animal welfare.

Brands are rating on the three pillars as follows:

Best

This ranking is for the best of the best. Only exemplary brands will receive a ranking of best for any category.

Good

This ranking is for brands that are typically quite good, but don’t go above and beyond like our best choices.

Iffy

This ranking is for when we find something we find iffy. Not a good sign.

Avoid

This ranking is reserved for the worst of the worst.

"Hask Clean Beauty" = Greenwashing

Hask maintains a prominent "clean beauty" page on their website that details their "strict standards".

From Hask's website

Among other things, the above quote from their website says:

"You can feel completely confident that you won't find any questionable or controversial ingredients in our products."

After deep diving into the ingredients in Hask's full line of products, we found that this is unfortunately not true.

We found many questionable and controversial ingredients in Hask's products. We will get into the exact details in the section below.

Ingredients (Rating: Iffy)

Hask maintains an ingredients section on the website, but it's not comprehensive and only lists the ingredients that benefit the end-user. This ingredient list is very lacking and shows a tiny percentage of the actual ingredients the brand uses.

However, they list the full ingredients list for each product on the website, so they get a passing grade in this regard.

However, this leads us to our next point of concern: the use of chemical fragrance. Let's take a closer look at why this is a problem.

Fragrance

A big culprit we found in Hask products is artificial fragrance. This is an ingredient commonly used in hair care products to make them smell good, but it can irritate the skin and scalp.

The term "fragrance" is also used as a catch-all for a number of different chemicals, many of which are potentially toxic. The problem is that when the ingredients are hidden this way, we cannot know which (if any) are affecting us negatively.

Many fragrances also use a class of chemicals called phthalates which give the scent a longer staying power. Phthalates are known to be endocrine disruptors, and there's simply no way of knowing if a particular fragrance has this toxic ingredient or not.

You'll find fragrance listed as an ingredient in nearly all of Hask's products, including their shampoos, conditioners, and hair treatments. It's disappointing to see because although everyone loves a lovely scent, we never recommend products with hidden synthetic fragrance formulas.

Toxic Propellants in Hask's Dry Shampoos

Hask's lineup of products contains several dry shampoos. While it's possible to create a dry shampoo without a propellant, most dry shampoos on the market use gasses like butane, propane, and isobutane to aerosolize the product.

Hask's dry shampoos are no exception.

The above image is taken from the Hask website and shows their Charcoal Purifying Dry Shampoo. As you can see, this dry shampoo has butane, isobutane, and propane.

Propellant gasses like butane, propane, isobutane, and tetrafluoropropene are toxic to our respiratory tracts and can make the air difficult to breathe. These gasses can also cause headaches and sometimes even nausea in some people.

These gasses are also known to contribute to the depletion of our ozone layer, which is decidedly not eco-friendly.

At the very least, Hask's dry shampoos don't use talc, a common dry shampoo ingredient that can sometimes be contaminated with asbestos. Instead, their dry shampoos use rice starch, a natural alternative.

Dimethicone

Dimethicone is a silicone-based polymer that's commonly used in hair care products. It's a very effective conditioning agent and can help to make hair appear shiny and smooth.

Hask's conditioners, like the Hemp Oil & Agave Moisturizing Conditioner, contain dimethicone. It's also found in some of their hair treatments, like the Monoi Coconut Oil Nourishing Hair Oil.

The problem with dimethicone is that while it's not overtly harmful, silicones build up in the hair over time. This can make the hair feel weighed down, greasy, and lifeless.

For some people, this isn't a big deal, and they're delighted to use dimethicone products. However, if your hair isn't as healthy as you'd like it to be, check the ingredient labels on your hair care products. If you see any silicones, try swapping them out and seeing if it makes a difference.

Methylisothiazolinone (MIT)

This is a synthetic preservative found in several of Hask's products and has been linked to lung toxicity and possible neurotoxicity and can cause allergic reactions in some users. (1) (2)

Even though these risks exist, this ingredient has been deemed safe to use as a preservative in cosmetics up to 0.01%.

Methylisothiazolinone can be found in virtually all of Hasks's shampoos.

Sustainability (Rating: Avoid)

Hask doesn't claim to be a sustainable brand, and they don't appear to have any sustainability initiatives.

Besides the single-use deep hair conditioners, all Hask products use plastic packaging that is likely not recyclable or made with any recycled materials.

Nothing can be found on the brand's website regarding any plans to improve the sustainability of their packaging or manufacturing process.

Animal Welfare (Rating: Good)

Cruelty-Free

Hask is a 100% cruelty-free brand. (3) This means that neither their products nor their ingredients are tested on animals at any point in the production cycle.

Not 100% Vegan

While Hask may have some vegan products, the brand isn't 100% vegan. If you prefer to purchase vegan products, be sure to check out each individual Hask product to ensure it contains no animal-derived ingredients.

Final Brand Ratings

Our rating scale ranges from "Best" (for having the best practices) to "Bad" (for having unacceptable practices). We rated Hask as follows.

INGREDIENTSIffy - Hask is guilty of greenwashing and their products contain several ingredients we recommend avoiding.
SUSTAINABILITYAvoid - All products are housed in disposable plastic, and there are no meaningful initiatives to increase the brand's sustainability.
ANIMAL WELFAREGood - The brand is 100% cruelty-free, but is not a vegan brand.

Overall Rating

Hask is a brand that touts itself as being clean and sustainable, but falls short in several areas. Their products use synthetic fragrance formulas, toxic propellants, and dimethicone, which can build up in the hair over time.

They also don't have any sustainability initiatives and are not 100% vegan. However, Hask is cruelty-free, and some of their products do use natural ingredients.

Overall, we would recommend a better hair care company like EVOLVh - they make a clean line of hair care products that don't have the same controversial ingredients that Hask does.

 
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