Rating: Avoid



  • Contains behentrimonium chloride
  • Preservatives include BHT
  • Packaging is difficult to recycle

Bumble and bumble is a hair product brand that was developed in the New York salon of the same name. They aim to develop high quality, versatile products. The brand is now owned by the Estee Lauder group.

The main ingredients in their Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Conditioner are mostly fatty acids and oils. Complete data sets are not available for all of these chemicals. Most should all be readily biodegradable, but some may be toxic to aquatic life. If they are readily biodegradable, a large amount will break down during waste water treatment – reducing the amount that is released to the environment.

Some of these ingredients can be derived from palm oil. The Estee Lauder group is a RSPO member. They are working towards ensuring all their palm oil sources are certified, and purchasing offsets where this is not possible. Only using certified palm oil would be best, but it is good that some steps are being taken.

Another main ingredient is behentrimonium chloride. This chemical is very toxic to aquatic life, and likely to bind to bits of dirt – which will reduce the amount of the chemical that aquatic life is exposed to. However, it looks like behentrimonium chloride is not readily biodegradable. This means it will stay in the environment for a longer period of time, where it can keep causing toxic effects.

This product also contains a number of silicones. These chemicals are not expected to have high aquatic toxicity, but the length of time required for these chemicals to break down in the environment can vary.

Some other minor ingredients, including some fragrances, are very toxic to aquatic life but readily biodegradable. There are additional fragrances which are not disclosed; these chemicals could be anything.

The preservatives include EDTA and BHT. These chemicals are not readily biodegradable. In the environment, EDTA can increase exposure to heavy metals in waterways and interfere with normal nutrient cycles. The second chemical – BHT – is very toxic to aquatic life. Some studies show that it changes into other chemicals in sunlight, but these chemicals do not appear to degrade further and are expected to be just as toxic. There is also information to suggest that BHT, and the chemicals it changes into, may be bioaccumulative. These properties indicate that these could be chemicals of high concern and have significant environmental impacts.

The packaging for this product is simple, but it is difficult to recycle in most areas. This means it is highly likely that it will be disposed of to landfill.

But does it work?

Considering how well a product works is a big factor in determining whether a product is a good one or not. A product that does not work is a waste.

This product is popular with many users – but so are many other products that have a much lower environmental impact. Search our reviews to find other products that could do the job without compromising the environment.

Image credit: Citrine Salon

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s