Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Natural Hair NO-NO's

Warning! After becoming enlightened about the following information ... your next trip to the beauty hair supply store will be a quite an experience.  Here's hoping you aren't left like me ... scouring the aisles hopelessly turning over bottle after bottle and container after container in hopes that your favorite tried-and-true go-to products will make the cut!  A moment of silence for Motions and Optimum Care --- my pre-natural hair product line must-haves.  They didn't make the cut!

You know the saying, everything that glitters ain't gold ... please know that every naturally, certified organic product is not always telling the black and white truth .... it may lie somewhere in a shade of gray.  And just because it looks 'natural-like' or has some natural oils in it, doesn't mean as a complete product, it is great for your hair.

Here are the MAIN Ingredients to Avoid In Hair Care Products:

  1. Mineral Oil & Petroleum:  It coats the hair like plastic wrap with an and just lays there.   While it gives the hair the look of being shiny and lustrious it has no nutritional value.  It disrupts the natural hair barrier and prevents the scalp from breathing and hair follicles from absorbing moisture or any other nutritional ingredients applied to the hair on top of it.  Say no to hair grease
  2. Propylene Glycol & Polyethylene Glycol: Used as a wetting agent, this toxic chemical breaks down the protein found in hair and skin cellular structure basically stripping and weakening the hair follicles which could result in both the weakening of hair follices and major breakage!
  3. Parabens: A class of chemicals widely used as preservatives in hair products.  They have become extremely controversial because they have been found in breast cancer tumors.  Common parabens are methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben.
  4. Cones: Mainly silicone or any other chemical that ends in the suffix cone (there are a lot).   In general, silicones work by covering hair with a thin coating that helps reduce the porosity of the hair which makes it less likely to absorb humidity; it helps reduce moisture loss from the inside of the hair; and it lubricates the surface of the hair so it feel smoother and combs easier.  The problem with cones is that they aren't water-soluble and can't be removed by co-washing OR a non-sulfate shampoo.  Most naturals don't use sulfate shampoos or shampoos at all because of how they dry the hair out.  So the result is cones cause product build-up on your hair which then clogs the hair shaft and blocks out moisture.  Some naturals still use 'cones, but definitely clarify or use a sulfate-shampoo.
  5. Isopropyl Alcohol: A poisonous substance that has the ability to change other substances natural properties.  It will dry your hair out and break it off.  It is often found in hair dye rinses.
  6. Lauryl Sulfate & Sodium Laureth Sulfate: A major ingredient in about 90% of shampoos that cause it to foam.  They can enter the blood stream and may cause potentially carcinogenic formations of nitrates and dioxins to form in shampoos and cleansers by reacting with other product ingredients.  Sulfates are known to be very drying to hair.
  7. Fragrance: Many of the compounds in fragrance are carcinogenic or otherwise toxic. The ingredient fragrance on a product label can indicate the presence of up to 4,000 separate ingredients.  Opt for a pure essential oil instead!

So now you're thinking the next trip to the beauty store is going to be extremely daunting.  Here's the thing, take it one step at a time.  As you continue to look for these items on product labels you begin the process of elimination.  Pretty soon, you'll identify certain products that don't include the forementioned ingredients and they will become your new FAVS.  A great rule of thumb is to ALWAYS look for natural ingredients and products that have things such as: water, aloe vera juice, carrier oils (coconut, olive, argan, jojoba, grapeseed, almond), butters (shea, mango) and essential oils.   The closer the ingredient is to the top of the ingredient list, the larger the dosage of that ingredient included in the mix.  If the "natural" ingredients are all the way at the bottom of the list and a bunch of "no-no" junk is listed high, there effectiveness is slim to none!

Happy Product Shopping!


  1. Very helpful. I'm going to print this out...and have it when I grab new products.

  2. Wow, I was only looking at the SLS products. I will also be printing this for my trips to the beauty supply store...better yet I need to take this into my bathroom and check the products I am currently using. thanks for the info.