10 Ingredients To Look For In Natural Hair Products

Ingredients To Look For In Natural Hair Products
Image: Envato Elements

Beauty companies that produce hair care products – shampoo, conditioners, dyes, gels, perms, etc – have been known to use any means necessary to make sure that their products are accepted in the market. The fastest way to do this is to make sure that their products work. But some of the ingredients used to formulate these products are toxic.

Some have even been known to cause certain kinds of cancer and health complications after prolonged use, they could even damage your hair.

But how do you distinguish between products that have good healthy ingredients and work from products that are just there to make money for their companies without any care for the side effects the ingredients they use could cause?

10 Ingredients To Avoid In Natural Hair Products

The more we embrace our natural hair texture, the more products we need to keep it healthy. However to keep your natural hair healthy, here are 1ngredient in your natural hair products to avoid.

Healthy Natural Hair
Image: @tolanilav// Instagram

1. Silicones

This is usually found in anti-frizz products like mousse, conditioners, and other styling products. They contain silicones that smooth over the hair cuticle so that it doesn’t frizz up. Unfortunately, silicones have a reputation for coating the hair cuticles so much that they seal the hair off so that no moisture can penetrate the cuticles.

This would result in dryness and breakage. The best time to use silicones is when you are heat styling; silicones can help protect the hair shaft and seal in moisture previously put in the hair. Silicones include dimethicone, cetyl, Cetearyl methicone, and dimethiconol.

2. Parabens

These are preservatives added to hair products to prolong shelf life and mitigate bacterial, yeast, and mold growth in the products. However, parabens are xenoestrogens; they mimic estrogens, are endocrine disruptors, and can spur the growth of breast cancer cells.

In fact, many skincare products have parabens as part of their ingredients. They include propylparaben and benzyl paraben.

3. Formaldehyde

This is a kind of carcinogen and carcinogens are generally unsafe. Formaldehyde is another product preservative and can be extremely irritating to the eyes or skin and can increase the risk of cancer.

Also, sometimes, other ingredients when mixed together can form carcinogens, so also, look out for Glyoxal, Polyoxymethylene, Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate.

4. DEA, MEA, TEA: Diethanolamine, Monoethanolamine and Triethanolamine

They are used to balance the PH levels of products.  Although they are usually listed as neutralized compounds, they are hormone-disrupting chemicals that form cancer-causing nitrates.

They are commonly found in products that lather and foam, like facial cleansers, shampoos, conditioners, bath gels, etc.

6. Toluene

This is for people who like to color their mane a lot. This ingredient is usually found in hair bleaching and dyeing products. It’s so powerful that it can dissolve paint and paint thinner, imagine what it can do to your hair and general health.

It is known to irritate the skin, cause respiratory issues and even developmental damage to the fetus if pregnant women are exposed to it. You would see it labeled as benzene, tuluol, ethylbenzene, or phenylmethane.

7. Phthalates

Are used in hundreds to increase the softness and flexibility of plastics. They are often found in hairspray and are among the ingredients listed as ‘Fragrance’, and not properly disclosed as dimethyl phthalates.

They are also known as endocrine disruptors and have been linked to the risk of breast cancer, early breast development in girls, and reproductive birth defects in males and females.

8. Alcohol

Literally, all haircare products have some form of alcohol in them. Alcohol is used for its evaporation qualities. The ones to really stay clear of are: Isopropyl alcohol, Ethanol, Propyl, Propanol, etc. This is because they can really dry out your hair and strip it of all its natural oils. Thus, causing breakage and split ends.

9. Polyethylene Glycol

They are used as thickening agents in hair care products like shampoos and hairsprays. They tend to strip the hair of natural moisture and that is why a lot of people are dealing with an itchy scalp. Most people don’t realize that they have dermatitis because of this skin irritant.

They also have been classed as developmental toxins; that is, they could interfere with human development.

10. Coal Tar

This is a common ingredient in anti-dandruff products. It’s a kind of carcinogen linked to increased risks and even causes of lung cancer. So, it could get rid of your flaky scalp and ruin your lungs in return. It is often listed as a color+ number in these kinds of products.

10. Synthetic Colors

These ingredients have no real purpose; they are just there for aesthetics. They don’t do any good to the hair or the product, rather, they cause scalp irritation and skin sensitivity. They are also suspected to be carcinogenic and linked to ADHD in children.

Best Ingredients For Natural hair

Healthy ingredienst help you maintain a healthy strand. Hence here are some of the best ingredients in natural hair products.

Healthy Natural Hair
Image: @dhatgirlbecca // Instagram

1. Vegetable Glycerin

This is a humectant that draws moisture from the atmosphere. To keep your hair constantly moisturized, add some of this to the content of your spray bottle.

2. Aloe Vera

Does more than attracting and retaining moisture, it also helps to condition the hair properly for styling and balances out the scalp’s pH level.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar

Is excellent for making the highlights of your hair stand out, adding shine to the hair, balancing the scalp’s pH level, and limiting the production of dandruff on the scalp. So rather than going for products that have coal tar in them, opt for diluted ACV or vinegar specifically designed for hair.

4. Oils

Oils are really nature’s gift to us. There are so many oils and they have a ton of benefits for general health, for hair and skin. Avocado oils are a fine alternative for a heat protectant, tea tree oil helps to reduce fungi and yeast growth in the hair.

Coconut and argan oils are perfect to mitigate dryness of hair, olive oil is great for hot oils treatments and castor oil gives you some serious hair volume.

5. Hair Butters

Cocoa butter, shea butter, avocado butter, mango butter all help with hair conditioning and shine. Even better, they thicken your natural hair. So they are most beneficial to people with dry scalps, damaged hair, and fine hair.

Final Thoughts

We hope you start scrutinizing the ingredients of your hair care products and reducing – if you can’t completely stop – the use of products that use these ingredients. There are more organic products to use and DIY recipes to try out, to reduce the long-term use of harmful ingredients, we hope you try them out.

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