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8 Ingredients That Harm Natural Hair

It's a NO from us!

BY Amahle Melokuhle

Apr 20, 2022, 07:18 AM

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You've done the work and embraced natural hair but something is just not right - did you ever think that the ingredients in your hair care products might be the problem? Thankfully we're here to save the day

When dealing with natural hair, it’s very important to pay close attention to the ingredients in the products you use. It can be a bit intimidating at first, trying to remember what ingredients are harmful and which ones are safe to use, but if you can learn the LOC method you can remember this list!

Many of these ingredients are bad because they cause the hair to become extremely dry, which always leads to breakage and/or split ends.

Here you’ll find out the top seven ingredients to avoid in natural hair products. That way, you’ll be able to scan the label quickly and purchase the right stuff for your hair.

1. Mineral Oil

This petroleum byproduct was widely used in the past for conditioning and smoothing the hair. Also known simply as grease, mineral oil does an excellent job of lubricating the hair.

The problem is, it’s too difficult to rinse out. Only harsh shampoos can effectively wash mineral oil from the hair. Plus, mineral oil forms a barrier so that nothing can get in, including hydration. The result is dry, undernourished hair. Other petroleum-based ingredients to watch out for include petrolatum. 

2. Isopropyl Alcohol 

Looking for alcohols in your products can be tricky. Certain types of alcohol can be very drying for your hair. They strip the hair of its protective sebum and they cause frizz and breakage. This ingredient is also bad for hair growth.

3. Dimethicon

This silicone can be found in shampoos, conditioners, anti-frizz serums, and many other styling products. Silicone smoothes over the cuticle and helps to make your hair shinier and less frizzy.

The problem is silicone coats the cuticle so well that water and nutrients have a hard time entering the hair shaft. The result is dry, malnourished hair.

Heat-styling is the only time you should ever consider using silicones, as they will effectively protect your hair shaft from heat damage. 

4. Fragrance 

To be honest, fragrance isn’t necessarily bad for your hair, but it is highly toxic for your body. When you apply products, you automatically inhale them and breathing in harmful chemicals sends toxic fumes to the brain.

Fragrance can affect your neurological, respiratory, and reproductive systems. Choose your natural hair products with essential oils instead. Essential oils are aromatic, nontoxic, and some are even scientifically proven to help hair growth. 

5. Chlorine 

Although this product is not an ingredient that you would usually find in hair products, it is one that we need to avoid as we go about our everyday lives. You'll find chlorines in places such as showers, pools, tap water and laundry products. Where possible, avoid chlorine at all costs as it is harmful to your skin and hair.

6. DEA, MEA and TEA

These emulsifying agents are used to thicken products and make them creamier. DEA, MEA, and TEA are known carcinogens. The effect on natural hair is unclear, but they are widely known to be highly toxic for your vital organs.
You might also see these chemicals labelled as cocamide DEA, cocamide MEA, myristate DEA, triethanolamine, DEA-cetyl phosphate, and oleamide DEA.

7. Propylene Glycol 

Propylene glycol is the primary ingredient in antifreeze. Also known as PG, propylene glycol effectively breaks down protein and cellular structure, making it one of the worst ingredients for naturals.

It is used as a surfactant or wetting agent, and it can easily penetrate the skin. Besides harming curly hair, the chemical can trigger your body’s autoimmune system. It can also cause neurological, respiratory, and cardiovascular issues.

One of the worst things about propylene glycol is that it can increase your scalp’s tendency to absorb other harmful ingredients. 

8. Parabens

They are widely used preservatives that prevent the growth of bacteria, mold and yeast in cosmetic products, including hair care products. Sounds good, right? Not so fast, they do more than that. They possess estrogen-mimicking properties that are associated with increased risk of breast cancer. These chemicals are absorbed through the skin and have been identified in biopsy samples from breast tumors. Other than being found in hair products like shampoos, they can also be found in makeup, body washes, deodorants and facial cleansers.

So, the next time you go looking for products to use in your hair, check the ingredients for any of this harmful products. You know, better safe than sorry. The natural the ingredients, the better they are for your hair.