Natural, african hair is way more sensitive than many people realize. The wrong treatment or neglect can lead to frizzing, tangling, breaking or even stunted growth. It’s important not only to understand your coil pattern in order to effectively nurture your hair but also, to know which ingredients are harmful and should be kept away from your hair completely.
We will be profiling 5 harmful ingredients you need to stay away from.
Research has found that parabens and mineral oil may cause considerable damage to the hair and scalp. Parabens are a common category of preservatives used in cosmetics and hair care products. Compared to other, safer alternatives, they are cheaper and mimic antimicrobial agents in plants. However, parabens also have the ability to mimic estrogen and cause breast cancer.
Sulphated products, especially shampoos have a very drying complex. Research shows that African-descent hair has approximately 18 to 20% less moisture than Caucasian hair, making it even more crucial to choose a non-drying cleanser. So next time you choose a conditioner or shampoo, make sure you get one that is clearly marked “Sulphate free“.
Alcohol has been tainted with a negative rep because not all alcohol is made equal. While some alcohols like Cetearyl and Cetyl soften hair and skin through adding moisture, isopropyl alcohol is drying and harsh to our natural hair. This type of alcohol is usually found in hair sprays and gel and it dries faster on your hair. Constant use of this ingredient can leave your hair frizzy, dry & dull - something we don’t want.
4. Allergens and Endocrine Disruptors (ECDS)
Ever wondered what the real value of fragrance-free products was? Fragrances often contain allergens and endocrine disruptors which are bad for the hair and scalp as they lead to dryness and itching. So while it might seem bland, the fewer fragrances in your hair products, the better.
Phthalates are a group of industrial chemicals that are used as solvents in cosmetic products. They have shown that they can damage the liver, kidneys, and reproductive systems.
This list is not exhaustive but it’s a good start. As a rule of thumb, if your grandma cannot pronounce the ingredient, you should probably not use it on your skin or hair. Also, the higher up the ingredient, the more present it is in the formula.
We hope this list will help you next time when you restock on your hair care products. Here's to happy, healthy hair!