If you think that your natural hair products contain 100% natural ingredients, then think again! Many of these products contain artificial ingredients that can not only damage your natural hair, but also cause serious health problems.
These ingredients are not required to be FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved. Thus, companies can add these ingredients in products labeled “organic” or “natural”.
Here are the top 5 ingredients to avoid in natural hair products.
Sulfates are salts created from a chemical reaction in sulfuric acid. They act as a detergent in many personal care products such as shampoo, soaps, masks, and pastes. In fact, this cheap ingredient is what causes these products to foam.
Sulfates can strip natural oils from the hair, leaving it dry and brittle. Thus, it is damaging to curly and kinky hair, which have less natural oils than straighten hair types. It frizzes hair and may also cause irritation to the skin, scalp, and eyes.
Opt for oil-based soaps and shampoos such as raw African black soap
. The next best option is to avoid products with harsh sulfates including
Mineral Oil and Petroleum
Mineral oil derives from crude oil and can serve as a lubricant or cutting fluid industrially. It is then purified and refined into liquid. It can moisturize the scalp, but it weighs down hair and inhibits the absorption of natural oils.
Plus, it can cause irritation of the scalp and damage hair when left in it overnight. Petroleum also has the same properties as mineral oil. Although these substances are the least harmful on this list, there are healthier substitutes on the market. Opt for products with natural oils such as coconut oil
or essential oils
Formaldehyde and Formaldehyde Releasing Preservatives
If you’ve heard about formaldehyde before, odds are you may have heard that is used to embalm dead bodies. It turns out that this preservative is also used to inhibit bacterial growth in hair care products.
It is likely to cause skin reactions, heart issues, ear infections, dizziness, chest pains, headaches, and allergies.
Formaldehyde releasers contain small traces of formaldehyde, but can still cause health complications.
This carcinogen is so toxic that its use is either very restricted or banned in many other countries all over the world. Formaldehyde is not always included on ingredient lists, so opt for products with a formaldehyde-free label.
There are two main types of alcohol used in natural products: short chain alcohols and fatty alcohols. Short chain alcohols help products dry faster once applied, which prevents “greasy” or “weighed down” feeling on hair . Yet, they can make curly and kinky hair types feel brittle and break off. These alcohols include
SD Alcohol 40
However, fatty alcohols, also called good alcohols, derive from natural sources like plants and oils. They contain extra carbon content that can smooth hair cuticles and provide good slip.
Alcohols are found in hand lotions, cosmetics, and hair color rinses. Always check the ingredient lists of these products.
Parabens are preservatives can increase the shelf life of product. These man-made chemicals help slow down the growth of bacteria. Although they are inexpensive and easy to use, they can cause allergic skin reactions and hormonal imbalances.
It can mimic estrogen, which can damage DNA and increase cell division over time. This can promote the growth of cancerous tumors in the breasts.
Also, it can cause complications in the reproductive and endocrine systems. The following are paraben labels to watch out for on the ingredient list of your products:
Products labeled paraben-free may include other harmful preservatives. The best option is to use “preservative-free” products that have a shorter shelf life.
What’s in Your Natural Hair Products?
Does one of your go-to hair products contain an ingredient on this list? Let us know if you will be keeping it or ditching it in the comments below!