Start Reading Labels – Sulfates, Parabens, Silicones, Mineral Oil, Alcohol


Why You Should Read Labels – Ingredients in Hair Products

Using the wrong ingredients can ruin your hair when used over a period of time, although there are not many ingredients (i.e., relaxer, color, chemical curls) that can ruin your hair after one use.  You need to study the ingredients on products you own as well as products you intend to buy.

The ingredients most often avoided by naturals and those who are transitioning to natural are products with Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), most often called sulfates; mineral oil; silicones; and certain types of alcohol.  Parabens are preservatives and they are most often added to cosmetics because they cause less irritation than other types of preservatives.

Some naturals avoid silicone products because silicones coat the hair and later require sulfate products to remove the silicone. Silicones tend to give a glossy, slippery feel but they are not greasy.

Mineral oil is another ingredient that some naturals avoid.  The general thought is that using mineral oil on your scalp slows down your growth rate since it can clog up your pores and in essence stop your scalp from breathing.  Mineral oil is used often because it’s inexpensive and it’s stable.  It creates a barrier on the hair and does not allow water in or out.

Alcohol is another ingredient to know and understand.  Do not run and throw out all of your hair products that contain alcohol.  The alcohol that is used in hair products is generally not the same alcohol that you find at the local drug store.  Some alcohols are derived from plants and animals.  One example is Cetyl Alcohol which can come from palm or coconut oil.  These types of alcohols are not drying like the normal drug store alcohol but instead they have conditioning properties.

When researching products that you intend to buy, write down the ingredients and be sure you know and understand what all of them can do to your hair.  Remember, the ingredients at the beginning of the list are in that order because the product contains the most of that ingredient.

Make sure know and understand what is in your hair products so that you can determine easily what ingredients work and do not work for you.