There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about natural hair care ingredients.
Some people think that anything with sulfates is bad for their hair, or that parabens are toxic.
In this post, we will cover some natural hair product ingredients that give some cause for concern while debunking any myths.
You should feel confident about the hair care products you’re using and, with a little bit of factual information, you can!
About Those Sulfates
Sulfates are a type of salt that is used as a foaming agent in many natural hair products like shampoos and cleansers.
Sulfates have gotten a bad rap in recent years, but the truth is that they are a safe ingredient for most people to use. Commonly used sulfates include Sodium Lauryl, Ammonium Laurel, and Sodium Laureth.
Sulfates can cause dryness and irritation in some people, but this is usually only an issue for those with sensitive skin or scalp conditions.
I like doing my research and wanted to know the facts on sulfates in natural hair products. So, I went to a trustworthy source, The National Library of Medicine.
I found an article that debunked the widely-disseminated myth that sulfates are bad for you and should be avoided in hair products.
In this article, the authors note that “For decades, this chemical has been developing a negative reputation with consumers because of inaccurate interpretations of the scientific literature and confusion between SLS and chemicals with similar names.”
The article furthers that “Since the early 1990s, misconstrued information on the human and environmental toxicity of SLS has led to consumer confusion and concern about the safety of SLS as an ingredient in household products.11 As scientific literature is inherently vulnerable to misinterpretation by the general public, health and safety claims made by marketing campaigns do not always align with the latest peer-reviewed scientific evidence.”
If your interested in reading the full article, check it out here. I will warn you ahead of time. It is a scholarly article and a heavy read but very informative.
Sulfates are often demonized because they can strip away natural oils from the scalp and hair, which can lead to dryness and irritation. If you are looking for another detailed article regarding sulfates, check out this one from Medical News Today.
If you find that sulfates are drying out your hair, try switching to a shampoo or conditioner that is sulfate-free.
However, sulfates are not actually bad for your hair. In fact, they are necessary for removing dirt, oil, and product buildup from your strands.
If you have sensitive skin or scalps, there are plenty of sulfate-free options available that will still give you a good cleanse.
Do Parabens Really Cause Cancer?
Parabens are another ingredient that are often misunderstood. The are preservatives found in natural hair products that help prevent the growth of mold and bacteria in products.
Specifically, parabens are made up of para-hydroxybenzoic acid, which is a type of alcohol.
While there has been some concern about parabens being linked to cancer, this has been debunked by the FDA.
Preservatives are actually necessary in some hair care and cosmetic products to keep us safe from harmful bacteria and mold exposure.
Water-based products need preservatives as they are the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
While there is some concern that parabens may disrupt hormone function, there is no concrete evidence to support this claim.
In fact, the European Commission has declared parabens safe for use in cosmetics.
The bottom line is that parabens are safe and necessary ingredients in many hair care products.
Silicone: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
Silicones are synthetic polymers that are often used in hair care products to give them a silky texture and help with detangling.
They can also help to protect your hair from heat damage and keep it looking shiny and healthy.
However, some people avoid silicones because they can build up on the hair.
Buildup from silicones can cause the hair to look greasy, weigh it down, and make it difficult to style.
If you have buildup on your hair, you can try using a clarifying shampoo or apple cider vinegar to remove it.
Silicones are not inherently bad for your hair, but they can cause buildup if they are not removed properly.
If you do use products with silicones, be sure to use a clarifying shampoo once in awhile to prevent buildup.
I do a clarifying shampoo every 4-6 weeks and this seems to work well for my hair, but I don’t use many products with silicone.
I was concerned about ingredients in my hair products that I wasn’t familiar with, so I started making my own a while back (if you’re looking for natural handmade hair products for coily-textured hair, click here).
Although I only use my handmade products on my hair, I do occasionally like to experiment with others from time to time.
I also wear wigs and product build up can also wreak havoc on the integrity of the hair.
If you wear human hair wigs or extensions, you really do have to treat them like your own hair.
I use heat-protectant sprays, holding hair sprays, curling and styling gels on my wigs and all of that build up will destroy your wig after a while.
Many products that we would use to keep our wigs looking shiny, bouncy and hold curls have silicone in them.
If this is you, then a regular routine of washing your wigs/extensions with a clarifying shampoo is a must to maintain your investment.
Products with natural ingredients are definitely the best choice for our hair, but sometimes we have to compromise based on what is available to us and what works for our hair.
What is important is that we understand what the ingredients in our products actually do and how they affect our hair.
I hope this post has helped to clear up some myths about ingredients in hair care products!
So, there you have it! The truth about some of the most demonized hair care ingredients.
Next time you’re shopping for hair products, don’t be afraid to pick something with sulfates or parabens – your hair will thank you for it!
The Bottom Line
These are just a few of the most common myths about hair care ingredients. The bottom line is that you shouldn’t be afraid to use products with these ingredients.
Do your research and find the products that work best for you and your hair!
Hopefully this post has helped to debunk some myths about ingredients in hair care products and give you a better understanding of what they actually do.
Do you have any questions about ingredients that we didn’t cover? Let me know in the comments below.
As always, thanks for reading!
Your Favorite Curly Girlie Blogger,