As we embrace our natural hair texture, it is important for us to know what’s good for our hair so that we can care for it properly. When you look at a label, ingredients are listed from the highest to the lowest percentage of ingredients that are in that product. But how do you know which are the “good ingredients” and which are the “bad ones”? First, let me say that everyone’s hair is different. What works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another. However, if you’re truly trying to grow your natural hair by keeping it healthy then you have to be conscious of the ingredients you are putting in it. Below are a few recommendations for ingredients to avoid and include in your hair regimen.
Ingredients to Avoid:
1. Sodium laurel / laureth sulfate (SLS), also known as sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, ammonium laurel sulfate, sodium dodecyl sulfate, sulfuric acid, sodium salt sulfuric acid, A12-00356, Akyposal SDS, Aquarex ME, and Aquarex methyl. According to Livestrong.com there’s a laundry list of healthcare issues associated with exposure to this deadly chemical, least of which is the severe damage it does to hair by drying it out.
2. Isopropyl Alcohol is essentially rubbing alcohol. It’s great for cleaning your skin in preparation for a shot or maybe getting a tattoo but it’s horrible for your hair. It removes all of the good, natural oils in your hair. Over time, this will make your hair weaker and cause it to break.
3. Propylene glycol (PG) is another common hair ingredient in shampoos, conditioners, and styling products. However, it’s probably one of the ingredients that will cause irritation to your scalp, in addition to breaking down healthy hair proteins.
4. PEG or Polyethylene Glycol is traditionally used in cleaning products intended to remove grease stains (such as oven cleaners), however, it will make your hair brittle over time. This is a safe ingredient but it’s not something you want in your hair.
Here is a little list I put together consisting of ingredients in natural hair products and they do for our hair.
Ingredients to Look for:
I like to look for water in a product simply because my hair needs moisture. It also helps me to determine if I’ll buy an edge control because if the first few ingredients are water… guess what ? All my hair will do is curl up. Nevertheless, water can be a naturals’ best friend.
2. Shea Butter
Shea butter is a great sealant. It also adds sheen and shine to the hair.
3. Aloe Vera
This ingredient is perfect for treating hair loss and promoting hair growth. It is a very common ingredient in an array of shampoos and conditioners. This product can be utilized best by applying it directly to the scalp and hair. I also love to use aloe vera as my face moisturizer.
4. Coconut Oil
This ingredient is very common in many natural hair products. It can be used to add strength, shine, moisture, and to seal hair.
5. Vegetable Glycerin
This ingredient carries a lot of great benefits. Vegetable glycerin attracts and binds to water, which helps to keep hair moisturized. It’s especially excellent for hair that needs additional moisture.