The natural hair trend is now an all out movement and it has been gaining quite the momentum over the past few years. Sales of hair relaxers have reportedly declined by 26% since 2008 and are continuing to do so. It is projected that by 2019, sales for hair relaxers would have declined by 45%. While this may be awesome news for some, you still need to be aware of the products (natural hair products) that you place onto your precious crown.
Many “natural hair” products contain harsh ingredients and chemicals that are not beneficial to your natural hair journey or your hair health. Beware of these ingredients found in some of your favorite hair care products, they are aimed at women of colour embracing their God given kinks and coils,
All alcohols are not created equal! Alcohol Denat can also be listed as Ethyl alcohol, SD alcohol or Ethanol. This type of alcohol acts as a solvent, which can dry the skin and hair because it literally dissolves the naturally occurring oils in your hair.
Sodium Lauryl Sulphate & Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate
Even though this chemical is derived from coconuts, it is a far cry from natural. Sodium lauryl sulfate or SLS can also be or sometimes listed as sulfuric acid, monododecyl ester, sodium salt, and sodium dodecyl. SLS is a detergent, an emulsifier and surfactant, most commonly known for the nice foamy properties that it gives to things like soaps and shampoos.
SLS is harmful because during its manufacturing process it becomes contaminated with a carcinogenic by-product. Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate is a similar material but is more soluble than SLS.
Mineral Oil & Petroleum
Come on, we all have a bottle of mineral oil in the form of baby oil somewhere in our house and some of us swear by it for moisturizing skin and even hair. Mineral oil is a by-product of petroleum, which is odorless, clear and lightweight.
The thing is, especially if you have dry hair, the mineral oil tends to just sit on top of the hair shaft unable to penetrate and it can also clog the pores on your scalp.
Petroleum based products are a staple in the black hair community- umm Blue Majic anyone? Petroleum is great for retaining hair after being straightened because it prevents moisture in the air from entering your hair. The problem is, along with blocking out unwanted moisture, petroleum doesn’t let anything through. So for example if you have a dry scalp, using a petroleum product won’t help and it will just sit on top of your scalp, not penetrating at all.
This is, if not, by far one of most frequently used ingredients in hair care products. When you see “parfum” or “fragrance” on a label, it is actually a concoction of chemicals. A common chemical used in creating “fragrance” are phthalates. Phthalates are used to make plastic more pliable, soft and transparent. These “fragrance” and “parfum” mixtures have been linked to respiratory problems, skin irritation and even reproductive issues after prolonged use!