I didn’t know I should learn about good and bad ingredients in hair care products until I started my “educated” hair care journey 2 years ago. Generally, I always picked reputed products by reading the claims- “frizz-free” or “defined curls” or “smooth shiny” and stuffs like that. I never thought of reading and learning about the actual ingredients. After educating myself I realized there are some ingredients to avoid for healthy hair.
Have you ever noticed how your most favorite hair product suddenly stops working its wonders?
It’s because you likely have your favorite hair products on rotation, comfortable with their performance and results each wash day. Yet, your hair doesn’t seem to look its best or healthiest in the long run despite your continued care. This is the result of the ingredients in those products.
Is it as simple as spending more and getting a better product, though?
Surprisingly, no—it’s all about what’s inside the bottle. So let’s take a closer look at the ingredients you should avoid to achieve your best-looking and healthiest hair.
Ingredients to Avoid for Healthy Hair
***Disclaimer: The purpose of the article is to educate. We are not bashing any brand, product, or individual.***
The ingredients in each hair product will vary; however, there are a few that you will see on just about every list. With that in mind, you may have to look harder and be selective of certain ingredients.
Sulfates are used to cleanse the hair, stripping dirt and oil and giving it that squeaky clean feeling. However, for optimal hair and scalp health, some of those natural oils should remain. When they are routinely scrubbed and stripped away, the hair is prone to dryness and frizz. Plus, your scalp may peel, flake, and become itchy.
If you have curly hair, using shampoo with Sulfate will make the curls dry and rough and not give you the best curls possible. This is why it’s better to avoid sulfate, especially on curly hair. Read more on: 6 Things Curly-Haired Women Should Avoid
Parabens, well-known hormone disruptors, are preservatives routinely used in beauty products. When used in hair products, they are easily absorbed by your scalp and cause dryness, irritation, color fade, and hair loss.
From a wider health perspective, parabens have been linked with certain cancers and reproductive issues. When washed down the drain, these same health issues can occur in marine life. You should absolutely avoid parabens in any of your personal care products for these reasons.
3. Polyethylene Glycols
This ingredient is derived from petrochemicals and is most often used to thicken and improve the texture of hair products. As this is a type of silicone, it is also used to smooth and moisturize hair. However, silicones (even water-soluble ones) do not readily evaporate, leading to build-up on the hair and dehydration of the hair follicles when water cannot penetrate them.
Triclosans are used to help prevent bacteria or fungal growth. They are present in many personal care products, from shampoo and conditioner to toothpaste and detergent. However, when used in hair products, they can actually block healthy hair and slow hair growth.
Additionally, they are best avoided as research has shown they may contribute to antibiotic resistance, disruption of hormone regulation in animals, and damage to your immune system.
Formaldehyde (also known as methylene glycol) is an allergen and an irritant. It can lengthen the smooth, frizz-free results of heat styling. It can also cause watery eyes, runny nose, coughing, wheezing, sore throats, and more. In addition, formaldehyde alters the proteins in hair known as keratin.
This ingredient becomes dangerous when heat is applied, and formaldehyde becomes a gas. This gas causes the most irritation and may also lead to cancer, hair follicles damage, blistering the scalp, and much more.
6. Synthetic Fragrances and Colors
Synthetic fragrances and colors are not “bad” ingredients per se, but can irritate some individuals. These can cause hay fever-type symptoms to people sensitive to fragrance. They can also contribute to scalp irritation and dryness. However, there are many fragrance-free hair products in the market. Here are some I have found:
Dimethicone coats your hair and provides great shine and frizz-fighting capabilities; however, this comes at a price. When the hair is coated, it blocks any nutrients or moisture from penetrating the hair shaft. Over time, this leads to dryness and frizz.
If you have fine, lightweight hair, dimethicone can also weigh it down, making it look flat and greasy.
If your ingredient label mentions ethanol or ethyl alcohol, denatured alcohol, methanol, isopropyl alcohol, SD alcohol, or benzyl alcohol, step away! These alcohols are incredibly drying to your hair and lead to frizz, hair breakage, and an itchy or flaky scalp, as well as color fade and a crispy feel.
Are All Hair Types Affected?
In short, yes. Whether it is your natural hair, human hair extensions, or synthetic extensions, these ingredients can affect the hair.
To ensure your hair remains soft, grows well, and has optimal shine, you should focus on products that prioritize natural ingredients. The same is true when washing your Remy hair extensions – with proper care and avoidance of these ingredients; extensions like Zala hair extensions, can last significantly longer.
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