10 Ingredients to Avoid in Your Natural Hair Products April 20 2018

If you have kinks and curls, you might be wondering about what to avoid when you’re shopping for natural hair products.

Avoiding toxic chemicals should be one of your main objectives with being natural. Chemicals can be harmful because your scalp absorbs the toxins and your nostrils inhale them into your body. Plus, they can destroy your strands and prevent you from having healthy natural hair.

In this post, you’ll find out the top ten ingredients to avoid in your natural hair products. That way, you’ll be able to scan the label quickly and purchase the right stuff for your hair.


Beauty Products
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

This cheap foaming agent is widely used in shampoo and very common. Sulfates are effective for straight hair because they cleanse grease and dirt, but they don’t work for curls because they strip natural oils from the strands.

This stripping can dry out your mane and cause you to lose your curl definition. Plus, sulfates can cause bad breakage.

Sulfates are also known as sodium laureth sulfate, ammonium lauryl sulfate, sodium cocoyl sarcosinate, and sodium C14-16 olefin sulfonate. Avoid sulfates if you want healthy and defined natural curls.


Mineral Oil

This petroleum byproduct was widely used in the past for conditioning and smoothing the hair. Also known simply as grease, mineral oil does an excellent job of lubricating the hair.

The problem is, it’s too difficult to rinse out. Only harsh shampoos can effectively wash mineral oil from the hair. Plus, mineral oil forms a barrier so that nothing can get in, including hydration. The result is dry, undernourished hair. Other petroleum-based ingredients to watch out for include petrolatum.



Fragrance isn’t necessarily bad for your hair, but it is highly toxic for your body. When you apply products, you automatically inhale them. Breathing in harmful chemicals sends toxic fumes to the brain.

Fragrance can affect your neurological, respiratory, and reproductive systems. Choose your natural hair products with essential oils instead. Essential oils are aromatic, nontoxic, and some are even scientifically proven to help hair growth.



This silicone can be found in shampoos, conditioners, anti-frizz serums, and many other styling products. Silicones smooth over the cuticle and help to make your hair shinier and less frizzy.

The problem is, silicones coat the cuticle so well, that water and nutrients have a hard time entering the hair shaft. The result is dry, malnourished hair.

Heat-styling is the only time you should ever consider using silicones, as they will effectively protect your hair shaft from heat damage. Other silicones include cetearyl methicone, stearyl dimethicone, cetyl dimethicone, and dimethiconol.


DEA (Diethanolamine), MEA (Momoethanolamine), and TEA (Triethanolamine)

These emulsifying agents are used to thicken products and make them creamier. DEA, MEA, and TEA are known carcinogens. The effect on natural hair is unclear, but they are widely known to be highly toxic for your vital organs.

You might also see these chemicals labeled as cocamide DEA, cocamide MEA, myristamide DEA, triethanolamine, DEA-cetyl phosphate, and oleamide DEA.



Formaldehyde can be found in several beauty items, including keratin smoothing treatments and Brazilian blowout products. Also steer clear of formaldehyde releasers DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, methylene glycol, quaternium-15, and sodium hydroxymethylglycinate.

Many companies use the formaldehyde releasers to sneak the FDA-restricted formaldehyde into their products. Formaldehyde releasers tend to transmit formaldehyde when heated.


Polyethylene Glycol

This solvent is used in household products like oven cleaner, for its ability to dissolve oil. It clears away the scalp’s natural moisture and strips the hair dry. Removing the protective sebum can cause aging and leave your scalp vulnerable to viral, bacterial, and fungal infections.

Polyethylene Glycol is also known as PEG, and it is a petroleum-based substance.


Propylene Glycol

Propylene glycol is the primary ingredient in antifreeze. Also known as PG, propylene glycol effectively breaks down protein and cellular structure, making it one of the worst ingredients for naturals.

It is used as a surfactant or wetting agent, and it can easily penetrate the skin. Besides harming curly hair, the chemical can trigger your body’s autoimmune system. It can also cause neurological, respiratory, and cardiovascular issues.

One of the worst things about propylene glycol is that it can increase your scalp’s tendency to absorb other harmful ingredients.



Looking for alcohols in your products can be tricky. Certain types of alcohol can be very drying for your hair. They strip the hair of its protective sebum and they cause frizz and breakage.

Harmful alcohols to avoid include alcohol denatured, ethanol, SD alcohol 40, propanol, isopropyl and propyl. However, only some alcohols do damage to curls. Other alcohols help natural hair.

Fatty alcohols can moisturize your hair and create slip to prevent breakage and dryness. These include stearyl, cetearyl, cetyl, myristyl, lauryl, and behenyl alcohols.


Natural Hair Snappee High Puff


Avoiding the above chemicals is important for both your health and curls. When chemicals strip away natural oils, we face dryness and breakage. Plus, chemicals like these can prevent your hair from adopting a defined curl pattern.

Study ingredient labels carefully when you’re at the beauty supply. Do you purchase products online? Google an ingredient list for each product before you buy.

The first few ingredients of the products you purchase should be wholesome and always have names that are easy to pronounce. Ingredients listed toward the end of the list won’t be as concentrated or harmful as items listed in the beginning, but you should still use caution by reading the entire label.

It’s also a good idea to make your own products at home as often as possible to give your hair a break from additives and preservatives.

What about you? Which harmful ingredients have you avoided in natural hair products?