Through this post, I am suggesting another good habit, which is to start looking at the ingredient list of all products we buy. When we buy any cosmetic or hair care product, we do not even look at the ingredient list. We just go by the brand names and the claims they make about their products. And if we look at the list, we are satisfied by the natural ingredients mentioned at the bottom and do not even realize that the product has such small amounts of these ingredients that it hardly matters they are there at all. We end up not being aware of what we are putting on our skin or hair, and how will it affect our body. Today I am going to tell you the ingredients that we should avoid in our hair care products and why we should avoid them.
Sulfates are surfactants that produce suds and are present in every cleaning product whether it be your dish washing liquid, body wash or hair shampoos. These are harsh chemicals and have the tendency to irritate your scalp and skin. Sulfates not only remove dirt from your hair but they end up stripping off natural oils from your hair and leave them dry every time you use them. In some cases, they aggravate scalp conditions like eczema, dandruff, itchy and irritated scalp. Earlier, I use to have dandruff problem every now and then but once I stopped using shampoos containing sulfates, I have not experienced this condition again. So if you want to get rid of the dry hair, dandruff and irritated scalp then try and stop using shampoos that contain sulfates. There are many mild alternatives to these harsh ingredient, please check the list to find out which surfactants we should look for and which ones we should avoid.
Here are different types of surfactant that are present in our hair products in detail and how to one can choose a mild shampoo.
Have you ever experienced that you start using a new hair product, and it gives good results for sometime but after using it longer, your hair stops responding to it and becomes dry, limp and feels lifeless. The reason for this is the build up that you get after using silicone products.
Silicone are chemicals that form a film on your hair and provide it great slip which helps in detangling and reduced frizz. You can find silicones in shampoo, conditioner, styling products and even some oils like Dove Elixir. But problem is that these are not water-soluble so these can not be washed off with plain water and you have to use a sulfate shampoo to remove them (hence, a vicious circle!). Initially these product look like a quick fix for frizz but If you use silicone products for a longer period of time, then these keep on building on your hair and finally become impossible to remove. Once you get the build up, then these do not let the moisture reach your hair and make hair dry, limp and weigh your curls down causing hair to loose its curl definition.
There are some silicones that are water soluble and generally start with PEG/PPG. These water soluble silicones are safer to use and do not cause buildup. For more information on all water soluble (ok to use) and water insoluble (should avoid) silicones, read through the article Silicone in hair care.
Silicones generally end with -cone, -conol, -col or -xane. So you can easily identify them in the ingredient list.
Do you notice when you apply a conditioner or styling product (containing silicone) on your hair, then you can feel an smooth feeling on your palms which does not go away easily if you try washing it off with plain water. Now, wash your hand with hand soap (containing sulfates) and you can feel your hand clean from that slippery layer. That slippery thing is silicones.
Also when you visit a hair salon for deep conditioning treatment please check the ingredient list there as well. Most of the salon products contains silicone in them. Instead use a homemade remedy to deep condition your hair which is a better and economical option.
Know your ingredients and if at all you have to use a product containing silicone just do not forget to clean your hair with sulfate shampoo.
There are two types of alcohol, short chain alcohol and fatty alcohol.
Short chain alcohol includes Ethanol, SD alcohol, SD alcohol 40, Alcohol denat, Propanol, Propyl alcohol, Isopropanol and Isopropyl aclcohol. These types of alcohols evaporate quickly due to their low molecular weight, and because of this property they help decrease the time it takes for hair to dry and also make the hair frizzy and dry.
Fatty alcohol are large alcohol group that includes Lauryl alcohol, Cetyl alcohol, Myristyl alcohol, Stearyl alcohol, Cetearyl alcohol, C30-50 alcohols, Isocetyl alcohol, Isostearyl alcohol, Lanolin alcohol and Behenyl alcohol. These alcohol are used as an emollient which give a smooth, soft feeling to the hair. There is no adverse effect of these fatty alcohol on hair and these are good ingredients for dry hair.
We should avoid short chain drying alcohol in our hair care products in favor of fatty alcohols.
But why do big label companies use these ingredients in their products? The answer is these ingredients are just cheaper than their natural or milder synthetic counterparts and they provide you quick fix for frizz which your hair pay for in a longer run.
Make it a habit to always scan the ingredients list of products that you buy, not only hair care products but even cosmetic or any personal care products as well. Be a informed buyer and do not always go by the brand-name.
Once you start using the products which are sulfate-free and silicone-free, initially you may feel that your hair are not responding well to your new hair care regime, but be patient and you will feel that your hair are getting better and showing much better curl formation after 4-6 weeks of time. Be inspired with these people who have followed it religiously and turned their once troubled curls into magical curls.