It is no secret that more and more people are turning to more natural hair care products. These are products complete free of silicone, parabens, lauryl sulfate and synthetic preservatives. In this article I will go over what the previous mentioned ingredients are, natural ingredients that are good in products plus a few natural hair care brands if you prefer not to make your own products at home.
Benefits of Using Natural Products
Using Natural Hair products you may find that your hair is able to grow longer, have less breakage, your hair may become more manageable and your curl pattern can become more defined. In similar concept to The Curly Girl method by Lorraine Massey, this is because no ingredients are "suffocating" your hair and your hair can breathe properly. The more you are consistent with using natural hair products, the healthier and better your hair will become.
Here is some information on ingredients to avoid if you want to use all natural products:
Silicones are often used in hair care products to add shine and gloss to hair, decrease combing friction and tangling, provide conditioning and act as a humectant. However, silicones only give the appearance of healthier hair by coating it to make it appear sleeker, frizz free and healthier. They are also known to add weight and give fine and fragile hair a heavy feeling.
Silicone hair products are also generally not water soluble, which means that they can build-up in your hair over time, especially if you don't use a proper cleanser to wash them out. In order to get rid of the build-up that silicone hair products can create, you will have to use a shampoo containing surfactants. Some people do find their hair behaves better with silicones in their products. If this is the case for you, it is best to try and use products with silicones that are all water soluble. For example, the Ouidad products only use water soluble silicones. But if you are using natural cleansers and conditioners, you will want to avoid all silicones so they don't build up.
Parabens are chemicals used as preservatives in many hair products. However, recent studies have shown that parabens are potentially dangerous and a possibly carcinogenic. Parabens have been found to be hormone disrupters, able to mimic estrogen and cause many problems, including breast cancer. Fortunately, many companies are addressing these health concerns by developing and offering paraben-free products at all price points. The wide variety of paraben free hair products today is a wonderful thing, it means the brands are listening to our wants and desires.
Natural preservatives including tea tree oil, grapefruit seed extract and potassium sorbate are more acceptable to many users who object to some of the potentially toxic effects of synthetic preservatives. However, many of these either have regular preservatives in them as a result of their processing or they simply cannot guarantee a healthy, microbe-free product for more than a few weeks or months. This is not necessarily a bad thing, especially for the purveyor of more “natural” products, but it is important to understand the limitations of these materials.
Many products contain harmful chemicals that can be damaging to your hair. Both sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) are common ingredients in many soaps and shampoos and can be damaging to your scalp and hair. Though they do clean, they also strip your hair of their natural essential oils which leaves the hair dry and damaged. Overuse of sulfates can also make the hair become extremely unmanageable and frizzy.
What to look for in natural products
- Labeled 100% natural
- Nut & Shea butters
- Coconut oil
- Aloe vera juice/gel
- Vegetable glycerin
- Jojoba extract
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Castor seed oil
- Avocado/avocado Oil
- Tea tree oil
Do you use natural hair products? What are some of your favorite all natural brands?
"This article was originally published in 2012 and has been updated for grammar and clarity."