You may want to avoid triETHANOLamine, depending on your hair type and sensitivities
Why you may want avoid TEA in your water based hair products, depending on your hair's sensitivities:
Hi, everyone. I have previously posted my previous negative experiences with ecostyler gel causing me baldspots, due to my protien sensitivity, in my low porosity type 4 hair. While I was in search of products to use as a replacement, I ran across Wet line gel, which claimed to be alcohol free, and moisturizing. Many People recommened it as a protein free gel. After i still experienced continuous thinning and immediately quit the product. I was aware my hair hated proteins, due to the brittle crunchy feeling I got when I used them. Wet line didn't contain hydrolyzed wheat protein. And something wasn’t right. From the beginning, my hair was thinning and I wasn’t seeing hair coming out, just like with the Ecostyler gel.
it took me a very long time to notice what was in this product that was directly agitating what I assumed to be my protein sensitivity, since they marketed themselves as protein free and alcohol free. I had the gut feeling it was triethanolamine, which was proven to be an irritant, but was unable to find specific testimony, so I was more or less speculating maybe it had something to do with the alkaline ph at the time.
So I recently looked at the chemical structure of triethanolamine and did some thorough research. I discovered a few shocking things about the ingredients in this product, and how they work together: triethanolamine and polyacrylate acid. I will order my points from bad to worse.
WE ALREADY KNOW:
Toxic Chemicals, Materials and Carcinogens in Household Products: Triethanolamine: Toxic chemical in Household Cosmetics Products
TRIETHANOLAMINE || Skin Deep® Cosmetics Database | Environmental Working Group
We are told this is a moderate irritant, and has been shown to be a human skin toxin or allergent, and expected to cause non-reproductive organ toxicity, and has been linked to cancer. These have all been brushed off as moderate concerns though.
btw my post about ecostyler is on amazon, not this site. Before combating evidence, take your time to read everything and visit the sourced material.
Triethanolamine is a surficant. Yes it is a water soluble surficant. So are proteins, and some watersoluable silicones. Proteins in gel act as water soluble surficants. Coconut oil is a water soluable surficant. They all still latch on to the hair and plasticize it, and in many cases work against moisture as they are not moisturizers, but plasticizing emollients and moisturizing agents that need to work in conjunction with water in order to be effective in hydration. But you are still leaving this on your hair for a substantial amount of time, and depending on your hair type and sensitivities, Use Caution.
Now, look at the word, triETHANOLamine. Ethanol.
Ethanol is a drying alcohol. If any of you are reporting dryness and brittleness, this is what is affecting you, it isn't random.
"Ethanolamine is an organic compound that is naturally found in coconut oil and is a primary amine and primary alcohol"
"As I explained last week in The 5 Most Common Mistakes Even Skin Experts Make, it is well-established that ethanol can reduce water content via a form of water loss known as transepidermal water loss (TEWL) (1), lipid content via extraction and dissolution (2), and protein content via denaturation (3). These properties allow for ethanol to be an effective (and drying) penetration enhancer."
"Ethanol in itself isn’t harmful. It’s the DRYING effect that can lead to other problems."
FutureDerm - Is Ethanol in Skin Care Products Safe?
Still unconvinced??? Why is this ethanol actually drying? For an ethanol to be drying to the hair it must:
1. extract and dissolute lipids. What are lipids? Fatty ACIDS. I will elaborate on why this is what this gel does later.
2. be denatured. You may claim the ethanol in triethanolamine is not denatured. It comes from coconut, so it must not be denatured right? False. The fact that this is a clear gel means it was heated, and therefore denatured. These gels wouldn't be this clear if they didn't contain denatured alcohol. Below is a scientific study that shows the effect of denaturzation on the viscosity of protein systems. Note it also says some things about NaOH, which this product contains. No matter the amount of NaOH, it will always denature the protein systems in water based substances once heated. Once heated, that is when it forms a clear, gel consistency. This is where these products holding abilities and clear consistency come from.
"Triethanolamine is an aminoalcohol. Neutralize acids to form SALTS plus water in exothermic reactions."
Triethanolamine | 102-71-6
"The triethanolamine NEUTRALIZES fatty acids, adjusts and buffers the pH, and SOLUBILISES oils and other ingredients that are not completely soluble in water. Some common products in which triethanolamine is found are liquid laundry detergents, dishwashing liquids, general cleaners, hand cleaners, polishes, metalworking fluids, paints, shaving cream and printing inks"
"TEA is a fairly strong base: a 1% solution has a pH of approximately 10"
Triethanolamine - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"phs 10-14. depilatory. swell hairs as much as 10 times the original size; may dissolve hair."
Because TEA is the 3rd ingredient in this gel and has a ph of 10, Polyacrylate acid was used to balance the ph and neutralize TEA, and TEA make Polyacrylate acid water soluble. Unfortunately the combination of the two forms a drying effect on the hair-- it turns into SALT, aka Sodium Hydroxide, aka NaOH which is also water soluble, btw.
this source is reliable despite being on yahoo answers, as it was answered by a top contributor in the chemistry section.
It is also the main dissolving agent in lye relaxers. Lye= NaOH= Salt=Sodium Hydroxide. Ethanolamine is also a form of ammonia.
“Triethanolamine is produced from the reaction of ethylene oxide with aqueous ammonia”
Triethanolamine - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The alcohol does have a natural resistance to turning into salt and ammonia, however. BUT ONLY when oil is added to the formulation as a base. It needs to be oil based. Gel is water based, including this one. Salt is already drying, let alone putting the main ingredient used in relaxers in your product.
“It is ethanolamine's primary alcohol characteristic that makes it possible to be suspended in a soy Oil base as neither sodium carbonate (a primary salt) or ammonia (a primary base) will dilute with oil.”
Wet line. Very drying and in 3rd ingredient. The ingredient right after it, polyacrylate acid, meant to make up for the fact TEA had a depilatory ph of 10 that dissolves hair, forms a SALT compound called NaOH, aka lye or sodium hydroxide, commonly used as an agent to break bonds in the protein of the hair in hair relaxers. This is the case with all acids. This is just how triETHANOLamine reacts with acid, AND YOU JUST CAN'T PUT tEa in a hair product, with out adding some form of acidic compound to bring the ph down to a non-depilatory level. There are also many proven reports that TEA is an irritant, and has been linked to cancer. Hmmm.. Just like lye relaxers have been.
Let me repeat that in the most blatant way possible.
1. LYE relaxers, which active ingredient is SODIUM HYDROXIDE.
2. Relaxers have been linked to cancer.
3. THIS water based gel has ingredients, TRIETHANOLAMINE and POLYACRYLATE ACID which together, (unless formulated in an oil base, which this gel "WETLINE" is NOT, it's a water based gel, the first ingredient is water) form the exact same compound.
4. This gel has ingredients that forms a compound--> Sodium Hydroxide, Lye, NaOH, SALT. Whatever you want to call it.
5. Studies about Triethanolamine, already show "moderate" cancer link. Where is the cancer link coming from? Sodium Hydroxide.
6. low lye relaxers contain percentages of only 2.5% concentration Sodium hydroxide. They are considered a low risk on ewg.com, but still equally as effective as NaOH, and break bonds of the hair. They also contain heavy oils to help absorb some of the lye forming effect, but are still water based.
7. Sodium hydroxide contained in gel is at 5% concentration. Considered a moderate risk. Gel is water based carbomer would never be enough to absorb all the lye forming effects, because it is a WATER BASED product.
This product markets itself as being alcohol free, when it isn’t. Moisturizing, when it isn’t. Many people also claim this is a “Protein Free” styling gel. For you protein sensitive‘s, It has panthenol, which absorbs into the hair cortex similar to ethanol and plasticizes it, leaving a gummy waxy build up after awhile that causes dryness similar to protein and coconut oil can. Hope I helped you guys.
Im not an expert in TEA and you got lots of good information, thanks!. But some things id say are not accurate.
You cant say TEA has a ph of 10, that totally depends on the concenration (in water solution). The ading of acid will neutralize the ph and will create Na and OH ions, but again, the ph of the solution will depend on the concentrations.
I also think denaturalisation of alcohol like in alcohol denat is not the same as in proteins, and that it has the structure of ethanol inside it doesnt mean its properties are similar. Im not saying its not drying, I mean it probably has nothing to do with the ethanol structure in it, chemistry doesnt work like that.
Anyway yeah, its a surfactant so might want to avoid it in certain situations, and the toxicity claims are something to consider, thanks for sharing!.But i personally think usually results have much more to do with the whole mix than with one or two ingredients.
Disclaimer: im not a chemist! Might got everything wrong!
You are very right, high ph is what dissolves hair. I am not claiming this product has a high ph, I actually tested it and it is not alkaline. the mentioning of the ph was just an important part of my explanation on how the compounds work together and behave.
But the product I used (wetline) had this ingredient in the top 3 ingredients. It's one of the main active ingredients that create the clear color and the cast. Eco styler contains it in the top 5 ingredients as well. And I was using it pretty heavily handedly to define my low porosity curls at the time. The active ingredient in relaxers is also NaOH. Not only is the ph a significant issue, it's this active ingredient that causes the bonds of proteins in the hair to break. For example, if it was Sodium BiCarbarbonate, this effect wouldn't happen. Other Hydroxide compounds, will definetly have this bond breaking effect. That's why Lye free relaxers still straighten the hair. It's the Hydroxide, they just market it as lye free as a technicality, but the basic function still eats the keratin in the hair.
It has less to do with the ph and more to do with the way this compond will effect the hair.
TEA has already been shown to have similar health risks as relaxers, so this compound NaOH definetly effects TEA in waterbased products, the same way it effects relaxers. Yes, it is definetly on a milder extent in comparison between the two products. But moderate proven risk does not mean impossible, or no risk. If you have certain volnuerabilities in your hair, you may be more succeptible to this outcome of hair dissolving. My experience, and others similar,
has shown it is still possible, if your hair type has specific volunerabilities and sensitivites. It's just like some people's hair tend to thrive with relaxers, where as for my hair was always short, uneven, and fragile.
Oh I see what you mean!
Its really interesting I love learning about this stuff.
So out of curiosity, whats the ph of the product you used?
ecostyler gel falls in ph of 7, when i researched it.
I wouldn worry then about the NaOH ions forming (provided the lame strips are not super lame LOL) but I dont know what the ionization of all the combination of products could appear in the acidic solution...
I didnt know hair relaxants were such alkaline solutions! Its scary! I can underestand the annoyance of mantainance of african hair, but dumping strong alkalies on those beautiful curls (yes I get jealous, id LOVE to rock an afro), oh my! Ouch!
Now I feel bad about using this gel. I still have like half a jar left. I may just throw it out and use KCCC since it was only like $3
Would you say Wetline is worse than ecostyler?
A relatively safe alternative to the Eco styler gel would could be the la looks gel. No TEA, alcohol, & some are protein free. I don't think I'm protein sensitive. I can do a product with proteins at the end or near the end of the ingredient list. Good information.
Not positive but isn't LALSG pretty proteiny?
La Bella Lots of Curls Styling Gel
ingredients: Water, Sorbitol, PVP, Propylene Glycol, Carbomer, Potassium Sorbate, Keratin Amino Acids, Sodium Chloride, Hydroxypropylcellulose, Aminomethyl Propanol, DMDM Hydantoin, Methylparaben, Polysorbate 20, Benzophenone-4, Tetrasodium EDTA, Fragrance, Red 33.
"Keratin Amino Acids
Used for conditioning, moisturizing, known to make hair glossy, give it more body, and also for its marketing appeal (natural ingredient as well as hair is made from this). It’s a strong humectant, and pulls water into the hair. This is made from a mixture of amino acids, the most common in this mixture are Glutamic acid, Serine, Proline, Arginine, Threonine, and Aspartic acid. Cystine is often removed because it tends to fall to the bottom of the product and then starts to smell over time.
Keratin is broken down into amino acids using Hydrochloric acid. After the Keratin is broken down with Hydrochloric acid, it is neutralized with Sodium hydroxide. The acid and the base make a salt. Therefore, Keratin amino acids may have an extremely high salt content that may contain up to 50% salt. It’s sold as a brown paste or powder [Hunting (Conditioning) pg 255].
See also: Keratin Amino acids Protein Sodium chloride sodium hydroxide
Thanx for the warning. I found a tube of gel of IC fantasia with the ingredients (image upload on Android is acting weird btw):
pure water, glycerin, carbomer, TEA, aloe juice, dimethicone copolyol, vit E, hydr. wheat protein, polysorbate-20, benzophenone-4, methyl chloroisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone, disodium EDTA, parfum.
I know it contains humectants and proteins, but is TEA less risky in this product?
3b, medium/thick?, high density, transitioning from heat-damage
List of 18 Recommended Gels, along with ingredients, sizes and price.
I have arranged them in order of price value, lowest to highest.
All of these gels are made without glycerin, denatured alcohol, protein, unwater soluable silicones(note: majority of these contain no silicones at all or polyquats, but a few do, though not with in the top 5 ingredients. I bolded the ones that do.), mineral oil, and panthenol(note: panthenol behaves like mild protein, the few gels that contain it in this list, can either be customly taken out on the website, or are not in the top 5 ingredients.)
scroll to bottom of page to see list.
the protein becomes denatured, from heating and from formation of NaOH compound, hence clear color.
This will dry out the hair, as denatured alcohol does.
First ingredient: Water. Water based
Has low ph component which react to the Ethanol: aloevera juice.
"However, a few studies have shown in animal models, that ethanol in conjunction with Aloe emodin (a component of Aloe Vera) and UV light can increase the risk of cancer by alteration of the p53 gene (7). However, if adequate amounts of UVA and UVB sun protection are used, this shouldn’t be an issue."
FutureDerm - Is Ethanol in Skin Care Products Safe?
UV light=heat. Combination of heat + alcohol + acid + waterbase = Sodium Hydroxide.
TEA reacts with any acid (even aloe juice) to turn into cancerous and protein bond eating NaOH compound. If there was not an acid in the gel, the gel would become a chemical depilatory anyway due to the extremely high ph.
This gel forms NaOH compound. right after water, there is (glycerin) Did you know glycerin is a sugar alcohol? It is classified in the group called polyols. Another word for it is glycerol. They are vaguely related to ethanol alcohols, but do not have the same chemical structure as ethanol. Unlike ethanol, it has a natural resistance to thermal denaturization, which helps the stabilize protein from becoming denatured by increasing the surface tension of water.
"Polyols and sugars are known to increase the thermal stability of proteins in aqueous solutions"
"The studies have been carried out at pH 2.5, 4.0, and 7.0 to elucidate the contribution of the surface charges toward the polyol-mediated thermal stability of proteins."
"A very good correlation between an increase in the surface tension of water in the presence of a polyol and an increase in the themal stability of proteins has been observed."
Thermal Stability of Proteins in Aqueous Polyol Solutions:
This will probably protect some of the proteins from getting denatured, so that drying aspect of protein penetration enhancement is limited, differing again from ethanol.
" it is well-established that ethanol can reduce water content via... protein content via denaturation (3). These properties allow for ethanol to be an effective (and drying) penetration enhancer."
This in no way changes the fact that ammonium salt compound NaOH is still created, as despite the fact glycerin/glycerol isn't effected by ph in anyway-- there is still ethanol and acidity in this product.
In some ways, glycerol will behave the same as ethanol, and still become a drying alcohol. We all know in the winter (and dry climates and environments) glycerin pulls water out of the hair. (that is the same exact thing ethanol does that makes it a drying alcohol)
"As I explained last week in The 5 Most Common Mistakes Even Skin Experts Make, it is well-established that ethanol can reduce water content via a form of water loss known as transepidermal water loss (TEWL)"
FutureDerm - Is Ethanol in Skin Care Products Safe?
Sorry my reply took so long but I had to read a lot of long boring scientific pdfs.
Based on what I discovered about glycerin above. A solution for protein sensitive types.
If you live in a humid climate, are protein sensitive, and are wanting to use a protein gel (No TEA). Mixing glycerin into your protein gel may benefit you. It does cause other drying factors depending on the humidity level in your house, your climate, the season, and miscallenous environments that could have dry air(even an dry aired building you spend the day in). These factors can cause waterloss in the hair, similar to the way drying alcohols behave in the hair.
While I understand the premise of this thread, please be aware that everything stated about triethanolamine (TEA) in the OP is not entirely accurate.
Just as a disclaimer: I am not a chemist by trade, but my Mum's DH is. It's one of the reasons as to why I know so much about the chemistry of product formulations. He's worked with many companies in his time working on just these things and he is more than willing to let me pick his brain. Cosmetics, health and beauty products is a huge industry which wouldn't exist at all without chemistry and he has spent his working life in and on them.
That being said, TEA is NOT harmful when used in gels. It's actual percentage is limited to 5% in formulations that are meant to be left on the hair/skin/body et cetera. It is not the same thing as ethanol, though it is in it INCI name, it doesn't bear any of the traits that ethanol would do or have in product formulations. That's like saying corn or rice gluten (prolamins) is bad for celiacs, when it isn't because it bears no resemblance to the gliadin prolamins (gluten) found in wheat, rye, and barley.
I really wish that EWG site would die and disappear. It is so misleading about so many things I won't even begin to quantify it here. Also, please remember that while ingredients listed in products may start out individually, they don't end up that way and MSDS sheets are for chemicals in their individual state at a 100% concentration. Once an ingredient is diluted and/or bonded whether by heat, emulsifiers, and/or some other kind of chemical reaction, many of the original traits of the individual chemical is lost.
The reason why TEA is found in a lot of gels is because without it there would be no gel! Let's examine the ingredients of what I do believe is the Wet Line Gel that is mentioned in the OP:
WATER, CARBOMER, TRIETHANOLAMINE, POLYACRYLATE ACID, GLYCERIN, FRAGANCE, METHYLISOTIAZOLINONE, METHOXY, CINNAMIDOPROPYL HYDROXYSULTAINE, PANTHENOL, ALOE VERA EXTRACT, TETRASODIUM EDTA, COLORANT FD&C VIOLET #2
(copy and pasted from sally's beauty's site)
Please note the 2nd ingredient: carbomer. This is important. Why? Because without carbomer being mixed with TEA there is no gel!
TEA is used to neutralise carbomer causing it to thicken and create the gel substance we know and think of as a hair gel. Without it the product wouldn't be a solid jello like mass, it would be more like pieces of hard gello with no spreading ability whatsoever; quite useless for it's purpose. While in theory one is supposed to use equal amounts of carbomer and TEA to create the gel substance this isn't how it's generally used. There is always a little less TEA used to make sure there isn't any extra within the product to mix with another ingredient in the product thereby completely avoiding the point and purpose of the OP. Also the inclusion of Tetrasodium Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) is here to act as a chelating agent to prevent any metals from mixing in with the final product to form metalic salts which would, again, negate the points made in the OP.
In the end, I do believe that the reason why the OP found this gel to be so drying is in fact due to the ingredient Polyacrylate acid. While this chemical is what gives the gel its hold, it is also a super absorbent polymer (SAB) which has the ability to hold anywhere from 50 to 500 times its own weight in water. For hair that is already having a hard time keeping moisture, this ingredient sure wouldn't help! It's not evil; it's not a "bad" ingredient per se. It's just not right for the OP's hair. The OP would probably do better with using Polyvinylpyrrolidone/Vinyl Acetate (VP/VA) copolymers for hold in hair gels.
Triethanolamine NF - Lotioncrafter LLC
Salts of Ethylenediaminetetraacetic Acid (EDTA)
Xtreme Professional Wet Line Styling Gel
Wet Line Xtreme Macro Professional Clear Styling Gel
With everything in total there is enough proof for me that this is a problem ingredient depending on hair types sensitiviy. It's already been proven their doesn't need to be large amounts of sodium hydroxide to have an effect similar to that of relaxers. Studies have shown it and so has my experience.
I have already mentioned how the gel formulation goes about. It's this process that causes the gel to form this compound, well supported by scientific study. There are many a gel that do not contain tea or this compound. Companies will try and sell you that the compound isn't too bad and it's what's needed to make a gel, but it's not the only option, and it's decietful to brush off these facts since they have been shown to have a mild but tangible effect. Moderate risk does not mean zero risk. We all aren't lucky and many of us will have certain volunerablities to these products based on our hair types(porosity, curl tightness, thickness, etc) that may not effect others. We need to acknowlege all sides of the spectrum.
Ecostyler gel also does not contain polyacrylate acid, yet it still thinned my hair. It did have TEA. Also, the top 5 ingredients contain tea, which means it is the top 5 most active ingredients in the gel formulation, 5% concentration or not. The dilution in water is the exact reason the compound is formed. Compare to low lye relaxers, which still break bonds of hair diluted Sodium Hydroxide to 2.5%.
"A Low Lye relaxer has the lowest concentration of sodium hydroxide which is less than 2.5%. It is equally as effective as other Sodium Hydroxide relaxers however much more mild due to the percentage of active ingredient. The low lye relaxer gently loosens the bonds for increased manageability, while maintaining some level of texture in the hair."
Yes but the Ecostyler gel does have alot of protein in it of which you stated that your hair is protein sensitive. This is the far more likely culprit.
In this sense, you should avoid keratin amino acids in gels the same way you would avoid a brazilian blowout, or Keratin treatment. Under the guise of keratin, they don't tell you that the keratin also forms Sodium Hydroxide compound, hence the many complaints. See response above about La Bella styling gel.
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