Sometimes simple, plant-based ingredients are all we need to resolve many of the skin and hair issues we have. Not only that, but plant-based ingredients contain antioxidants, vitamins, and other nutrients that make them a powerful, non-toxic way to achieve and maintain healthy, beautiful hair. When it comes to hair products, I try to keep it as natural and healthy as possible. There are of course non-natural products that my hair reacts well to, but there are some ingredients that under all circumstances I avoid like the plague. For all of my hair care products, including shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, and styling products, I avoid the following:

Mineral Oil

Mineral oil is derived from petroleum, a non-vegetable oil source, and used to make gasoline, diesel, and kerosene. The most expensive luxury hair care product could be praised by all YouTube gurus and given to me for free, but if it is formulated with mineral oil I still would not use it. I cannot wrap my head around putting such a harsh chemical in my hair when there are so many wonderful oils such as coconut oil and olive oil available to us.


Parabens are used in cosmetics and beauty products in order to preserve them and increase their shelf life. They are insidious little compounds that have the ability to be absorbed into the body. Parabens are linked to the hormone estrogen, and estrogen is one of the main hormones associated with breast cancer. In fact, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology, parabens have been found in the breast tissue of 99% of women who have breast cancer. There is so much cause for concern that cosmetic companies have now begun to formulate paraben-free products to placate consumers concerns.


Alcohol is an emulsifier that provides a creamy consistency for hair care and beauty products. Some alcohols (i.e. fatty alcohols) are better than others but I try to avoid products that contain any alcohol as one of the first ingredients. Certain alcohols are out of the question altogether and those include these drying alcohols: propyl, isopropyl, and ethanol. Fatty alcohols include cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, and mysristyl alcohol, which are great for keeping the hair lubricated and combatting dryness.

Those are some of the main ingredients I avoid at all costs but there are several ingredients that I love in my hair care products. I look for water as the first ingredient because that means that the product contains mostly that. The label of any consumer good that you apply or ingest will contain the list of ingredients that are ordered by the most to the least prominent ingredient. Another ingredient I like to see is glycerin, preferably from a vegetable source, because it is a humectant. If shea butter, cocoa butter, or anything of that nature follows those two ingredients than the product is pretty much a winner in my book, because at the very least this product is formulated with mostly good ingredients that my hair likes. 

Which ingredients do you avoid?