After years of experimenting with different hair care products, I have come to learn what works vs. what doesn’t work on my hair.

My curls are:

  • fine
  • type 3
  • low porosity
  • low to medium density

…and although they get dry, they do not enjoy heavy stylers that weigh them down. In addition, there are certain ingredients I avoid because of the stigma that surrounds them. Ultimately it comes down to what makes my curls look their best while avoiding ingredients that many consider harmful. Here’s a list of what I don’t like in my stylers.


These chemicals are used as preservatives in cosmetic products. Cost-effective, they are often used to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and mold to protect both the products and consumers, but they are frowned upon in the community due to their link to causing breast cancer tumors. Additionally their ability to mimic estrogen tricks the body into thinking it has high levels of the hormone, which could also possibly increase the risk of breast cancer. One thing is certain, I try to avoid parabens in all of my beauty and personal care (they are not limited to just our hair products”>!

Heavy butters and creams

As much as I love mango, shea, and cocoa butter in my deep conditioner and body creams’ ingredient list, I do avoid them in my stylers because of the weight and build-up they cause on my curls. When we are on the hunt for stylers that will allow for more volume, heavier butters and creams can give fine curls the opposite effect.

Through trials and research I have found, however, that there are some exceptions. If the butter is listed lower on the ingredient list, my curls will not mind them as much. It’s the stylers that are primarily butter based or contain multiple kinds of butters that do the harm. Luckily there are plenty of lightweight creams and ingredients that still provide moisture to my curls without the added weight.


Any curly trying to avoid build-up on the scalp and hair will find silicones being another ingredient to watch out for. Although they provide shine, slip, and often used as a sealant, they are not a natural ingredient and provide no real moisture to the hair. Just like heavy butters and creams, silicones add weight to my curls, leaving them limp and lifeless.

There are different types of silicones out there. Water soluble silicones wash out easily with water and non-soluble silicones require sulfates for removal. Because I also try to avoid sulfates in my cleansers, non-soluble silicones will require me to then use two of my no-no ingredients. Occasionally, I have a slip-up and will find a silicone in my styler but in general, I do try to avoid all types.

Drying alcohols

Many of my stylers contain alcohols but what’s important is to know the good from the bad. Some are extremely drying, cause frizz, flaking, and can leave your curls crunchy. These short-chain alcohols include isopropyl alcohol, ethyl alcohol, propyl alcohol, SD alcohol, SD alcohol 40 and propanol alcohol.

The good alcohols are considered long-chain because they are fatty alcohols that can actually leave your hair feeling soft and hydrated. These include behenyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol, myristyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol and lauryl alcohol.

What are some of the ingredients you avoid in your stylers?

Let us know down below in the comments. 

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