Spring is the time of year when it’s customary to get rid of things we don’t need and get a fresh start. Why not also assess your hair regimen, products, and hair goals in general? While you’re getting rid of some excess baggage during your spring clean-a-thon, ditch any products with these ingredients for healthier, happier hair in 2016.

Bad alcohols

Not long ago, alcohols were universally believed to be bad for hair of all types. The widespread use of mousses, hair gels and hair sprays resulted in hair that was stiff, brittle, dry and in need of hydration. A problem attributed to the use of alcohols in these products. Now we have since come to know that not all alcohols are bad and that many of them are the very ingredients that help to moisturize and soften our hair. The tighter your curls, the more detrimental these bad alcohols are to your hair.

Be on the lookout for and avoid products containing the following alcohols: ethanol alcohol, SD alcohol, ethyl alcohol, isopropyl alcohol, benzyl alcohol, propanol alcohol, alcohol denat and isopropanol alcohol. If your hair is particularly frizzy, any of the above alcohols could be the culprit.


Sulfates are effective cleaning agents found in everything, from body washes to industrial degreasers. Though effective at cleansing they are far too strong for cleansing the hair and excessive use of sulfates can cause dry, itchy scalp, brittle hair and breakage. Sulfates also strip color from color treated hair and will cause rapid color fade and dull looking hair. Common sulfates used in shampoo formulations include; ammonia laureth sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfate. 

Cetyl dimethicone

Cetyl dimethicone is a silicone. Silicones are included in hair product formulations to seal the hair. They insulate the hair and create a barrier around the hair strands. This makes silicones great at smoothing the hair shaft, preventing frizz and creating slip for easy detangling. Silicones are also excellent heat protectants.

Despite the many benefits there is a drawback to using silicones. While some are water soluble, many are not. Cetyl dimethicone is one of those silicones that are not water soluble. This makes it necessary to use shampoos that contain sulfates in order to remove it from the hair and prevent product buildup on hair and scalp.

Stearyl dimethicone

Stearyl dimethicone is also another non water soluble silicone which requires the use of sulfate or clarifying shampoos for effective removal. If not properly removed, stearyl dimethicone can cause your roots to look and feel greasy. Product build-up on hair and scalp can cause itching and dryness of the scalp and can create a barrier between your hair and the products you apply so that your products are not absorbed by the hair and allowed to be effective; this makes hairstyling difficult.

Cetearyl methicone

Cetearyl methicone like other water insoluble silicones creates the illusion of sleek, smooth, frizz free strands with lots of shine and a feeling of softness.  It also creates build-up if not thoroughly removed and since many curlies endeavor to avoid sulfates for reasons above, use of cetearyl methicone and other silicones like it should be avoided.

What ingredients are you planning to get rid of this spring?

Vanessa Osbourne

A type 4 naturalista born and raised in Jamaica who is currently adjusting to keeping her natural hair healthy in the cold and beautiful city of Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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