Haircare Ingredients Curlies Should Avoid

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

No matter what anyone tells you, qualified hairdresser or not, curly hair is different. It is shaped differently, textured differently, it styles differently, and absorbs ingredients differently. It has taken me many, many years to figure out how to treat my curly hair well and the more I learn, the more I realise there is to learn! But if you're starting out, there is a first step: reading the ingredients on your haircare products. It looks like gibberish, but it's not, I promise.
These are detergents and are the ingredients in your shampoos that make them suds and 'clean' your hair. Typically they'll be listed as a two or three word phrase including 'sulfate' and the most common is sodium laurel sulfate (SLS). A lot of people love sulfates because they give your hair that 'squeaky-clean' feeling and also remove all the built up oil and product at the root that weighs down the hair. But sulfates are very harsh cleaners and strip the hair of natural oils, leaving it dry and dehydrated. Curly hair, which is already naturally dry, cannot handle regular sulfate exposure and often becomes weak or brittle when washed with them.

Mineral Oil
This ingredient has been around for absolutely yonks because it is both inexpensive to make and familiar to anyone who loves slathering on Bio Oil or Vaseline. It's often hidden in ingredients lists under paraffin oil, paraffin jelly, or liquidum paraffinum. Mineral oil is great for creating a barrier on surfaces, like protecting a new tattoo from the elements, but it also doesn't allow any moisture to get past it. If your curly hair is dehydrated, mineral oil will make your hair feel smoother but it won't allow any hydration to penetrate your hair and keep it healthy.

Imagine silicone is the worse older sister of mineral oil. It's often described as 'cling-wrap for your hair' because it coats the hair strand and gives the illusion that your hair is shinier, healthier, and smoother than it actually is. It also doesn't allow any moisture to get into the hair and can make the hair weaker by denying it any of the nutrition from your moisturising products. Silicones are also stealthy and can be listed on the ingredients as almost anything ending in -cone, -con, -cane, -xane, and -xan. The most common silicones are dimethicone and trimethicone but there are plenty of others!

Are there any ingredients you work to steer clear of?

xx Julia

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