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8 Harsh Ingredients in Hair Products that cause health issues

How do you decide what products to use on your hair? Do you rely on Facebook ads, TV commercials, or hearsay? If you’ve ever purchased a product based on info from any of these channels, sis, there’s a high chance you may have been frolicking about harsh chemicals.

Many conditioners and shampoos, including some of the so-called “100% organic” hair products, are formulated with harmful chemicals. If you only experience hair loss, or your hair feels and looks dry courtesy of the product you use, you’re lucky! It’s the lesser of two evils. Some products include chemicals with toxicity levels so high that they can affect your overall health.

In case you’re wondering what the best way to select a product for your hair is, it’s reading product labels. I’ve listed 8 harsh ingredients to keep an eye out for when next you go shopping.

#1. Sulfates

Sulfates are cleaning agents found in household cleaners such as detergents but are used in shampoos as well. They strip oil and dirt so well that they deplete the naturally produced sebum that moisturizes our hair. While this may be fine for other hair textures, it is a no-no for our afro-textured hair, which requires mild, effective ingredients.

 Common sulfates include Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate. An allergic reaction can occur if sensitive to it with symptoms such as redness, inflammation, and itchiness.

#2. Parabens

These are ingredients included in shampoos as a preservative. They, however, can disrupt hormones and even pose a cancer risk. They are typically labeled on hair products as propylparaben, benzylparaben, heptylparaben, etc. For ease, just be on the lookout for products carrying the suffix “paraben.” Be sure to avoid them.

#3. Methylisothiazolinone

This is another staple preservative in cosmetic products. It is often used in rinse-off and leave-on formulations in hair products, as well as bath and skincare products. Lung toxicity, neurotoxicity, and allergic reaction have been linked to its use. Avoid using products containing it at all costs. Also, avoid any ingredient labeled Kathon CG; it is simply the brand name for a combination of methylisothiazolinone and MCI – another terrible preservative.

#4. Triclosan

Triclosan was an important antibacterial agent in soap bars. They are still used in shampoos and other hair care products today to prevent bacteria from growing on them. However, they have been associated with cancer development. Some studies show that triclosan exposure might have adverse effects on fertility, rates of asthma, and fetal development. You sure don’t want that, sis. So, avoid any product with this ingredient.

#5. Phthalates

Phthalates are industrial chemicals used to soften plastic. You’ll be shocked to learn that DCP, one type of phthalates, is often included in personal care products such as hair spray and shampoo.  Now, when this finds a way into your body through your scalp or skin, it can damage the liver, kidneys, lungs, and reproductive system.

#6. Toluene

This is found in some hair color/bleaching products. Products containing toluene can produce dangerous fumes, which can cause nausea, headaches, unconsciousness, and even death if inhaled. Remember that one time you were suffering from a headache that wouldn’t go? The hair product you were using could have been a possible cause.

#7. Dimethicone

Dimethicone is a type of silicone added to hair care products. It acts as a protective layer to your shaft but, over time, builds up residue on your scalp. It prevents moisture from entering into the hair and can cause scalp irritation by clogging pores.  

#8. Mineral Oil and Petroleum

These are petroleum products that coat your hair and scalp so much they suffocate them! These ingredients can cause acne, hindered skin respiration, imbalanced oil levels, and skin irritation.

What Ingredients Should Your Hair Products Contain?

To avoid the health risks and unnecessary headaches associated with harsh ingredients and chemicals, It’s advisable to opt for “genuine” organic products.

Sometimes, it is OK to use products that contain “mild” surfactants, especially if they’re sulfate-free. However, be sure that such products also contain natural humectants like coconut oil, jojoba oil, or honey that lock in moisture and counter all the harshness and roughness. Butters like shea butter, mango butter, cocoa butter, Murumuru butter, etc., also do an excellent job. They form a protective layer around your hair cuticle, increase elasticity, and prevent further hair damage.

 Generally, organic products are better for you. They’re gentler on the skin and proven to improve hair health over time. Even so, it is advisable to buy from reputable brands (like mine, haha) that disclose a complete ingredient list on their product labels or website.

Healthy Alternatives to Toxic Products

Lift the current hair products you're using and turn to their ingredient list. Do they contain any of the terrible ingredients we discussed above? If yes, then it’s time to put them away and start reversing the damage they’ve done.

If you’re experiencing hair loss, slow hair growth, split ends, breakage, dry hair, or any other damage from chemical treatments? Below are some natural products that can help you.

#1. Herbal Healing & Hydration Mask

Fenugreek, Aloe vera, Castor oil, and Coconut milk are just some of the fantastic ingredients contained in this mask. It replenishes hair moisture lost to environmental factors day in day out. It is uniquely developed to strengthen weak, brittle hair shafts without leaving thick residue on your hair strands or mask.

#2. It’s Clean Shampoo

This all-natural shampoo from More Hair Organics gives your curls a much-needed deep cleansing without stripping it off its natural oils. Made with antioxidants, intense moisturizers, and lightweight oils, it hydrates your hair while nourishing it for growth. It is also sulfate-free and contains no toxic ingredients.

#3. Restorative Hair Juice

For our naturals struggling with their edges, stunted hair growth, this product is just what you need. It contains red onion juice, which provides just enough sulfur to strengthen and thicken your hair, thus effectively preventing alopecia.

#4. Herbal Hydration Hair Tea Rinse

Hibiscus, Chamomile, Black Sesame seeds, Amla, Brahmi, Red Clover, Fenugreek, and other beneficial plant-based products all come together in the formulation of this product. For ladies with dry hair or fine strands that break easily, spritzing refreshing liquids regularly on it strengthens the strands. It keeps the hair hydrated and more flexible, allowing it to be manipulated without fear of breakage into your favorite protective styles.

#5. Inside Out Hair Growth Tea

Your hair constantly shedding and breaking off can be a huge pain to any natural, especially if your goal is long healthy hair. The Inside out Hair Growth Tea is formulated with this in mind. Organic ingredients such as Moringa, Peppermint, Ginger, and a host of others are grounded and blended to create this tea. Drinking 2-3 cups daily fosters hair growth by stimulating blood flow to ensure your scalp derives oxygen and essential nutrients.

Take Home

When shopping for hair products, it is easy to get excited about bright, colorful packaging and nicely-shaped bottles promoted through celebrity endorsements and TV ads. Always remember that many of these products contain chemicals that can cause harm to the body.

In times of doubt, turn to the most important part of the product bottle – the back, where all the ingredients are listed. You now know the ingredients to be on the lookout for, do well to avoid them! Most importantly, be sure to trust only brands that declare their products are free of parabens, sulfates, and other toxic chemicals.

 Have a beautiful hair 👋

To shop more organic and healthy products recommended by More Hair Organics, click here Shop Now