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The Top Three Haircare Product Ingredients I Avoid and Why

Updated on December 16, 2011

I am writing this article from a personal standpoint. Of course, not all readers will agree with me. We all have different hair textures and will avoid certain haircare product ingredients for varying reasons.

What I am talking about here is daily haircare- the use of pomades or moisturizers while combing the hair. I am not speaking about shampoos and conditioners.

The top three haircare product ingredients that I avoid are petroletum, cetearyl alcohol or cetyl alcohol or any other derivative of alcohol, and water, yes, water.

From the perspective of someone with naturally curly hair, I do not use water based products in daily haircare unless I am planning to keep my hair curly that day. For the best in haircare, alternate shampooing and conditioning your hair with ONLY conditioning it.

1. Alcohol Derivatives

The ingredients in shampoos and conditioners do typically contain alcohol derivatives which can be very drying to the hair and cause it to become brittle as they strip away the natural oils. This allowance that I make for the alcohol derivatives when I am washing my hair encourages me to avoid those derivatives in other instances. For example, I avoid hairspray. The holding power is not worth the extreme dryness that I feel in my hair later on.

2. Petrolatum

The reason I avoid the use of petrolatum on my hair is pretty simple. I want to avoid buildup and a weighed down feeling on my hair. At first, we might be tempted to use petrolatum based products for control and taming frizzies but it takes away from my hair's softness and feels sticky.

3. Water

Now, here's the big one. Can you believe it is even on the list? Well, here's why: If you have curly hair and want to straighten it with a blow dryer and flat iron after washing, take my advice. Only use a water based product immediately after you rinse out your conditioner or apply a leave-in conditioner. Use your favorite heat protection liquid moisturizer. From the time you turn on your blowdryer and begin drying your hair, do not apply water based product again. After your hair is dry and straight, avoid water based products until it is time for you to wash your hair with shampoo and/or conditioner again. If you wash and groom your hair in the morning, find it a bit dry by midday and crave replenishing it with some hair lotion, do not used water based lotion if you have straightened the hair. This will only create frizz.

(Please note that I am referring specifically to African American natural hair that has been straightened with a pressing comb or flat iron. I am not referring to chemically relaxed hair. A water based moisturizer will be best for chemically relaxed hair and will not affect the straightening negatively.) Nevertheless, individuals of all ethnicities, not just of African descent can relate to these tips if you have very curly or coily hair that you want to temporarily straighten and maintain the straightened look for a longer period of time before the hair reverts back to curly from too much exposure to moisture.)

In fact, in this instance, you only want to use a product that repels water.

Now that you've read all this, you probably find it boggling that many hair pomades contain petrolatum as the very first ingredient and many hair moisturizing lotions contain water as the very first ingredient. When an ingredient is listed first on a label, the product contains that ingredient more than any other.

So this does not seem to leave you many options does it? What are you supposed to use to care for your hair?

Well, for daily hair maintenance between washes, I prefer hair oils. Look out for my upcoming hub on the oils I recommend most for hair and skin too! Thanks for reading.


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    • Journey * profile image

      Nyesha Pagnou MPH 6 years ago from USA

      While it is extremely late moderating this comment I have to say that I do agree wholeheartedly with "Black Skin Care Products".

      Moisturizing the hair is absolutely essential and because of that I rarely press/flat iron my hair because moisturizing it reverts that process. When I wear it straight, I know I am have to miss out on the proper moisture until I wear it curly again. While I only rarely wear it straight now, it is nice to have the option.

      Most recently, my favorite thing has been to mostly bypass pressing or flat ironing my hair and to instead slick my African textured natural hair back into a bun such as the sock bun which I discuss in a different hub:

      Without having to worry about keeping it straight, I now keep it well moisturized more frequently. This promotes growth and stops breakage. I also use protein gel and leave in conditioner.

      Again, when I do want to wear my hair straight however I must avoid the water based products or else all the effort of straightening my natural hair will be wasted because the straightening will just revert.

    • Journey * profile image

      Nyesha Pagnou MPH 7 years ago from USA

      Thanks PaperNotes!

    • PaperNotes profile image

      PaperNotes 7 years ago

      You are right, each of us has our individual hair needs and requirements. What works for you might not work for others. That's why it is important to know and understand the nature of your own hair and you are lucky you know exactly what your hair needs are. This way you can avoid using such products that will make you look not so well.

    • profile image

      Black Skin Care Products 8 years ago

      I have african american hair. Water is REQUIRED to moisturize any hair texture. If you are using a product that just contains oil, it is NOT moisturizing the hair, it is greasing it and that is something all together different.

      Water as the first ingredient in hair moisturizer does not make the hair frizzy. Oil should be the second ingredient behind it to be effective to lock in that moisture as well.

    • LondonGirl profile image

      LondonGirl 9 years ago from London

      Shea butter is lovely for skin, as well, I agree.

    • Journey * profile image

      Nyesha Pagnou MPH 9 years ago from USA

      Hi LondonGirl, thanks for commenting. Shae butter seems really nice for naturally straight hair. I find that with my naturally curly hair, I prefer not to use butters after drying my hair. But I do love shea butter for my skin- body butters in all kinds of varieties really. I like the scented ones- coconut, vanilla, lavendar, etc., etc.

    • LondonGirl profile image

      LondonGirl 9 years ago from London

      I use shea butter on my long, straight hair, and it's lovely stuff.