I did not write the following essay, “Product Ingredients” it is from the web site livecurlylivefree.com authored by Tiffany Anderson―the owner and creator of Live Curly Live Free―is a master hair stylist and curly hair expert located in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Even though my hair texture is totally different, this web site is loaded with helpful information about hair care and hair care products. I’ve used Protein ingredient on my hair for years because they were recommended by professionals as the best thing since sliced bread to keep hair from breaking due to heat damage. However recently after using the Aphogee Protein, I noticed that my hair felt extremely dry and stiff. So, I am going to pull back on the protein treatments and do more careful reading of product labels, the back as well as the front. Never rely on what is printed on the front of the label or the pictures on the labels. Teach yourself to understand the ingredient on the back of the labels, because learning what in the bottle before is goes on the scalp and hair will save money and time buying to try products every month. An Asian owned Beauty Supply store may have approximately 100 different brands of soaps, shampoos, conditioners, oils, lotions, gels and creams each advertising on the front of the label as the best ingredients for your hair or scalp. Turned to the back and you will a chemistry list of 3, 4, 5 syllable words describing something that most likely should not be used routinely on the hair and/or scalp. Most of these product come from the same manufacturing facilities and most of them contain only small amounts of plant based ingredients but they are full agents that will dry out and wear down the hair follicles of kinky, nappy textured hair. So, if necessary make a No No ingredient list to carry around with you when purchasing products and if you don’t know the ingredient or what it does, then do some Web research on the ingredients. Just because it contains a few natural oils does not mean the product is okay and safe for the hair. Natural oils surrounded by unnatural chemicals are not good choices for our hair type and texture because our hair is fragile and breaks easily.
So, how do you actually identify sulfates and non-water soluble silicones on product labels? The list of formal ingredient names below will help you to stay on track and avoid purchasing products that are not suitable for optimal curly hair health.
Please note that professional salon products especially formulated for curly hair will always give the best results; however, drugstore products containing no sulfates or non-water soluble silicones are always preferable to any product brand containing those ingredients.
My clients will tell you I am not in the least bit concerned about what “brand” you use. I care more that you commit to following the no-sulfate, no non-water soluble silicones guidelines than I do about what brand you buy, so always feel free to experiment and use the products that are best for you and your particular curls. I still experiment with different products myself, as I suspect almost every girl with curls will do for the rest of her life!
A surfactant—sometimes referred to as a detergent—is a substance that, when dissolved in water, gives a product the ability to remove dirt from surfaces such as the human skin, textiles, and other solids. There are several different types of surfactants, ranging from harsh to mild, with sulfates belonging to the class that is the most harsh.
Common sulfates as found on hair product ingredient bottles include:
Ammonium Laureth or Lauryl Sulfate
Ammonium or Sodium Xylenesulfonate
Dioctyl Sodium Sulfosuccinate
Ethyl PEG-15 Cocamine Sulfate
Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate
Sodium Cocoyl Sarcosinate
Sodium Laureth, Myreth, or Lauryl Sulfate
Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate
Some milder surfactants—less drying and recommended in lieu of sulfates—include:
Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate or Cocoamphodipropionate
Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate
Silicones generally end in -cone, -conol, -col, or -xane and are found in many hair products. If any silicone name has the abbreviation “PEG” or “PPG” in front of it, however, it is water-soluble and will not build up.
Silicones that are not soluble in water, will consistently build up on the hair and will require a surfactant-based shampoo to remove include:
Silicones that are not soluble in water, but whose chemical properties allow it to repel further deposit, helping to prevent buildup (although they will still lock moisture out of the hair and require a surfactant to remove):
A note about amodimethicone: if you do an Internet search on amodimethicone, you will find quite a few sites that list amodimethicone as a silicone that is “slightly” soluble in water as long as two additional ingredients are included in the formulation:
Amodimethicone (and) Trideceth-12 (and) Cetrimonium Chloride (as a mixture in the bottle)
The assumption has always been that the inclusion of Trideceth-12 (a nonionic surfactant) and cetrimonium chloride (a cationic surfactant) render the amodimethicone, non-water soluble on its own, slightly soluble in water and it could be considered okay to use. Turns out that has been a completely incorrect assumption. What the Trideceth-12 and cetrimonium chloride do is render the amodimethicone dispersible in water. Once the amodimethicone is deposited onto the hair shaft and dries to a film, however, it is not water-soluble, will prevent moisture from getting into the hair shaft and will require a surfactant to remove.
Silicones that are slightly soluble in water, but can possibly build up on some types of curly hair over time, include:
Silicones that are soluble in water and can generally be considered safe to use (in addition to those listed with “PEG” or “PPG” in front of them) include:
Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein Hydroxypropyl Polysiloxane
Lauryl Methicone Copolyol
An additional note about proteins: some curly hair types, especially those with a coarse hair texture, are also sensitive to proteins, which can cause some curly hair to become dry and brittle. They are best avoided if any adverse effects are noted.
Common protein ingredients include:
Hydrolyzed Collagen Protein
Hydrolyzed Silk Protein
Hydrolyzed Soy Protein
Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein
Keratin Amino Acids
Silk Amino Acids
Wheat Amino Acids
Warning List of Ingredients
Do this simple exercise on a few of the personal care products you and your loved ones use on an everyday basis. It could be your toothpaste, shampoo or a moisturizing cream or deodorant. See how many of the toxic ingredients listed in the table below you can find in your cosmetics and personal care products.
Here is a typical list on a jar of common hand cream: Water, – Stearic Acid, – Sorbitol, – Glycerin, – C-12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, – Sodium Borate – TEA, – Cetyl Alcohol, – Dimethicone, – Aloe Vera, – Phenoxyethanol, – Propylene Glycol, – Quince Extract, – Tocopheryl Acetate, – Potassium Sorbate, – EDTA, – Allantoin, – Methyl Paraben, – Propyl Paraben, – Butyl Paraben, – Menthol