Since deciding to ditch my blow dryer and straighteners, I have been trying to find new techniques to regain my sleek, healthy looking, moveable head of hair. I have found after almost two months that my air dried hair has started to improve with each wash. This has made me very happy. I definitely owe my results to deep conditioning, more moisturising and better general care.
A few weeks ago, I finally thought that I had found my staple moisturisers for life. They made my hair look and feel beautiful and nourished. Unfortunately, it gradually stopped working. I was finding I would moisturise my hair, do my protective style, take it out and it would be dry and brittle. I tried changing my protective styles daily, tried adding more product, tried mixing moisturisers, yet my hair was still getting increasingly drier.
I was so confused and down, until one day – and I really don’t know what possessed me to do this – but I decided to read the ingredients on both bottles to see if maybe there was fragrance or something else in the formula that was affecting my hair. The first moisturiser has the most ideal list of ingredients one could ask for their hair, all high up in the list too, such as sunflower seed oil, castor oil, calendula, chamomile, rosemary, jojoba and so much more… In my opinion, the perfect blend of hair oils ever. The very first ingredient however was petrolatum, which due to process of elimination seemed to be the only ingredient that could possibly be having a negative affect on my hair.
That day I learned that petrolatum is only added in hair products to make the hair “look” great. Although the moisturiser is made up entirely of amazing and natural oils, petrolatum acts as a barrier over hair, so it doesn’t actually allow any moisture to penetrate into the hair follicle. How ironic is that!
Following this long story, I wanted to share with you guys all I have learned in terms of nasty ingredients – not just recently, but from the beginning of my botanical/organic hair journey found frequently in hair products, that is possibly doing a similar thing to your hair.
So without further ado, here we go:
- Mineral Oil and Petrolatum – So if you were interested, my other “staple” hair oils main ingredient was mineral oil. Interestingly enough it was again followed by an array of excellent hair oils you can only dream of. Both petrolatum and mineral oil are derivative of crude oil used industrially as a lubricating oil. This ingredient covers skin/hair strands with “a glaze of plastic”. This “glaze” actually inhibits your skin/hairs ability to breathe and absorb moisture and nutrition, which as my example shows over time leads to dry, brittle and unhealthy hair. Additionally, these two ingredients are very hard to wash out of hair, because as metaphorically described it is like a glaze over hair, so even after a washing, the more of the product you add the worse it gets over time.
- Fragrance/Parfum – This may seem like a bit of an obvious one. This is normally added to hair products because of course, we all want our hair to smell fresh and clean. However, it is worth noting that when an ingredient list says either fragrance or parfum, it can indicate the presence of thousands of scents to form the “one scent listed”. Not only can synthetic fragrance be drying for the hair because of its chemical basis, it can also be very irritating on the scalp. If you find that when you wash your hair your scalp is left itchy, or even if you are someone who suffers with dandruff, have a look at how far up fragrance is on the list and maybe consider trying a fragrance free alternative.
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) – One of the most common irritants on skin and scalp. Apparently, around 90% of shampoos and conditioners on the market have these ingredients within them. It is the agent that foams and leaves hair silky and smooth. SLS has actually been proven to be very damaging to the immune system of the skin. Skin layers may separate and inflame due to its protein denaturing properties. Hair is made up of protein, so each wash and condition with these products can lead to shedding, knotted, brittle and lifeless hair. SLES although is the alcohol form of SLS is designed to be less irritating. However, it can also be very drying. It can therefore lead to a very similar affect on the hair as SLS.
- PEG/Polyethylene glycol – Used mainly in shampoos, dry shampoos and products that offer hair volume. PEG’s contribute to stripping hair of natural moisture and nourishment. Therefore, although they claim to volumise hair and cleanse hair, it ironically will gradually thin it.
- Isopropyl Alcohol – Normally found in hair colour rinses, neutralising shampoos and many other cosmetics. It is again another derivative of petroleum and is extremely drying to hair. If hair is already remotely fragile due to relaxing or chemically colouring, this ingredient (again ironically) is the worst thing you could choose to use as it can break hair, split ends and lead to shedding.
I am so sad I will no longer be able to use my two favourite moisturisers, but I am more happy that I now understand what was going on with my hair. It is so easy to blame your hair quality and health when in reality it is something you would never even consider. As I mentioned previously, I am an organic hair care fan, which has really helped. But following all I have been learning, I am thinking to use wholly organic and D.I.Y techniques a lot more in the care of my hair which I will aim to potentially share in my upcoming posts.
But for now thank you so much for reading and for all of the support and comments. I do hope it is beneficial and/or enjoyable to you all :). Will hopefully see you next time.
Much Love and Kisses