Natural Hair Care Ingredients to Avoid

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by Mary Wolff

When it comes to natural hair care, there are tons of products on the market claiming to cater to the unique needs of curlies. While the curly hair community has grown into a global enterprise with specialized hair care products to fit every need, there are still some curly hair products aimed at curlies that is anything but curl-friendly. When it comes to natural hair care products to avoid, the answer is the ingredients listing.

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Top 10 Ingredients that Stimulate Hair Growth



When there are issues with getting your hair to grow, it’s important to rectify the situation both internally and externally. A number of factors contribute to reduced hair growth, from your scalp being too dirty or your pores being blocked from build-up.

It is true that nothing but time can make your hair grow, but there may be ways to help stimulate hair growth. Check out these options to give your curls extra encouragement.

1. Peppermint Oil
With a fresh aroma, this strongly concentrated oil must be diluted before applying the scalp. It penetrates the scalp and stimulates the hair follicle, allowing for more oxygen production that gives your curls the green light to grow.

Tip:
Apply it directly to the scalp with a gentle massage and cover for 20 to 30 minutes.
Check out this DIY Peppermint Pre-Poo recipe to help stimulate blood circulation to your scalp.

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Your Moisturizer Needs These 4 Ingredients to be Effective

 
by Susan Walker of Earthtones Naturals

If someone were to ask me what is the number one challenge with natural hair my answer would be maintaining appropriate moisture levels. This topic has been covered extensively but dry hair is the the number one complaint of many natural women I hear from and it warrants further discussion.

There has been a lot of confusion about what moisture actually is, how to moisturize hair and what ingredients should be included in an effective moisturizer. Products containing emollients such as mineral oil and petroleum, natural oils and butters as well as silicones have been marketed as moisturizers. Women have used these products with no relief to their dry hair. Brittleness has continued with ensuing breakage. Because of this we need to take a deeper look into this concept of moisturizing our hair, dissect the formulas and really understand what makes a product an effective moisturizer.

What is Moisture?
Moisture is a property of water and this element makes the best moisturizer. Hydration contributes to the pliability and elasticity of the hair. Because water can quickly enter and exit the hair it’s difficult for it to remain moisturized for long periods of time with just water. Factor in conditions such as high porosity and chemical damage and keeping the hair hydrated seems as though it’s a losing battle. This is where an effective moisturizer is crucial.

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Castor Oil: The Natural Solution to Hair Growth

By Dr. Phoenyx Austin of DrPhoenyx.com

I’ve known about this natural emollient since I was waist high. And I particularly love this oil because it is extremely rich vitamin E and essential fatty acids that are important for healthy hair growth.

A few benefits of castor oil:

  • Is an excellent emollient and humectant for skin and hair
  • Is a treatment for hair thinning and hair loss
  • Prevents the dry and itchy scalp
  • Has anti-fungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties- so it can be effective for treating skin/scalp infections like ringworm.
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Are Fatty Alcohols Actually Good For Natural Hair?


by SOINTOCURLS of BlackNaps.org

Are fatty alcohols good for natural hair?  It depends. It is true that fatty alcohols are an improvement over short short chain alcohols like SD alcohol, alcohol denat and isopropyl alcohol.

Fatty alcohols like cetyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol – just to name a few – tend to have lubricating properties that in the short term, seem to make hair more pliable and more flexible.

In contrast, short chain alcohols are extremely lightweight and very drying. Additionally, these alcohols break up oils that they come into contact with. That is precisely why they are so pervasively used in hair products that are marketed for people who have oily hair. Unfortunately, short chain alcohols are also prominently featured in African American and natural hair care products, rendering hair that is already naturally dry and non-pliable even more dry.

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Highly Porous Hair? Try Coconut Oil!

by Sunshyne of Hairlicious Inc

Is your hair feeling dry, rigid and rough? You may be suffering from overly porous hair! Not sure what porous hair means? It's your hair's ability or inability to absorb and retain moisture.

To learn more about porosity and to test your hair's porosity, click HERE.

As for treatments, coconut oil may be the natural remedy for you!

Since coconut oil is able to bind to the natural protein structure of the hair, this helps the hair retain its natural moisture content and reinforces the hair fiber, making it stronger.

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Hibiscus to Promote Hair Growth and Healthy Scalp


Hibiscus is my favorite flower. I love the shape and bright intense pigment of the petals. There are over a hundred species of hibiscus that are native to warm temperate, subtropical and tropical regions throughout the world! Aside from its beautiful appearance and having a nice scent, did you know hibiscus has tons of benefits for the hair too? It is sometimes called “The flower for hair care."

In the Indian traditional system of medicine, Ayurveda, hibiscus, especially white hibiscus and red hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis), is considered to have medicinal properties. The roots are used to make various concoctions believed to cure ailments such as cough, hair loss or hair greying. They are also used for multiple hair treatments.

What does Hibiscus do?
  • prevents hair loss
  • prevents premature graying
  • lessens frizz
  • promotes hair growth
  • gives hair a boost of shine and bounce
  • helps balance the pH of the scalp
  • reduces redness, scalping and itching of the scalp
  • works like an astringent to reduce the oiliness of hair
  • discourages split ends
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Benefits of Aloe Vera in Hair


by MaiCurls via GlobalCoutureblog.net


There are lots of natural options that are touted as healing for hair. One of the oldest and most widely accepted is aloe vera. There are many reasons that the benefits of aloe vera in hair are recognized and legitimate.

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The Two Ingredients that Make Your Conditioner Work




 by Susan Walker of Earthtones Naturals via Three Naturals

In a previous post we discussed the importance of conditioners to your hair care regimen. It is, in my opinion, the most important part. Given the role this product has in maintaining the health of our hair, we need to examine what we’ll likely find in conditioners that make them so important.

The main conditioning agent in conditioner is what’s called a cationic surfactant. Cations are positively charged particles and they are attracted to our negatively charged strands. They adsorb onto our hair meaning that they sit on our hair; they don’t penetrate. Additionally, they resist being washed off by water alone. They improve the hair’s softness, aid in detangling, help to seal the cuticle and make the hair more manageable.

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The Key to Finding the Perfect Leave In? Shop by Hair Width




by Nicole Harmon author of Coils & Curls: The Hair Product Handbook

It takes just the right blend of water (for moisture) and emollients (for smoothing) to tame coils and curls. The emollients are the tricky part. Too heavy and they’ll weigh your hair down, too light and you’ll end up with frizz.

To find the right leave-ins for your hair, it’s important that you understand your “strand thickness," otherwise known as "hair width", which can be categorized as “fine to medium” or “medium to thick”. When you see those words on a product label, they’re not referring to how much hair you have; they’re describing the thickness of each individual strand on your head.

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4 Super Easy Ways to Use Olive Oil for Natural Hair

by Sunshyne of Hairliciousinc.com

Why is EVOO So Amazing?  


Have you tried Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) in your hair regimen? If not, wait no longer! When used on the hair, extra virgin olive oil can nourish, condition and improve the strength and elasticity.

Due to it's ability to penetrate the hair shaft, this rich moisturizing oil can reach the cortex of the hair, allowing the hair to feel conditioned, nourished, and healthy with each use.

Extra virgin olive oil contains antioxidant vitamin E, vitamin A and helps heal dry flaky scalp, also known as dandruff.

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5 Uses and Benefits of Shea Butter You Haven't Thought of Yet


by Veronica Jacobi via NaturalBella

What is Shea Butter?


Shea butter is a natural conditioner for hair. It is produced from the Shea-Karite tree nut, which is a native tree found in the tropics of East and West Africa. It provides extraordinary moisturizing properties and is therefore known as “mother nature's conditioner”.

It’s been utilized for decades in areas of Africa not only for the hair but also because of its skincare and therapeutic qualities. Shea butter is also known to heal burns and injuries, and to get rid of surgical marks, dermatitis, and stretch marks. Apart from medicinal uses, some of the most common uses for Shea butter include using as a natural moisturizer for your body and face, and as a conditioner for dry hair.

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The Fastest Growing Plant in the World Also Improves Hair Growth!


I recently got a haircut and want nothing more for it to grow long again healthier and stronger than before.

This led to extensive research to find what, if anything, can help speed this process up. One plant in particular kept appearing in many of my readings, both from internal and external use: bamboo. I have been testing this ingredient for weeks on my own hair and want to share with you some of the claims as well as my own hair health results.


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7 Popular Butters for Soft, Healthy Natural Hair


Some of the most common natural butters that people adore include shea, coconut, and more recently, hemp. They benefit our hair and skin in the most appreciated ways and since they come from fruit, beans, seeds, and leaves. They are universal in their abilities to better the health of our tresses and they also have their own unique properties that give them varied assets. One of those properties is their fatty acids. 

The Right and Wrong Way to Use Glycerin for Hair



It seems that naturally curly folks have a love/hate relationship with glycerin. There is a lot of information, and misinformation, about this seemingly simple substance. I thought I’d shed some light on the chemical makeup of glycerin and how it affects curly hair specifically.

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Everything You Need to Know About the Science of Tea Rinses


by Nicole Hollis of Hair Liberty

What is a tea rinse?
A tea rinse is done by pouring a cup of tea, commonly green or black, over the hair to reduce shedding or stimulate hair growth.

How is it supposed to work?
The caffeine in the tea penetrates the hair follicles.

Is there any proof that tea rinses make hair grow faster or reduce shedding?
One scientific study shows that caffeine can stimulate hair growth when used in tiny amounts (0.001% caffeine in water). The same study also found that applying too much caffeine to the hair follicles can actually stunt growth. A different study found that caffeine in shampoo can penetrate the hair follicles when left on for 2 minutes. Both studies were done on the hair follicles of men with androgenetic alopecia. So, no scientific studies have been done to test the effects of caffeine on a woman’s scalp who doesn’t have a hair loss disorder.

Generally, the current evidence says that caffeine definitely penetrates hair follicles and may stimulate hair growth, but no one knows for sure. It’s impossible to say how much additional growth you might see, if any. Don’t expect more than an inch or two per year. There are no published scientific studies on caffeine and shedding.

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DIY Natural Hair Recipes- 3 Quick and Easy Cocktails!



When the curly community can’t find what it needs in a product, we tend to take matters into our own hands. We’ve been blown away by women concocting their own gel out of flaxseeds and creating whole product lines right from their kitchen. But, if you're new to curly mixology (yes, it's a thing) we know flaxseeds can be a little daunting, so here are three favorite curly cocktails for beginners.

Coco Aloe Spritz

Natural hair is prone to frizz, so this moisturizing cocktail provides light hold that won’t weigh down looser curls or fine hair.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
  • Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner (or your favorite rinse-out conditioner)
  • Aloe vera juice or gel
  • Coconut oil
  • Spray bottle
  • Water
Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner is an ideal detangler because it has plenty of slip and absorbs easily into hair. The tea tree oil smells refreshing and stimulates the scalp, which can promote hair growth. Aloe vera gel provides light hold and definition as well as natural, moisturizing benefits. Coconut oil is highly effective at penetrating the hair shaft to give it moisture, but it is also light enough to apply to fine hair.

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8 Ingredients That Aren't As Scary as They Sound



Before dropping a product into your basket at Target, Ulta, or in your cart on CurlMart, how much time do you spend reading the ingredients? At this point in the game, probably more than you have in your entire life.

Whether you're an ingredient snob and only purchase products made with the best of the best, a clean living curly who believes in eating and using only whole and natural products, or a natural newbie just taking it all in, there's one thing we can all agree on--ingredients can sound confusing, scary, and like you need an advanced degree in material science to understand how to pronounce them.

Luckily, not everything that looks and sounds terrible is. Relax, naturally curly world-- take in these 8 ingredients that sound all sorts of naughty, but are really pretty nice!

Behentrimonium Methosulfate
Because of how harsh traditional shampoo and cleansers can be, many of us turn away from anything that has the word "sulfate" in it. But the truth is, behentrimonium methosulfate is a far cry from the sodium lauryl sulfate that dries out and damages our kinks, coils, and curls. In truth, behentrimonium methosulfate is neither drying nor a sulfate. It is actually a super gentle surfactant made from non-GMO (imagine that!) rapeseed (canola oil), and is one of the mildest detangling ingredients out there. It doesn't cause buildup, or irritation to the scalp. You can find this gem in products like Kinky Curly Knot Today, Camille Rose Naturals Fresh Curl, and Lawrence Ray Concepts Shake & Go.

Honey for Growing Long, Natural Hair



Most of us know that honey is one of those great “superfoods” that contributes to a healthier lifestyle. The natural and organic cane sugar alternative has a long shelf life and is great for everything from sore throats and migraines to digestive issues and insomnia. But did you know that honey is also great for your hair?

Using honey on your hair won’t necessarily make it grow faster, as hair growth is primarily determined by genetics. But it will certainly keep your hair and scalp healthy, which fosters growth! 

Honey is:
  • AN EMOLLIENT (natural softener). It acts as a great conditioner and improves the health of hair follicles, the starting point for hair growth.
  • AN ANTIOXIDANT. It keeps your scalp healthy, promoting hair growth!
  • A HUMECTANT. It prevents the loss of moisture from your scalp.
  • A PSORIASIS AND DANDRUFF FIGHTER because of its antiseptic and antibacterial qualities.

The Benefits of Marshmallow Root for Hair and Scalp



Marshmallow root sounds funny and most would immediately think of the fluffy white sweet treat that many of us have had during a campfire. Marshmallow root or Althea officinalis is a polycrest herb and is also known as a white mallow herb. It’s an African plant with short roundish leaves and small pale flowers. It’s been around for centuries and even mentioned in Homer’s Iliad written over 2880 years ago! It was used by ancient Greeks, Indians, Egyptians and the Chinese.

The leaves and the root are used for making medicine since they have antibacterial properties and a soothing effect on inflamed membranes in the mouth and throat. It seems that every herb can help our hair but with marshmallow root you get double duty. You can drink it in a tea, take it as a supplement, add it directly into a DIY mixture or you can just buy it already in products. It’s great for soothing sore throats but it also helps with hair ailments too. Marshmallow root is great for soothing and relieving your scalp and hair but it’s also super slippery so it’s great for…you guessed it…slip! Slip is the slipperiness of a product and of course the more slip the better as it will help remove tangles, knots and your hair from coiling around itself. When discussing slip we are normally discussing conditioner and detangling products.

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