Should You Avoid Parabens? Get the Natural Hair Facts.



How many times have you walked into a store to buy your monthly dose of hair products, picked up a product off the shelf, and immediately turned it around to analyze the ingredient panel? It is probably second nature at this point!

Read On!>>>

This Will Forever Change the Way You Read Product Labels



I am a beast at reading ingredients in hair products (humble brag). They are extremely important to me, and while it may seem rather boring to read about ingredients, it is valid to understand the first five ingredients. The FDA requires that skin care ingredients (including hair) on the product label be listed in the order of highest to lowest concentration.

Lupita Nyong'o Uses This Miracle Oil Every Day...



I just love learning about oils that I am not familiar with but have been around forever. Another old but new oil is kukui oil and it has received some recent fame when Lupita Nyong'o shared her beauty secret with Glamour Magazine earlier this year. When she shared that she uses natural Hawaiian kukui oil and avocado oil on her face that nugget of information began creating a buzz in the beauty world.

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.

Read On!>>>

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 Ingredient with All the Slip, Zero Buildup


Quaternium-80
Quaternium-80 is a conditioning ingredient found in moisturizing shampoos and conditioners. It is reported to be a great emollient and detangler, but its name causes quite a bit of confusion as to its role and mechanism by which it performs in products. Is it a polyquat or silicone, and is it prone to buildup? Is it water soluble? These are important questions to curlies who want to maintain their high standards of care for their hair. Fortunately, a quick look at the chemical structure of this ingredient and a comparison to other common categories of conditioning agents will provide us with lots of good insight about it.

Read On!>>>

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.

Ingredients for the Slip Addicted Natural



Are you addicted to slip? You know…slip! Our hair tends to be dry and the older it gets--or further from wash day--the dryer it gets. Curly or coily hair tends to curl or coil around itself and create tangles or knots (yes, knots) when dry. Many of us are always on the hunt for products that will properly coat the knots and tangles and allow them to glide through with a comb or our fingers easily and without much friction. Slip just describes how slippery a product is and that’s usually conditioners with some natural oils. Slip is a curlies best friend but what makes up the BEST slip? There’s an actual science to it and it’s more than what’s the most popular or the most expensive. It’s what’s in the makeup of the product. Here are a list of ingredients we see every day on the back of bottle and jar and as we skim over them do we really know what they do and how they give us the best slip possible? Now, it’s time to see what makes all those products work so well.


True or False: Sulfates are the Devil



One of the cornerstones of the Curly Girl Method is avoiding shampoos and cleansers that contain sulfates. As a result of the rise in popularity of embracing naturally curly hair, many product manufacturers have responded with shampoos, cowashes, and other cleansers that are labeled as "sulfate free" to meet textured hair demands.

But in truth, many products labeled "sulfate-free" contain sulfates still -- just not SLS or ALS, which are the two harshest. There are more gentle sulfates that have been developed, and some SLS containing shampoos even have other ingredients that soften the blow of the sulfates.

What's Up with Plant Extracts in Natural Hair Shampoo?


via The Beauty Brains-

Q: Since water is usually the first ingredient of any shampoo… then all these extracts are basically taking the place of plain old water. What would make this formulation different is the concentration of the extracts in the purified water, no?- Liz 

The Beauty Brains respond:

Think of it like this, Liz:

Let’s say my shampoo is made of mostly water (about 90%) and the rest (10%) is detergent, preservative, thickener, color, etc. So my ingredient list would read something like…

“Water, detergent, preservative, thickener, color, etc.”

Now, let’s say I want to make this formula look more natural by adding a bunch of plant extracts. I ask my supplier for a cocktail of 10 or 12 different botanicals which are supplied at low concentrations in water (sometimes alcohol, glycerin, or polyethylene glycol is used as a diluent along with the water.) So I’m still adding almost 90% water but now that water contains a few percent of botanical extracts. Since these extracts (along with the water in which they are diluted) make up the majority of the formula, I could create an ingredient list that looks something like this…

Read On!>>>

Top 10 Ingredients to Look For in Natural Hair Products



The more we embrace our natural texture, the more we learn that organic and natural hair products work best. There are hundreds of ingredients found in nature that can be used in hair products. Healthy ingredients aren't for textured hair alone! These ingredients work to make everybody's hair healthier. Below is a list of ten popular ingredients in natural hair products and what they provide for our hair.
1. Shea Butter
High in fatty acids, shea butter is an emollient — meaning it provides a layer of oil on top of the surface of a hair strand, significantly reducing the amount of moisture (water) lost. This is what Naturally Curly girls mean when using products like this to "seal" their hair.

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4 Ingredients Not to be Afraid Of




Sometimes, reading the ingredient list of a natural hair product seems more like a sci-fi marathon, or a trip back to 10th grade chemistry. Maybe it's a little bit of both.

While there are some controversial ingredients to be wary of, there are a few that sound absolutely terrible but in fact, are innocuous. Or even better, they turn out to be great for your hair. Here are 4 ingredients you don't need to fear:

Read On!>>>

7 Exotic Hair Butters & Oils for Natural Hair Greatness




Naturally curly girls get a lot of information about miracle hair oils and butters like Shea, Coconut, Argan, Sweet Almond, and more. They are all great oils and butters with unique properties that make them especially valueable to curly hair. But it's time to expand our horizons. Let's explore 7 exotic butters and oils that hail from the depths of the Amazon, to Southeast Asia and beyond.

Kokum Butter
Used traditionally in India, Kokum butter tends to fly under the radar - but it shouldn't. Rich in essential fatty acids and non-comodegenic (non pore-clogging), Kokum Butter is perfect for stimulating the scalp for healthy hair growth. It helps cell oxygenation, making nutrients more readily available for use by scalp/skin tissues - which helps promote hair growth. It also supports and enhances hair elasticity, helping to ward off breakage.

Read On!>>>

How Do Hair Conditioners Work?


via TheBeautyBrains- 

What are hair conditioners supposed to do?
Remember that hair is dead! It’s a common misconception that hair can be healthy. Hair can be no more healthy than a shoe lace, a cotton blouse, or any other non-living fiber. The hair on your head is not living tissue. It is dead, keratinized protein. Hair cannot be healthy. Of course, it can look healthy or not-healthy but that’s not the same thing. Conditioners help give your hair a healthier appearance (and reduce breakage) by smoothing the hair.

The biology of hair (cuticle versus cortex)
Look at your hair under a microscope, or, if you don’t have a microscope handy, you can Google a picture of it. You’ll see it’s covered by small scales, known as cuticles, that look a little like the shingles on a roof. As the hair grows, the cuticles form in such a way that the leading edge is facing toward the end of your hair shaft.

When you back comb, you’re scraping the edge of the cuticle in the opposition direction. This action causes lifts the cuticle up and makes it stand away from the hair shaft. The more cuticles you lift up, the more volume your hair will have because each little piece of cuticle will push away the hair shaft laying next to it. You can create tons of volume by combing this way.

Read On!>>>

Cosmetic Chemistry 101- Common Hair and Skin Care Ingredients


via TheBeautyBrains-

This article on cosmetic science is primarily intended to benefit anyone interested in chemist careers (or aspiring mixtresses) but hopefully the general natural hair community will find this information useful as well!

Surfactants
It is amazing how little time is devoted to surfactants in college when you consider the importance they play in so many industries.

What are they? Surfactant is a shorter way to say “surface active agent”. These are molecules that have the property of reducing surface tension, thereby allowing oil and water to form stable (temporarily) mixtures.

Examples – Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycol Distearate, Ammonium Laureth Sulfate, Polysorbate 80

Why are they used? Surfactants are used for various purposes in cosmetic formulas including
* Detergents – for cleansing
* Wetting agents – for helping formulas spread more easily
* Foaming agents – to produce consumer friendly suds
* Emulsifiers – to create stable mixtures of oil and water
* Conditioning agents – to improve the surfaces of hair and skin
* Solubilizers – to help mix fragrances into water-based formulas
* Preservatives – to keep cosmetics microbe-free
* Special Effects – to improve the look of certain formulas

Read On!>>>

The Science Behind Hair Conditioners- Common Ingredients



Most of us with curly hair are pretty well-versed now in the need for our hair to be very well hydrated and conditioned. But what exactly does this mean? There are so many products on the market that claim to be the solution for our dry, frizzy tresses, but which do we really need? Plentiful also are the words used by marketers and hair care experts when telling us what we need for our hair to be healthy and beautiful. Among these are humectant, moisturizer, emollient, detangler, reconstruct/repair, and color protecting. What do these terms really mean, and what ingredients should we be looking for if we desire some of these properties?

There are numerous types of conditioners available in the marketplace, so we will examine some of the more common categories. My hope is to aid the consumer in understanding what the proposed benefit of a particular type of conditioner is and also what ingredients can be expected to help achieve the desired outcome.


Read On>>>

How to Use Olive Oil for Natural Hair



by Kala G

Dry curly hair is the WORST! But olive oil can be your best friend when it comes to preventing natural Type 4 hair from getting dry and crunchy? Whether it’s a pre-poo treatment or the secret ingredient in your whipped shea butter, olive oil could be your ticket to healthier looking and feeling hair.

1. Whipped Shea Butter

A store bought or homemade whipped shea butter is a coily's best friend. It’s great for softening, protecting and sealing in the moisture for your twist and braid outs. Remember that a little goes a long way and to rinse well or clarify to prevent build up on your wash days. Here’s a simple recipe with olive oil that will give your butter that whipped effect:

Ingredients-

  • raw shea butter - 4 ounces
  • coconut oil - 4 ounces
  • extra virgin olive oil - 3 ounces
  • essential fragrance oil - a few drops

What is a Hair Conditioner?- Moisturizer vs Emollients




Marketing statements for hair conditioners contain a variety of terms to describe the properties of the products in a manner that is enticing to consumers. Included in these are familiar words such as: emollient, moisturize, seal, penetrate, repair, and condition. Ingredient savvy consumers often seek to attribute specific properties, such as “emollient” or “moisturizing” to groups of ingredients in an effort to predictably define which products can meet the unique needs of their hair type. Due to some ambiguity in the usage of many of these terms, a number of questions come to mind when endeavoring to categorize materials in this fashion.

What criteria must be met for a product to be considered a hair conditioner? What are the exact definitions of the various marketing terms when applied to hair care products? Are any of them interchangeable? What properties make an ingredient moisturizing, emollient, or conditioning? Is it possible for an ingredient to be both moisturizing and emollient? Are there more accurate and precise words that we could be using to describe these properties and ingredients? Obtaining the answers to these questions can alleviate much of the confusion surrounding additives in hair conditioning products.

What is a hair conditioner?

A hair conditioner is a product which, when applied topically, can improve the overall quality of your hair’s surface and bulk properties. Their benefits include increased slip between hair strands (and easier detangling), a smoother cuticle surface, decreased porosity, optimized hydration, decreased electrostatic charge, added body and bounce, and increased strength, suppleness, and elasticity. Specialized products may also provide protection from thermal and UV damage, as well as improved color retention. Some of these effects are purely superficial and temporary, requiring frequent reapplication to maintain the properties, while others impart long term benefits by the reduction of damage on a daily basis.
In order to achieve this high level of performance, a conditioner formulation must combine a complicated array of ingredients that both individually and synergistically contribute different properties to the whole package. Generally, the most basic objectives a conditioner must meet are to provide hydration, lubrication, and occlusion to the hair. Two common and often confusing terms used to describe the properties of various ingredients in the product are “moisturizer” and “emollient”. These terms are used in variable ways in marketing statements and in the literature, and are a frequent source of confusion for users.

Read On>>>

Ingredients Commonly Found in Hair Products


Compiled by Tonya McKay

This is a dynamic list; I’ll update and amend as necessary.

CN Says:
-Grab your favorite bottle of conditioner or styler... I'll wait. 

 -Flip it over to review the ingredients.

-Do a 'ctrl +f'' (or control + find, or a command + f, or the like) and type in the ingredients that are too long to pronounce. You'll be amazed at which ones are emulsifiers, detergents, preservatives, etc. Cool stuff. You'll never be in the dark again!  You'll also be more prepared the next time you hit the hair care aisle.  Be especially mindful of the first 5 ingredients (the only ones that truly matter) in each of your favorite products (take note!) so you know what to look for when selecting new products.  

Anionic Surfactants
Detergency, foaming:
Alkylbenzene sulfonates
Ammonium laureth sulfate: can be drying to the hair
Ammonium lauryl sulfate: can be very drying to the hair
Ammonium Xylenesulfonate
Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate
Sodium cocoyl sarcosinate
Sodium laureth sulfate: can be drying to the hair
Sodium lauryl sulfate: can be especially drying to the hair
Sodium lauryl sulfoacetate
Sodium myreth sulfate
Sodium Xylenesulfonate
TEA-dodecylbenzenesulfonate
Ethyl PEG-15 cocamine sulfate
Dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate

Amphoteric Surfactants
Used to provide mild cleansing, as well as some aid in foaming:
Cocamidopropyl betaine
Coco betaine
Cocoamphoacetate
Cocoamphodipropionate
Disodium cocoamphodiacetate
Disodium cocoamphodipropionate
Lauroamphoacetate
Sodium cocoyl isethionate

Open to View Full List>>>

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