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.

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:

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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

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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.


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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.

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