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Curly Nikki

The Curl Whisperer on Petrochemicals

By January 27th, 20214 Comments

Nikki and I have decided to do a series on product ingredient classes so that the readers of CurlyNikki can better start to identify and understand common ingredients listed on product labels.

Last week, we covered humectants; this week, we are going to talk about petrochemicals.

Petrochemicals are by-products of crude oil and are reportedly added to hair care
products as moisturizers and protectants. Like non-water soluble silicones, however, they
coat the hair shaft, preventing moisture from penetrating into the hair, and can suffocate
the hair shaft, leading to damage and breakage over time.

Common petrochemicals found in hair care products include mineral oil, paraffin and petrolatum.

Some authorities believe petrochemicals invade the hair follicles of your scalp and, once in the follicle, can also get into your blood and accumulate in your body tissue over time. A growing number of health care professionals believe the potential toxins in petrochemicals can result in brain, nervous system, kidney and liver damage.

Numerous petrochemicals have also been proven to cause various types of cancers in both males and females.

Although petrochemicals can give the appearance of healthy hair by forming a barrier to make the hair shaft look “smooth,” they are best avoided in favor of more natural ingredients due to the potential dangers of their use.

Next week: essential oils

For more of Tiffany, check out her site!


  • Anonymous says:

    I love the idea for this series Nikki and Tiffany. The more I've learned about ingredients in products the better my decisions have been in regard to my haircare and overall!!! Looking forward to learning more.

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks Tiffany! I can't wait to see what other ingredients your review. Great idea!

  • satin doll says:

    i'm the same way with mineral oil and petroleum….i refuse to buy a product if it has either of those as well as petrolatum and paraffin, in it. many people do not know the dangers of these products in hair whether its relaxed or natural

  • B. Reed says:

    I'm glad you posted this Nikki and Tiffany. I recently was at a festival and I was talking to a prominent black lady who is pretty well known in the natural hair field (who will remain anonymous). I asked her a question about why is it important for women to avoid these products. Well she preceded to tell me that of course all her products are natural (because she makes and sell her own and why I needed to be reminded of that was weird) and that sometimes these products are needed to make hair products. You should have seen the look on my face when she said that then she tried to clean it up and say that if the product is not that heavy with the petrochemicals then it's safe to use them.
    Needless to say, she lost a lot of credibility with me that day.
    Anywho, I know better and I'm a hair natzi when it comes to mineral oil and petroleum.

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