Hope you did something to celebrate Loc Appreciation Day. Maybe you shared your loc story with someone. Maybe you want to share it with us (see last week’s post.) We’re still accepting submissions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When we first ran a list of hair product ingredients, we knew we only touched the surface of what is in a lot of the products we buy. While natural ingredients are best, many synthetic ingredients are sometimes unavoidable. Here’s another list, brought to you courtesy of tightlycurly.com:
Acetylated lanolin Rating: Okay This is basically concentrated lanolin (lanolin with water removed). Used as an emollient. Repels water better than regular lanolin, because its water has been removed, so it’s more concentrated. This means that when it’s put on hair or skin, it prevents water loss, keeping the surface more moist. It’s known to give a velvety feel to the product it’s used in. If you are allergic to lanolin, you will most likely be allergic to this as well.
Alcohol Rating: Caution This group of ingredients has a dual personality. One form of alcohol is emollient, moisturizing, and thickening; Cetyl alcohol and Stearyl alcohol are examples of these. The other half are very drying for skin and hair. SD alcohol, Ethanol, Ethyl alcohol, Methanol, Benzyl alcohol, Isopropyl alcohol, or Denatured alcohol are examples of the very drying “grain” type alcohols that should be avoided if possible. It’s not as bad if it appears near the bottom of the ingredient list, because there is very little of it in the product to cause problems, but avoid if near the top of the list. Also, they aren’t as bad if you have them in a product you will rinse out quickly.
Alkyl Benzene Sulfonate (aka Dodecylbenzene Sulfonates, Alkylbenzene Sulfonates, LAS) Rating: Avoid “Can strip hair color. Strong, irritating, drying cleanser”. Though they are great at cleansing, they are irritating, and defatting. May also leave the skin feeling sticky, and perform poorly in hard water.
Alkyl Betaine Rating: Okay Mild cleanser.
Alkyldimethyl Amine Oxide Rating: Okay Gentle cleanser that may be too mild to wash away styling products.
Alkyl Sodium Sulfate Rating: Avoid Drying cleanser.
Allantoin Rating: Okay Made from urea. Soothing, and can reduce inflammation on the skin. It can’t do anything for the hair, though. Can soothe the skin—but rinsed away when it’s in shampoo before it can do anything for it.
Aloe vera (aka Aloe barbadensis) Rating: Okay Since hair is dead, it can’t be repaired. Aloe has no effect on it. May act as a humectant, (holds moisture to hair) though.
Amino acids Rating: Okay Amino acids are the building blocks that proteins are made from. There are many different types of amino acids, and each one functions slightly differently, though they all work on hair in basically the same way. Amino acids actually function in hair products as humectants more than anything else.(— However, hair is dead, so these can’t repair it any more than dumping bricks on a broken wall will fix the wall or pouring yarn on a sweater will fix your sweater.)
Ammonium laureth sulfate (aka Ammonium lauryl Ether sulfate, ALES) Rating: Okay Gentle cleanser. It is the ammonium salt of sulfated ethoxylated lauryl alcohol. It can be derived from coconut. Sulfate is an effective cleansing agent that remove oils and dirt from hair and skin. It produces a lot of foam and softens the skin. It also helps to prevent an emulsion from separating into its oil and liquid components. Ammonium Laureth Sulfate can cause eye and skin irritation.
Amlica embilicus seed oil (aka Amla seed oil, Indian gooseberry oil) Rating: Okay Oil made from the seeds and pulp of the fruit of a small leafy tree that grows in India. Rich in vitamin C. Known as the world’s oldest hair conditioning oils. used as a treatment for hair and scalp problems. Amla oil, which one of the world’s oldest natural hair conditioners, is prepared from dried amla berries which have been soaked in coconut oil for several days in order to extract the oil soluble vitamins from the fruit. It not only brings forth a rich, natural shine and soft texture, but also helps rejuvenate hair that is dull and damaged.
Apricot kernel oil (aka Apricot oil; Prunus armeniaca) Rating: Good Oil made from the orange-colored fruit of the Prunus armeniaca tree [Winter 7th ed., pg 83]. A non-fragrant emollient oil made from the pressed pits of the apricot fruit.
Babassu Oil (aka Orbignya Oleifera Oil) Rating: Okay An edible oil from the kernels of the babassu palm, Orbignya barbosiana, grown in Brazil. Can be used in foods, but it’s an expensive oil.
Balsam Rating: Avoid Tree resin. It can build up and harden on hair, making it brittle. May cause skin irritation and/or sun sensitivity. Best not to use on a baby’s skin.
Beeswax Rating: Caution Thickener that can be emollient and hard to wash out. (For locs: Avoid. This stuff is really hard to remove.)
Benzyl alcohol Rating: Caution Can be drying and irritating in larger amounts. If it’s low on the ingredient list, it’s probably diluted enough that it wouldn’t be a problem.
C11-15 Pareth-3 Rating: Okay Made from a mixture of Polyethylene glycol and Fatty alcohols. The higher the number, the thicker it is. Used to keep product from separating into its oil and water components.
Cellulose Rating: Okay Plant fiber. Often used in products to keep them from separating into its oil and water components.
Ceteareth-20 Rating: Okay Thickens product, and keeps ingredients mixed together.
Cetearyl alcohol Rating: Good Used as an emollient, emulsifier, conditioner, and thickener. Not the same as SD alcohol or ethanol. This is actually a mixture of Cetyl Alcohol and Stearyl Alcohol
Ceteth-2 (aka Polyethylene (2) Cetyl Ether; PEG-2 Cetyl Ether) Rating: Okay Used to keep the product mixed so it does not separate into its oil and water components, as well as a thickener. Made from a mixture of Cetyl Alcohol, Lauryl Alcohol, Stearyl Alchohol, and Oleyl Alcohol, mixed with a gas (Ethylene Oxide). This ingredient is made from Cetyl Alcohol and Ethylene Oxide, but anyway…. This comes as a white, waxy solid which is water soluble. Found to be emollient and non-irritating to skin. Ceteth-2 is often used because it is found to be mild, and stable at various pH levels. It is easier to mix into ingredients than Steareth-2.
Cetrimonium bromide Rating: Okay Used as a disinfectant and cleanser in shampoos and skin cleansers.
Cetyl alcohol (aka 1-hexadecanol, palmityl alcohol, C16 alcohol, hexadecanol) Rating: Good Common ingredient used as an emollient, thickener, and keeping the product mixed together. Non-greasy. Can be made from coconut fatty alcohol, or synthetically. Not found to be an irritant. Also used to increase foam, and to make a product less transparent. Used in a wide range of products, from hair conditioners to facial cleansers. Cetyl alcohol is the oldest known of the various fatty alcohols. It’s been around since 1813. It is known as being a very safe ingredient, and is very compatible with other ingredients.
Tune in for more from www.locdlife.com. To come: Ledisi’s signature style.