I’m sure you’ve done a fair share of internet searches on what type of hair you have and what types of products you should use, based on your hair type—but did anyone ever tell you what products or ingredients to stay away from? I know it can be annoying to have to read through the ingredients list plastered on the back of the bottle in such teeny tiny print, but if you can just scan for these ingredients, you will save time and your hair will thank you.
Curly Hair: Alcohol + Mineral oil/ Petroleum
What differentiates your hair from being naturally curly or straight is the shape of your hair follicle. Typically, a curved follicle is what creates curly hair as opposed to round follicles, which are found in people who have straight hair. Curly hair types are prone to being very dry because it’s harder for natural oils to travel down the hair for hydration. So when looking for products for your curly hair, stay away from alcohol which will strip your hair from that extra moisture you need. Another sneaky ingredient to stay away from is mineral oil or petroleum. These two can be deceiving because you think this will seal your hair with moisture, but it is quite the opposite. Mineral oil and petroleum will actually block any moisture from being absorbed into your hair. So don’t be fooled!
Fine hair: Oil + Sulfates
People who have fine hair have lower hair density which means they have a lower count of hairs on their head per square inch, compared to people with normal or thick hair. The average amount of hairs on a human head is 2,220 hairs per square inch and anyone with more than that is considered to have thicker hair. For fine haired people, this means that you hair is more susceptible to getting oily faster because your scalp naturally produces oils to keep your skin and hair moisturized and since there are less hairs on your head, there is more oil that is being distributed to each strand on your head.
So, with all this talk of oil, the main ingredient you want to avoid is, of course, oil. Applying products to your hair with lots of oil will only seal in the oils that are being produced on your head which will weigh down your hair and make it appear flat and just plain greasy. One more ingredient fine haired people should avoid are sulfates. Sulfates help get your hair clean, but it mostly strips your hair of strengthening proteins and can slow down and even stop the growth of your hair. With already less hair on your head, the last thing you’d want is your hair to stop growing!
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Chemically treated hair: Diethanolamine (DEA) + sodium chloride
If your hair is chemically treated, there is already a lot more damage that is done to your hair as well as your scalp. Your hair is basically stripped of all of its nutrients and proteins which means you need to be more conscious of what ingredients are in your products because as you know, there are lots of ingredients out there that help “get the job done,” but can cause more damage to your hair and scalp with prolonged use.
Diethanolamine (DEA) and sodium chloride are two of the main ingredients you should avoid. The ingredient DEA is used mostly in shampoos to create the foaming suds when you lather your hair in the shower. It is also found in brake fluid and antifreeze—yikes! If you have sensitive skin, DEA can also cause scalp irritation. The other ingredient to stay away from is sodium chloride; better known as salt. It strips away moisture that your hair desperately needs each time you go to the salon for a color touch up. Sodium chloride can leave your scalp feeling itchy and dry which can lead to irritation, flakiness and also promote hair loss. Your hair is already put through so much when you decide to treat it chemically, so it’s important to pay close attention to your aftercare!