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by Mary Wolff

When it comes to natural hair care, there are tons of products on the market claiming to cater to the unique needs of curlies. While the curly hair community has grown into a global enterprise with specialized hair care products to fit every need, there are still some curly hair products aimed at curlies that is anything but curl-friendly. When it comes to natural hair care products to avoid, the answer is the ingredients listing.

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Just because a product is meant for natural hair doesn’t mean the product is made with all-natural ingredients. In a perfect world, they would be, but with so many companies looking to get in on the curly market, more and more products are cropping up that just don’t cut it. These ingredients aren’t beneficial for curly hair and even worse, completely damaging. Curly hair needs gentle ingredients to give it the TLC it deserves. Here are a few of the biggest offenders in terms of ingredients when looking at natural hair care products to avoid.

Sulfates
We have talked about these before, but it bears repeating. Sulfates are harmful additives that are used to aid in cleansing. They are found in common items such as laundry detergents and dish soap. You wouldn’t use those on your hair, right? Of, course you wouldn’t. The reason is because they are too harsh. Sulfates are too harsh for your delicate scalp and strands. These pesky additives strip hair of natural moisture by robbing it of natural oils. They can also leave you with frizz. Of course, the hair care products won't list them as sulfates, so be on the lookout for listings such as Ammonium Laurel, Sodium Lauryl, and Sodium Laureth.

Alcohol 
Alcohol is a common ingredient in hair care. They can quickly dry up your hair and lead to scalp irritation. Once again, these will not be listed solely as alcohol and there is often some confusion because some alcohols are worse than others. For example, stay away from Ethanol, Ethyl, Isopropyl, and Isopropanol, as they are the harshest of the alcohols. If you must use alcohol or find that they are good every once in a while for dealing with an oily scalp, try to use gentler ones like Behenyl, Cetearyl, or Cetyl, as they are considered fattier and less drying.

Mineral Oil, Petroleum, and Lanolin 
These oils are typically found in hair styling products. While they serve a purpose of reducing frizz while leaving hair slick, they can be irritating to scalps and leave behind buildup. If you are trying to use natural based products, don’t be fooled by the more natural sounding names of these ingredients. You can get the same benefits with naturally sourced oils such as argan oil, olive oil, and coconut oil as you can with chemically created artificial oils.

Protecting your scalp and curls is a top priority for any curly girl. If you avoid these harsh ingredients, you will find it is much easier to give your hair the care it deserves!

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