We all have hair, and most of us try to care for it as best we can. Beyond caring for the health of our hair, we also have to consider its appearance to the rest of the world. Maintaining healthy-looking hair is no small feat, and it requires a number of products that help your hair to feel its best.
Many of our readers opt for natural hair products – products with no parabens, sodium lauryl / laureth sulfates, phthalates, artificial fragrances or colors, silicones, EDTA, glycol or petroleum-based ingredients, or phosphates that detract from the natural health of the hair. Below, we’ll cover some of the most important – and misunderstood – points about natural hair care, and we’ll recommend some natural hair products besides.
What to Look For in Natural Hair Products
As is always the case in the world of natural products, people on the internet say all kinds of things, and not all of them are factually accurate. Still, there is tremendous value in the “folk tradition” of the internet, and we can find out things from the community that we wouldn’t otherwise know. In this effort, let’s look at some of the most common natural hair products advice and figure out what’s helpful about it.
- The Anti-Sulfates Argument: We’ve all heard campaigns against sulfates for shampoos. And while it’s true that sulfates probably shouldn’t have a place in your shampoo, it’s not for the reasons commonly touted. Shampoo sulfates don’t actually cause cancer or hair loss (despite what certain Facebook posts might lead you to believe). However, sulfates do make your hair a bit drier than it should be. Sulfates are included in commercial shampoos because they make cleaning fast and easy, but at the expense of your hair’s health. Natural hair products like Tea Tree & Primrose Shampoo will get your hair clean while allowing it to retain its natural moisture.
- Silicones: Silicones have been used in commercial shampoos and other products because they’re a cheap way to add bounce and shine to hair. Nonetheless, these rubber/plastic hybrids have raised a lot of concern in the natural hair product community. Though they’ve been used for decades, some worry that they are bio-accumulative or that they cause cancer. The jury’s out on those specific claims, but we do know that while silicones might make hair appear more healthy in the short term, they seem to sap hair’s natural moisture, causing damage in the long term. Instead of silicones, look for products like this Fragrance Free Shampoo with green tea, jojoba oil, kelp, and nettle.
- Where is the Ingredient in the List of Ingredients?: It’s easy to look at the label on a hair care product, see “shea butter,” and assume that this makes the product good for your hair. But wait a moment. Manufacturers understand that consumers are attracted to certain ingredients. To appeal to this market, the maker might put a few drops of essential oil in a batch of product, enough to validate its inclusion on the ingredient list, but not enough to make a difference in your hair. Instead, look for your natural ingredients in the first four or five ingredients on this list. The ingredients near the beginning are the ones that appear in the greatest quantity. Here’s a Green Apple & Ginger Volume Conditioner with an ingredient list that should make your feel confident about what is going into your hair.
The world of hair products is big and confusing, and the sub-niche of natural hair products can be even more baffling for beginners. If you’re looking for hair products that will improve the health and appearance of your hair, using natural means, the above tips will take you a long way. Before long, you’ll be fluent in the natural hair space, and you’ll identify the best products for your hair. We hope this helps!