Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Why Should You Avoid: Alcohols, Silicone's and Sulfates in Hair Products

Q: Why Should You Avoid:  Alcohols,  Silicone's and Sulfates in Hair Products?

A: The quick answer is ingredients are mostly synthetic chemicals that causes dryness of hair and scalp, Also these chemical only provide short term solution while coating the hair with resisdue which is called product build-up this can cause extreme dryness and even causes irritation to the scalp.
These ingredients below are found in most haircare products, unless you purchase haircare products that does not have these ingredients listed the beauty product you have have these and more chemical that cause dry hair,skin, irritation and more: This is not a full list of ingredients that causes hair dryness, these are many of the common ingredients found in haircare products.

What are Alcohols? 

There are many types of alcohols used in hair products below gives info on the types in your hair products:
  1. Benzyl alcohol
  2. Alcohol Denat
  3. Cetearyl Alcohol
  4. Cetyl Alcohol  
  5. Stearyl Alcohol 
  6. Ethanol
  7. Isopropyl Alcohol
  8. Propanol/Propyl alcohol   
  9. SD alcohol,
  10. SD alcohol 40

Not all alcohols in beauty products damage hair; but these listed can weight's down hair, creates product build-up, and some causes extreme dryness.

 Alcohol's To Avoid  (Dries Out Hair)

1.Cetearyl Alcohol (Most Drying Alcohol in Hair/Skin Products)  Should be avoided to prevent dryness, frizz, itchy scalp, and split ends.

Keeps liquids and oils in beauty products from separating; though this substance softens hair and skin; it  strips both your hair and skin of natural oil during washing

2. Cetearyl Alcohol   
Should be avoided if you are looking for a product that doesn't dry out your hair/skin or if you have a sensitive scalp.

3. Isopropyl Alcohol Also Labeled as SD-40
Are found in hairspray and styling products: Gels, Leave-In Conditioners ETC, use to quickly dry (set) hair in place.

4. Alcohol Denat
Alcohols Made From Fats/Oils (Hair wont be able to absorb moisture if using these product daily)
Weights Down Hair, Product Build-Up, Coats Hair cannot Absorb Moisture

1. Cetyl Alcohol 
Is made from vegetable oils like: coconut oil or palm oil In beauty products, it is used as an emollient, lubricant or surfactant, which allows the products to spread easier.

2. Stearyl Alcohol 
Is a softening agent used for hair and body products; it can be made from animal fat or (stearic acid), it can be produce from cocoa or shea butters as well.

Alcohols used as Preservative
Benzyl alcohol

What Are Silicone's?

Silicone's are used in many beauty products; silicone are used to make hair feel smooth and are sometime's used to prevent frizz.

Harsh Silicones That Blocks Out Moisture:
  • Amodimethicone
  • Cyclomethicone
  • Dimethiconol 
  • Phenyl Trimethicone
Silicone's That Are Water Soluble (Absorbs Some Moisture & Penetrate's Hair Shaft)
  • Dimethicone copolyol
  • PEG-modified dimethicone

Products like Hair Polishers and Serums are all Silicone base ingredients.
Hair serums smell good and gives hair quick smooth shine, but quickly dries hair out

Silicone's in Conditioner are use for the following:

Silicone Based Conditioners
  • Helps de-tangle Hair
  • Prevents Breakage
  • Provides Shine
  • Reduces Static & Frizz
Silicone Based Shampoos Provides
  • Shine
  • Slip 

 The Problem with Silicone's in Conditioners & Shampoos

Often when using silicone based products daily or weekly is product build- up, silicone residues builds up quickly and prevent any moisture from entering the hair shaft. Adding any additional moisture to help condition the hair is a problem since it cannot not be absorbed. Silicone blocks moisture causing the hair to become dull, dry, and tangle, which can lead to major breakage.

If using Silicone based hair products using a clarifying shampoo to the right: (V05 Kiwi Clarifying Shampoo) or (Diluted Vinegar mixture) every two weeks can reduce silicone build-up.

A quick list of silicone:

Silicone & Sulfate-Free Clarifying Shampoos

Not all clarifying shampoos are silicone and sulfate free (which is ironic), but here's 3 shampoos that are:

  • CURLS Pure Curls Clarifying Shampoo, clarifying sulfate free shampoo
  • Elucence Volume Clarifying Shampoo
  • EO Clarifying Shampoo
To find more sulfate free clarifying shampoos GOOGLE: Clarifying shampoos sulfate-free

What Are Sulfates?

In shampoos and other beauty products Sulfates are the foaming agent or surfactant.
Sulfates Makes Foam

Sulfates are used in shampoos since they are inexpensive and creates a lot of foam which gives the impression the more bubbles the cleaner the hair.

You know the squeaky clean sound that your hair makes after it's been washed, the foam and sulfates strips the hair's natural oils and moisture.

Why Sulfates Can Cause Damage To Hair

Sulfates causes follicle damage from strong stripping of hair's natural oils, which creates unnatural hair loss, it dries out hair and can cause irritation to the scalp.

How to look for Sulfate Free Shampoos

Reading the back of your bottle is important if the label reads any of the following do not buy that product has sulfates:

How Spot Sulfates on Product Labels

  • Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate Also labeled as SLS and ALS
  • Sodium Laureth (or Lauryl)
  • Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate (SLES) is a "milder" sulfate 

Where to Buy Sulfate Free Products
  • Natural Food stores
  • Whole Food
  • Grocery Stores (Natural Food Section)
Check in the hair care aisle of your favorite discount store for organic and all-natural hair care products
Some local hair salon also carry sulfate-free shampoos

And the Internet
 Google Sulfate free

Also check out these websites, both can be use as tools to make better choices for your body:

Amazon has a large selection of organic and all-natural shampoos available in a variety of sizes.

Coming Soon: Reading Labels: Breaking Down Ingredient Labels.


  1. I think cetearyl alcohol is a fatty alcohol which is regarded as the good alcohol for hair

    1. Thank you for your comment! I'll look into it further!