Black Hair Products Without Sulfates, Glycol or Silicone

Keep your locks under control by avoiding certain ingredients.

Photo: Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images

Black hair can be finicky at best -- and nightmarish if you give it the chance. However, you can’t blame this all on the genes your mama passed on to you because the problem might actually be with the hair products you use. Your hair is precious and fragile. If you show it some love with the right products, your locks will love you back.

Significance

Since you are an organic, carbon-based life form, everything about you can be explained in chemistry terms, including the strands in your mane. When chemicals combine, there is some type of reaction. Sulfates, glycols and silicones in hair products each have their own chemical makeup that causes your locks to react when they make contact. In certain hair types, the reaction is desirable. In black hair, however, the results can lead to frizzy, dry and unruly tresses.

Sulfates

Sulfates are a popular ingredient in shampoo products. They cause the hair cleanser to foam and get rid of the buildup in your hair. Sulfates can dry out your skin, scalp and, incidentally, your hair. Shampoos with conditioners and baby shampoos generally contain fewer sulfates than the traditional cleansers you find at the store. Black hair products that are sulfate-free prevent shampoo from stripping your locks of the moisture they crave. If you aren’t sure is a shampoo is free of sulfates, read the ingredient list on the bottle. Ingredients that have sulfates in them include those with the words “sulfonate,” “sulfoacetate,” “sulfosuccinate” and “sulfolaurate.”

Silicone

Silicone in household products can be a good thing. When your hair is prone to frizz, however, stay away from hair products with silicone like you would a bad ex. Silicone is a popular ingredient in conditioners, moisturizing or texturizing lotions, leave-in conditioners and conditioning shampoos. The purpose of this ingredient is to help prevent hair from becoming too dry. However, if you use a shampoo that doesn’t contain sulfates, the silicone ingredients may not dissolve and may cause buildup in your locks. Silicone ingredients to avoid in hair products include those that end with “col,” “conol,” “xane” and “cone.” The exception to this rule is if the ingredient has “PPG” or “PEG” in front of it; this means that the ingredient washes out when you clean your hair.

Glycol

Glycol is a common ingredient found in hair products and conditioners that are considered humectants, which attract water to your tresses and lock in moisture. Glycol-free products are the most beneficial if you live in an area that’s constantly humid or arid -- or just for extremely dry or muggy days. When humidity is high, glycol causes your hair to be disparagingly frizzy. In arid conditions, the ingredient causes your hair to become dry. Therefore, humectants generally work best in areas that aren’t too dry or too humid. Since you can’t control the weather, your best bet is to stay away from products that contain ingredients that have the word “glycol” or end with “diol” and “triol.”

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