Why you should be avoiding these ingredients in your curly hair products?

written by Christina

Published on Dec 29, 2021

Curly hair products and labels

If you have curly hair, you must have heard of terms like “no-poo” or “The Curly Girl Method”. These terms are coined with the aim of making our curly hair healthier and stronger. It is a given fact that curly hair is drier and more prone to breakage and damage compared to straight hair. That is why we in the curly hair community have been seeking ways and hair care products to take care of our curls. When it comes to hair care, it is always recommended to use chemical-free, organic or all-natural products. There are many commercial hair care products that contain chemicals that you wouldn’t want to be putting too much on your hair and scalp if you have curly hair. Most commercially available hair products in the market contain chemicals that can be found on our list. These ingredients are not detrimental to the users if used and consumed properly. But for the curly community, these ingredients can damage the hair and scalp. That is why the CG method officially founded by hairstylist and curl expert Lorraine Massey strongly recommends natural ingredients for curly hair. Here are the 10 most common ingredients to avoid in products for curly hair when your hair is dry.

ingredients to avoid

10 Ingredients to check and avoid when you buy curly hair products!


When we shampoo, we gauge the cleanliness of our hair with the amount of foam that our shampoo produces. This rich lather is produced by Sulfates. Sulphates break down the oil and gunk in our hair and scalp making them clean. But this chemical can also strip away the natural oil produced by our scalp. And this is not good for your curls. This can make your curly hair even drier and prone to breakage. If you have curly hair, try using sulphate-free shampoo. Once or twice a month use of shampoo with Sulfates is good to give your hair and scalp a thorough cleanse.  


Parabens are mostly found in cosmetics. They provide preservatives and anti-fungal properties that prevent the growth of fungi and bacteria to the product. Although this chemical is considered safe to use in proper quantities, this can cause irritation on the scalp. This skin irritation can cause curly hair to be more fragile and worse, hair loss.   


When we hear Formaldehyde, the first thing that comes to our mind are science experiments when we were in school. But Formaldehyde is a common ingredient found on cosmetics and hair care products to preserve their shelf life. It can also be found in the chemicals used for straightening the hair. Some people are allergic to chemicals like formaldehyde. The allergies on the scalp can cause weak hair strands and har loss.  


This chemical can be a tricky one. Silicones are mostly found in hair conditioners. They coat the hair strands making them feel softer and smoother. This coating also traps moisture in the hair, moisture that our curls need. But this coating if not washed off properly can cause product build-up on our hair. Product build-up can weigh down the hair making it look flat which is a big no-no for our curly hair.  


There are two types of alcohol that are used in hair care products. Fatty alcohol like cetyl and Cetearyl alcohols are beneficial to the hair. They can make the hair smooth and moisturized. What you should be avoiding is drying alcohols like propanol and benzyl alcohol that can make the hair dry and prone to breakage.     

Salicylic acid

Salicylic acid is a common ingredient found in skincare products that focus on treating acne and pimples. This chemical can be beneficial to those with skin problems like eczema, psoriasis and dandruff. But if you are not suffering from any of these skin conditions, try opting for hair care products without salicylic acid. This can suck out the natural oils in the hair and scalp causing the hair to dry and become brittle.  


We are all guilty of this – buying a hair care product just because it smells good. And we can’t blame you. Who doesn’t want to go out of the shower with your hair smelling like a bouquet of roses? But careful with the fragrance. Most products use artificial fragrances causing skin irritations.   


This chemical is commonly used as an anti-bacterial and cleansing product. In the medical world, this chemical is used to clean the skin to prevent the spread of infection before surgery. But in shampoo, it can cause skin irritation especially for those with sensitive scalp.  


Phthalate is a gelling agent that is commonly found in shampoo, conditioner, hair mousse and other hair care products. This chemical helps in lubricating the hair to make it look smoother and softer. This also makes the fragrance last longer. But amidst all the benefits this chemical gives to the hair, it can cause serious health problems when taken in significant amounts. Pregnant women exposed to this chemical can affect the health of their offspring.   

Polyethylene Glycols

Another chemical used to improve the texture of the hair is Polyethylene Glycols or PEG. This is commonly used to carry moisture and soften the hair. In the cosmetics industry, it is commonly used as cream bases. PEG’s are often contaminated during the manufacturing process with other chemicals like ethylene oxide. Ethylene Oxide is a known carcinogen, which can cause cancer to humans if taken in excess.  


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