The Truth About Sulfates, Silicones, and Parabens

If you research how to care for curly hair, the first thing you’ll probably read is to stay away from products containing silicones, sulfates, and parabens. These nasty ingredients are likely in many of the beauty products in your stash and they’re not always a bad thing. So, why are they so bad for curly hair?

Today we’re going to breakdown the world of silicones, sulfates, and parabens—the good, the bad, and the ugly.

What Are Sulfates, Silicones, and Parabens?

In haircare products, sulfates are widely used in shampoos to give that bubbly lather, which is why most curly cleansers don’t have that same lather that normal shampoos do. Sulfates tend to strip the hair of its natural oils and since curly hair dries out faster than straight hair, it’s just better to stay away from them altogether. They can leave curls dehydrated, which can lead to breakage. So next time you’re purchasing cleansers, put down that super bubbly shampoo and pick up a low or no lather cleanser that is sulfate-free like our Low-Poo or No-Poo.

Silicones are synthetic ingredients made up of hydrogen, oxygen and carbon. They are widely used in hair products to give that feeling of a moisturized slip but in reality, it’s just coating the strands and acting as a filler. Using silicones on a regular basis can also cause major build-up thus weighing down the strands.

Lastly, parabens are a type of preservative that basically help deter bacteria and mold. While parabens allow products to last super long, they can also enter your body through your scalp. Not to mention that parabens can cause curly hair to dry out and frizz.

How Can I Spot Them?

When looking at an ingredient list for hair products, it usually looks like a lot of chemicals and can be very hard to understand. Most of these words are just the scientific terms for alcohols, naturally derived ingredients, and of course, the dreaded sulfates, silicones, and parabens. And with practice, it’s actually very easy to spot these ingredients in a lineup.

For sulfates, look for ingredients that end in “-ate”, this typically indicates that it’s a sulfate. Silicones normally end in “-cone”, “-xane”, and “-col”. And parabens can usually be spotted by ending in “paraben”. Pretty easy, right?

If you’re looking for more information on curly girl approved ingredients, check this out.

Do you check the ingredient list before you buy a product? What’s your favorite curly girl approved ingredient? Let us know in the comments below!