Haircare Ingredients You Should Think Twice About If You Have Curly Hair

Giving your curls the TLC that they deserve often feels like a full-time job. Your wash day is packed with products to treat, revitalize, and style your hair, but the end results aren't always the same. No curl is the same, but there are certain ingredients that cater to curly hair

Haircare brand Seven champions jojoba oil, argan oil, and glycerin as curl-friendly ingredients, and they're not alone. Per mindbodygreen, jojoba naturally hydrates and strengthens hair (especially when added to conditioner). The outlet also recommends using argan oil as a hair mask to reduce split ends. According to Healthline, glycerin's benefits are universal and works for every hair type. It's healing properties work well with curly hair as it prevents breakage, promotes hair growth, and keeps your strands looking glossy and healthy.

But with the good comes the not so great. There are haircare ingredients that don't serve your curls, and can damage your hair. Haircare blog The Curious Jalebi cautions against using beauty products that contain certain silicones because they don't penetrate your hair (subsequently locking out moisture) and cause product build-up over time. That's one of many ingredients that can do more damage than good.

Sulfates and parabens are in many popular products but can be harmful

To get healthy locks, hair blog Curly Bun Mom strongly advises against using beauty products that contain sulfates because of their moisture-stripping capabilities. One of the biggest draws for sulfate-infused shampoos is that they promote shiny and glossy hair, but the trade off is that they are harsh on your scalp. As an alternative, you can incorporate sulfate-free shampoo into your haircare routine (via Health Digest). But a sulfate-free shampoo won't produce the suds you may be used to, warns Teen Vogue, though that shouldn't be a deterrent.

Byrdie recommends avoiding products containing parabens because they can cause inflammation and irritation. Ironically, parabens also help kill bacteria and act as a preservative, which explains why they are in so many makeup and haircare products. But if you already struggle with hair growth, using parabens-infused products can lead to hair loss, reports the outlet. It can also disrupt your hormones.

For naturalistas, skip fragrance and mineral oil-based products

Haircare isn't one-size-fits-all. The haircare industry constantly shuts women with natural hair out of the conversation. For those who identify as a naturalista, sifting through curly guidelines that don't account for type 4 hair can be both frustrating and limiting. 

According to Black-owned hair brand Swirly Curly, fragrance is one ingredient worth avoiding because it might contain toxins that affect your body. Opt for essential oils instead as they are natural and can make your hair grow faster depending on which you use. Peppermint and lavender are two essential oils that Healthline claims can promote rapid hair growth.

Another ingredient that natural hair lovers should be weary of is mineral oil, reports Swirly Curly, as it doesn't rinse out easily and fully coats your strands, thus preventing healthy ingredients from sinking in. Natural hair blog Naturally Curly reaffirms mineral oil's damaging properties, and adds that it can weigh curly hair down.

The curly girl method warns against haircare products containing drying alcohols

There are many different ways to take care of your curls. The curly girl method offers tried and true guidelines to keeping your hair clean and voluminous. On top of eliminating harmful ingredients from your bathroom cabinet, it's designed to promote healthy curly hair without the use of shampoo. Instead, it prioritizes cleansing conditioners and air-drying your curls. 

Hair blog Red Carpet Curls is a big proponent for the curly girl method and suggests avoiding products that list drying alcohols such as isopropanol, ethanol, and denatured alcohol on the bottle. The blog cites the fact that they pretty much live up to their name and can leave your hair looking brittle and frizzy as one of many reasons why you need to skip them. Curly hair is very delicate, so it's important to read the labels before you pick up your next product.