What haircare products should I be using?


Photo used with permission from Google Creative Commons

With what seems like a millions options of the right haircare to choose from, it is important to know what ingredients are best to avoid and what brands are most recommended.

For context, I have brown straight/wavy hair and am sharing my haircare opinion with experience on my specific hair type.

My findings:

Starting strong in controversy: sulfates. According to Medical News Today, in their article, “Are Sulfates in Shampoo Dangerous,” written by Jon Johnson, “Sulfates help a shampoo to strip oil and dirt away from the hair. However, the hair needs to retain a bit of its natural moisture and oils to stay healthy. Sulfates may strip away too much moisture, leaving the hair dry and unhealthy. They may also make the scalp dry and prone to irritation.” So it seems, they are used for an important, and arguably essential, part of hygiene. Still, too much sulfate in hair care products can do significant damage. So, if sulfates are so risky, why are they so common? Well, sulfates are what causes the lathered soapy hair that so many people associate with a feeling of clean hair, something people like.

Silicone is a (similar to wax in form) substance that works to treat the hair with a smoother and silkier look, by flattening out the hair’s natural frizz and straightening it out. Additionally, silicones make her better at detangling. Seems great, but the cons of this are that silicone can build up on the scalp, leaving a dry and potentially flakey head, with greasy hair to go along.

Parabens are one of the most commonly frowned upon no-nos for hair care, although their main intention, not just hair care, is to prevent molds and harmful bacteria from growing in the hair, working as a preservative. That being said, parabens cause problems such as mimicking the hormone estrogen, which links them to the causing neurotoxicity and the growth of potential breast cancer cells as well. Even if it’s not guaranteed, the risk does not sound worth it. Less extreme cons of parabens include irritation, scalp dryness, and in some cases hair loss.

Diazolidinyl urea
Less commonly known, diazolidinyl urea is a formaldehyde releaser, a solution that when heated gets released into the air as a highly harmful gas. While hair salons are the most common users of formaldehyde and formaldehyde releasers, it is still a possibility that the bottom of your shampoo or conditioner ingredient list contains this.

Finding safe hair care:

Finding the perfect shampoo can feel like a never-ending process, as even the most popular hair care brands that have been used for tens of years will get called out on the internet for their harmful ingredients. Additionally, it is important to be aware of the fact that not all drugstore products are bad, and not all high-end products are good. Typically, people will associate the better product with the most expensive product, assuming that better ingredients were used in the process due to its luxuriousness, but this isn’t always the case. While no two heads of hair are the same, and shower habits and patterns can have a significant influence on hair health, here is a list of some products I would recommend to people with hair like mine.

Under $15:
Matrix Total Results High Amplify Shampoo
Viori Shampoo Bar
The Ordinary Behentrimonium Chloride 2% Conditioner
Native Coconut and Vanilla Moisturizing Conditioner

Over $25:
Moroccanoil Moisture Repair Shampoo
Moroccanoil Hydrating Shampoo
Olaplex No. 4 Shampoo
Olaplex No. 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner
BondiBoost AntiFrizz Conditioner