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Black Hair Care Ingredients We Love, But Can’t Pronounce

Natural hair products tend to sound so edible and delicious. In the beginning, I thought I needed to make as many hair care products in the house as I could to avoid toxins and carcinogens or convert hair killers. That is not true, though. What I needed to do was learn more about the common ingredients and their purposes and risks. I was judging ingredients off my ability to pronounce them. Not only was that a completely inaccurate way of looking at things, but it was unfair because on any given day I can’t pronounce words I could a week before. My tongue is fun that way. Don’t get me wrong, I am still all for the kitchen mixtures of strand loving ingredients. But I also know that we buy lots of products from the store that can play an important role in healthier hair too.

Store bought products need to have shelf life and consistent performance to impress customers. In order to do that you have to have preservatives, stabilizers and possibly some silicones in them. Contrary to popular belief not all the out of space sounding ingredients are bad ingredients. Here is a short list of some of some Black hair care ingredients we can welcome into our routines.

Amodimethicone - excellent deep conditioning agent because it is very attracted to the higher negative charge of the damaged areas of the hair cuticle, and has very low thermal conductivity meaning it protects the cortex (inside the hair strand) from heat damage from heat tools and improper use of the heat tool. The reason this silicone is considered a friend is it is incapable of attaching to itself therefore not able to cause build-up.

Behentrimonium Methosulfate - Guuurrrrlll whet?!!!! Don’t ever ask me to say this one. I can’t!!! (I can, but still don’t ask lol.) Anyway, what I can tell you is it is a conditioning emulsifier. It adds that slip you are looking for in a detangler or leave-in by smoothing the cuticle. Adding slip reduces friction during combing. This ingredient is derived from rapeseed oil/ canola oil.

Phenoxyethanol - this is a preservative that reduces some of the bacteria that would form in products. It has some conditioning properties, but not enough to use it for that purpose. It should be near the end of the list of ingredients signifying it is in low concentrations in the product formula.

Cetrimonium Bromide - Well this little gem serves multiple purposes. It is a surfactant, anti-microbial agent, it reduces static and oil- trapped dirt build-up on the strands.

Butylene Glycol - I truly hate to say it, but this is a derivative of petroleum. I always say, “Stay away from petroleum based products.” I still mean that. This is a water-soluble derivative used for it’s conditioning properties. It will soften hair, and emulsify essential oils in the product without causing build up or irritation.

Alkyl Benzoate - is commonly used as an emollient and texture enhancing agent in hair and skin care formulations. It leaves a silky smooth texture that reduces the oily feeling from the product.

Tutus and Tennis Shoes is a hair care education company specializing in teaching white adoptive parents how to care for their Black children's hair. Follow our blog for more Black hair care tips. You can learn everything you need to know about Black hair care in my course: The Beauty and Science of Black Hair Care


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Tututs & Tennis Shoes is a Hair Care Education Company that specializes in teaching white adoptive parents how to care for their Black children's hair.

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Kanisha is the Hair Care Coach you have been looking for, specializing in teaching white adoptive parents how to care for Black children's hair.

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