Seeing as I do what I do, hair care companies often want to send me product to review. I think it’s my job as a blogger to try out as many hair and beauty products as possible to let you guys know what’s truly a HIT and not a miss. But every now and then I’ll get an unsolicited box of products that has nothing to do with my texture or hair needs. I’ve randomly gotten all kinds of mousses and hairsprays and relaxers and hair dyes. Those products instantly go into the before-you-leave-take-what-you-want box for female guests leaving Casa Afrobella, or they’re donated to a women’s shelter.

Other products, especially those that claim to cater to natural hair, I do my best to at least try. Unless there’s an ingredient in there that I won’t use in my hair. For me, the two main two dealbreaker hair product ingredients are petrolatum and alcohol. From the moment I see those items appear in the first few ingredients on a label, I hesitate to give the product a try.

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Now I KNOW this is up for debate. It’s been widely believed in the natural hair community that petrolatum (or mineral oil) is bad for your hair. However it’s a lot more complicated than the general statement that it’s bad, as Natural Chica explains in this very helpful video.

She’s an engineer and knows her science! I respect her knowledge so much.

For even MORE on mineral oil, check out Curly Nikki’s post A Closer Look at Mineral Oil, and Rules of Engagement for Mineral Oil over at BGLH. 

And I DO sometimes use these items in skincare like body lotions and even some of my bath products. But I personally don’t care for petrolatum based products in my hair because it makes it look all linty and heavy and I don’t like the feel of my hair after using those kinds of products. And if alcohol is the second or third ingredient in a hair product, I’ve come to realize that will translate to dry, frizzy hair for me. It’s been a process of trial and error, but those are my two biggest product dealbreakers. I try to avoid products that include them predominantly.

Whenever I hear something’s rumored to be bad for you, I try to do the due diligence and research it. I’m happy to know that these ingredients aren’t necessarily harmful to your hair. My hair just doesn’t like them, is all.

What about you, bellas? Do you have any hair product ingredient dealbreakers? Which are yours and why?


Natural Hair Problems says:
May 15, 2012, 2:05 pm
the only ingredient i avoid is a super high price tag. i think that if you stay conscious of what you're putting in your hair, ingredients like mineral oil, silicons, etc., don't HAVE to be a bad thing. i mean if there's something in the ingredients that says 'cancer gel' or 'scorpion venom' or something then i'd be wary. otherwise, i'm just careful with the way i use products that aren't 100% natural/botanical.
HollyDayBeauty says:
May 15, 2012, 2:22 pm
Being newly natural and a product junkie, I didn’t think I had deal breakers when it comes to products. However, I am quickly learning what my deal breakers are. I am literally writing a review on a product that I have found to be a deal breaker. The product is like a liquid form of hair spray. Now I did not use hair spray or certain gels when I was relaxed, I definitely don’t want it on my beautiful natural hair (I know, I am a little bias). For me, the deal breaker is any product that makes my hair feel dry, and stiff. Right now I am looking up the ingredients of the product I used this morning, to find the culprit. I believe it is the PVP/VA Copolymer in the product. Also, I have found that any product where Glycerin is one of the first five ingredients my hair does not react well.
Sticky-n-Sweet says:
May 15, 2012, 2:25 pm
Silicones are not my hair's friend. Makes it all tacky and stiff.
shiningsolace says:
May 15, 2012, 2:51 pm
Hmm...I try to stick to all natural and/or organic products so petroleum-based products and some alcohols are a no-go for me. I will compromise on some ingredients if they are preservatives.
Lisa says:
May 15, 2012, 8:04 pm
I feel the same about mineral oil and petrolatum. My fine, kinky strands are a greasy dust bunny attracting mess if I use these in my hair.
LaNeshe says:
May 15, 2012, 8:08 pm
I avoid any product with ingredients linked to cancer in any way. It's not about being bad for my HAIR for me, it's about being bad for my BODY. Something can make your hair look great, but if it's bad for your body, it's a no go for me.
Mia says:
May 16, 2012, 2:09 am
Besides alcohol and petrolatum (for the same reasons you and others cited), beeswax - it's too heavy for my hair, and I don't like the look or feel.
Peaches says:
May 16, 2012, 7:40 am
Thanks for sharing this informative article.It allows us to see that all hair care products are not bad for your hair depending on how your tresses respond to it.I have a daughter who has very thick, coarse hair and her hair is beautified with some products that irritate and breaks mine.One thing I have learned is that hair type can be just as diverse in our culture as our skin type and tone.I suggest that we research the best products for us before it is too late causing permanent hair loss!
Glenyse says:
May 16, 2012, 8:47 am
Anything with a heavy fragrance is a deal-breaker for me. I don't care what the product can do me. Carol's Daughter had a product that did the trick for a particular a style I loved to rock, but I couldn't take the scent. I HATE turning my head and wondering "what is that smell"? Oh, it's my hair.
Queen Eye Cee says:
May 16, 2012, 1:18 pm
Ingredients that I Avoid Like The Plague: Formaldehyde, Parabens: (Propyl, Methyl, Butyl, or Ethyl), Non Soluable Silicones: (Stearoxy Dimethicone, Behenoxy Dimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cetyl Dimethicone, Cyclomethicone, Stearyl Dimethicone, Amodimethicon, Dimethiconol, Cetearyl Methicone, Phenyl Trimethicone, Dimethicone and Trimethylsilylamodimetheicone), Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) & Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES), Isopropyl Alcohol, Propylene Glycol (PG) & Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) and Phthalates.
LaToya says:
May 16, 2012, 3:50 pm
Anything that stinks is a dealbreaker for me!
DiJah says:
May 16, 2012, 5:51 pm
Silicones, parabens, mineral oil and heavy ass price tags
LivetSkonhet says:
May 17, 2012, 8:57 am
My deal breaker.....alcohol. It really dried the hair out.
IrieDiva says:
May 17, 2012, 9:41 am
still learning this myself but i've found coconut oil to leave my hair trash so i avoid using it to seal my hair, maybe only in my deep condition
Margaret McGriff says:
May 17, 2012, 12:59 pm
What's a deal breaker for me is sulfates in my shampoo. My hair becomes a big pile of straw that no amount of conditioner can fix. I definitely stay away from that. Petroleum and mineral oil I can use but very sparingly and not often. My hair is fine so it gets weight down very easily.
glamazini says:
May 19, 2012, 1:51 am
I don't have any. I've never really followed all the 'this is bad for your hair' sentiments. If if works for my hair it works.
Reena says:
May 23, 2012, 4:18 am
Deal breaker for my hair are hairsprays! any brand and type. After using it makes my hair frizzy and dry.
Onassis says:
September 17, 2012, 3:05 pm
Gels, is one dealbreaker any product where alcohol is the second, and third ingredient. my hair loves mineral oil to a point loves shea butter is my go to. Most likely if the product costs alot then it will not work with my hair and will usually leave it dry.
Stal says:
January 3, 2013, 11:40 pm
super strong smelling products, some stuff have actually made me really nauseated and I'm not even sensitive to fragrances normally glycerine if its not one of the last ingredients in a product so far the coconut oil i tried does nothing for my hair, even leaves it a bit dry but then again i have the refined kind