The Cookbook


The Best, and Worst, Ingredients for Natural Hair

Hey there, NaturAllistas! We are incredibly excited for today’s ingredient spotlight and we hope you are too! We get a lot of questions from naturals beginning their hair journey asking which ingredients are best for hydrating, repairing, and defining their hair all while keeping it healthy and strong! We know navigating through all of the products out there can be incredibly overwhelming! Not to mention the fact that there are so many different opinions when it comes to what ingredients are truly best for natural hair. 

Your hair is beautiful, special, expressive, fun, unique - just like you! We at NaturAll believe your hair deserves the same love, care, and pride as you do and that starts with the products you put in your hair. Did you know that 1 in 12 beauty products for black women has been rated highly hazardous? You probably know that relaxers contain toxic and dangerous chemicals, but many products for natural hair contain toxic chemicals as well.

best and worst ingredients for natural hair

That is why NaturAll focuses on making handmade, fresh products that can provide the same results without using any toxic or unsafe ingredients. We select every ingredient without compromising the health of your hair or body. It’s important for you to know exactly what to stay away from, though, before we dive into the very best ingredients for your hair.

So, what are some ingredients you should stay away from?

  • Benzene - Benzene can damage your respiratory system, irritate your skin, and cause developmental damage in fetuses.
  • Formaldehyde - This preservative can be extremely irritating to the skin and eyes as well as can also increase risk for cancer.
  • Isopropyl alcohol - This strips all oils from your scalp, including natural oils, leaving your hair dry and brittle.
  • Mineral oil and petroleum - These ingredients can cause acne, hinder skin respiration, imbalance oil levels in your scalp, and irritate your skin.
  • Parabens - Parabens can disrupt hormone function and even pose a cancer risk.
  • Phthalates - Banned from use in toy manufacturing over 10 years ago, this ingredient is still used in hair products! It is a family of industrious chemicals that is harmful to the liver, kidneys, lungs, and reproductive system.
  • Retinol - We are sure you recognize this ingredient as it is very popular in hair and beauty products, but has been associated with developmental and reproductive toxicity, making it unsafe to use during pregnancy.
  • Sulfates - Similar to isopropyl alcohol, sulfates strip oil and dirt out of your hair so well, they deplete the naturally produced sebum that moisturizes your hair. While this can be beneficial for hair that gets oily quickly or has looser curls, they are not the best ingredient for naturally curly hair. 

harmful ingredients in hair care products

These are only a few of the many harmful ingredients that companies use in their hair care products. You can find a more comprehensive list in our previous blog post on the top 15 ingredients to avoid in natural hair products. Contrary to so many other products out there, NaturAll commits to using only safe and non-toxic ingredients. Not only do we avoid using all the toxic chemicals listed above, we also make sure that we add in the freshest ingredients that can often be found right in your own kitchen! Check out our list of the best ingredient for natural hair below!

Coconut Oil

Many oils and moisturizers tend to sit on top of the hair of naturals, especially if you have low porosity hair. But coconut oil really penetrates your hair and scalp, making it an excellent option for naturals with dry or damaged hair. Because coconut oil is an emollient, it creates a special protective seal around hair, locking in moisture and adding shine without leaving any greasy residue. Coconuts are also rich in fatty acids and keep hair hydrated and soft, preventing breakage. This replenishing ingredient can be found in NaturAll’s Avocado Conditioner and Leave-In Conditioner - adding to the products’ ability to add moisture to your hair and scalp.

coconut oil natural hair ingredient

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

What is the difference between regular olive oil and extra virgin olive oil? “Extra virgin” means that the product was made without heat, machines, for chemical additives - making it incredibly natural and healthy! Extra virgin olive oil is rich in high levels of monounsaturated fatty acids and Vitamin E, an antioxidant important for hair growth. Olive oil, like coconut oil, is also one of the top emollients that can penetrate the hair and its lightweight nature makes it great for moisturizing. It also contains anti-inflammatory properties that promote scalp health and prevent dandruff. NaturAll’s Ice Cream™ Treatment Deep Conditioners contain extra virgin olive oil, allowing them to penetrate your hair with moisture, replenish follicles to repair any damage, and work against dryness.

ice cream treatment deep conditioners

Avocado Oil

Avocado oil is the jack of all trades! It tackles everything from breakage to softness to dryness. Avocado oil hosts monounsaturated fatty acids, which nourish, moisturize, and strengthen hair strands, protecting them from further damage. It also contains phytosterols and antioxidants, which further prevent damage as well as encourages hair growth. NaturAll’s Pure Avocado Oil contains all this magic in just one bottle!

avocado oil ingredient natural hair

Shea Butter

We have another emollient to add to your list: shea butter! And NaturAll’s Cleansing Avocado Shampoo has a lot of it! Many cleansing products contain Cocamidopropyl Betaine, an antiseptic conditioning agent that increases the foam in a shampoo and reduces static. However, Cocamidopropyl Betaine is also irritating, a potential allergen, and can be contaminated with potentially carcinogenic ingredients. NaturAll uses a natural alternative: Shea Butter Amidopropyl Betaine. This safe, cutting-edge ingredient provides the same results without any side effects. Not to mention the fact that it is an emollient, which means that it protects your hair without completely stripping your hair of its necessary oils.

Aloe Vera

NaturAll doesn’t just use aloe vera, we use aloe’s leaf juice! Aloe leaf juice is anti-inflammatory and soothes the skin, is a humectant that attracts water and moisturizes the hair, and is also an antimicrobial that promotes a balanced scalp and encourages hair growth. Can you believe that just one ingredient comes with so many benefits? NaturAll uses this power ingredient in Flaxseed Gel Edge Controls - giving you the best laid looks, naturally.

aloe vera leaf juice natural hair ingredient

This is just a sneak peek into the list of healthy, natural ingredients that work wonders for your hair and that NaturAll uses when formulating the freshest products for you! You can check out our full list of ingredients right here. If you have any questions about the ingredients we use in our products or are curious about the ingredient in the products you are using, feel free to ask us in the comments below! Knowing what you put in your hair is an incredibly important step in your hair journey and working towards being as natural as possible and NaturAll is excited to help you get there!

At NaturAll, we create and elevate clean haircare and beauty standards, providing freshly-made products that are better for you and your hair. Sourced from small farmers in Jamaica and Ghana. We source ingredients directly from small farmers in Jamaica and Ghana, so we always know how our ingredients are sourced and exactly who is being supported by our business. We are proud to support Black farmers and small businesses around the world. We believe that what goes on your body is as important as what goes in it. Too many hair products are made with synthetic ingredients that are irritating, damaging, or even hazardous, and the problem is worse in hair products marketed to Black women.

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