When hair products contain superfood extracts, oils and butters, they’re more likely to work on you and on everyone. When formulas are made with conventional, harsh chemicals, like sulfates and silicones, they probably won’t work for all of us — here’s why:
Take sulfates for example. Sulfates are on every clean brand’s no-no list. You see “sulfate free” everywhere. They are now considered a “dirty” or “harsh” ingredient — and they are harsh — but before they got a bad rep, they were only ever good for people with fine hair.
Stylists, including me, haven’t used sulfates on curly hair in — I don't know — forever? That’s why every curly girl you know used DevaCurl No Poo. It has pretty much always been no suds, and especially no sulfates, for curls. When keratin treatments first became popular, we would do them and then send clients home with sulfate-free shampoo. Who got these treatments? People with thick and curly and unruly hair.
Sulfates are just too good at cleaning our hair and scalp. Performance-wise, sulfates actually work well on fine hair because they rough the hair up and people with fine hair want one thing — volume, anything for volume. But like most conventional chemicals, this benefit only lasts until your next shampoo and usually causes another issue — an unbalanced scalp.
So for fine hair, sulfates gave you some good volume, but because they over-cleansed your scalp time after time, now, you are most likely left with an oily scalp issue. Which just means you’ll want to clean your hair more often. With the same sulfates that make you have to clean your hair more often. See what I’m saying? Finer hair types are usually oily scalp types. The same sulfates that are “cleaning” your hair are leaving you with an unbalanced scalp and the need to clean your hair way more frequently. It is a vicious circle, for sure.
Curly hair types can’t even look at sulfates without them drying out their hair and scalp. They want the opposite of sulfates — they want moisture and hydration and all the natural oils as humanly possible.
So if sulfates were never ideal for curly hair types and kept finer hair types aka oily scalp types unbalanced, who were they ever for?
Just like sulfates are a little too good at cleansing, silicones are a little too good at softening.
Similar to sulfates, silicones are super controlling. And again, they kind of don’t make sense to me. They are made for thicker, coarser, curlier hair types to help with softening, shine, and manageability — since these hair types are usually drier without much shine or reflection. But these hair types have the most shape! And the most movement! And need the most moisture!
Silicones sit on top of our hair strands. This blocks moisture from getting in. Silicones overly soften and add weight to the hair. This just totally mutes natural shape and movement. So if silicones work “so well” on thick, coarse, curly hair types, but they block moisture and weigh down shape, how is this a thing?
Also, as soon as your rinse, it’s over. Like most hair products made with conventional chemicals, benefits only last until your next wash. How is this helping overall hair health? It’s not. This is why you always have the same hair woes.
When I think about formulating for clean beauty, it’s not just about leaving out harsh chemicals because they are harmful. Yes, most conventional chemicals are harmful and there is no need or room for them in our formulas. But, so much of it is about skipping controlling ingredients that just don’t do us any good in the long-run. We should skip harsh chemicals because they usually have one leading performance benefit and cause a long list of other hair and scalp issues — and because they just don’t work for all of us.
Beside the fact that they are harsh chemicals, clean hair care brands are skipping sulfates and silicones because they are the opposite of everything we’re trying to do. We’re trying to care for your hair with whole ingredients, gentle ingredients, and get your hair back to it’s healthiest. This is exactly why packing clean hair care products with as many superfoods as possible is such a great strategy. Superfoods heal our bodies, our skin and our hair. They are SUPERFOODS! They have the power to help rebalance scalp, to heal hair strands and to help our hair woes immediately and overtime.
When you’re shopping for hair products, make sure you are picking ones that are clean and packing their formulas with superfoods. This is the way to loving your hair and bringing out the best in your natural shape and texture.