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Why I Don’t Avoid Mineral Oil, Sulfates or Silicones

Avatar • Oct 2, 2009

mineraloil


Rachel, our guest reviewer, waxes poetic on products every Friday.
For more from her check out her blog http://littlegoldenlamb. wordpress.com/

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Beloved readers, if you read my blog for any long period of time or glance at the brands I’ve reviewed it will quickly become clear that I do not shy away from parabens, mineral oil, sodium laurel sulfate (SLS), ammonium laurel sulfate (ALS) or silicones. L says~Many people consider these ingredients bad for hair, for various reasons. While I do rather enjoy more “natural” treatments (and have reviewed over 20 “Kitchen Products” and developed an alternative to the coconut/lime combo and dabbled in “Baking Soda Texturizers”), I also appreciate the benefits of cosmetic science and its creations.

Part of the reason for why my hair thrives while using these products is purely genetic. My hair is all but indestructible ‑relaxed or natural. While bone-laxed on occasion I would relax five times in one month (my hair is VERY resistant to relaxer, YES I used SUPER strength, eep!) AND color with permanent dye. My result? Soft, swinging, shiny, pin-straight hair, that grew without issue (save I kept cutting it as I was in love with bobs at the time). It’s thick in strand and density, grows a bit faster than average and for whatever reason, doesn’t tangle (while natural, that is). My scalp is rather easy to please as well. As long as it gets a rinse of water daily, it does not complain.

The other half of said reason is: knowledge. I’ve learned enough about products and ingredients and what my hair needs to resurrect it from anything I do to it (this has included relaxers and bleach…applied in the wrong order no less!).

Those together have allowed me to enjoy a variety of products, that utilize ingredients that are often demonized on a variety of hair forums without negative consequences.

Please note, beloved readers, if my scalp or hair texture was sensitive to any of them, I would not use them. It is also incredibly important to note ‚that I have also learned how to use them in balance, with my hair’s needs. BALANCE IS CRUCIAL, crucial, crucial!

For example, my hair will suffer a backlash of massive build up if I use a shampoo and leave-in with high amounts of silicones. Or a shampoo with high amounts of dimethicone, no matter what else I use it with. L says~Silicone and dimethicone coat the hair and can provide slip and shine but they can also prevent water from getting in. However, my hair MUST have dimethicone in some amount in my leave-in. My hair doesn’t care for oil to be directly applied to it, thus silicones come to my rescue. If my co-wash conditioner has a great deal of dimethicone in it, my shampoo needs coco-betaine or a well formulated shampoo that includes SLS or ALS. L says~Sulfates are often used as detergents. They can also dry out the hair.

My hair will only tolerate mineral oil in co-wash conditioners or shampoo. Not in leave-ins (unless it is there, in small amount, simply to balance the formulation, not to actually cause some benefit to one’s hair). Shampoos that contain SLS or ALS MUST have a fantastic formulation. Cheap shampoos will dry it out. Note, however, I wash DAILY. I can use strong SLS poos weekly, when using conditioner as a leave-in and in fact, I must, to prevent build-up. One may ask, “Why risk build-up in the first place?” When used in proper balance with other products in my regimen…there is no risk of build up. That and a fully natural regimen left my hair less than pleased and ate up far too much of my time.

It may seem odd or contradictory to many to that I eat a fully organic diet, don’t drink a hint of alcohol, don’t smoke, NEVER eat processed food, exercise daily and practice homeopathy…then use products with parabens. L says~Some researchers have linked parabens to cancer but nothing has been proven conclusively.While many a watchdog-group’s website’s fear-mongering has caught my attention (and others provided very useful information, without a subliminal message that there is government conspiracy to slowly kill us with a variety of toxic chemicals and I am thankful for them) I personally am not concerned about these. I do make a powerful effort to limit the amount of toxins I take in, but it is not my desire to endeavor to eliminate them all.

I stand in admiration of those who do manage to eliminate all toxins in their environment…if that is in fact possible. To all who do restrict their contact with these ingredients or any ingredients whether someone says they are “dangerous” or not, I commend you for taking charge of your health, being informed and choosing to take control of the future of your body. Applause all around! ^_^ Whatever we do as consumers to be informed and make decisions to better our health and hair based on research and not fear or misinformation should be applauded. As consumers we need to do far more of this. Women of color, should do this, even more so!

The important thing about these ingredients is your hair and scalp’s INDIVIDUAL needs, how you use products that contain them and the formulations of products that contain them. I’ve blogged specifically about SLS/ALS, silicones, how to decipher an ingredient list and how important formulation is in a product. It is not a matter of a specific ingredient (unless you have an allergy to it of course!) being “bad” or “good”, but its use within a product and the use of that product within your particular regimen that decides if it is “good” or “bad”. Even then, it is only “good” or “bad” in relation to YOUR particular head of hair.

Thus, I wander from product to product based upon what it can offer my hair, not what is in it, per se.

There are specific ingredients natural and non natural my hair adores above others. There are one or two I do not tolerate, period (petroleum comes to mind, I’ve never found a beneficial use for it, for my particular head of hair, I’m not claiming it to be evil ^_^).

I will not buy a product that is made of dimethiconol, trimethicone, mineral oil, palm oil, urea, fragrance and little else!

On the other hoof, a product that has a smidge of mineral oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, polyquaternium-11, dimethiconol, olive oil, rosemary oil and honey will be in my cart with-the-quickness! ^_~
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What is your take on this? What are your thoughts?

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Black girl with long hair
Black girl with long hair
11 years ago

I’m an all-natural regimen girl myself, but I do agree to different textures can stand up to different things. As far as parabens, lol, I am one of those fear-mongerers, lol!!! I swear that lobbyists are the reason so many potentially dangerous substances have gotten into our water, food, toiletry products and beauty products. But the truth is I’m not a scientist. And the danger hasn’t been proven conclusively. 

I’d love to hear Jc’s take on this. She’s a chemist, blogs over at http://thenaturalhaven.blogspot.com and is pretty strong on getting people to stop demonizing chemicals just because they’re chemicals.

Jc
Jc
11 years ago

I think the one thing that stands out to me is ‘indestructible hair’. I think many naturals do not have this. I can just run my hand over my hair and it will break simply because of all the kinks and curls.  I do definitely think that chemicals should not be feared because simply put everything is a chemical. I think there are quite a few naturals who may benefit from silicones and mineral oil but who avoid it. There are also some ardent co-washers who will fight with build up instead of just using shampoo.  I completely agree with Rachel… Read more »

Lina40
Lina40
11 years ago

yeah I agree with Jc — sometimes having a bad experience with other products and perms leave us not only jaded, but almost rebelliously preferential towards natural products, as if they can remedy every hair illness.. the fact is that many, if not all of us, need the knowledge and confidence of having a good hair regimen and products that work well for us, and then sticking a toe in the water and trying something new, not to create an upheaval in the routine, but just to explore and discover something new. Many of us have had so many setbacks… Read more »

Anonymous
Anonymous
11 years ago

I don’t think that i avoid mineraloil and other things because they have been labled as bad, i avoid them because i know that they have no nutritous value to my hair. so whats the sense in putting it on my hair and risking buildup?

Black girl with long hair
Black girl with long hair
11 years ago

I’m an all-natural regimen girl myself, but I do agree to different textures can stand up to different things. As far as parabens, lol, I am one of those fear-mongerers, lol!!! I swear that lobbyists are the reason so many potentially dangerous substances have gotten into our water, food, toiletry products and beauty products. But the truth is I’m not a scientist. And the danger hasn’t been proven conclusively. 

I’d love to hear Jc’s take on this. She’s a chemist, blogs over at http://thenaturalhaven.blogspot.com and is pretty strong on getting people to stop demonizing chemicals just because they’re chemicals.

Jc
Jc
11 years ago

I think the one thing that stands out to me is ‘indestructible hair’. I think many naturals do not have this. I can just run my hand over my hair and it will break simply because of all the kinks and curls.  I do definitely think that chemicals should not be feared because simply put everything is a chemical. I think there are quite a few naturals who may benefit from silicones and mineral oil but who avoid it. There are also some ardent co-washers who will fight with build up instead of just using shampoo.  I completely agree with Rachel… Read more »

Jc
Jc
11 years ago

@Anonymous — The idea of hair requiring nutrition is very flawed in my opinion. 

Most substances in your hair conditioner do not penetrate into hair. 

In fact the only ones that are known to are water, some specific oils (like coconut oil) and some experimental small molecules.

To counter you statement that mineral is not beneficial, well it is is. Scientifically mineral oil has been shown to help stop hair breakage, it could aid with
shrinkage and moisture retention. It can be useful for some people.

Black girl with long hair
Black girl with long hair
11 years ago

I’m an all-natural regimen girl myself, but I do agree to different textures can stand up to different things. As far as parabens, lol, I am one of those fear-mongerers, lol!!! I swear that lobbyists are the reason so many potentially dangerous substances have gotten into our water, food, toiletry products and beauty products. But the truth is I’m not a scientist. And the danger hasn’t been proven conclusively. 

I’d love to hear Jc’s take on this. She’s a chemist, blogs over at http://thenaturalhaven.blogspot.com and is pretty strong on getting people to stop demonizing chemicals just because they’re chemicals.

Jc
Jc
11 years ago

I think the one thing that stands out to me is ‘indestructible hair’. I think many naturals do not have this. I can just run my hand over my hair and it will break simply because of all the kinks and curls.  I do definitely think that chemicals should not be feared because simply put everything is a chemical. I think there are quite a few naturals who may benefit from silicones and mineral oil but who avoid it. There are also some ardent co-washers who will fight with build up instead of just using shampoo.  I completely agree with Rachel… Read more »

Moni
Moni
11 years ago

I’m not fervently all natural, but since I avoid silicones and mineral oil and don’t use harsh shampoos (shampoo bar, castille soap or cowashing), most of my products tend to be more on the natural side. It’s ridiculously hard to find “mainstream” products that don’t have silicones or mineral oil, which is why I prefer brands like oyin and qhemets, where I know that every product will meet my specifications. I will probably never buy another product with mineral oil again. I am not that adamant against silicones, but now that I mostly have a routine that works, I’m reluctant… Read more »

Moni
Moni
11 years ago

Oops, I just noticed that you commented on the looser hair/drugstore product connection in your other post on Friday!

Black girl with long hair
Black girl with long hair
11 years ago

I’m an all-natural regimen girl myself, but I do agree to different textures can stand up to different things. As far as parabens, lol, I am one of those fear-mongerers, lol!!! I swear that lobbyists are the reason so many potentially dangerous substances have gotten into our water, food, toiletry products and beauty products. But the truth is I’m not a scientist. And the danger hasn’t been proven conclusively. 

I’d love to hear Jc’s take on this. She’s a chemist, blogs over at http://thenaturalhaven.blogspot.com and is pretty strong on getting people to stop demonizing chemicals just because they’re chemicals.

Jc
Jc
11 years ago

I think the one thing that stands out to me is ‘indestructible hair’. I think many naturals do not have this. I can just run my hand over my hair and it will break simply because of all the kinks and curls.  I do definitely think that chemicals should not be feared because simply put everything is a chemical. I think there are quite a few naturals who may benefit from silicones and mineral oil but who avoid it. There are also some ardent co-washers who will fight with build up instead of just using shampoo.  I completely agree with Rachel… Read more »

Black girl with long hair
Black girl with long hair
11 years ago

I’m an all-natural regimen girl myself, but I do agree to different textures can stand up to different things. As far as parabens, lol, I am one of those fear-mongerers, lol!!! I swear that lobbyists are the reason so many potentially dangerous substances have gotten into our water, food, toiletry products and beauty products. But the truth is I’m not a scientist. And the danger hasn’t been proven conclusively. 

I’d love to hear Jc’s take on this. She’s a chemist, blogs over at http://thenaturalhaven.blogspot.com and is pretty strong on getting people to stop demonizing chemicals just because they’re chemicals.

Jc
Jc
11 years ago

I think the one thing that stands out to me is ‘indestructible hair’. I think many naturals do not have this. I can just run my hand over my hair and it will break simply because of all the kinks and curls.  I do definitely think that chemicals should not be feared because simply put everything is a chemical. I think there are quite a few naturals who may benefit from silicones and mineral oil but who avoid it. There are also some ardent co-washers who will fight with build up instead of just using shampoo.  I completely agree with Rachel… Read more »

Black girl with long hair
Black girl with long hair
11 years ago

I’m an all-natural regimen girl myself, but I do agree to different textures can stand up to different things. As far as parabens, lol, I am one of those fear-mongerers, lol!!! I swear that lobbyists are the reason so many potentially dangerous substances have gotten into our water, food, toiletry products and beauty products. But the truth is I’m not a scientist. And the danger hasn’t been proven conclusively. 

I’d love to hear Jc’s take on this. She’s a chemist, blogs over at http://thenaturalhaven.blogspot.com and is pretty strong on getting people to stop demonizing chemicals just because they’re chemicals.

Jc
Jc
11 years ago

I think the one thing that stands out to me is ‘indestructible hair’. I think many naturals do not have this. I can just run my hand over my hair and it will break simply because of all the kinks and curls.  I do definitely think that chemicals should not be feared because simply put everything is a chemical. I think there are quite a few naturals who may benefit from silicones and mineral oil but who avoid it. There are also some ardent co-washers who will fight with build up instead of just using shampoo.  I completely agree with Rachel… Read more »

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