Skip to main content

4 Natural Ingredients I Use with Caution

Avatar • Sep 11, 2014

by Tori

Usually using natural ingredients can help significantly on your hair journey. For the most part, I find that when I use products that contain all natural ingredients, my hair responds well and feels great. However, while I love all natural products, I have noticed over time that there are a few natural ingredients/products that I have to use with caution.

 

Vegetable Glycerin

natural hair vegetable glycerin

Vegetable Glycerin is a great moisturizing ingredient and humectant. It helps to retain moisture in dry hair and it is also great for conditioning and strengthening the hair. However, the problem with glycerin is that it can be too drying for the hair if the weather is too cold or too dry. If there is little moisture in the air, using glycerin will draw the water out of your hair and into the atmosphere. I have noticed that vegetable glycerin and products containing vegetable glycerin can be extremely drying for my hair. As a result, whenever possible I try to stay away from this ingredient or hair products that list it as one their major ingredients.

 

 

Coconut Oil

natural hair coconut oil

Coconut Oil can be a great conditioner and moisturizer for the hair. It is used in so many hair care products because of its long list of benefits for the hair. Unfortunately for me, when I use excessive amounts of coconut oil my hair feels brittle. It is said that coconut oil penetrates the hair and helps with protein retention. If that is the case, the excess protein may be what causes brittleness. These days I will only occasionally use coconut oil as a pre-shampoo hair treatment, if needed.

 

Olive Oil

natural hair olive oil

 

Olive Oil is another oil that is known as a great moisturizer for the hair. For many people, it is a staple for softening, conditioning and adding shine to the hair. For me, it adds shine and nothing else. Olive oil also makes my hair feel brittle. As an ingredient in a product it usually doesn’t cause a problem, but for my hair care regimen I stay away from extra virgin olive oil entirely.

 

Castor Oil

natural hair castor oil

 

Castor Oil has been known for possessing several hair care benefits. It has been used for thickening the hair and stimulating hair regrowth. It is also great for treatment of fungal conditions and for cleansing the skin.  Castor Oil is dense in texture and can weigh down my hair. Because of this, I don’t use it very often. If I do use it, I only apply a small amount at a time to oil my scalp when needed or as a pre-shampoo treatment so that the majority of the oil would be rinsed out.

 

 

Do you like or dislike any of these natural ingredients? What other natural ingredients do you use with caution?

 

About Tori: I’m Tori, a Jamaican-born natural currently living in Texas. I was reunited with my natural texture in January 2012 when I big chopped, after transitioning for a year and a half. I am still learning about my natural hair, and hope to share the knowledge and experiences I gain as I continue on my natural hair journey. You can find me on Instagram @bonafidestyle.

Avatar

About Editorial

BGLH now sells raw and whipped shea butter, cocoa butter and mango butter. Purchase here: bglh-marketplace.com

49
Leave a Reply

avatar
38 Comment threads
11 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
45 Comment authors
1queen2chalabrooksTashaKarenHSBabe Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
Notify of
MissCrystal
Guest
MissCrystal

I agree with the coconut oil. It doesn’t work for me.

Racine
Guest
Racine

Coconut oil is a warm weather staple for me. Once temps get to the 60s, below room temperature, I think the solidness of coconut oil deposits on my hair. It can make my hair feel hard and dry in cool weather. It would need to be blended in low concentration with other oils for me to use it in fall and winter and even then I’d be hesitant unless I knew I’d mostly be in warm climate control.

Lauren Beasley
Guest

I was really surprised by the coconut & olive oils. I had no idea. My hair always feels crunchy & brittle and I do pile on the coconut oil & olive oil at times. Now I know why & will stop the madness! Thanks for sharing

Ubah Luar
Guest
Ubah Luar

You could try jojoba oil instead if you would like to.

Etty
Guest
Etty

Lauren-
You have an awesome blog! Keep it up!

Cygnet
Guest
Cygnet

I currently use a homemade mix of coconut oil, vitamin E‑infused almond oil, and glycerine for my face, and my face is happier than it ias been an a long time. Not so crazy about coconut oil in my hair, though, and castor oil I just flat-out dislike.

But my hair seems to like products that contain olive oil as a main ingredient, and NOTHING happens with my haircare without glycerine. My deep cleaning/deep conditioning clay mask is the only thing in which I don’t put it, but I do put in a few drops of olive oil.

IB
Guest
IB

Pure coconut oil doesn’t work on my hair, it makes it brittle and I find it drying, but Vatika enriched coconut oil is amazing on my hair so I’d recommend that for anyone who wants to give coconut oil another go.

Chrissie
Guest
Chrissie

Interesting, my hair didn’t seem to be benefiting from coconut oil as a main oil so I cut it out, and then it was even worse. And shea does nothing alone but I do like a lot of products with it. Perhaps using some things in smaller doses is better for some ingredients, like adding to a whipped butter. Good thing I love experimenting!

Robin
Guest
Robin

In the winter, I pre-poo overnight with olive oil. Sometimes I’ll do an olive oil rinse on wash day. But I don’t use olive oil to seal my hair once it’s washed and conditioned; it makes my hair and scalp feel too greasy that way, and that grease ends up on my face, and then I’ve got an acne explosion to deal with. My shampoo, leave-in conditioner, and moisturizer all contain coconut oil as a main ingredient. My hair’s in love with that stuff. My moisturizer is a mix of the SheaMoisture Curl & Style Milk (or sometimes the Smoothie),… Read more »

Shaniqua
Guest

I totally understand about castor oil being too thick to use straight up. I absolutely love it, but I would never use it alone because it’s too sticky. And I love coconut oil because of the smell and benefits, but when I use that straight up, it can make my hair feel kind of greasy without being weighed down. I don’t like to put my hands in my hair and have them come back shiny and lubricated. That’s just too much for me. So what I’ve found works really well for me is making a half and half mix of… Read more »

Miss Mo
Guest
Miss Mo

Glycerin — Hardly ever use on my hair but great on my skin.

Coconut oil — My hair loves this and any products with coconut in it. So I guess this works for me. I typically use it with a leave-in or cream though.

Olive Oil — Only add it to my deep treatment mask. Find it too greasy for styling

Castor Oil — Use to style my wash and gos but stopped. Too heavy and greasy. Will only use on my roots and edges or occasionally with gels maybe.

K
Guest
K

Coconut oil is a definite no-no for me. I love the smell but it makes my hair greasy and brittle. Olive works great but I only buy the brands that are made in California. Many other brands may actually be soybean oil or adulterated with some other oil–book-Extra Virginity by Tom Mueller.

momofIV
Guest
momofIV

I can understand about coconut oil making hair feel brittle when applied to dry hair because coconut oil does not hydrate the hair, it does, however, help moisturize the hair and help retain moisture when applied to moist or damp hair. If you want it to work for you or work better for you apply to your hair when it is wet/moist. I use it everyday after I spritz water to my hair and it works great.

Dananana
Guest
Dananana

I normally apply coconut oil to damp/wet hair as a prepoo. I tried leaving it in this week to see if my hair still hates it as a leave in (its preferences have been changing on me lately). It does. My hair is slightly protein sensitive, I think, and leaving in oils like babassu or coconut pisses it off. It gets dry and brittle, and I have to apply water stat, or I’ll suffer from breakage. Not everything is for everyone.

Star99
Guest
Star99

MY HAIR LOVED COCONUT OIL FROM SINCE I WAS A NEW NATURAL, MY HAIR NEVER GOT DULL AND I NEVER LOST CURL DEFINITION AFTER APPLYING COCONUT OIL AFTER A STYLER. I COULD ROCK A WASH N GO FOR TWO WEEKS. NOW THAT I DYED MY HAIR, MY HAIR CRAVES PROTEIN EVEN MORE FOR STRENGTH AND COCONUT OIL DOESN’T HAVE PROTEIN IN IT BUT IT ACTS SIMILAR TO PROTEIN. DOESN’T MAKE ME HAIR HARD OR BRITTLE BUT THAT’S JUST MY HAIR, EVERY HEAD OF HAIR IS DIFFERENT. CRAP, I JUST NOTICED MY CAPS LOCK IS ON. SORRY FOR THE CAPS EVERYONE… Read more »

Lana
Guest
Lana

I have the same reaction for all four products but I only discovered that in the first few months of my big chop. Its been a year so I wonder if my hair has changed in that time and now may love those products.

lablooplah
Guest
lablooplah

My hair can stand any of these (except for olive oil because I don’t even use it ) they all make my hair dry and brittle. Esp coconut oil.

NapturallyKia
Guest
NapturallyKia

I can’t stand castor oil. It’s thick, greasy, & sticky. No BUENO.

Loc Starrr
Guest
Loc Starrr

Smells funny too. Even when mixed with other oils, that castor oil smell ruins everything else lol

Rae
Guest
Rae

My hair hates aloe vera juice when used alone, in a clay wash or mixed with water. But surprisingly some of my favorite store bought products have aloe vera juice in the top 5 ingredients. I’ve tried to balance it out with every oil I can think of…cold, hot and warm water but my hair still hates it. I even tried mixing with conditioner and still nothing. I end up with dry, crunchy hair and it takes me days to get the moisture back in it. My hair just does not like aloe juice straight from the bottle.

mlank64
Guest
mlank64

Rae, I noticed the same thing with aloe vera juice as well. Have you tried it in combo with glycerine? I find if you put just a little in a spray bottle full of water, johoba oil, glycerine its just enough to close the cuticle and give shine and trap moisture. But, only a little..to much and I’ll have the crunchy stiff hair like when I use coconut oil. Another product I would add is shea butter. When I first went natural I brought a tub of that stuff because it seemed that every natural I looked at loved it.… Read more »

mlank64
Guest
mlank64

jojoba oil I meant

Rae
Guest
Rae

I haven’t tried mixing it with glycerine. I’ll give that a try before I give this bottle away. I love the Oyin whipped pudding. I have fine hair so I have to be really careful what products I use or my hair looks weighed down and greasy. The whipped pudding gives me defined, soft twist outs without looking weighed down and greasy.

Chanda
Guest
Chanda

Good to see that I’m not alone with Coconut and Olive oils in my hair. It makes it slightly greasy yet brittle but they make great skin moisturizers. I still like Castor oil for my scalp and in moderation.

silkynaps
Guest
silkynaps

I just don’t have time to figure out dew points and I’ve noticed that glycerine dried out my hair even on very humid days. I don’t have issues with glycerine as an ingredient in a product that I rinse out, but it’s death for my hair as a leave-in. Olive oil is the only oil I will apply to my hair on its own, but I don’t really like to smell like salad. Coconut oil on its own is protein overload for my hair. Castor oil on its own behaves exactly like glycerine. However, the blend of coconut and castor… Read more »

Treschanna
Guest
Treschanna

I love glycerin, super love castor oil, I oil rinse and leave it in. I do not like coconut oil at all

Jasmine
Guest
Jasmine

Olive oil doesn’t work on my hair but coconut oil is a staple prepoo every week and recently i’ve been rubbing a little on the ends of my french braids to keep them from matting and it’s helped a lot. Castor oil is a different breed of oil its thick and sticky and I had to learn less is more or you get really yucky feeling hair.

Love
Guest
Love

I thought I was the only one who didn’t love cocunut oil! It makes my hair greasy and hard 🙁

Loc Starrr
Guest
Loc Starrr

I like coconut oil in the summer, but I have locs and I find that it makes them heavy and I have to cleanse my hair more often. And in cooler temps it makes the hair stiff as it solidifies. As much as I like it, I find it to be more trouble than it’s worth. Love olive oil. I empty the bottle into a saucepan, warm it up a little, and add a few drops of tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil, spearmint oil, vitamin E oil, and lemongrass oil. I warm it to be sure that the oils are… Read more »

Shebababy126
Guest
Shebababy126

Lol @ Star99…I guess it depends on your hair type…castor oil.…motor oil…what’s the difference between the two?…lol.…really don’t like castor oil.

luminous
Guest
luminous

Glycerin – don’t use it. makes my twist-out frizz up.

Coconut oil – i use it in my pre-poo/deep conditioner

Olive Oil – i use it in my pre-poo/deep conditioner and one of the oils i add to my homemade shea whip

Castor Oil – i mix with jojoba and argan oils (my swag oil mix for shine). also one of the oils i add to my homemade shea whip

Kim jones
Guest

Coconut oil is great on my hair. Maybe because I live in Southern California and it’s not very often that the oil is solid. I use a mixture of water and coconut oil in a spray bottle. I spray in the am and pm. All of the products that I use have coconut oil in them, my hair is also very dry, so it soaks up everything! My hair is NEVER greasy (go figure)!

naturally Tee
Guest
naturally Tee

I hate Glycerin with a passion spring, summer, winter, fall. I used to love Coconut but slowly begin to notice a change the brittlenes. I have never used Olive oil outside of prepooing or mixing with Bentonite clay and etc.

Melissa
Guest
Melissa

Glycerine: Frizzes up my hair like crazy if I use it by itself. I use a drop in my moisturizing spritz & that’s it. Coconut Oil: I use it to prepoo. I used to use it to oil rinse too but my mom said I smelled like a walking Palm tree. I sometimes use it when massaging my scalp though. Olive oil: Love it! It’s rosemary infused though. I use it to oil rinse & it’s almost always the ‘O’ in my LCO/LOC Castor Oil: It’s really viscous & thick so I don’t use it on my whole head but… Read more »

Audrina @ Mindfully Audrina
Guest

I stopped using coconut oil after I noticed my hair feeling brittle, I thought it was just me but there was a reason behind it! It’s crazy to think everybody hypes about it but no one says a thing about the negative effects. Thanks for the helpful info!

http://mindfullyaudrina.blogspot.com/

DK
Guest
DK

The Natural Haven websites says we use too much coconut oil. She has an article on how to use it…I too suffered from brittle hair, but now it is better … Just an FYI

CBCLady
Guest

I use castor/EVOO mix for my oil rinse and to oil cleanse my face. EVCO I use VERY sparingly or my hair becomes brittle and will not retain moisture. Glycerin I use mostly in the Summer for my hair care since I live in humid FL. Other wise Sweet Almond oil is my every day oil. ????

Jen. Miller
Guest

So glad I’m not alone in this coconut for hair craze. I wanted to love this oil soo much, but it refused to love me back. I wrote about it, here: http://www.thelittleinjenthatcould.com/hair-vs-coconut-oil/

Oddly enough, it’s not horrible when I use a product that contains coconut oil, but on its own? DEATH to curls.

elle
Guest
elle

Oil alone will leave your hair brittle because it is not a moisturizer. The only true moisturizer is water. Oil is a sealant that holds water in, allowing the feeling of moisture to last longer.

monniej
Guest
monniej

i use 2 of the 4 — evoo and glycerin. they both work well for me as part of my overall regimen. i’ve had bad experiences with both castor and coconut oils, but they work for lots for folks. i steer clear of those multi-oil products or anything with too many ingredients. if you have a reaction you never know what caused it!

Denise R.
Guest
Denise R.

No oils for my hair at all, and I have tried all of them listed. EVOO, castor, coconut and even jojoba. They all dry out my hair or weigh it down too much, even with very little (my hair is thin). I haven’t tried glycerin, I’m afraid to. :/

sherri
Guest
sherri

so what will make hair feel softer & moisturized ? i have super porous fine hair (blonde & curly ringlets) … i am currently trying castor oil … feels great all morning .. but by afternoon its crispy dry !!! coconut oil was even worse. i’m thinking i may have to resort back to silicones ( ive been silicone free for 2 years except for odd occasion when i straighten hair. .… i would love any feedback !!! Thank you !, desperate Sherri

Tasha
Guest
Tasha

Try jojoba oil since it is closest to the sebum that comes from your hair naturally. It’s lighter than castor oil. Also try sweet almond oil if you don’t have any nut allergies. Very light.

Ari Lennox
Guest

I wish this article focused more on what oils actually worked out for the author. Do you not use any oils at all? If all of these oils are bad, then what will we use to seal our ends? I continuously use coconut oil, olive oil, advocado oil and/or castor oil. I use shea moisture products…when my hair feels dry, i bring out the spritz of aloe vera juice and water and olive oil.

chalabrooks
Guest
chalabrooks

Every article is based on someones experience or research. This one just focused on the adverse effects of each oil from their experience.

HSBabe
Guest
HSBabe

Coconut oil makes my hair brittle. I use it but once or twice in 3 to 4 weeks it has anti bacterial properties so I still use but not regularly

Karen
Guest

I agree that the different oils can make your hair brittle. However, are you putting only oil in your hair? Are you adding water? Water is the moisturizer. Oil is just the sealant so that the water does not escape. When I use those oils (I have used all of the above), I see terrific results, but if I use them solely, my hair feels brittle. I also use the natural oil with my water based conditioner. What a combination!! Soft and moist!

Tasha
Guest
Tasha

I’ve never tried Glycerin but when summer rolls back around I think I will give it a try.

I use coconut oil as a prepoo to shampooing, love the way it makes my hair feel.

It took me a long time to find real extra virgin olive oil…havent used it long enough to make a decision on it.

Castor Oil is a staple for me. I use it on my edges and for a scalp massage. it really thickened my already thick 4c hair. lol.

1queen2
Guest
1queen2

I like castor oil &coconut oil it works for me .don’t use glycerin too much .

Shopping Cart