Saturday, August 22, 2015

Why Labels Matter: A Curly Girls Guide to Hair Oils

Posted by Jen Lennox at 2:17 PM
I will admit, hair oils are new territory for me. I haven't struggled with a particularly dry scalp and my hair responds well to regular conditioning and deep conditioning, but I have thrown myself into all aspects of the Curly Girl method and for many people oils are necessary. Dry hair and scalp mean unhealthy curls, and many of us need and extra boost every now and again.

Several hair products are touting treatment oils for hair and some of them are actually quite pricey. Although I don't doubt the effectiveness of these oils, I found recently that they are often marketed with silicone added, and unless you read the label, you'd think you were getting something pure.

If you are not committed to the CG method, then added silicones in products is not an issue for you. If you HAVE committed to the no sulfate/silicone lifestyle, and are deliberately trying to avoid things that will cause a build-up on your hair, you need to be careful when choosing a hair oil. For example, here are the ingredient lists for two VERY popular and HIGHLY advertised hair oils:

Macadamia Natural Oil, $32+

This oil looks like and is marketed as "natural," but Dimethicone is the FIRST INGREDIENT. Curly Girls, steer clear of this stuff if you're co-washing. Low-poos with wash out these ingredients, but co-washes will NOT.

Moroccan Oil Treatment, $50+

Once again, a very expensive oil that looks to be "pure," but has added Dimethicone. Again, not a good idea for those of us going CG.

There are many silicones out there, but Dimethicone is the most common and least expensive silicone. It's great for conditioning and adding shine, but can be difficult to remove. Additionally, this heavy coating can make hair feel heavy. 

If your hair is feeling dry and you want to turn to oils, there are many excellent choices out there, but READ THE LABELS because THIS is the kind of label you want to see on the back of a "pure" oil:

Coconut Oil: Contains oil, fragrance, and a few other things, none of which end in CONE.

Like I've said, if you're still using sulfate-based shampoo, you can get away with silicones, but if you've eliminated sulfates, these oils will sit on your hair, build up, kill your curls and make your hair waxy and heavy. Chances are, if your hair is NOT responding to the CG method, it's because there are silicones hidden in something you're using. Find out where the problem lies, do a good wash WITH a sulfate shampoo and start over.

Pure oils are excellent for hair. You can even make your own with coconut oil and add essential oils (like lavender, peppermint, etc.) to get the fragrance you want. Next time you're at the beauty supply, make sure you read exactly what's in the hair oil you're purchasing. No matter how pretty the packaging, it's what's in the fine print on the back of the bottle that matters.

Do you use oils? How often? What are your favorites?



Marc Possoff said...

Hey Jen,

You mentioned staying with drug store prices. Yes Deva Curl products are pricey BUT it's not like your using amounts everyday. If I was cleansing, conditioning everyday then it would be pricey. But I don't cleanse and condish everyday.

If I do the 'deva 3 step' right and take my time I find the One conditioner/b'lieve-in combo can be re-activated pretty easily.

We were in a heat wave last week and wanted to see how long I could go until I had to deva 3 step again. In Philly it gets extremely humid and wanted to see how long my hair could hold up with the deva 3 step with refreshing in between. My hair started to get stringy on the 4th day and on the 5th day I decided to 3 step again. When it's normal weather I can go with 6 days. On Sunday's I do the 3 step.

I tried so many products it's not even funny from drug store to premium. I've found that Deva products really work best and they go a long way because you don't have to use them everyday per se. I've been using diluted One Condition everyday from a leftover bottle. I diluted with water and have it in a spray bottle. Seems to be working great to reduce frizz.

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