If you’re looking for nontoxic curly girl products then you might have a hard time finding what you’re looking for. When I first wanted to try the curly girl method back in 2016 there were only a handful of brands that were approved. I had switched to clean beauty products years before so naturally I looked for curly girl approved clean hair care.
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To my surprise, I had a hard time finding truly clean curly girl products. I initially used DevaCurl because it was all I could find. Then I found Raw Curls and switched to them because they were the only clean brand I could find. They are actually one of my favorite brands so it worked out for me.
Now you might be thinking curly girl products are already “natural” and nontoxic. But that’s not exactly the case.
Most curly hair products are better formulated than conventional, because they leave out the silicones and sulfates, and many even skip the parabens. So they are definitely a step in the right direction.
But if you really want to use better products, products that are environmentally sustainable and don’t contain any questionable or harmful ingredients, then you need to do a little more label reading.
How To Switch To Clean Curly Hair Care
Why I opt for clean curly hair care
Here a few of the ingredients I try to avoid and why:
- Fragrance – This is the most difficult one to avoid. Truly, only a handful of curly girl approved brands like Jessicurl and Raw Curls don’t use fragrance. Most brands do, and they sometimes list it as parfum. Here’s the problem with fragrance.
Fragrance is a term that is sometimes used by brands to be able to hide proprietary ingredients and chemicals without disclosing them. It wouldn’t be a problem if the products were actually tested and regulated by the FDA but they’re not. So they can actually put anything they want, including known harmful chemicals, legally.
So it’s not the fragrance itself is toxic, but more that we don’t know what’s really in there. But the brands that have nothing to hide are usually happy to disclose what their fragrance is. Often times it is just a mix of essential oils and plant based isolates so I have had luck reading out to brands and getting that information directly from them. If you’re questioning the ingredients or sourcing, then I recommend reaching out to the brand via email.
- Phthalates – This one goes along with fragrance because phthalates are often an ingredient of fragrances. They are used to help make plastics soft and flexible and help the fragrance ingredients mix. Why do I avoid them? They have been linked to adverse effects on the development of male reproductive system, and can damage the liver, kidneys, and lungs.
- Formaldehyde – Now formaldehyde itself is not an ingredient in products but some ingredients can release formaldehyde. And since formaldehyde is a known carcinogen we all know that that is bad. Here’s what to look for:
- DMDM hydantoin
- Imidazolidinyl urea
- Diazolidinyl urea
- Methylene glycol
- Bronopo; (2-bromo-2-nitropane-1,3-diol)
So since we’re already scrutinizing labels for cg approved ingredients, what’s another few more to add to the mix to ensure the product is good for your body and the environment?
Some people are even pickier than I am, avoiding several other ingredients they believe is toxic. But I like to stick with what the research has actually shown and not rely on trends and unreliable sources. However, I do recommend you do your own research if you are looking to cut down on your exposure to toxic ingredients.
You may be thinking, “what’s the big deal it’s just hair product?” But the reason it matters is because it all adds up. It’s not just hair products. It’s also in skincare, makeup, plastic, toys, electronics, and so on. A little here and a little there, and after a few years it adds up to an amount that does matter.
So hopefully more curly hair brands get on board with avoiding these ingredients, but if not, now you know what to look out for. We can have healthy, beautiful curls with safe curly girl approved products, it just might take a little more work to find them.
If you’re interested in seeing my clean curly hair routine, you can find it on my blog.
Bio: Delilah Orpi is the founder of The Holistic Enchilada, a blog about curly hair and clean beauty. She has been following the Curly Girl Method and living a clean lifestyle for many years. Delilah has been featured in Curl magazine and writes to create awareness about the clean beauty movement and the Curly Girl Method.