Acetylated lanolin Rating: Okay This is basically concentrated lanolin (lanolin with water removed). Used as an emollient. Repels water better than regular lanolin, because its water has been removed, so it’s more concentrated. This means that when it’s put on hair or skin, it prevents water loss, keeping the surface more moist. It’s known to give a velvety feel to the product it’s used in. If you are allergic to lanolin, you will most likely be allergic to this as well. Alcohol Rating: Caution This group of ingredients has a dual personality. One form of alcohol is emollient, moisturizing, and thickening; Cetyl alcohol and Stearyl alcohol are examples of these. The other half are very drying for skin and hair. SD alcohol, Ethanol, Ethyl alcohol, Methanol, Benzyl alcohol, Isopropyl alcohol, or Denatured alcohol are examples of the very drying “grain” type alcohols that should be avoided if possible. It’s not as bad if it appears near the bottom of the ingredient list, because there is very little of it in the product to cause problems, but avoid if near the top of the list. Also, they aren’t as bad if you have them in a product you will rinse out quickly. Alkyl Benzene Sulfonate (aka Dodecylbenzene Sulfonates, Alkylbenzene Sulfonates, LAS) Rating: Avoid “Can strip hair color. Strong, irritating, drying cleanser”. Though they are great at cleansing, they are irritating, and defatting. May also leave the skin feeling sticky, and perform poorly in hard water. Alkyl Betaine Rating: Okay Mild cleanser. Alkyldimethyl Amine Oxide Rating: Okay Gentle cleanser that may be too mild to wash away styling products. Alkyl Sodium Sulfate Rating: Avoid Drying cleanser. Allantoin Rating: Okay Made from urea. Soothing, and can reduce inflammation on the skin. It can’t do anything for the hair, though. Can soothe the skin—but rinsed away when it’s in shampoo before it can do anything for it. Aloe vera (aka Aloe barbadensis) Rating: Okay Since hair is dead, it can’t be repaired. Aloe has no effect on it. May act as a humectant, (holds moisture to hair) though. Amino acids Rating: Okay Amino acids are the building blocks that proteins are made from. There are many different types of amino acids, and each one functions slightly differently, though they all work on hair in basically the same way. Amino acids actually function in hair products as humectants more than anything else.(— However, hair is dead, so these can’t repair it any more than dumping bricks on a broken wall will fix the wall or pouring yarn on a sweater will fix your sweater.) Ammonium laureth sulfate (aka Ammonium lauryl Ether sulfate, ALES) Rating: Okay Gentle cleanser. It is the ammonium salt of sulfated ethoxylated lauryl alcohol. It can be derived from coconut. Sulfate is an effective cleansing agent that remove oils and dirt from hair and skin. It produces a lot of foam and softens the skin. It also helps to prevent an emulsion from separating into its oil and liquid components. Ammonium Laureth Sulfate can cause eye and skin irritation. Amlica embilicus seed oil (aka Amla seed oil, Indian gooseberry oil) Rating: Okay Oil made from the seeds and pulp of the fruit of a small leafy tree that grows in India. Rich in vitamin C. Known as the world’s oldest hair conditioning oils. used as a treatment for hair and scalp problems. Amla oil, which one of the world’s oldest natural hair conditioners, is prepared from dried amla berries which have been soaked in coconut oil for several days in order to extract the oil soluble vitamins from the fruit. It not only brings forth a rich, natural shine and soft texture, but also helps rejuvenate hair that is dull and damaged. Apricot kernel oil (aka Apricot oil; Prunus armeniaca) Rating: Good Oil made from the orange-colored fruit of the Prunus armeniaca tree [Winter 7th ed., pg 83]. A non-fragrant emollient oil made from the pressed pits of the apricot fruit. Babassu Oil (aka Orbignya Oleifera Oil) Rating: Okay An edible oil from the kernels of the babassu palm, Orbignya barbosiana, grown in Brazil. Can be used in foods, but it’s an expensive oil. Balsam Rating: Avoid Tree resin. It can build up and harden on hair, making it brittle. May cause skin irritation and/or sun sensitivity. Best not to use on a baby’s skin. Beeswax Rating: Caution Thickener that can be emollient and hard to wash out. (For locs: Avoid. This stuff is really hard to remove.) Benzyl alcohol Rating: Caution Can be drying and irritating in larger amounts. If it’s low on the ingredient list, it’s probably diluted enough that it wouldn’t be a problem. C11-15 Pareth-3 Rating: Okay Made from a mixture of Polyethylene glycol and Fatty alcohols. The higher the number, the thicker it is. Used to keep product from separating into its oil and water components. Cellulose Rating: Okay Plant fiber. Often used in products to keep them from separating into its oil and water components. Ceteareth-20 Rating: Okay Thickens product, and keeps ingredients mixed together. Cetearyl alcohol Rating: Good Used as an emollient, emulsifier, conditioner, and thickener. Not the same as SD alcohol or ethanol. This is actually a mixture of Cetyl Alcohol and Stearyl Alcohol Ceteth-2 (aka Polyethylene (2) Cetyl Ether; PEG-2 Cetyl Ether) Rating: Okay Used to keep the product mixed so it does not separate into its oil and water components, as well as a thickener. Made from a mixture of Cetyl Alcohol, Lauryl Alcohol, Stearyl Alchohol, and Oleyl Alcohol, mixed with a gas (Ethylene Oxide). This ingredient is made from Cetyl Alcohol and Ethylene Oxide, but anyway…. This comes as a white, waxy solid which is water soluble. Found to be emollient and non-irritating to skin. Ceteth-2 is often used because it is found to be mild, and stable at various pH levels. It is easier to mix into ingredients than Steareth-2. Cetrimonium bromide Rating: Okay Used as a disinfectant and cleanser in shampoos and skin cleansers. Cetyl alcohol (aka 1-hexadecanol, palmityl alcohol, C16 alcohol, hexadecanol) Rating: Good Common ingredient used as an emollient, thickener, and keeping the product mixed together. Non-greasy. Can be made from coconut fatty alcohol, or synthetically. Not found to be an irritant. Also used to increase foam, and to make a product less transparent. Used in a wide range of products, from hair conditioners to facial cleansers. Cetyl alcohol is the oldest known of the various fatty alcohols. It’s been around since 1813. It is known as being a very safe ingredient, and is very compatible with other ingredients. info from loc’ed life
Mature, upbeat, positive message for all women to take seriously! Being real, natural, and free is a beautiful thing!
In a few more months it will be one year since I started my locs. It has been a truly happy to be nappy experience, but let me tell you about these locs. I have gone through several stages. I tried to keep them manicured for a few weeks, by going to get them retwisted every 2-3 weeks, then I did DIY for a while, then I semi-free formed for a while, then they and I went crazy ,and I removed about 2/3 of the locs in the back and sides. I’ll explain each phase in detail and where I am now:
Stage 1: Retwisting Religiously (tongue twister for ya)
- My hair dresser who I mentioned in an older post, agreed to give me a discount for retwisting if I would come in every 2- 3 weeks. That was the catch. I had to come in fairly often and spend $35 each time. Not bad if you are not living right at the poverty line on a grad school grant. That would have been almost like having an extra bill per month totaling up to $70. I can’t even do it!
Stage 2: DIY Ditty
- I was used to fixing my own hair anyway, so I thought that I could wash and twist my new locs myself. This worked somewhat, but I think 2 things happened. (1) I may have twisted in the opposite direction than my hairdresser had started the locs, which is kind of a problem because although the locs would still loc, they would be weak at that point where they had to change direction. Also, the shorter locs didn’t know what to do. I’ll come back to that in stage 4. (2) I could not see what I was doing in the back of my head. My shorter hair would come totally a loose after washing, and I would struggle with getting the parts back straight in the back. So this leads into Stage 3:
Stage 3: Free-form Fail
- Free-forming is letting your hair naturally loc by just washing and going; no combing, no parting, no twisting: (see Bob Marley, Lauryn Hill?) Semi-free-form is doing that for about 1-2 months, then going to get them retwisted (or DIY). A while ago, I noticed that my hair was thin on one side, and at the back (near the nape) of my head. So I thought I would let these areas alone for a while, and let them grow out how they want to. Let them thicken up with new growth, and without me trying to get them tight and right. By this time, my crown, was fully locked and happy. One day after washing my hair, my scalp in those same areas just did not feel right. I was worried that this area would never lock up…I wanted to be a free spirit, and live, look, and feel organic, I also felt that something was not right, especially when it looked like my hair had not grown much in over 6 months!
Stage 4: The break-down-take down
- That same day, I decided to comb through the area that would not lock. I wanted to see how much of my hair was an afro and what I was really working with. I was astonished! It was more than half unlocked! AHHH! OK, OK Calm down. I just could not beleive it. It has been alost 9 months, and more than 1/2 my hair was an afro…BUT that was not my worry. I knew that I would have to wait up to a year AT LEAST to see my hair lock completely. The problem was that the other 1/3 was FULLY LOCKED! Like: shake-dem-dreads-locked! It was crazy. I thought I should shave my head and start over. Or shave it like this:
- I almost did, for real! I contemplated what to do. I wanted to continue to free-form, but I did not want to have to tend to the 2/3 part different than the 1/3 part; and what if they looked vastly different over the next year? I was clueless. I went to get advice from the hair dresser, and she gave me the option of plaiting, and/or interlocking that 2/3. I went with plaits… tight plaits. This was about 2 weeks ago, and I just washed my hair Tuesday. I used a tight stocking cap, Dr. Bonner‘s solid soap, and rinsed really well. It WORKED! Everything stayed twisted and plaited. Finally! So the plaits don’t really need much maintenance. If they start to unravel, then I quickly plait them back, but other than that, I hope the new growth will come in ready to be twisted to RIGHT (I got it going now!)
From now on I will:
Go with the flow