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How to Understand the Ingredients List on Your Afro Hair Products

Studies have shown that a large number of products targeted at Black women contain harmful and toxic ingredients that have been linked to fibroids and cancer.

With such alarming findings, it’s no surprise that black women are becoming more ingredient conscious and leaning towards using natural cosmetics. At the Afrocenchix HQ, we check the ingredients list on EVERYTHING we buy — cosmetics and food. We’re also very picky when we formulate. We never use parabens, sulphates, silicones or artificial fragrances. Our mission is to provide safe and effective afro hair products so ingredients matter a lot to us. We also formulate to make sure our products are eczema friendly. 

Many women have expressed their confusion at understanding how to read ingredient labels.

Here are two things you need to know:

1. Those long usually hard-to-prounounce names are the INCI (International Nomenclature for Cosmetic Ingredients) names and are a legal requirement. The generic and more common names are usually listed in brackets. If there’s any ingredient you’re unfamiliar with then do some research to make sure it is safe to use.

2. Order matters. Ingredients are listed in descending order of weight. However ingredients that make up less than 1% can be listed in any order. For example, let’s look at the ingredient label for Smooth.


Afro hair products natural ingredients


Aqua (Purified Water), Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera Juice), Butyrospermum Parkii (Organic Shea Butter), Cocos Nucifera (Coconut Oil), Glycerin, Olea Europaea (Olive Oil), Cetearyl Olivate (and) Sorbitan Olivate, Cetearyl Alcohol (Emulsifying Wax),Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit Essential Oil), Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon Essential Oil) ,Citrus Aurantium Amara (Orange Essential Oil), Cymbopogon Schoenanthus (Lemongrass Essential Oil), Xanthan Gum, Benzyl alcohol, Dehydroacetic acid, Benzoic acid and Sorbic acid (Environmentally Friendly Preservative).

By looking at this ingredient list, we know that out of all the ingredients, water is at the highest concentration followed by aloe vera juice and shea butter.  

Understanding that ingredients are listed in this way can help you make decisions when picking your afro hair products. For example, if you’re looking for a moisturiser, it needs to be water-based. Therefore you’ll look for products that have Aqua (Purified water) listed as the first ingredient.

Being more attentive to the ingredients list on the products you use may also help you notice trends between products that work and don’t work for your hair. For example, you may notice that products that list glycerine as one of the top four ingredients don’t work for you but your hair loves products with glycerine when it's further down the list.

Understanding ingredient labels can help you make more informed choices when deciding on which afro hair products to choose. It can also help you make sure you’re not putting your health at risk. It's definitely worth taking the time to make sure you know 


Are you interested in the best natural ways to take care of your hair? Read some related articles:

What are the best afro hair products for the summer?

Which afro hair products do you need for dry hair?

What afro hair products do you need to take on holiday?

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