What Do We Mean by Natural?

BY COCO & CURL

To us, natural products are those that help you meet goals in your Natural hair, skin and beauty regimen - without compromising health and wellbeing.

Brands in our marketplace make their products mostly, if not entirely, out of safe and nourishing ingredients from the Earth.

We know it can be a little tough keeping track of the scientific names of natural substances (as they appear in products’ ingredient labels), the benefits of using them, and which ones work best for you – so we did a little research on some of our faves:  

aloe vera | aloe varbadenis
contains enzymes that promote scalp healing and stimulation for better hair growth

avocado (oil) | persea gratissima
contains vitamins A,D and E for better hair lubrication and breakage prevention

castor oil | ricinus communis
has antifungal properties which clean the scalp, clear follicles and promote hair growth

extra virgin olive oil | olea europaea
hydrates, moisturizes and softens hair

grapeseed | vitis vinifera
has conditioning and moisturizing properties that allow it to easily absorb into the hair and scalp – which makes it easier hydrate while fighting skin issues like dandruff

honey | mel
a humectant and antifungal for keeping your hair moisturized and scalp clean

jojoba | simmondsia chinensis
contains vitamins C, E and B for strengthening hair and promoting skin health – especially by helping to fight scalp dryness and inflammation

shea butter | butyrospermum parkii
rich in vitamins A, E and F, as well as fatty acids that promote easy absorption into dry skin for most people

 

To us, natural also means using products that are free from harsh chemicals that have become notorious for damaging skin, natural hair and overall bodily health.

Studies [1, 2, 3] have shown that over 70% of products marketed for curlier and kinkier hair textures contain dangerous ingredients (just look at how lye, a main ingredient of hair relaxers, burns through aluminum cans). 

We look for brands who stay away from ingredients that are dangerous – or which are just plainly bad and counterproductive to a Natural regimen.

Here’s a little info to help you spot them on ingredient labels, and to know how they can affect your health if used frequently and in sufficient quantities.        

lead
natural doesn’t always mean good! lead is a naturally occurring heavy metal – but it’s been linked to developmental issues in children and adolescents, hormonal issues, reproductive health issues and cancer

we also try to avoid products that have been known to carry traces of other heavy metals like arsenic, mercury, aluminum, zinc, chromium and iron  

lye | sodium hydroxide
causes chemical burns, permanent injury or scarring and blindness if it comes into contact with the eyes.  

formaldehyde, formaldehyde-releasing preservatives | formalin, formic aldehyde, oxomethane, oxymethylene
has been linked to cancer, developmental and reproductive problems, and asthma

phthalates | “fragrance”, DEHP, DBP, BBP, DINP, DIDP, DNOP, BPA, DEP, DMP etc…
“fragrance” is often used as a catch-all to hide the use of a mixture of questionable ingredients, including phthalates – which can negatively impact hormones, development and reproductive organs

parabens | propylparaben, benzylparaben, etc.
can disrupt hormonal balances

synthetic colors derived from petroleum or coal | D&C Red 27, FD&C Blue 1, etc.
they have been linked with skin irritation

toluene | benzene, tuluol, phenylmethane, methylbenzene
can affect the respiratory system, irritate skin and cause developmental damage

sulfates | sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, ammonium lauryl sulfate, etc.
strips away the natural oils and moisture your hair needs to thrive – it can be beneficial for straight and oilier hair, but all curly-haired Naturals should stay away!  

        

Just like natural doesn’t always mean good (see lead), human-made doesn’t always mean bad.

Our marketplace does have products with ingredients created to combine the best effects of some of our favorite, more natural, ingredients. So don’t freak out if your product labels feature ingredients like:

capric or caprylic triglycerides
an oily liquid derived from coconut oil and glycerin which provides light-weight lubrication for the hair. studies show that the amounts of capric triglycerides used in cosmetics does not create any negative health effects

hydrogenated polyisobutene
a synthetic oil that’s used as a substitute for mineral oil – it is a moisturizer and is used for waterproofing products. the amounts used in cosmetics have not been linked with any negative health effects

 

We hope this guide helps you keep your tresses and skin healthy and happy : )

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