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View Full Version : Can anyone explain Ingredients to me??



emsahib
September 13th, 2010, 10:30 AM
I've been here for a few months now and I still don't know really what ingredients are good or bad in shampoo or conditioner. The only thing I know is cones give the hair a coating, and I've just been told now that sulphates is what makes shampoo foamy. But other than that I don't know alot. I think it'd be good to know exactly what I'm putting on my hair and good info for anyone else like me who doesn't have a clue when it comes to the list of ingredients.

aenflex
September 13th, 2010, 10:36 AM
Well there is a site out there called skindeep, that will allow users to enter ingredients and then get a breakdown of what they are and what purposes they serve. There are so many in shampoos and conditioners, but from what I understand they can be broken down into catergories - cleansers, humectants, silicones, proteins, emulsifiers, preservatives, perfumes, dyes, moisturizers...It's a daunting task you have ahead of you, figuring the ingredients. It's best to grab a bottle of something you already have and start working with that 1st.

ktani
September 13th, 2010, 10:51 AM
I've been here for a few months now and I still don't know really what ingredients are good or bad in shampoo or conditioner. The only thing I know is cones give the hair a coating, and I've just been told now that sulphates is what makes shampoo foamy. But other than that I don't know alot. I think it'd be good to know exactly what I'm putting on my hair and good info for anyone else like me who doesn't have a clue when it comes to the list of ingredients.

This website is really good for explaining why an ingredient is in a product, http://www.cosmeticsinfo.org/.

EWG is also ok although it can be alarmist and the research it provides is often limited and can be outdated. The website has improved of late.

Cones are definitely not the only things that coat the hair.

Conventional and many natural products contain waxes, waxy type ingredients, oils butters, polymers and more that all leave coatings on the hair.

That is what conditioners do, leave a film on the hair to provide: better combing, smoothness and moisturizing to hair. When the coatings build-up, it can be problematic and one can get dry, tangly, brittle, difficult to manage hair. That is why people need to clarify the hair every so often or stop using the product that builds-up until it is washed out of the hair.

Sulfates and cones get most of the attention these days. Sulfates are neither dangerous or necessarily undesirable (preference) and not all cones build-up on hair causing problems.

In2wishin
September 13th, 2010, 10:55 AM
I agree with aenflex. If you are using a shampoo or conditioner you really like, look up the ingredients and see what each one does so you know what to look for. If you try something and you don't like it, do the same. Eventually you will get a feel for what your hair likes or doesn't like.

As you read different posts on LHC look up any ingredient mentioned that you are not familiar with.

Essentially, this will be a long term education so don't feel like you need to know everything about everything: nobody here does. Those who seem to know a lot started out, at some time in their lives, needing to learn too.

emsahib
September 13th, 2010, 11:04 AM
Oo that's a good idea. Ok I'm mainly using this Olive Oil shampoo at the moment, which has absolutly loads of ingredients didn't realise it was so many.

Water, ammonium lauryl sulfate, ammonium laureth sulfate, lauramide dea, lauryl glucoside, disodium cocoamphodipropionate, trideceth-7 carboxilic acid, ppg-5 ceteth-10 phosphate, olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, cetrimonium chloride, polyquaternium-10, sulfated caster oil, lecithin, propylene glycol, peg-12 oleate, capric/caprylic triglycerides,sodium laureth sulfate, cocamide-mea, glycol distearate, laureth-10 cetyl triethylmonium dimethicone peg-8 succinate, coco-glucoside, glyceryl oleate, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, glycerin, glyceryl acrylate/acrylic acid, copolymer, propylene glycol, polyquaternium-7, fragrance (parfum), hexyl, cinnamal, lilial, dmdm hydantoin, methylparaben, propylene glycol, propylparaben, silicone quaternium-2 panthenol succinate, disodium edta,triethanolamine, methylchloroisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone, ci 42053 (green #3), ci 19140 (yellow #5)

Are there usually this many ingredients in other shampoos? Also are there certain ingredients that crop up alot as a starting point? Thanks for the website I'll give that a go too.

ktani
September 13th, 2010, 11:05 AM
Shampoos these days may also have ingredients aside from cones that can build-up on hair. Many companies are now adding the the same waxy type of ingredients used in conditioners, to shampoos.

I agree completely, by reading the labels on the products you use and comparing product labels, you will get to know more about what kind of formulations your hair and scalp need. It can be tricky to single out a particular ingredient as a problem, unless you negatively react to it and you do so only when it is present in a product.

Otherwise, formulation is key. Not all shampoos with SLS are super drying. It depends on the amount present in a formulation, what other ingredients are there as well, how much product is used, how often it is used etc..

ETA:


Oo that's a good idea. Ok I'm mainly using this Olive Oil shampoo at the moment, which has absolutly loads of ingredients didn't realise it was so many.

Water, ammonium lauryl sulfate, ammonium laureth sulfate, lauramide dea, lauryl glucoside, disodium cocoamphodipropionate, trideceth-7 carboxilic acid, ppg-5 ceteth-10 phosphate, olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, cetrimonium chloride, polyquaternium-10, sulfated caster oil, lecithin, propylene glycol, peg-12 oleate, capric/caprylic triglycerides,sodium laureth sulfate, cocamide-mea, glycol distearate, laureth-10 cetyl triethylmonium dimethicone peg-8 succinate, coco-glucoside, glyceryl oleate, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, glycerin, glyceryl acrylate/acrylic acid, copolymer, propylene glycol, polyquaternium-7, fragrance (parfum), hexyl, cinnamal, lilial, dmdm hydantoin, methylparaben, propylene glycol, propylparaben, silicone quaternium-2 panthenol succinate, disodium edta,triethanolamine, methylchloroisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone, ci 42053 (green #3), ci 19140 (yellow #5)

Are there usually this many ingredients in other shampoos? Also are there certain ingredients that crop up alot as a starting point? Thanks for the website I'll give that a go too.

There are shampoos with this number of ingredients, those with even more and those with many less ingredients.

The bottom line is, do you like this shampoo? How long have you been using it and are you having a problem with your hair because of it?

If you are happy with it, keep using it.

emsahib
September 13th, 2010, 11:27 AM
There are shampoos with this number of ingredients, those with even more and those with many less ingredients.

The bottom line is, do you like this shampoo? How long have you been using it and are you having a problem with your hair because of it?

If you are happy with it, keep using it.

I actually really like this shampoo I find it really moisterising I like the way it feels on my hair as I'm shampooing and I love the smell. I think I have a thing with smells lol Although I've just looked up one ingredient on that skindeep website Lauramide dea and its got a tick next to cancer, although I find there are always different ideas as to what can cause it. But it says its only a moderate hazzard. I guess there's probably more things that are "hazzardous" in our beauty products and cleaners than we realise, but on the other hand I've been healthy enough with them so far.

tinti
September 13th, 2010, 11:44 AM
My hair rarely reacts negative to products. If it does, I toss the bottle away imediately. Right now I'm using a wella conditioner (and shampoo once or twice a month) that really feels nice. Because I can't read the ingredients list on the back of the bottle I asked the sales girl if there were any cones or sulfates in it, and she said no (since I've become a bit alert when it comes to cones and sulfates since I've read lots of stuff about it here:)). She didn't speak Norwegian very well so she may have misunderstood. My question is, how can I be sure that a product is ok with my type of hair that seems to like everything? I'm using cheap, "bad" brands with no reactions. That is in fact all I'm using because I can't afford anything else.

Anje
September 13th, 2010, 01:13 PM
Honestly, the most effective way I know to learn about deciphering the ingredients lists on bottles of hair products is to take a course in organic chemistry. (However, it's definitely not a painless method!)

As has already been explained, "sulfates" refers to a group of detergents that are composed of long hydrocarbon chains with a negatively charged sulfate group (SO4-) on one end, which usually starts out combined with a positively charged group (sodium or ammonium ions, typically) that dissociate when the detergent is dissolved in water. That long hydrocarbon is a lot like fats and oils, and gets named things like "lauryl", "dodecyl", "myreth" to explain exactly what its length and chemical makeup are. Because it's oil-like, that end of the molecule likes to dissolve the sebum your scalp produces, while the charged sulfate end of the molecule is attracted to water (unlike oils), and so the combination of the fatty portion and the charged portion of the detergent molecule allow oils to be dissolved in the detergent and then washed away with water.

Where it starts to apply to hair and whether you want to use it has to do with the fact that SLS and some of the other sulfates are particularly good at removing oils and at higher concentrations can even be used to disrupt protein structures (and hair is protein), so long-term washing with them can potentially be weakening to hair, and it can strip away enough oils to make hair dry. Additionally, some folks can be sensitive or allergic to SLS, though if you look hard enough, you'll find people allergic to just about anything, so someone else's sensitivity isn't necessarily a reason for you to avoid a substance.

What it comes down to is how your body reacts to a given chemical. That said, because some of these detergents are potentially weakening to hair structure, it's probably a good idea not to use them to suds your ends more often than is necessary to remove residues that have built up to the point where your hair is suffering. Other substances like silicones need a detergent to effectively remove them once they are on hair, so it's usually worth avoiding silicones if you never want to use sulfate detergents on your hair again.

ktani
September 13th, 2010, 02:27 PM
Honestly, the most effective way I know to learn about deciphering the ingredients lists on bottles of hair products is to take a course in organic chemistry. (However, it's definitely not a painless method!)

As has already been explained, "sulfates" refers to a group of detergents that are composed of long hydrocarbon chains with a negatively charged sulfate group (SO4-) on one end, which usually starts out combined with a positively charged group (sodium or ammonium ions, typically) that dissociate when the detergent is dissolved in water. That long hydrocarbon is a lot like fats and oils, and gets named things like "lauryl", "dodecyl", "myreth" to explain exactly what its length and chemical makeup are. Because it's oil-like, that end of the molecule likes to dissolve the sebum your scalp produces, while the charged sulfate end of the molecule is attracted to water (unlike oils), and so the combination of the fatty portion and the charged portion of the detergent molecule allow oils to be dissolved in the detergent and then washed away with water.

Where it starts to apply to hair and whether you want to use it has to do with the fact that SLS and some of the other sulfates are particularly good at removing oils and at higher concentrations can even be used to disrupt protein structures (and hair is protein), so long-term washing with them can potentially be weakening to hair, and it can strip away enough oils to make hair dry. Additionally, some folks can be sensitive or allergic to SLS, though if you look hard enough, you'll find people allergic to just about anything, so someone else's sensitivity isn't necessarily a reason for you to avoid a substance.

What it comes down to is how your body reacts to a given chemical. That said, because some of these detergents are potentially weakening to hair structure, it's probably a good idea not to use them to suds your ends more often than is necessary to remove residues that have built up to the point where your hair is suffering. Other substances like silicones need a detergent to effectively remove them once they are on hair, so it's usually worth avoiding silicones if you never want to use sulfate detergents on your hair again.

I have not seen any evidence that sulfate shampoos weaken hair structure. Surfactants can denature protein, yes. That is how they kill bacteria. All detergents do that. Soap does too. Not the same thing.

Can sulfate shampoo break hair? (http://thenaturalhaven.blogspot.com/2010/06/myth-or-fact-sulfate-shampoo-breaks.html)
"Cuticle wear is more related to hair care practices than SLS use."

ravenreed
September 13th, 2010, 03:25 PM
I almost always do better with cheaper brands. I get cysts on my scalp from various hair products, and high end ones seem the worst when it comes to triggering that.



My hair rarely reacts negative to products. If it does, I toss the bottle away imediately. Right now I'm using a wella conditioner (and shampoo once or twice a month) that really feels nice. Because I can't read the ingredients list on the back of the bottle I asked the sales girl if there were any cones or sulfates in it, and she said no (since I've become a bit alert when it comes to cones and sulfates since I've read lots of stuff about it here:)). She didn't speak Norwegian very well so she may have misunderstood. My question is, how can I be sure that a product is ok with my type of hair that seems to like everything? I'm using cheap, "bad" brands with no reactions. That is in fact all I'm using because I can't afford anything else.

Anje
September 13th, 2010, 03:33 PM
I have not seen any evidence that sulfate shampoos weaken hair structure. Surfactants can denature protein, yes. That is how they kill bacteria. All detergents do that. Soap does too. Not the same thing.

Can sulfate shampoo break hair? (http://thenaturalhaven.blogspot.com/2010/06/myth-or-fact-sulfate-shampoo-breaks.html)
"Cuticle wear is more related to hair care practices than SLS use."
As I understand it, the bacteria-killing tends to have more to do with cell membrane disruption. Though the effects are difficult to separate.

I don't know off-hand what concentration of SDS tends to go into shampoo, though I had my students do a lab recently where 10% SDS was used as a protein denaturant. I certainly won't say that hair care practices don't cause a lot of the damage we see (though certainly the general population may be rougher with their hair than LHCers trying to minimize breakage), only wanted to suggest that daily use of harsh shampoo on the ends might be counterproductive to attaining the longest, healthiest hair possible.

ETA: You'll also notice that the link you gave mentions an article (haven't read said research paper yet) stating that hair is completely depleted of cuticle by the time it's about 20 inches long, and I'm certain many LHCers would be excellent counterexamples to that. Care makes a huge difference, no matter what you wash with!

ktani
September 13th, 2010, 03:36 PM
As I understand it, the bacteria-killing tends to have more to do with cell membrane disruption. Though the effects are difficult to separate.

I don't know off-hand what concentration of SDS tends to go into shampoo, though I had my students do a lab recently where 10% SDS was used as a protein denaturant. I certainly won't say that hair care practices don't cause a lot of the damage we see (though certainly the general population may be rougher with their hair than LHCers trying to minimize breakage), only wanted to suggest that daily use of harsh shampoo on the ends might be counterproductive to attaining the longest, healthiest hair possible.

Harsh products of any kind are not the best to use on hair.

Protein (http://www.chemtutor.com/ms.htm)
"Adding acid or salt or lye (base) to the protein can also denature the protein and these processes also tend to kill bacteria and other things that would attack the protein."

ETA: I just read your ETA. I agree it is about hair care, with care being the operative word. Human hair is pretty tough over all. If SLS and other sulfate shampoos could denature hair protein as articles on the internet promoting other surfactants would have us believe, most of the shampoos that are sulfate based on the market now would not exist. There would be no profit in it. And I do not believe that the highly competitive conglomerates like P&G and Unilever and countles other companies hire or keep incompetent scientists who are not doing a good job in formulating excellent products.