The Great Ingredient Debate

Have you ever looked on the side of a Shea Moisture bottle and read the long list of ingredients that it does not contain? Have you ever wondered why? And what is the deal with these items?

Naturalistas can agree on one thing and that is to listen to your hair! If you hair likes it, go with it. But what if the ingredients in the long run are causing harm to you or have the potential to cause you harm? This is what concerns me with all of the man-made chemicals. I would also like to state I am in no way trying to push my new 'as close to natural as possible' life style on you but rather I would like to inform you. Knowledge is power and until I began my research, I was in the dark. My future product reviews will be very different from here on out showing you natural, and healthier alternatives. All sites will be posted so you can view the full article for yourself. First, the ingredients that can be harmful to your health are Parabens, Phthalates, and Propylene Glycol.

Parabens are synthetic preservatives used in foods, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and personal care products. Common parabens include methylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben. Parabens extend the shelf life of these products; however, they also enter your body through your skin when you use these products. According to, the body can absorb as much as five pounds of cosmetic chemicals every year. Parabens can mimic hormones in the body and disrupt functions of the endocrine system. In 2004, a study by the University of Reading in the United Kingdom found concentrations of parabens, particularly methylparaben, in human breast tumors. The study examined only the presence of parabens in the tumors but did not determine that they were the cause of the tumors. The ability of parabens to mimic other hormones makes them endocrine disruptors, substances that adversely affect the endocrine system.
Endocrine disruptors such as parabens can lead to early puberty in adolescent girls and boys, as reported by the New York Times.
Phthalates are also known as phthalate esters, and are generally used as “plasticizers.” Plasticizers are synthetic ingredients used to promote flexibility and durability. Phthalates are also used as gelling agents in many of your favorite cosmetic and beauty products: shampoo, hairspray, hair gel, deodorant, nail polish, and body lotions. Phthalates also exist in the vague term, “fragrance,” that you often see in the ingredient list; they are used in fragrance because they make it last longer. Phthalates are known endocrine disruptors, as their chemical structure mocks that of a human hormone. What does this mean for human health? pregnant women exposed to high levels of Phthalates during pregnancy, can unknowingly cause their child to be born with abnormal birth defects, specific issues have been linked to male children’s genitals and reproductive systems. Lastly, What Are Phthalates In Shampoo? - Endocrine Disruptors
- Organ System Toxicants
- Infertility Increasers
- Bioaccumulative
- Weight Gain Catalysts
- Possible Risk Increasers of Breast Cancer
- Possible Risk Increasers of Liver Cancer
- Possible Early Pregnancy Inducers
Propylene Glycol
It is a chemical found in personal care products that acts as a penetration enhancer that keeps products from melting in heat and/or freezing when it is cold.
According to the Environmental Working Group, propylene glycol can cause a whole host of problems. It is rated a 4 by them, which is categorized as a “moderate” health issue. It has been shown to be linked to cancer, developmental/reproductive issues, allergies/immune toxicity, neurotoxicity and endocrine disruption. It has been found to provoke skin irritation and sensitization in humans as low as 2% concentration, while the industry review panel recommends cosmetics can contain up to 50% of the substance. How to Spot Propylene Glycol: when looking at ingredient lists, you can look for names like 1,2-Dihydroxypropane; 2-Hydroxypropanol; Methylethy Glycol; 1,2-Propanediol; Propane-1,2-Diol.
Another ingredient to look out for:
These are used as foaming agents , but can cause allergic reactions, eye irritation, and dryness of  the hair and skin. DEA and TEA are toxic if absorbed into the body over a long period of time, and are associated with cancer in lab animals.
Now the ingredients that aren't necessarily harmful to use but are debated on if you should use them or not. I personally do use a sulfate shampoo but only 2x a month. The only sulfate shampoo I use is the Tresemme' Naturals Shampoo with lower sulfates. It does not strip my hair or dry it out at all. Again, do what your hair tells you to do. Mineral Oil or Paraffin, and petrolatum are the other ingredients that are debated on and I avoid but aren't deal necessarily deal breakers. The Cantu Shea Butter for Naturals Hair has petrolatum in it but is that going to stop me from using it?! Heck no! I love that stuff!! So here is the deal on those last three ingredients:
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate- Harsh detergent wetting agent also known as SLS and is a common known skin irritant. Often derived from petroleum, it causes eye irritation, dry scalp, skin rashes and other allergic reactions
Sodium Laureth Sulfate- SLES is the alcohol form of SLS and slightly less irritating but may cause more drying.
Mineral Oil/ Paraffin
A derivative of crude oil. Mineral oil forms an oily film over skin to lock in moisture, toxins, and wastes, and hinders normal skin respiration by keeping oxygen out. (same site as above)
Also known as petroleum jelly, this is a mineral oil derivative that can clog your pores. This in turn disrupts your body's natural ability to moisturize its own skin, leading to dryness and chapping.
Alright guys that is it! Well at least the main ingredients that are so heavily debated upon lol. All of the links posted give you more detail than what I gave above but you all know me I like to keep it short, simple, and to the point!
This was not meant to scare you but rather inform you! I currently am working on replacing all hair, body, facial, and oral products. I understand that there is no way to not be exposed to these 'man-made' chemicals because they are every where! But it gives me some peace of mind knowing I am dramatically decreasing my exposure to them!
 Any thoughts, comments or questions feel free to post them below!! Post on safer alternatives to come and my review on them!!
Besos, Feron