By Jc of The Nat­u­ral Haven Bloom

Are you plan­ning to try a new pro­duct soon? My gen­er­al ethos is that if you are curi­ous about how a pro­duct works, you should buy it and try it. I do how­ev­er think that there are some red flags about cer­tain prod­ucts that would make me ques­tion their claims or effi­ca­cy. Prod­ucts that make my black­list include:

1. Any water based conditioner which does not list water as the first ingredient

I have pre­vi­ous­ly stressed that the vast major­i­ty of hair con­di­tion­ers con­tain a large amount of water. It would not be uncom­mon for a con­di­tion­er to be 90–95% water.  There are excep­tions for con­di­tion­ers that are pastes e.g mud based blocks or wash­es such as Ojon, rhas­soul and ben­tonite clay.  If a man­u­fac­tur­er is not hon­est enough to list the ingre­di­ents in the cor­rect order, I do not trust that the pro­duct real­ly is what they say it is or does what they claim it will do.

2. Any product with fragrance in the first five ingredients

Fra­grance is some­times used by man­u­fac­tur­ers to dis­guise oth­er ingre­di­ents in the pro­duct such as preser­v­a­tives and min­er­al oil. My sus­pi­cion is raised fur­ther if the word fra­grance appears towards the top of the ingre­di­ent list because most gen­uine fra­grances based on cit­rus extracts or essen­tial oils tend to be added in tiny amounts. As an exam­ple, per­fumes for use in hair prod­ucts are often dis­solved in min­er­al oil bases with a small amount of preser­v­a­tive. If only a lit­tle is used this would not be a wor­ry or con­cern to me but if the word fra­grance appears in the first five ingre­di­ents, I would be sus­pi­cious as per­haps the min­er­al oil con­tent of the per­fume is actu­al­ly a major ingre­di­ent.

3. Any shampoo which does not contain an oil or silicone

Sham­poos can be very dry­ing as a result of their abil­i­ty to strip oil. In order to mit­i­gate the dry­ing effect most com­mer­cial store bought sham­poos will con­tain a sil­i­cone of some sort (some­times water sol­uble -iden­ti­fi­able by amine or amo with­in the name). If you are avoid­ing sil­i­cones, some nat­u­ral hair soap bars and sham­poos will instead con­tain a small frac­tion of a nat­u­ral oil or but­ter.  This small addi­tion of oil changes the sham­poo from a poten­tial­ly super dry­ing for­mu­la to one which cleans­es but does not become over­ly dry.

4. Any product which is not a leave-in and contains mineral oil in the first five ingredients

Min­er­al oil is much maligned in the nat­u­ral world but it is very effec­tive to help ‘seal’ in mois­ture and block humid­i­ty. It is there­fore quite appro­pri­ate as a leave in pro­duct or as a post-styling pro­duct for straight­ened hair. I would how­ev­er say that there are more use­ful and potent oils that work bet­ter in sham­poo and con­di­tion­ers. I would not select a sham­poo or con­di­tion­er that con­tained min­er­al oil in gen­er­al but the big red flag is min­er­al oil in the first five ingre­di­ents. My pref­er­ence is for ingre­di­ents that would per­form a major func­tion such as pen­e­tra­tion for repair and mois­ture, addi­tion­al slip for comb­ing and cre­at­ing a per­me­able bar­ri­er for mois­ture. For the­se func­tions a nat­u­ral oil or but­ter or water sol­uble sil­i­cone is best.

5. Any product with an ingredient list that is missing or incomplete or too short

With the excep­tion of tra­di­tion­al­ly made soap, all hair prod­ucts need to have an ingre­di­ent list. Soap which has added ingre­di­ents for a func­tion e.g oil, glyc­er­in, fra­grance or colour needs to have an ingre­di­ent list. Any pro­duct sold with­out clear­ly stat­ing the ingre­di­ents is not worth a pur­chase. You have no clue as to what is in the bot­tle or what­ev­er is claimed by the man­u­fac­tur­er is real­ly true. If you are look­ing to pur­chase a sham­poo or con­di­tion­er and the pro­duct claims to con­tain a par­tic­u­lar ingre­di­ent but you can­not see it on the list, just avoid pur­chas­ing it. If a water based con­di­tion­er has few­er than 5 ingre­di­ents list­ed, be real­ly care­ful before pur­chas­ing as this is an excep­tion­al­ly short list.

Ladies, what do you try to avoid in prod­ucts?

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17 Comments on "5 Warning Signs of Bad Natural Hair Products"

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So it is okay to use prod­ucts witj fra­grance in them

helen black

Pure nat­u­ral prod­ucts usu­al­ly are hor­ri­ble. Lay­off

Leigh-Ann Carey

Thank you for this arti­cle. I know it’s pret­ty old. I like how real­is­tic it is, exam­ple “Any water based con­di­tion­er which does not list water as the first ingre­di­ent”. Some arti­cles put us off prod­ucts all togeth­er and not all “all nat­u­ral” ingre­di­ents work for my hair and I have tried a few of them. 

Read­er and fol­low­er from South Africa.


[…] to Black Girl Long Hair, you should black­list any prod­ucts that lists fra­grance as one of its first five […]


I agree with every­thing except a por­tion of #5. A short ingre­di­ents list is not nec­es­sar­i­ly a red flag par­tic­u­lar­ly in lines cre­at­ed by small busi­ness­es. When it comes to my hair prod­ucts I believe less is more. If the first five ingre­di­ents are the most impor­tant how many more should there be?


There are a lot of nat­u­ral hair prod­ucts out there that claim to be nat­u­ral but real­ly or not.


Yall are gonna kill me but i use Kera care con­di­tion­er for col­ored hair which in th 1st 5 ingre­di­ents has min­er­al oil! and although my hair hates min­er­al oil my hair seems to love Kera care for col­ored hair. Oth­er then h ichy scalp im still retain­ing length. 

Although i must say since im tran­si­tion­ing kERA care has not been as effec­tive in mois­tur­iz­ing. so i start­ed wash­ing my hair with aubry organ­ics huny suck­le rose


I used Ker­acare when I tran­si­tioned and loved it.…it became less effec­tive once I BC. Now I main­ly use Aubrey Organ­ic prod­ucts.

The Natural Haven

It is inter­est­ing that you men­tion that you are tran­si­tion­ing. This list is intend­ed for peo­ple with nat­u­ral hair, if your hair is relaxed you may find that min­er­al oil actu­al­ly works well as a con­di­tion­er. Relaxed hair does not hold mois­ture as well as nat­u­ral untreat­ed hair will. Prod­ucts that coat hair and do not pen­e­trate like min­er­al oil are great for relaxed hair in a con­di­tion­er as they will help towards pro­tect­ing mois­ture from escap­ing.


I like that JC men­tioned that the­se can be red flags, although the best way is to try out the pro­duct for your­self. I only say that because the prod­ucts I use on my hair would send some nat­u­rals flying…but they leave me with awe­some results.


Nev­er seen a pro­duct like num­ber 2 but lem­me add for my 4b/c.…

1 any so called deep con­di­tion­er that is made up pri­mar­i­ly of but­ters and oils.

2. Any pro­duct geared towards curls or with an empha­sis on curls.

3 prod­ucts con­tain­ing glyc­er­ine and deep cons con­tain­ing aloe — no detan­gling prop­er­ties in the lat­ter and wrong cli­mate for the for­mer.

4 any pro­duct con­tain­ing too many oils ie pomades are a miss. 

5. Any pro­duct with a cloy­ing smell — I’m not a fan of Oyins cit­rus scent (smells like flint­stones vit­a­mins) or Hairvedas sitrinil­lah.


Agree with your #1 for every hair texture/type/porosity and #5 for me. 

Any con­di­tion­er worth its weight needs to have con­di­tion­ing agents and an emul­si­fier.

I also hate strong lin­ger­ing smells. They fol­low you around all day and just irri­tate my sens­es after some­time. I wish some com­pa­nies would tone down the amount of fra­grance they use.


I total­ly agree with you on the fra­grance! Some prod­ucts con­tain such a high con­tent of fra­grance that it can be nau­se­at­ing at times.

Very infor­ma­tive arti­cle! I will keep all this in mind. Regard­ing num­ber 5: There’s a par­tic­u­lar hair pro­duct line geared towards nat­u­rals that has been out for YEARS but still don’t have any ingre­di­ent infor­ma­tion list­ed ont heir web­site or on their prod­ucts. I emailed them a cou­ple of years ago to ask about it and they said they’d be adding it on their web­site soon…till this day noth­ing! I don’t get how they expect any­one (espe­cial­ly a very informed nat­u­ral hair com­mu­ni­ty) to just slap their pro­duct on their head while not know­ing what is in it and hop­ing for… Read more »

Agreed, very infor­ma­tive arti­cle.

Qhemet Bio­log­ics doesn’t have ingre­di­ents for their prod­ucts list­ed on the web­site, but you can find it pret­ty eas­i­ly. I don’t care how pop­u­lar a brand is, I need to know what is in it.


Qhemet’s ingre­di­ents are list­ed on their labels and on a bunch of web­sites. The author was refer­ring to prod­ucts that don’t list ingre­di­ents on the web­site or the labels.


Dr Mir­a­cle. That bull­shi I believe that was the last perm i bought short­ly there­after my hair was com­ing out of my head in clumps. I still have resid­u­al loss.