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Which Ingredients Will Dry Out Hair?

Posted Jan 22 2012 1:05am

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Sarahb asks…Is there a place that i can view a list of ingredients in hair products that could dry out the hair?

The Left Brain replies:
I’ve never seen a comprehensive list of which ingredients could dry out hair.  It would be very difficult to create an accurate list because the effect of ingredients on hair partially depends on the formulas the ingredients are delivered from.

For example, in the Forum we recently discussed a hair conditioning mask that contains a relatively high level of Lauramide MEA, a surfactant. Lauramide MEA  would typically not dry out hair because it’s most commonly used in lower amounts in shampoos to boost foam and viscosity.  But if left on the hair in mask form it could cause drying.

Similarly a little alcohol is fine on your hair from an aerosolized product like a hairspray because the droplets are very small and will evaporate quickly. But you wouldn’t want alcohol in a leave-in conditioner where it could saturate your hair and scalp  and potentially cause dryness. (I’m talking about ethanol, not cetyl or stearyl alcohol)

You have to look at each ingredient in the context of the formula it is in to understand what the ingredient function it serves and whether or not it will dry out your hair.

Image credit: Thespokesman.com

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