Tag Archives: hair products

Perks

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by Weusi

Sometimes at the end of a gig, I walk away with a perk or two. Often, I take home some snacks, a few beverages, a candle from Pier 1, or some gadget from Bed, Bath and Beyond that I end up giving to someone before I even make it home. Then something special happened.

It was the end of a long day. I wanted to get home to Shelli. Then I saw him/it. And right there … behind the batman statue … was Ricky’s NYC (if you don’t know about it click the link!).

Initially, all I thought about was taking the picture of Batman. So, what you don’t see is the young lady handing out promo stuff.

I told her my wife had a blog and asked if she had any products for a curly girl. And then boom … I walk away with a bag of goodies! Some Miss Jessie’s, some Keratin stuff, some Mixed Chicks stuff, and a bunch of stuff I had no idea what it was … Win!

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On the way home, I realized Shelli doesn’t need any of this! I would just be enabling the product junkie in her. So, last weekend, I gave the bag to  Corey, one of my homies from FC Harlem. Why am I giving her products to someone else? They doen’t even know each other?

Well, actually … Corey has heard me talk about Shelli for some time. Then, he finally looks at my Facebook page and sees a picture of us. He says, “Yo, does your wife have a natural hair blog? I think I follow her.” We laughed about it for a heartbeat, but then he started to ask me a bunch of questions about products for his hair. I told him to check out the site and that everyone’s hair is different. So, that’s why I gave the bag to him!

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 See, we threw in a few full-size products from our stash too!

And, he’s gonna give me a few product reviews from a guy’s perspective!

Now, I know you are asking, so what did I do or get for Shelli? For her, the love of my life … I did something I have never done professionally. I took a picture … just for her! While on another gig, I sent her a picture to let people know I don’t look like the person she says people say I look like. And she gets a special super exclusive picture that I only share with her … and my mom … until now!

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And I guess he’s taller than I thought and I’m shorter than I thought too!

The end.

SHiNE

 

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Flaxseed Gel (FSG): The Remix – A Cream Gel Experiment

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About a year ago, I shared a post about the benefits of flaxseed oil and gel for hair (see it here). I tried making the gel in 2010 with disappointing results and last year, I tried Botticelli Botanicals pre-made Flax Gelee with very nice results (and boy did it smell amazing!!). But, being the PJ that I am, it was a passing fancy and I forgot about FSG for a while.

Well, this past weekend, I decided to revisit making my own flaxseed gel (FSG). But, this time, the plan was to make an flaxseed cream gel. “Cream Gel” you ask? Well see, I mentioned here that my last attempt at making FSG resulted in it being too thick. CrystalJ commented on the post and suggested that I whip the gel with a little oil to create a cream gel if that happens again! Well, I was immediately intrigued by the idea of a creamy, moisturizing gel, so I decided I wanted to make one regardless of whether I “overcooked” my flaxseeds.

But first, I needed to be reminded of the ratio of seeds to water again, so I reviewed this well-known tutorial, which I’ve watched many times in the past:

via Naptural85

Okay, got it.

Basic Flaxseed (FSG) Gel Recipe

1/4 c. whole flaxseeds
2 c. distilled water

optional: Vitamin E oil (preservative), essential oils, carrier oils

As to what I decided to add to make my FSG cream gel, I decided to add a scoop of coconut oil that was mixed with Maychang oil and a scoop of shea butter.

The BAD (meaning, the mistakes I made):

  • I tried to whip the gel, solid coconut oil and solid shea butter together at once. Not a good idea. It was not working. If using solid oils/butters, whip those FIRST into a smooth consistency, THEN whip in the gel.
  • I probably used too much coconut oil and shea butter. I threw in about 1/4 of a cup each. CrystalJ suggested that I use a “dollop.” The reason I think I used too much is because, when I refrigerated the gel, the coconut turned solid and made little tiny chunks all through the gel.
  • Because the coconut oil solidifies, I am not able to squeeze the gel out of the bottle. It’s too thick, so I have to open the bottle to extract it!
  • As I used a decent amount of oil/butter, the gel doesn’t have as much hold as I think it would have with less oil.

Now the GOOD:

  • It’s very moisturizing!
  • Although the coconut oil made chunks in the gel, the coconut oil does melt from body heat when emulsified in my palms! (I have also placed it in a cup of heated water and that makes the coconut oil melt in the gel.)
  • It has not left any flakes in my hair.
  • I’ve been wearing a bun almost all week and it has provided my edges with a light hold.
  • I’ve been applying it to my edges every morning and it doesn’t seem like I’m getting product build-up.

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So, I plan to keep using this and may make some more gel with the leftover seeds to add to this bottle in order to give it a little more hold. Next time, I’ll definitely use less coconut oil, will add some Vitamin E oil to act as a preservative and will use liquid oils like grapeseed, jojobo and/or EVOO instead of shea butter. I also want to try the cream gel on a braid-out set!! So, I may do that this weekend!

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Have you tried/do you use FSG? What do you think of it? If you make it regularly, what’s your favorite recipe?

Product Junkies: Storing Your Stash

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napnicpropicby Nicole of Naptural Nicole

“My name is Nicole, and I am a product junkie.”

The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem…

Only I’m not trying to recover – I love my products! I just don’t want to “look” like a junkie!

With all my goodies, avoiding this requires some good organization – and great storage space. My stash spot of choice:

imageRubbermaid 3 drawer wheeled organizer- Target- $15

Best feature of this drawer – the ability to wheel my shame into a closet when I need extra bathroom space (or the hubbin’ thinks the addiction is out of control! Lol).

Another great feature is the ability to divide up my stash drawers by “purpose.”

I’ve got one drawer each for Moisturizing/Styling, Wash/DC/Treatments and backup supplies (I hate being caught with no leave-in on Wash Day!).

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Lastly, I can’t cart this mass of staples from room to room – and my two strand twist session can go for hours (or at least one Lifetime movie) – so I’ve got a great little toteable caddy to carry the “in use” products!

imageWire Shower Caddy – Target, $10 (currently prepped for a DC, then twists!).

In my book – as long as there’s room in my bins – I have no addiction.  ;)

-N

Curlies, How do you “store your stash?”

Detox with Bentonite Clay

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As you know, I’ve regressed and have been playing with mud lately. LOL! Nah, but really, I used a bentonite clay mask on my face last Tuesday and the prototype for a new Wonder Curl clay hair mask the weekend before that. Well, this has me wanting to revisit bentonite clay for my hair. I tried it once before a couple of years ago, but wasn’t impressed. But, I’m also a firm believer in, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” I also have been wanting to try my hand at making my own Terressentials Mud Wash. If you remember, I liked it, but not the price and shipping costs. So, I started researching this a while back and resumed again this past week. In my search, I came across this post on La Coco Bella and asked if I could share as I thought y’all might be interested in bentonite clay for hair too!! Lauren kindly obliged!! 

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by Lauren of La Coco Bella

I have been using bentonite clay for 4 years and it’s been giving me BANGIN’ hair ever since. The results of treatments are phenomenal. I was first introduced to this clay back when I was stalking Fotki hair photo albums (do people still use those??). I can’t remember who, but I saw a girl use it as a hair mask and she was ranting about how it made her hair so clean, soft and defined. I used this treatment about 3 times a month for about a year and my hair was probably the healthiest it had ever been ... oh how I miss those days. lol. I’ll get there again. ;o)

I discovered that this clay was sold at Whole Foods for less than $10 for an entire pound (It’s usually sold in the facial care section). The brand I use is Aztec Secret Indian Healing clay, which is actually intended to be used as a facial mask (which is EXCELLENT for oily skin btw). In a nut shell, bentonite is a natural occurring green clay derived from volcanic ash and its super magical powers come from trace minerals like aluminum, iron, sodium, calcium, titanium but the main ones are:

  • Magnesium –It is a very necessary mineral in the body so cells in the body can survive. It is an anti-aging mineral used by the cells to function and produce energy. It rejuvenates and detoxifies the cells. Thus, without these minerals, the hair is not capable of growing and it becomes dull.

  • Potassium –This is the mineral that transport cellular wastes into the external surface so it will be washed away. Without this, the wastes build up, causing the cells to malfunction and will not be able to produce more cells. With potassium, the hair becomes healthy and supple making it resistant to breakage and split ends.

  • Silica– If silica is deficient, the hair becomes lifeless and dull, prone to split ends and the scalp turns dry for it aids in moisture retention. When the natural moisture is retained in the body, the connective tissues become resilient so, pre-mature aging possibility is hindered. Thus, silica can provide strength to the hair, stops hair fall and hair breakage.

Source http://www.vissastudios.com/bentonite-clay-hair

So I’m sure by now you’re like, what is so special about this daggone clay? Well, it cleanses, conditions and clarifies your scalp like no other. It literally sucks out all impurities, toxins, dirt, excess oil and restores your scalp back to “normal.” It’s anti-fungal and relieves itchy scalps. It’s like a magnet; it just attracts everything “bad” going on in your hair lol (this is why it is so good for your face). The best part is, it is not drying and actually conditions your hair making it more manageable, soft and light. I’ve noticed my curls stay defined longer and even a little more elongated.

NOTE: Yes I have tried the Terressentials Mud Wash (it’s still sitting in my shower) that Naptural85 made famous. Although the mud wash smells great and works well, the main ingredients are simply aloe vera juice, bentonite clay and essentials oils … all of which I have. So, I will use up the wash that I have and just continue make my own “mud wash.” It is WAY cheaper too!

So, I mix my powder with apple cider vinegar (ACV) and water. It fizzles like soda when you mix it … hehe, fun stuff. I recently tried aloe vera juice with a few drops of essential oils after one of my twitter curlfriends suggested it. The great thing about this clay is you can mix it with a bunch of things (i.e. coconut milk, marshmallow root, conditioner, yogurt, tea, etc.). I have yet to try any of these but I certainly plan to.

Oh, and I read somewhere that you should NOT use a metal spoon or bowl to mix. I guess the properties of the metal interact with the clay minerals and decrease the potency. Clearly I used a metal spoon … oops!

You can apply the paste on dry or wet hair, but I prefer wet because the water helps distribute the paste better. I keep my spritzer bottle at hand and spray each section as I go. I tend to go a little heavy with the application and make sure I really cover my scalp and massage it in. I am sure my excessiveness is just wasteful, but I’ve always done it this way. lol. Oh, and thank goodness I have an understanding/non-judgemental boyfriend, because I know I look craaaaazay.

See exhibit A….

Such a mess, I’m a big azz kid, I like to play with mud, haha. I’m sure you can do a better job at keeping it on just your hair and not all over the place like me. :o)

Told you I’m a little heavy handed, lol. Ever seen Link in that movie Encino Man? lol

I leave the clay in for up to 60 minutes, but you can leave it in for as little as 15-20. Rinsing out the clay is surprisingly a breeze, even after the clay starts to dry. It softens up almost on contact with water. But, be sure you rinse really well because I’ve missed a couple spots and had little dried up patches of clay on my scalp, lol, cuuuute.

Once you rinse, rinse, rinse, you’ll notice how incredibly soft your hair is. Some curlies even skip the conditioner, BUT if you’re a product junkie like me, you don’t miss out on any opportunity to use your fave conditioner. lol

If you are skeptical about this treatment, TRY IT. Your hair will LOVE it :o) Thank me later.

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So, as I indicated far above, I’ve been meaning to try this for a while … like, a year! LOL! So, I picked up some marshmallow root and nettle extracts last March or so at my local health food store. They are still unopened. Anywho, the plan is to try making my own mask with the bentonite clay, aloe vera juice (bentonite clay is alkaline, ACV brings the pH to a more acidic level closer to hair, but AVJ brings it to a pH in the hair range of 4.5-5.5), marshmallow root extract, nettle extract and maybe some coconut or EVOO. You know I’ll keep you guys updated on that!!

Do you use bentonite clay for hair? If so, what’s your recipe?! What benefits to you see from using bentonite clay?

 

Wash Weekend Quickie

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Remember earlier I that I said that we’d discuss how detangling went wash day after wearing a shrunken curly fro’ turned bun?! Well, I’m not going to make you wait long ;)!! Aren’t I nice?! *lol*

Anywho, this is going to be another quick post because it is 11 pm and I need to get to bed because this is gonna be a rough week at work. The reason this post can be quick is because wash day was THREE steps on Saturday. You see, I decided that I wanted to wear my hair down for The Mane Event and, seeing as how it was a frizzy, shrunken, tangled, lop-sided mess that I hadn’t even pre-pooed on Friday night AND I slept in, I didn’t have much time to get ‘er done.

Well, as luck would have it, a few weeks earlier Wonder Curl had sent me a prototype of her new Cleansing Clay Mask. It’s touted to cleanse, detangle and condition all-in-one product! Well, I was definitely going to put it to the test!

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I know, I know. It doesn’t look that bad. Don’t let it fool you,
there were matted knots all up in that mess!

My Three Step Wash Day went as follows:

  1. Pre-pooed with Vatika Oil mixed with Aubrey Honeysuckle Rose and GPB conditioners on hair and a mix of JBCO and jojoba oil on scalp (30 min. with heat cap). (I made NO attempt to detangle or section my hair.)
  2. Washed, finger detangled/conditioned with Wonder Curl’s Cleansing Mask, then rinsed (45 min.).
  3. Applied leave-in (KCKT/AVJ/JBCO/jojoba oil) and sealed with coconut oil whip.

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Seriously, THAT WAS IT!! No overnight pre-poo, no detangling, no sectioning, no twisting, no separate shampoo, mo separate conditioning, no DC, no cool and seal. This may have been my fastest wash day in a long time! So yeah, stay tuned for the Wonder Curl Cleansing Clay Mask, launching spring 2013!!

Anywho, once I got home after dinner that evening, I immediately placed my hair into 8 braids. Although I love big hair, I wasn’t loving the shape that my WnG was taking on and I also don’t savor the tangles that it begets. I didn’t apply any additional product. I just braided it up and dampened the braids with a little bit of water. Then, I put on my open-ended pocket bonnet and hit the sack.

I released the braids on Sunday morning for a decent braid-out.

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But y’all know that I wasn’t feeling that flat and tame hair. Ummmm … no. So, I commenced to fluffling by flipping my head upside down and massaging my roots.

10Ah yeah, that’s more like it!!

And shortly after … I bunned it! LOL!!! But, not before trying out one of two knitted winter headband that I picked up this summer for less than $10 at my local flea market!

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Cute, right? I kind of forgot all about them! And, it’s perfect for a bunning challenge when I’m wearing a big, high bun!! Definitely going to need this to keep the ears warm as winter seems like it wants to be real this year!!

And I am out-ta here!!

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How do  you shorten your wash day when you don’t have a lot of time?

CurlKit Reveal

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About a year or so ago, a few brilliant business minds came up with the idea to satisfy the curiosity and obsessions of natural hair Product Junkies (PJs) everywhere without breaking their wallet … and while still capitalizing upon the affliction ;). The likes of CurlKit and CurlBox were born!! These companies send subscribers a monthly supply of hair goodies (samples and some full size products) for around $20 a month so that PJs or newbies looking for their staple and/or holy grail products can sample to their hearts’ content. What makes it more exciting (or frustrating, depends on your perspective and if you get in or not ;)) is that the ability to subscribe is limited to certain periods and numbers of customers. I think this is because these businesses are new and growing and have to make certain that they can acquire enough products to satisfy the orders for their subscribers.

Anywho, back in September, I responded to CurlKit’s solicitation for a 31 Bloggers in 31 days feature and got selected (check out my post here)!! Well, imagine my surprise when I got tagged on Instagram and discovered that my Best Bun Practices for Length Retention article was featured in the December CurlKit magazine, CurlLife!!

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Anywho, just wanted to share that and this reveal of the December CurlKit that was taped by my IG friend!! You can get a little taste of what it’s like to get your very own CurlKit delivered to your doorstep!

via Backto85

Okay, you know that I’m really sharing this because of the shout out!! LOL!! You are all my (virtual) friends in my head ;)!!

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Do you have a CurlKit and/or CurlBox subscription? If so, which one(s)? How do you like it/them? If you have both, how do they compare?

SKILLS NOTES: Product Ingredients

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So, I was thinking about how overwhelming it can be when you first discover the online natural hair web-iverse. There is sooooo much information out there and some of it is very technical, while other is anecdotal. And, while the education can be enlightening, it can also cause more issues than remaining ignorant!! Been there …  done that. LOL!! However, I do believe there is a “sweet spot.”  You know … that point where you’ve read enough, watched enough and tried enough to make informed decisions about what products, techniques and regimens will work for you and also know enough to figure out on which ones you should take a pass? *Singing* “Walk on byyyyyyyy.”

Well, all that being said, it may take some time to reach your very own personal “sweet spot.” Shoot, it took me a year plus! LOL! But, I thought that I might be able to help some reach their spot more quickly and navigate some of the ins and outs of natural hair by providing some fundamentals in a simple format, as well as links to additional information for those desiring more details. And thus, the idea for Skills Notes was born ;). (Yup, Skills Notes. Hairscapades was too long and Skills has been my nickname since college. ;))

So, with that, welcome to the first installment of SKILLS NOTES!

PRODUCT INGREDIENTS

SULFATES: Cleansing agents found in many shampoos. Traditional sulfates can be harsh and strip hair of necessary moisture and oils. However, there are now many cleansers on the market that are sulfate-free and/or formulated with mild sulfates. WHO NEEDS TO KNOW: Those who are following the Curly Girl (CG) method, the Tightly Curly Method (TCM) and/or those with dryness issues. WHY: These individuals should avoid harsh sulfates and seek sulfate-free or mild sulfate alternatives.

For more information on sulfates and the alternatives, check out these articles:
Naturallycurly.com: Which Sulfates Are Safer Than the Others?
CurlyNikki.com: What’s in Your Shampoo

SILICONES: Conditioning agents used in shampoos, conditioners, stylers, serums and glosssers that provide slip and shine. Most ingredients ending in “cone,” “col,” “conol” or “zane” are silicones. There are four basic categories of silicones: water-soluble, slightly water-soluble, non water-soluble but repels build-up, non water-soluble and build-up prone. Non water-soluble silicones can eventually prevent the hair from absorbing sufficient water/moisture to remain hydrated, which can cause dry hair.

WHO NEEDS TO KNOW: Those who are following the CG Method or the TCM and/or conditioner only regimens. WHY: These individuals should either avoid non-water soluble silicones, use mild sulfate or sulfate-free shampoos that remove silicones or incorporate a “clarifying” sulfate shampoo into their regimen as needed. 

Want to learn more? Check out these articles:
NaturallyCurly.com: The Real Scoop on Silicones (silicones explained)
NaturallyCurly.com: What’s the Scoop on Silicones (chart with recommended cleansing agents by cone)

PROTEINS: Protein is used in many conditioners to reinforce and strengthen the hair structure, especially when hair is damaged or weakened by chemicals (i.e. permanent colors and/or chemical relaxers and perms). Protein treatments should be followed by moisturizing conditioners to restore elasticity or the hair may become brittle and feel dry. “Protein sensitivity” is a term used for hair that responds negatively to protein, either because the hair has sufficient protein or becomes brittle despite post-treatment moisturizing conditioners.

WHO NEEDS TO KNOW: Everyone ;). WHY: Ensuring that hair is strong and moisturized aids in appearance and reduces breakage that can impede length retention goals.

For a listing of proteins as well as tons of other useful information, check out this link:
CurlyNikki.com: Curls 101 FAQs

GLYCERIN: Humectant found in many products that is used to attract water into the hair shaft.

WHO NEEDS TO KNOW: Those with porous and frizz-prone hair, those with low porosity hair and those with dry hair. WHY: In humid climates (i.e. high dew points), glycerin can cause high porosity hair to frizz and tangle. For those with dry or low porosity hair that is hard to moisturize, glycerin can help draw water from the environment into the hair and help reduce/eliminate dryness. Many curl activators contain glycerin in order to aid hair in moisture retention and some naturals/curlies have found success with these type of products.

For a list of common humectants, see the CurlyNikki.com: Curls 101 FAQs link above.

ALCOHOLS: There are two basic categories of alcohols used in hair products: short chain drying alcohols (bad) and long chain “fatty” alcohols (good). Short chain drying alcohols evaporate quickly, so they are used in products to decrease the time it takes hair to dry. In contrast, long chain “fatty” alcohols are lubricating, moisturizing and “film-forming” in order to lock in moisture.

WHO NEEDS TO KNOW: Everyone. WHY: Short-chain drying alcohols should be avoided whereas long-chain fatty alcohols are fine and can be sought out for their moisturizing properties.

Drying alcohols: SD alcohol, SD alcohol 40, Alcohol denatured, Propanol, Propyl alcohol, Isopropyl alcohol

Fatty alcohols: Behenyl alcohol, Cetearyl alcohol, Cetyl alcohol, Isocetyl alcohol, Isostearyl alcohol, Lauryl alcohol, Myristyl alcohol, Stearyl alcohol, C30-50 Alcohols, Lanolin alcohol

MINERAL OIL: Mineral oil is used in products as an emollient, to seal in moisture, block humidity and enhance clumping/curl formation. It is non-water soluble. Mineral oil does not penetrate into the hair shaft to moisturize on its own. It simply aids in sealing in water/moisture. Mineral oil has gotten a bad rap, because it is often used in products with other ingredients (like petrolatum and lanolin), which are sticky and/or greasy. These combination of ingredients can cause build-up on the hair and scalp, as well as attract dust, dirt and lint from the environment. Some naturals avoid mineral oil at all costs, but it does have benefits. Cosmetic grade mineral oil can be light and non-sticky.

WHO NEEDS TO KNOW: Those who follow co-wash only/shampoo free regimens and those with scalp issues. WHY: Products with mineral oil combined with petrolatum, lanolin and some vegetable oils can be sticky, greasy and build-up on the hair and clog the pores of the scalp. Therefore, they require a cleansing agents to remove.  

Want to learn more about mineral oil and how it stacks up against coconut oil? Find more information here:
NaturallyCurly.com: Using Mineral Oil for Hair
NaturallyCurly.com: Mineral Oil vs. Coconut Oil – Which is Better?

PETROLATUM: Petrolatum is used in products to seal in water, provide a barrier against heat and chemicals and add sheen to the hair. It is non-water soluble. Petrolatum is sticky, which can attract dust, dirt and lint from the environment. It can cause build-up on the hair and clog the pores of the scalp. Petrolatum is found in many traditional hair “greases.”

WHO NEEDS TO KNOW: Those who follow co-wash only/shampoo free regimens and those with scalp issues. WHY: Products with petrolatum, lanolin and some vegetable oils can be sticky, greasy and build-up on the hair and clog the pores of the scalp. Therefore, it requires a cleansing agent to remove.

PARABENS: Preservatives used to extend the shelf life of products by protecting against a wide range of microorganisms. The most common parabens found in cosmetic products are methylparaben, propylparaben and butylparaben. WHO NEEDS TO KNOW: Those who want to use all-natural and/or organic products exclusively. Those who want to avoid this preservative due to concerns about toxicity and studies that indicated that parabens disrupts hormones and were detected in breast tumors. WHY: Self-explanatory ;).

For more information about the FDA’s position on parabens and the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) assessment and recommendations, check out these articles:
FDA.gov/Product and Ingredients Safety: Parabens
EWG.com: Parabens and Skin Deep Database
SafeProducts.org: Parabens

And that’s it for the first edition of SKILLS NOTES, Product Ingredients!

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So, how’d I do?? What ingredients would you add to the list of basics?