Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Let's Talk Hair..So What Exactly Are SURFACTANTS??

Hola Chicas/Chicos..I pray all is well with everyone.

Ok, Ok, Ok, I know that during this wonderful journey you have had your fill of these words that may have never crossed your mind during your relaxed days..I mean, I know I wasn't too concerned about reading product labels due to the fact that I was already loading my temple with a plethora of harmful ingredients. To me, it would've been like ordering a greasy bacon cheeseburger loaded with extra mayo (yuck), extra large salt drenched fries and then requesting a diet cranberry juice ..WHAT??

So since I have become so involved in my natural journey, I am constantly having to educate myself on different terms..what's harmful..what's drying..what causes frizz..etc, etc. And this was a term that I have come upon many times when researching ingreidients. So, as usual, when I learn something, I want to share it with you guys...enjoy!

SURFACTANTS...What the heck are they?
  • Basically, Surfactants are substances that are capable of dissolving oils and holding dirt in suspension so that it can be rinsed away.
  • They are mostly used in skin cleansers and shapoos which often claim to contain 'natural ingredients'
  • When synthetic chemicals are used, some surfactants are better known as Sulfates
  • When natural ingredients are used, they are known as natural saponins (these gently cleanse the hair and scalp without stripping the natural oils)

SYNTHETIC SURFACTANTS..So, what's the big deal??
  • Ethoxylated Surfactants (those that utilize ethylene or propylene oxide in the chemical reaction) is that they are often contaminated with dioxane, a well known and potent carcinogen. 
  • A related toxic chemical (dioxin) and known carcinogen sprayed on the Vietnam jungle during Agent Orange caused hundreds of thousands of birth defects and cancers in Vietnamese civilians and huge increases in the cancer rates for US and Australian army personnel.
  • These surfactants are listed on labels as ingredients ending with -eth, (like laureth) or containing the phrase PEG (Poly Ethylene Glycol), or PPG (Poly Propylene Glycol). Another dangerous class of surfactants are amides. These are listed on labels containing the term TEA - TriEthanolAmine, DEA - DiEthanolAmine and MEA MonoEthanolAmine. All compounds containing TEA, DEA, and MEA can undergo nitrosation with other chemicals to form nitrosamines, which are carcinogenic. One study found that over 40% f products containing triethanolamine (TEA) were contaminated with these potent carcinogens. (sorry to report, Naturalistas..but the ever so popular, EcoStyler Gel has the surfactant TEA (Treithanolamine) in it.

SURFACTANTS...The Synthetic
  • Sodium or Ammonium Lauryl or Laureth Sulphate
  • Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate
  • Sodium Lauroyl or Cocoyl Sarcosinate
  • Cocomidopropyl Betaine
  • TEA compounds
  • DEA compounds
  • PEG (Polyethylene Glycol) compounds
  • Quarternium -7,15,31,60 etc
  • Lauryl or Cocoyl Sarcosine
  • Disodium Oleamide or Dioctyl Sulfosuccinate

  • Castille Soap
  • Yucca Extract
  • Soap Wart
  • Quillaja Bark Extract

So, Lovely Naturals and Naturalistas, I hope this is helping to shed some light on the subject of being O'Natural and achieving healthy hair..I mean, isn't this what our main goal is?? Bottom line, many of us left the world of 'creamy crack' due to the damaging and harmful carcinogenic (cancer causing) ingredients found in them...Soooo, why go back to adorning your beautiful crown with similar harsh and many times harmful carcinogenic ingredients found in many shampoos, conditioners, gels, stylers and hair dyes..Let's stay educated and motivated. You've been equipped with the knowledge, now let's be proactive.. 

May the force be with you!

Have A Happy Healthy O'Natural Day!!

credits: photo at
           info: some info found at


    1. Girl I used to do hair professionally and I didn't know this much about what I was using back then. If you don't have a degree, you might as well get one! Great information! Much love.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. AS ALWAYS!!!! Thank you my beautiful sista for braking it down. Much Love

    4. Thanks glad this was helpful..keep inspiring

    5. Hi!

      Im your new follower!

      I really liked your site! Keep up the good work!

      Do visit my blog too at

    6. Blessings,

      Thank you for putting me "in the know"


    7. @ Alia..I will definitely check out your blog and thank you for following


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