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Curl gives you answers right from the experts, including our Stylist Panel of professionals who specialize in curly hair. Meet the panelists here!

Q&A: Are there any ingredients that are objectively bad and should be avoided? -Khali Y.

ELISE SAYS: I don’t know that anything is objectively bad, but I do believe that there are many ingredients (and products) that don’t align with the goals of most curly-haired folks. An ingredient I specifically avoid is sodium hydroxide. It’s used in products typically to “balance pH,” but it’s also the main ingredient in relaxer products. I’m not a cosmetic chemist, but it’s a no from me.


DIANNE SAYS: I’m not a big fan of real food in the hair as the molecular weight isn’t small enough to penetrate the hair shaft. If you’re trying to grow your hair and/or keep it healthy, stay away from synthetic products and use plant-based.

LIV SAYS: My No. 1 rule of thumb is to avoid anything that ends in “cone” on an ingredient list.

TORIAH SAYS: I agree with Liv — anything that ends in “cone.” And if an oil is in the first five ingredients, don’t use that product.

Got a question? Send it to our stylist panel at stylists@readcurl.com.