The ingredients list of your shampoo can often seem like it’s written in a foreign language. It can be hard to navigate which ingredients are good for your hair and which ones can cause damage. Even hair care products that say “natural” can contain really harmful chemicals. Perhaps one of the trickiest hair care ingredients is alcohol. While some alcohols can be good for your hair, others can be extremely harmful to your locks. So how do you know which is which?
You should always avoid “short chain alcohols.” An easy trick to remember is to avoid alcohols that have “prop” in the name. Examples include: Isopropyl alcohol, Propanol, Propyl alcohol, and SD alcohol 40. If it includes a “prop,” it’s an ingredient you should drop. Isopropyl alcohol (which is basically just rubbing alcohol), is particularly bad for your hair. It drys out the hair follicle and will leave your strands feeling like straw. It’s also highly flammable and toxic when inhaled. Not exactly something you want close to your face. Bad alcohols are most often found in finishing sprays, like hairspray.
Alcohol is also an ingredient in many perfumes, so you should never spray perfume in your hair. If you spray perfume in your hair on a regular basis, you risk drying out your hair. Look out for shampoos and other hair products that are not naturally scented. If you want your locks to smell good but want to avoid causing any damage, try a perfume specifically formulated for hair. Herbivore Botanicals makes a great hair perfume that is all-natural and nourishes your hair.
Remember: not all alcohols are bad. Good alcohols include the fatty alcohols that are from animals, plants and oils. These alcohols add moisture by drawing water to the hair. They are also used for detangling hair and adding thickness. A few safe alcohols are: Cetearyl alcohol, Cetyl alcohol, and Stearyl alcohol. And, of course, wine. A glass of wine to sip on is always a nice complement to good hair mask and a bubble bath.