Posts tagged ‘hazards ‘




Warning: Beware of natural hair products. Danger! Danger!!

Okay. I really, really need to discuss this important topic with you.  I have been waiting way too long for this. Natural hair products and natural hair product ingredients. Those words can be dangerous and I do not put quotations around them because there are some natural compounds that are dangerous some are even hair products.  Before I go on to tell you what those ingredients are I have to tell you the story of how I got here in the first place.

Ok.  So I was on Youtube one day browsing around and somehow I came across this video called Brazilian Keratin Treatment on Natural Hair and I was thinking, “If you have BKT, does that not mean that you are not natural?”  That is like calling yourself natural if you have a relaxer.  I mean seriously they do the same thing  which is relax the texture of your hair permanently.  So I asked her the above question “If you have BKT, does that not mean that you are not natural?”

Then she said, “I am a natural with a BKT.”  Which is basically…anyway…that’s not the foolishness I want to discuss.

Another girl commented and said, “I’m an Earthy girl and I got it done twice. The product they used on my was pretty much made of all natural materials..”

I asked her, what is an earthy girl and she said it meant that she did not wear make-up unless it’s all vegan and used all natural vegan products and blah, blah, blah.

And I said something along the lines of, Listen Dr. Oz said on his show to stay away from BKTs because they contain formaldehyde and what it is good about natural hair products?  Ephedrine is natural and it killed some people.  Poison Ivy is natural but I would not rub it on my skin or face.  (Sorry, but I have already revealed to you that I am a rude person so don’t be surprised).

There's a white person on the bottle but black people use this too

Later that night I had dinner with my biology teacher from high school and told her about that foolish girl (Sorry, o. I just finished watching a Nollywood film).  My former biology teacher told me, “Formaldehyde is natural and organic.”

Oh my goodness!!  And that is why I am telling you this.  These skin product companies will tell you that their products are natural and they are not lying, o.  However, that does not mean that these products are safe.  Formaldehyde (CH2O) comes naturally from forest fires and is an organic compound in the scientific sense of the word because it contains carbon.  It is more importantly a natural carcinogen, meaning it causes cancer.  Seriously.  Look in your chemistry book.  Formaldehyde is not only toxic.  It is highly toxic and it is natural, like Britney. =)   Also be warned that some companies do not call it formaldehyde but rather methylene glycol.

You're toxic, she's slipping under

I would also like to mention that a Brazilian woman died after using a Brazilian Keratin Treatment, which contains formaldehyde once due to asphyxiation (suffocating) because her room had poor circulation.  I was watching Dr. G Medical Examiner yesterday and apparently death from chemical toxicity is quite common in the US, so please be careful with all chemicals that you use.

There are several other natural and organic compounds that are also dangerous.  Cyanide (CN) naturally occurs in apple, mango, and peach, although in too small of a quantity to hurt you unless it is rotten.  That is why you should not eat rotten fruit.  The makers of the BKTs may also say that the formaldehyde is in a small amount.  That is one thing that is a lie.  It’s usally 10% and that is a very dangerous amount. But back to cyanide. Many forms of cyanide are highly toxic.  Cyanide is also organic because it contains a carbon. Methane (CH4) is also natural, organic, and violently reactive.  It is flammable.

Methanol, CH3OH, or methyl acohol is also organic because of its carbon,  it is corrosive to rubber and other synthetic materials.  Its main hazards not only include being highly flammable and but also toxic (like Britney =) ).  If ingested it can cause permanent blindness and can be fatal (meaning deadly) whether through ingestion (eating), inhalation (breathing), or absorption through the skin.  Methanol is natural because it is produced naturally through anaerobic metabolism of bacteria so watch out.

I do not know that these organic compounds, other than formaldehyde, are used in hair products, but I am urging you to be careful about hair products that are claimed to be natural.  They may very well be natural but they may also be dangerous for your hair and your body.

Parabens can be natural.  Methylparabens naturally occur in blueberries and I feel bad for authoritatively  saying in a previous post that parabens cause cancer.  There have been studies that show that parabens have been found in the breast of women who have breast cancer and they may cause skin cancer when applied on skin and exposed to the sun, so parabens may cause skin cancer but not necessarily.

That natural products can be dangerous does not change my previous statement that manufactured ingredients are sometimes dangerous as well.  The common main ingredients in relaxers (NaOH, CaOH, LiOH, KOH)   have high pH levels (11-14) meaning they will damage your hair.  Most of them fall into the category of corrosive. A corrosive substance is one that will destroy or irreversibly damage another surface or substance with which it comes into contact.  Because of this, I would avoid not only relaxers but also Nair and other hair removal creams such as those by Sally Hensen which contain the same products.

Non-natural hair product ingredients:

  • Sodium Hydroxide (NaOH, Lye)  —Corrosive
  • Calcium Hydroxide (CaOH)—Corrosive
  • Lithium Hydroxide (LiOH)— Corrosive
  • Potassium Hydroxide (KOH)— Corrosive, harmful
  • Guanidine Hydroxide (CH6N3OH)— Hazards not listed. How convenient.

Natural (Toxic) Compounds

  •  Formaldehyde (CH2O) — Toxic
  • Cyanide (CN)–since cyanide is actually an anion its hazard classification actually depends on the cation its attached to. Sodium Cyanide is not flammable, toxic, etc.  Hydrogen cyanide is extremely flammable, very toxic, and dangerous for the environment
  • Methane (CH4) –Highly flammable
  • Methanol, CH3OH –flammable and toxic

I could go on for days.

Ok. After all this information I shared, I do not want you to leave here feeling helpless and hopeless.  The question now is: What do we do about it? If natural products are unsafe and manufactured hair products are unsafe, what am I supposed to buy?  Great questions. I will answer.   There is an online cosmetic database at http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/.  Please visit and type in the name of a product you currently use or one you are thinking of buying into the search engine and you can find out about what is in the product.  It will show you the level of toxicity in the product you are using and the level of toxicity of each ingredient.

I will also tell you that there are natural products that are better for you cocoa nut oil, olive oil,  aloe vera gel, jojoba oil, glycerin, honey (only in conditioner that you will wash out).  But the question is, how do I know this?  There is a woman, I should actually call her a chemist, on a website called http://www.naturallycurly.com/.  Her name is Tonya McKay and has a BS in Chemistry an MS in Polymer Science (I have neither of those degrees but I read her articles. hehe).  She writes articles discussing the safest and best products to use daily, so please check her out.  Here is one of her articles on hair oils . In another article, she scientifically (but clearly in laymen’s terms) breaks down the pros and cons of using cocoa nut oil versus mineral oil.  You can even email your questions to her: curlchemist@naturallycurly.com.  Please do that.  Please.

The main points here:  Do not trust a product label that says all natural or all organic unless USDA approved. Look at the ingredients and do your own research using the resources provided (Tonya McKay from naturallycurly.com and the cosmetic database). There is also another article on BKT: http://www.curlynikki.com/2011/04/brazilian-blowouts-lying-to-kick-it.html#comments. Ok.  Sorry for sounding so heat but it really disturbs me when people are harming themselves unknowingly or when people harm themselves knowing but find a way to justify such actions. Thank you for your time and patience.  That is all for today.  I have to get to working on job applications and GREs. Yay! Bye.

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Add a comment August 16, 2011

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