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Paraben-free products: what does that mean?

If you follow the CG-method, you’ve probably seen terms like ‘paraben-free products’ or ‘0% parabens’. But what does that mean? Parabens make cosmetics last longer, so you would think it’s a good ingredient. So why is it avoided within the Curly Girl Method? In this article we’ll explain what parabens are, why they are bad and how to recognize them on the ingredient list of hair products. So after reading this article, you are one step closer to the best hair care for your curls!
Also read: 6 tips to make wavy hair curl better

In this article:

In this article:

Parabens within the Curly Girl Method

Within the CG-method there are a few basic guidelines, such as eliminating harmful ingredients and hair products, discovering your curl type and hair characteristics, and learning new habits. Parabens is one of the ingredients that you should avoid. You can replace this ingredient with products with milder agents. The result: beautiful and healthy curls!

Also read: Curly Girl Method: your ultimate guide

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Wat are parabens?

Parabens is a collective name for a number of chemical substances. They are preservatives that ensure that cosmetics spoil less quickly and therefore have a longer shelf life. There are several types of preservatives, but parabens are the most commonly used and are found in over 75% of skin care products. They have been used as a preservative for over 80 years.

Usually there are several parabens in a product. The quantity depends on the product and packaging. For example, a product in a bottle with a spray cap contains less parabens than a product in a jar. This is because you take the product with your hands out of a jar, while you spray it from a bottle. That’s more hygienic, will spoil less quickly, and therefore needs less parabens. How many parabens a product contains doesn’t have to be stated on the packaging. The ingredients are listed in order of concentration. So up front are the ingredients that contain the most of it.

But what is bad about parabens? Parabens have a similar effect on your curls as sulfates, only they are slightly less aggressive. However, they can cause dry, frizzy hair, irritation and itching. That’s why parabens are avoided within the CG Method.

In addition, parabens in cosmetics can enter your body to a certain extent through your skin. Studies have shown that many types of parabens can act like the hormone estrogen in the body, which can cause a hormonal imbalance. And that may be linked to breast cancer, early puberty and a reduction in fertility. Yet a direct link between parabens and breast cancer has never been proven. However, despite the fact that parabens have been used in many products for a long time, little research has been done on possible negative effects.

So according to European legislation, parabens are officially approved for use under the Cosmetics Directive (76/768/EEC), which governs all laws and regulations related to cosmetics and toiletries. In addition, it is stated that all cosmetic products and toiletries that contain parabens can be used safely.

Nevertheless, Denmark, Sweden and France have taken legal steps to ban certain parabens and inform vulnerable populations about them. For example, the government in Denmark provides information to pregnant women through public campaigns, on how to avoid so-called endocrine disrupting substances as much as possible.

So it remains somewhat unclear, because opinions about parabens differ. But since they don’t do anything good for your hair either, it’s reason enough within the CG Method to use paraben free products. And luckily there are plenty of options for that!

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How are parabens labeled?

To check whether cosmetics such as hair products contain parabens, it’s best to take a look at the ingredients list. You can usually recognize parabens easily, because they end in ‘-parabens’. These are the most common ones:

  • Butylparabens
  • Ethylparabens
  • Methylparabens
  • Propylparabens

Also read: How to stimulate hair growth: 5 tips

Kurlify helps: paraben-free products

Fortunately, parabens are used less and less in cosmetics. For example, packaging increasingly states ‘free from parabens’ or ‘0% parabens’. But even if it’s not on there, it doesn’t mean there are parabens in the product. Good to know is that products that are free of parabens foam slightly less. But don’t worry, they clean your hair just as well. 

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