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In the ingredient descriptions: Good means that I like to see this in a product's list of ingredients. Okay means this product appears safe for a curly person like me to use. Caution means that this ingredient may not be good in some hair care products, or for some people. Avoid means this ingredient may hurt your hair. If you see this ingredient in a hair product, it's best to put it down and walk away.

Please select a letter to search for ingredients:

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This term is often used to mean solutions made from plants that have been processed so it's easy to use in personal care products. Since many plants aren't soluble in water, they must be processed with solvents. The solvents may be water, alcohols (like denatured ethanol or isopropanol), glycols, oils, or mineral oils. These are not generally listed with the extract on the product label, which is of concern to the FDA. Often, when many plant extracts are put into a product, they are joined by "and" as they are listed on a product label, instead of each one being listed separately (though this is not approved of by the CTFA). This is done to make the extracts seem like one ingredient, and is therefore put higher up in a product's ingredient list than if it had been listed on it's own (implying there is more extract in the product).

After the plants or plant parts are collected, they are often air-dried, ground up, and extracted with a solvent. The extract is filtered, concentrated, and sometimes more solvent is added. Afterward, a preservative is added, often it's a paraben.

Natural extracts in personal products are usually there for marketing appeal. There is little chance they can actually do anything in the product, because they are so diluted by the time they are in the product. If any of the extracts actually were active in the product, the product would then have to be classified as a drug.

Often extracts are put in the product for "conditioning", or another vauge cosmetic claim. Then it is up to the person using (or purchasing) this product to interpret what that claim means to them [Hunting (Conditioning) pgs 200-202].
Source(s): Hunting


Applewhite, Thomas H., ed. Proceedings of the World Conference on Lauric Oils: Sources, Processing, and Applications
AOCS Publishing, 1994.

Barel, André O., Marc Paye, and Howard I. Maibach., eds. Handbook of Cosmetic Science and Technology, Second Edition
Marcel Dekker, Inc., 2001.

Begoun, Paula. Don’t Go Shopping for Hair-Care Products Without Me. 3rd Edition.
Renton: Beginning Press, 2005.

Begoun, Paula. The Beauty Bible.
Renton: Beginning Press, 2002.

Begoun, Paula. Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me.
Renton: Beginning Press, 2003.

Bellum, Sarah, ed. The Beauty Brains: Real Scientists Answer Your Beauty Questions
New York: Brains Publishing, 2008.

Gottschalk, Tari E. and McEwen, Gerald N, Jr. PhD, eds. International Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary and Handbook, Tenth Edition 2004, Volumes 1-4.
Washington D. C.: The Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragance Association, 2004.

Halal, John Hair Structure and Chemistry Simplified, Fifth Edition
Albany: Milady, 2002.

Hunting, Anthony L.L. Encyclopedia of Conditioning Rinse Ingredients.
Cranford, NJ: Micelle Press, Inc., 1987.

Hunting, Anthony L.L. Encyclopedia of Shampoo Ingredients.
Cranford, NJ: Micelle Press, Inc., 1983.

Johnson, Dale H. (Ed.). Hair and Hair Care, Cosmetic Science and Technology Series. Vol. 17.
New York: Marcel Dekker, 1997. Print.

Nnanna, Ifendu A. and Jiding Xia., eds. Protein-Based Surfactants: Synthesis: Physicochemical Properties, and Applications (Surfactant Science)
Madison Heights: CRC, 2001.

Quadflieg, Jutta Maria. Fundamental properties of Afro-American hair as related to their straightening/relaxing behaviour.
Diss. U of Rheinisch-Westfälischen Technischen Hochschule Aachen, 2003.

Schueller, Randy and Perry Romanowski, eds. Conditioning Agents for Hair and Skin.
New York: Marcel Dekker, Inc., 1999.

Winter, Ruth M.S. A Consumer's Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients: Complete Information About the Harmful and Desirable Ingredients Found in Cosmetics and Cosmeceuticals
New York: Three Rivers Press, 2005.

Zviak, Charles., ed. The Science of Hair Care (Dermatology)
New York: Marcel Dekker, Inc., 1986.


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