Thursday, 26 March 2009

Hairy Thursday : What is in the jar

Today is the debut of the hair product comparisons. After a few google searches I have found that in natural hair two of the most praised brands are Oyin and Carol's daughter and one of the most villified brands is Pantene. I have therefore decided to line them up and take a peak into what they put in the jar. I have also taken the liberty of slapping the marketing off and water is named just as water (not pure water/spring water etc). Also oils are named in English, no latin names.
Oyin Handmade Grand Poo Bar Ingredients: Water, glycerin, sodium stearate and sodium oleate, sorbitol, stearic acid, lauric acid, African black soap, cocoa butter, cetyl alcohol, coconut oil, lavender, tea tree and citrus essential oils
Pantene Pro-V Relaxed & Natural Breakage Defense Deep Conditioning Mask Ingredients: Water, stearyl alchohol, amodimethicone, behentrimonium chloride, cetyl alcohol, coconut oil, jojoba seed oil, panthenol, pathenyl ethyl ether, fragrance, lysine hcl, methyl tyrosinate hcl, histidine, benzyl alcohol, disodium edta, methylchloroisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone, sodium hydroxide.
Carol’s daughter - Khoret Amen Hair Smoothie Ingredients: Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Amodimethicone, Sunflower Seed Oil, Brassicamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Olive Fruit Oil, PEG-40 Castor Oil, Polysorbate 20, Sweet Almond Oil, Wheat Germ Oil, Aspartic Acid, Cyclopentasiloxane, Fragrance, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Potassium Sorbate, Hexylene Glycol, Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Tetrasodium EDTA, Simethicone, Panthenol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Aloe Vera Juice.
I have taken the liberty of highlighting the first 5 ingredients. Most large cosmetic companies list their ingredients in order of greatest quantity but smaller companies sometimes don't. However, look through the products and notice the similarities between them. Do you see it?
My analysis of the marketing strategies is
1.Oyin's marketing is reliant on the consumer (you) wanting a beautiful handmade product where people care about what they are putting in.
2.Pantene's marketing is reliant on volume sales, the product must be tailored to you hence the name 'relaxed&naturals'.
3.Carol's daughter is driven on a natural hair care basis. There is some commentary in forums where people seem to have thought that their products are 'natural' and seem disappointed to read the ingredient list.
So what is the point of this post? First the 'chemicals' that are often highlighted as unnatural are actually usually made in laboratories from 'natural' sources. For example, cetyl alcohol is derived from coconut oil. Is it unnatural?
Secondly, many so called natural products are often named this way by the consumer and not by the company. Read the labels more carefully, you may find them interesting. Next, I'll let you know why you should change your hair conditioner!


  1. This is interesting, I am working on my own hair product line but havent found the need to use any alcohols in my products

  2. Hi Nicole - This is interesting. Alot of the fatty alcohols added to the hair products are actually quite conditioning as opposed to traditionally drying alcohols like ethanol. I love that you are starting your own product line, it's great to see enterprising people!

  3. Thanks for doing this comparison!

    One thing I notice in your comparison is that you used a SHAMPOO BAR from Oyin, and conditioners from the other Carol's Daughter and Pantene. How do things stack up if you use all shampoos or all conditioners?

    For instance, Oyin's Burnt Sugar Braid Pomade lists:

    bcastor oil, hydrogenated soybean oil, organic virgin coconut oil, mango seed oil, unrefined hempseed oil, cocoa butter, broccoli seed oil, fragrance, & love. (Please note, that I do not know the chemical composition of "love") ;)


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