Ingredients Dictionary: Your help needed!

I have a new series idea, Monday will be the ingredients dictionary day. Each week I will feature an ingredient (or set of ingredients) and highlight how it works and if it works well in combination with other ingredients. I will also highlight the good and bad points of each in a simple format (for example a rank out of 5)

The proposed format will look a little bit like this

Ingredient: Sodium Lauryl Sulphate
Use: Cleansing in Shampoo (removes oil layer)
Advantages: Near complete removal of oil (clarifying)
Disadvantages: Irritating (removes oil layer and can cause dryness and itching for upto 10 days)
Common myths: Causes Cancer and Hair loss
Best practice use: As a clarifying shampoo to remove build up
Best practice combinations: Combine with less irritating surfactants such as SLES or Cocobetaine. Addition of silicones in shampoo formulae for conditioning

Positive properties rating (Scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is mildly effective and 5 is highly effective)
Cleansing: Very effective oil removal  - 5/5
Moisturising: Not a moisturiser           - 0/5
Conditioning: Not a conditioner          - 0/5

Negative properties rating (Scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is mild reaction and 5 is severe reaction)
Irritancy: Highly irritating (on its own)  - 5/5

Further reading and Sources
(I would place any relevant posts with journal citations or journal citations)

The idea is to have a list eventually which you can simply print off (like a selection of cards) and keep to use if you need to know what an ingredient does and how it works.

So it is over to you now, name the ingredients that you would like to see featured! Plus if you have heard or read something specific about any ingredient, please mention it! If you would like the list to feature additional properties then also mention this!


  1. Jc, I luuuuuuuuuuv you and this blog! I plug you like crazy! This is an awesome idea. Ok, I have some:

    * marshmallow root
    * aloe vera juice/gel
    * cetyl alcohol
    * honeyquat (I've been dying to try this!)
    * silk amino acids/silk protein
    * hydrolized soy protein
    * sea kelp
    * isopropyl myristate

    Sorry I have so many but I have a lot that I want to hear your take on!

  2. Aww thanks Milan. Thanks too for the list...that will keep me busy!

  3. This is an awesome idea!!!

    *Stearalkonium Chloride
    *Propylene Glycol
    *Cetrimonium Chloride

  4. What an awesome idea, Jc.
    I want to know all about amodimethicones. Especially if they behave like bis-aminopropyl dimethicones (build-up!) and if it would be ok to use them in comination with an coco betaine shampoo. I'd like to limit the use of SLS or SLES containing shampoos to maybe once a month or even less.

  5. Mwhahaha! I have a nice list:

    Mink oil
    Essential Fatty Acids/lipids
    hibiscus (does it really smooth out "kinks?")
    apple cider vinegar (what does it really do?)
    Mustard oil (Does it soften hair?)

    Thank you! I've been dying to find out what these ingredients do.

  6. Thanks Jc - great idea! Amodimethicone and bisaminopropyl dimethicone are in the same category, right? I would love to read more about those amine silicones, because I think they've been amazing for my length retention.
    Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine (is it similar to behentrimonium?)
    Cetyl Esters
    Polyquaternium 37
    Polyquaternium 11

    I am so excited about Mondays now! :)

  7. phenoxyethanol
    Diazolidinyl Urea
    Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate
    decyl glucoside
    Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate
    Vegetable Emulsifying Wax

  8. The cleanser Tricedeth 7 Carboxylic Acid. This is a great blog that provides a ton of useful factual info. Too much misinformation out there:(
    Thank you Jc. Keep up the great work!

  9. Definitely would like to know more about phenoxyethanol please!
    Also, Mineral Oil and petroleum based products :)

  10. Looking forward to finding out about all the above - also would like to know about glycerin and honey/agave (and all the ones Milan said!) CHM (your twitter friend!)

  11. Thanks for the contributions! Nice to 'see' you here CHM!

  12. Sorbitol
    Distilled Water, Purified Water
    Natural Alcohol
    Lactic Acid
    Lauryl Alcohol

  13. Brilliant idea JC. Henna - specifically the version that you get from Lush and have to grate to make it usable .

  14. great series you've got coming up!

    I'm interested in

    Burdock root
    Behentrimonium Methosulfate

  15. Update: I would also like more info on-centrimonium bromide, panthenyl ethyl ether,hydrolsed glycoaminoglycans, tetrasodium edta ,behenamidopropylamine behenate and the difference between citric acid derived from corn as opposed to citrus. Thanks!

  16. I'd love to see mineral oil, panthenol, lanolin oil, polysorbate (any number), citric acid, stearyl alcohol, and benzyl alcohol.

  17. Found your previous post about glycerin - can take that off my list! CHM

  18. I'd like to see panthenol, and ceramides

  19. Now this is a bit late but I would like to read about quaternium and polyquaternium. Maybe a more basic introduction of them and then more about the different ones/numbers? I'm on a conditioner only routine and have been advised not to use products with quaternium with a number above 40 so I'd be most intrested in those. Thank you for an informative and useful blogg!

  20. Decyl glucoside and Cetyl Alcohol most definitely; you've already covered behentrimonium chloride :)


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