What Ingredients Are Bad for Hair in Leave-in Conditioner?

In a perfect world, all leave-in conditioners would be formulated with hair-healthy ingredients. But that’s not the case. The truth is that your favorite leave-in conditioner may be harboring ingredients that could ruin your hair. And in some cases, these same ingredients could have negative health impacts. In this article, we’ll put leave-in conditioner ingredients under the microscope, so you’ll know which ones to avoid. Let’s get right into it!

Drying Alcohols

We are often told to avoid all alcohol in our hair products, but that’s not sound advice. There are two types of alcohols you’ll find in leave-in conditioner: fatty alcohols and drying alcohols. Fatty alcohols, also called long-chain alcohols, are lubricating and can make your hair more slippery and easy to detangle. These are great for your leave-in. 

But drying alcohols, on the other hand, are a no-no. And whenever you can avoid them, you should. Drying alcohols, or short-chain alcohols, are drying in nature. When used regularly, they can make your hair dry, brittle, and prone to breakage. Yet, they pop up in leave-in conditioners from time to time.

Some of the most common drying alcohols you’ll find in leave-in conditioners include isopropyl alcohol, ethyl alcohol, and benzyl alcohol.


Parabens are often used as a preservative in beauty products to prevent them from developing mold and bacteria. This may seem like a good thing, and it would be if parabens didn’t come with such terrible side effects, like:

  • Scalp irritation and dryness.

  • Faded hair color.

  • Hair loss.

  • Organ toxicity.

  • Breast cancer.

The most commonly used parabens include butylparaben, ethylparaben, methylparaben, and propylparaben. 

Paraffin Wax

Most have never heard of paraffin wax, but it’s often used in conditioning and moisturizing products. It’s similar to petroleum jelly but contains several chemicals produced as a byproduct of petroleum manufacturing.

The problem with paraffin wax is that it can weigh your hair down and block moisture from penetrating it. Moreover, it’s very hard to wash out of the hair, which can cause buildup. If you can find a leave-in without this ingredient, we urge you to do so for the health of your hair.

How to Avoid These Ingredients

You now know some of the worst ingredients for leave-in conditioners (and any product in general). So, what do you do about it? Be on the lookout for these ingredients as you shop for your leave-in. Read the labels and be prepared to put the leave-in back on the shelf if you spot one of these ingredients. Finding out what’s in your hair products will take some time, but it’s time well spent.

There are leave-in conditioners that don’t contain ingredients like these, and Daily Dose is one of them. Instead of the above ingredients, it contains fatty alcohols, aloe vera, and protective silicones that give you the best hair you’ve ever had. We hope you found all the information you needed in this article, and we wish you the best with your hair!


Author: Andrea Reyes

Andrea is a mother, wife, writer, and natural hair enthusiast of 15 years. Currently on her natural hair journey, she’s been trying countless products and techniques to understand and embrace her natural hair. She is the creator of NaturallyTextured.com, a new website featuring informative articles that share tips, tricks, and techniques aimed to help others learn to love their hair through proper hair care. She writes with the hope of making hair care easier to understand and implement.

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