Monday, 27 January 2014

Are Acids in Natural Hair Products safe?

Last week, I talked about Alcohols in Natural Hair Products. If you missed it, click here. This week, we will be talking about Acids.

It amazes me how some words jump out at us as harmful, yet that is what we use in our everyday life. If acids were as harmful as many of us see it to be, then I guess we should have died from taking oranges and other citrus fruits, while are citric acids.

I put it to you that if you are a naturalista in love with mainly natural ingredients, more than 50% of what you use are acids. Yes, you read right. Acids

First of all, the thing is… all oils are butters are made up of acids. 100% acids, and they are called fatty acids.  Some of them are thicker than others. For example,

Cocoa butter is 25 to 30% palmitic acid, 31 to 35% stearic acid, 34 to 36% oleic acid, and 3% linoleic acid.

Shea butter is 3 to 7% palmitic acid, 35 to 45% stearic acid, 40 to 55% oleic acid, and 3 to 8% linoleic acid.

Coconut Oil is 47.5% lauric acid, and some unsaturated fats with 18.1% myristic acid, 8.8% palmitic acid, and elements of of stearic, oleic, linoleic, and arachidic acids

And on and on...

In other words, oils and butters are all acids. You can do more research on your product of choice in your spare time.

Note that the higher the palmitic acid, the thicker the oil or butter. The acids have varying thickness. It is the concentration of each of the acids in each product that makes one oil or butter thicker than the other.

As an aside, you can see the percentage of these acids in the natural products is not fixed. This is why natural ingredients are not consistent, and using them in manufacturing is quite tricky. Some manufactures take the easy way out and just make their products consistent by using Mineral oils and Petrolatum, so they don’t have to deal with varying appearances of products caused by 100% natural ingredients.

Then you also have acids used as preservatives in cosmetics, drugs and food. Examples are Citric acid, Benzoic Acid, Acetic Acid, etc. They are all safe.

So you will see fatty acids and preservative acids in your products.

Can you believe these are all  100% acids? Source

Are all acids safe? No. The truth is that unlike alcohols, you will never see unsafe acids in your hair products. If you see acids in your products, don't be scared. Now if you see H2SO4, all I can say is Ruuuunnnnn, lol.

So when next you see acids in your hair products, there is no need to jump off the roof like you just saw a ghost. Not all acids are as toxic as battery acid (H2SO4) or HCL. The truth is that you have already been using acids in your daily life. So don’t fret.

Think about this. If something is not neutral or alkaline, it is definitely acidic. And honestly, I will rather use something acidic than alkaline on my hair. Why are we even talking too much? Even our hair is Acidic. I guess that says “Case Closed.”


What if we go further and add Acids of this week to the Alcohols of last week? It is called Esterification. And that is where ingredients like Glycerol Monostearate and co come from. They are all safe, and in your hair products.

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