How to Read Cosmetic Ingredient Labels XXVI

Conditioner is a focal point in just about every hair regimen.  Your aim is to find an all natural conditioner, that meets all of your hair needs.  Is this product right for you?  Remember, I am teaching you Label Poise–how to walk the walk, talk the talk, and buy products that meet YOUR standards, whether natural, organic, or safe enough.  For instructions on Label Poise visit our Label Poise page.

The Label


The Ingredients

Deionized Water: Safe!  Deionized water has had the ions of minerals found in soil or pipes removed.

Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil*: Safe! Coconut oil is used for is skin conditioning and moisturizing properties. It is high in vitamins E and K.

Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter)*:  Safe!  This ingredient is derived from the nut of the Shea Tree and is used for its moisturizing properties.

Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter*: Safe! This ingredient is made from the seed of a mango and is known for its moisturizing properties.

Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil:  Safe! This oil contains Vitamin E and contains antioxidants.

African Black Soap Extract: Beware! African Black Soap is a traditionally made soap that is very common in west Africa and is made by combining plant fats with plant based caustic ash (potassium hydroxide). It is unclear what the extract is, though it is likely used to aid in cleansing and is not considered toxic, however, until further information is provided that declaration will not be made.

Behentrimonium Chloride: Beware! Also known as Docosyltrimethylammonium chloride, Behentrimonium Chloride Is a “quaternary ammonium compound” made from corn (likely GMO) or canola oil. It is used as an antistatic, detangling aid, conditioning agent, and disinfectant. This product is toxic to aquatic animals, however, the concentrations in the product are likely less than 3% and should not be harmful. This product can cause skin irritation upon prolonged or repeated exposure (via MSDS), though concentrations and exposure length is not likely enough to be harmful. In pure form Behentrimonium Chloride is also an eye irritant that can cause severe and permanent damage with prolonged exposure. In the U.S. it is used in concentrations of 0.2 – 7% by weight of the formula, depending on the product. It is banned by the European Union in concentrations over 0.1% in “ready to use” products. There is no data available regarding mutagenicity and carcinogenicity. (Author’s Note: Avoid if you are averse to GMOs, I don’t recall using this ingredient in a product so err on the side of caution.) (MSDS)

Salicylic Acid: Safe! Salicylic Acid is a monohydroxybenzoic acid. Salicylic Acid is a bacteriostatic agent, keratolytic, and comedolytic and can be used to increase epidermis cell turnover, open clogged pores, and neutralizes bacteria to allow room for cell growth. It can be a reproductive toxin in women, and can be a skin, lung, and eye irritant in pure form. (MSDS)

Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract: Beware!  This ingredient is an extract of white willow bark. It can be used as an astringent, tonic, skin conditioner and soothing agent. Willow Bark Extract is an eye, skin, and lung irritant in pure form, though it is not known to be carcinogenic, mutagenic, or toxic to aquatic species. (MSDS;MSDS)

Meia Azadirachta (Neem) Seed Oil: Safe! This oil is pressed from the fruit and seed of Neem, which is a tree native to India. It is high in oleic acid and is known for its moisturizing properties. It is used for a variety of purposes in traditional Ayurveda.

Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil: Safe! This oil is made from the tea tree plant, which is native to Australia. It is believed to have antimicrobial properties. It is toxic when consumed orally but is safe to use in low concentrations in cosmetics.

Simmondsia Chinensis Seed (Jojoba) Oil: Safe! This ‘oil’ is a liquid wax and has a moderate fatty acid content.

Sorbitol Esters: Beware! This ingredient is a lipophilic (water loving) nonionic surfactant that is used as emulsifiers. It is an ester of sorbitan and stearic esters. No MSDS found.

Aloe Vera Leaf Juice: Safe!  This ingredient is used for its nutrient content and moisturizing properties.

Vitamin E: Safe! Tocopherol is a fat soluble alcohol with antioxidant properties.  This ingredient is not known to have carcinogenic or toxic effects.  It can also be used as a preservative for oils. (MSDS)

Rosemary Extract:  Safe!  It is used as an antimicrobial agent, fragrance, and skin conditioning agent and is generally regarded as safe. (MSDS)

Plantain Extract: Beware! It is unclear if this is referring to the Plantain herb or the Plantain fruit. It is likely not toxic, however, without additional information it will not be declared otherwise.

Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower (and):  Beware! This ingredient can be used as a fragrant and is believed to have cleansing properties, however, it is primarily used in conjunction with Japanese Honeysuckle as a preservative.  Used alone it can be in concentration of 5-10% of the formula by weight, but in this product it is used between 0.5-2% as a mixture with Japanese Honeysuckle.  It is not known to be toxic or an irritant in small quantities.  It should be noted that parabens are very similar in structure (essentially the synthetic version) to p-hydrobenzoic acid, the active ingredient in Japanese Honeysuckle extract.  It is believed to act similarly to parabens in the body.  (MSDS)

Lonicera Japonica (Japanese Honeysuckle) Flower Extract:  Beware!  This ingredient is used in conjunction with Honeysuckle extract as a preservative.  It is not known to be toxic or an irritant in small quantities.  It should be noted that parabens are very similar in structure (essentially the synthetic version) to p-hydrobenzoic acid, the active ingredient in Japanese Honeysuckle extract.  It is believed to act similarly to parabens in the body.  (MSDS)


Nature’s Pulchritude’s Verdict:  This conditioner has great ingredients.  The first 5 ingredients are either water or a plant based oil or butter.  The only questionable ingredients are the African Black Soap extract and Plantain extract, which are likely non toxic, however, lack of information and an MSDS makes me hesitant to declare them otherwise.  I would purchase this product, and it would be worthwhile for someone looking for a conditioner with a high moisturizing ability that will also promote scalp health.

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