Is Eco Styler Gel bad for natural hair and Eco styler gel is carcinogenic are two phrases that started jumping out on social media in the last week or so?
Intrigued, I went searching for more information and discovered an ongoing Eco styler gel controversy.
In particular, the hashtags #ecostylergelcancelled and #ecostylergelbad have been trending on Facebook.
Eco styler gel is a very popular hair gel that’s supposed to be natural, paraben free, sulphate free, cruelty-free, etc so where did this controversy suddenly jump out from after years?
Hair Gel for Natural Hair
Naturalistas love their hair gel. A great hair gel lays down your edges and gives your style a polished and sleek final look. Many naturals pursue laid edges like Tom has pursued Jerry for centuries.
Traditionally, however, gels contain alcohols and other ingredients that dry out natural hair and can lead to breakage and split ends.
Enter the era of natural and organic gels and the Eco styler brand turned out to be one of them.
The Eco Styler gel brand has over 10 brands of gel in their range, which includes popular gels such as:-
- Eco Styler Olive Oil Gel
- Eco Styler Moroccan Argan Oil Gel
- Eco Styler Black Castor & Flaxseed Gel
- Eco Styler Coconut Oil Gel
After digging through all the panic-driven information online, I identified the source of this controversy as an ingredient known as triethanolamine, TEA or TEOA.
What is Triethanolamine (TEA)?
Triethanolamine is an ingredient that is used to stabilize hair product, neutralize fatty acids and thicken formulas.
Studies have shown that triethanolamine causes allergic reactions in some cases – irritation to skin and eyes and contact dermatitis.
Additionally, when mixed with certain ingredients, triethanolamine can form cancer-causing agents.
It is extremely unlikely that small amounts of triethanolamine in a product can cause cancer but this is what we know now. We don’t know what the studies will show in future.
Keep in mind though, coming into contact with a very tiny percentage of an ingredient as part of a product is very different from standing next to large vats of the ingredient in pure form and inhaling it.
Faced with the backlash and the hit to their coins no doubt, Ecoco, the company behind Eco Styler Gel quickly responded with the following rebuttal on their Facebook page:-
Should You Cancel Eco Styler Gel?
The decision to cancel eco styler gel is up to you. The natural hair community is divided on the issue.
Some people feel that the panic is a bit over the top and the only way to avoid chemicals is to stop breathing all together.
On the other hand, some people have decided to err on the side of caution and avoid it completely as the company could be lying for all they know.
Continued usage of the product is at your own discretion and if you are panicked about it, speak to your primary care physician.
My Experience with Eco Styler Gel
Let me share my personal experience with Eco Styler gel. It’s not readily available where I’m located but I stumbled upon the olive oil gel in a supermarket 6 years ago.
I was so amazed at the find, I grabbed the 32 oz jar without thinking about the fact that I hardly use hair gel.
I tried it for my wash and go and was not impressed with the results. I ended up discarding the huge jar when it expired.
However, my wash and go method then wasn’t as great as it is today so that may be why the gel didn’t work well for me.
It’s possible if I try it now, the results may be different but I like making my own gel nowadays so I’m good.
Which is the Best Gel for Natural Hair?
The best gel for natural hair is the one you make in your own kitchen where you can monitor the ingredients going into it and keep out anything you don’t like.
- Homemade Hair Gel for Natual Hair
- 10 Benefits of Homemade Gel for Natural Hair
- Best Tips for Homemade Hair Gel for Natural Hair
Unfortunately, not everyone has the time, inclination or patience to be a kitchen chemist so below are 3 hair gels that work well for natural hair, and could be an alternative to Eco Styler Gel for you:-
I tried Giovanni L.A. Natural Styling Gel some time ago and it was alright. Read my review – Product Review – Giovanni LA Natural Styling Gel. Rock It or Bin It?
Ingredients: Aqua (Purified Water)‚ VP/NA Copolymer‚ Hydroxyethylcellulose‚ Tocopherol (Vitamin E)‚ Citric Acid‚ Phenoxyethanol‚ Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Extract‚ Fragrance (Includes Essentials Oils)‚ *Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice‚ *Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil‚ *Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract *Betula Alba Extract‚ *Malva Sylvestris (Mallow) extract‚ *Achillea Millefolium Extract‚ *Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract‚ *Equisetum Arvense Extract‚ *Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) extract‚ *Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) leaf Extract‚ *Salvia Sclarea (Clary) extract‚ *Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme)‚ *Tussilago Farfara (Coltsfoot) Flower Extract‚ *Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Extract.
I will be uploading a review for Kinky-Curly Original Curling Custard soon. I used it as part of the max hydration method a few times.
Ingredients: Botanical infusion of water, horsetail, chamomile, nettle and marshmallow, organic aloe vera juice, agave nectar extract, tocopheryl acetate (vitamin e), pectic, citric acid, potassium sorbate and natural fragrance.
Max Green Alchemy Organic Styling Gel has an impressive ingredient list containing aloe vera, tea tree and lavender essential oils, burdock root and Calendula.
Looks like the ingredients will also help relieve scalp issues like dandruff, psoriasis, dryness, and itchiness.
Ingredients: Herbal Infusion [Purified Water (Aqua), (Glycyrrhiza Glabra* (licorice) Root, Tussilago Farfara+ (coltsfoot) Leaf, Achillea Millefolium* (yarrow), Salix Alba+ (willow), Tabebuia Impetiginosa+ (pau díarco), Arctium Lappa* (burdock) Root, Berberis Aquifolium (mahonia), Calendula Officinalis* (calendula), Equisetum Arvense* (horsetail), Urtica Dioica* (nettle)], dehydroxanthan gum (plant derived styling agent), Hydrolysed Soy Protein, Aloe Barbadensis* (aloe vera) Leaf, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Anisate, Panthenol (pro vitamin B5), Leptospermum Petersonii (lemon tea tree), Melaleuca Alternifolia* (tea tree), Lavandula Angustifolia* (lavender), Pelargonium Graveolens* (geranium), Rosemarinus officinalis* (rosemary)
Herbal Choice Mari Organic Hair Gel contains nice ingredients that I also use in my DIY hair gels. Has a lot of plant ingredients that should be suitable for all hair types and sensitive skin.
I may just order this hair gel and try it out. I like the ingredients and it has some great reviews online.
Ingredients: Purified water, organic vodka, organic guar gum (natural plant-based), organic sweet orange oil, organic lemongrass oil, organic olive oil, organic apple cider vinegar (raw, unfiltered), organic green tea, organic sage herb, organic bilberry leaf, xanthan gum (natural gum), organic patchouli oil, organic primrose oil, organic thyme oil, organic rosehip oil.
You may also want to take a look on Etsy where there are many artists that sell natural and organic hair gels.
What do you think? Is Eco Styler gel canceled for you? Or you intend to continue using it? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
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Abi delved into the world of hair care after suffering from a bout of severe hair loss. She is the founder of Healthy Natural Hair Products & Natural Oils for Hair and Health, as well as the writer of the Healthy Hair Care Series. She is also the creator of the The Self-Empowerment Network Portal. Read more…