Is Eco Styler Gel Bad for Natural Hair?

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?

Is Eco Styler Gel Bad for Natural Hair. Read the Science Before You Cancel

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 ages.

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 is manufactured by Ecoco and they have over 10 brands of gel in their range, which includes popular gels such as:-

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 products, 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.

However, that is what we know now. We don’t know what the studies will show in the future.

Keep in mind, coming into contact with a 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.

Eco Styler Gel Makers Weighs In

Faced with the backlash and the hit to their coins no doubt, Ecoco, the company behind Eco Styler Gel quickly responded with a rebuttal on their Facebook page:-

eco styler gel cancelled

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 panic is a bit over the top and the only way to avoid chemicals is to stop breathing altogether.

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.

is eco styler gel carcinogenic

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.

However, I stumbled upon the olive oil gel in a supermarket about 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.

Related Content

Best Alternatives to Eco Styler Gel

Unfortunately, not everyone has the time, inclination, or patience to be a kitchen chemist.

I have recommended 5 alternatives to Eco Styler Gel below. They work well for natural hair and I’ve reviewed one or two of them on the site before.

1. Giovanni L.A. Natural Styling Gel

I tried Giovanni L.A. Natural Styling Gel some time ago and it was alright.

Read my review at Product Review – Giovanni LA Natural Styling Gel. Rock It or Bin It?

Giovanni LA Natural Styling Gel Review

Giovanni L.A. Natural Styling Gel 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.

2. Kinky-Curly Original Curling Custard

I will be uploading a review for Kinky-Curly Original Curling Custard soonI used it as part of the max hydration method a few times. Check reviews here.

kinky curly curling custard

Kinky-Curly Original Curling Custard 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.

3. Max Green Alchemy Organic Styling Gel

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. Check reviews here.

Max Green Alchemy Organic Styling Gel

Max Green Alchemy Organic Styling Gel 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)

4. Herbal Choice Mari Organic Hair Gel

Herbal Choice Mari Organic Hair Gel contains nice ingredients that I also use in my DIY hair gels.

The gel 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. Check reviews here.

Herbal Choice Mari Organic Hair Gel

Herbal Choice Mari Organic Hair Gel 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.

5. Camille Rose Naturals Curl Maker

Camille Rose Naturals Curl Maker is great for finer hair and provides definition without drying out hair. 

The gel contains coconut oil, aloe vera leaf juice, castor oil, marshmallow root and other botanical extracts for medium hold and shine. Check reviews here.

Camille Rose Naturals Curl Maker Ingredients: Dionized water, pectin, coco nucifera(coconut )oil, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, panthenol, ricinus communis (caster) seed oil, althaea officinalis (marshmallow) root extract, agava americana leaf extract, equisetum arvense (horsetail) extract, urtica dioica (nettle) leaf extract, corn starch, xanthan gum, chondrus (seaweed) crispus, polysorbate 20, tocopheryl acetate (vitanin E), cyanocobalamin (vitamin b-12), phenoxyethanol (optiphen nd) caprylyl glycol, fragrance (parfum) and LOVE!

You may also want to take a look on Etsy HERE. Many of the artisans on there sell natural and organic hair gels. 

I will do a post later on for black-owned hair care businesses on Etsy.

What do you think? Is Eco Styler gel canceled for you? Or do you intend to continue using it? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Can You Add Water to Eco Styler Gel?

Yes, you can dilute Eco Styler Gel with water. I’ve done this with many products.

Just measure a bit of gel into an applicator bottle like this then add distilled water or rose water, close, and mix.

I did this because I didn’t like how thick the gel was. For more on this, head over to Benefits of Diluting Hair Products.

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Pin it for Later – 5 Best Alternatives to Eco Styler Gel


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13 thoughts on “Is Eco Styler Gel Bad for Natural Hair?”

  1. I have always loved EcoStyler. It’s cheap ($5.99 for a 32oz at my local Sally’s) and defines my curls very well. I always get compliments, so I definitely will keep using it. Like the people you mention in the article, everything “causes cancer” nowadays, so I’m not sure what product or even combination of ingredients wouldn’t.

    What has concerned me more about the gel is the fact that it effectively freezes my hair – making it hard. While I don’t mind it a lot because most of my styles are stiff like that that, I would like for it to move with me sometimes. Now if they could figure out a formula for THAT, I’d be all on that.


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