The Science Series by Afrocenchix

Sulphates, Parabens and Phthalates... you have probably heard these buzzwords thrown around but what do they actually mean, where are they typically found, what are the concerns and are there any substitutes? We enlisted the help of Joycelyn and Rachael, the leading ladies at Afrocenchix to help us understand... 


Introducing 'The Science Series' by Afrocenchix

While developing the Afrocenchix product range, Joycelyn and Rachael purposefully chose natural ingredients that are beneficial, gentle and safe to use.
Recently, black and mixed race women have been horrified to find that 80% of black hair products on the market contain harmful disease causing ingredients.

As a brand, we hope to educate people about such hazards so they can make more informed purchases. Let’s start by exploring 3 harmful ingredients that are commonly found in cosmetics.



Sulphates are detergent cleansing agents that remove oil and the build-up left on hair and scalp by creating bubbles. There are many sulphate  ingredients that are used in skincare, hair-care as well as household cleaning products. With sulphates, especially in the case of sodium lauryl sulfate, the problem is that they are quite sensitising which causes skin irritation.

There are natural detergents such sodium cocoyl isethionate does a great job of cleansing. At Afrocenchix, we use cocamidopropyl betaine in Swish, our shampoo to help hair retain moisture as it cleanses. 



Parabens are chemicals that are used to stabilise formulas and stop the growth of mold, fungi and harmful pathogens. There are different types and they usually end in -paraben. They are commonly found in many personal care products. 

Parabens are known to cause skin and eye irritation and have been related to endocrine disruption. They have also been linked to growth of breast cancer cells.                                          
Look for products labelled “paraben-free” and read ingredient lists on labels to avoid products with parabens.  Afrocenchix opts for an environmentally friendly blend of organic acid preservatives in our SmoothSwish and Sheen products.



Phthalates are chemicals that are widely used in scented products to help the fragrance linger. They are usually incorporated into "fragrance" on an ingredient list so you won't see them on the back of your products. Some non-harmful phthalates are still found in hair care products, colour cosmetics, fragranced lotions, body washes, nail polish and industrial products.  In some studies, phthalates have been linked to cancer.

Potentially harmful phthalates have been banned from EU cosmetics, but are commonly found in products made in the United States. Avoid products that list “fragrance” on the label to prevent possible exposure to phthalates.

Look for alternatives such as citrates, sebacates, adipates, and phosphates. Afrocenchix products contain essential oils for their beneficial properties, they also happen to double as our distinct natural scent throughout the our range.


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Our mission is to arm you with the best products for textured hair and to guide you in finding the best routine for YOU.

Winnie Awa, founder of Antidote Street