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Petroleum Products

Hi there,

I've been meaning to start a Low-poo routine and one of the rules is to avoid products that contain mineral oil or other petroleum products. Aside from the famous petrolatum, mineral oil, parafinum liquid and vaseline, are there other common petroleum sub-products that are used in cosmetics? Mainly hair care products.

Thanks! Xoxo


  • I guess that depends on what you mean by "sub-products".  Crude oil is used to produce a wide range of cosmetic ingredients such as surfactants, emollients, emulsifiers, preservatives and pretty much any other class of ingredient you could need in a hair care formula.

    But many of these same ingredients can also be derived from a plant source.  Take an ingredient like Cetyl Alcohol for example.  This is one found in nearly every hair conditioner.

    Cetyl Alcohol can be made by chemically modifying Palm Oil.  But it can also be made by chemically modifying a petroleum distillate.  When you pick up that bottle of conditioner you have no way of knowing what was the original source of your Cetyl Alcohol.

    Both ingredients will work exactly the same way so it doesn't really matter.

    The advice to avoid petroleum based products if you're going Low-poo is not bad advice but it is incomplete.  What you really want to do is avoid long chain oils that will coat your hair and attract dirt & more oil.  That means staying away from Petrolatum & Mineral Oil is a good idea.  But you should also stay away from other long chain oils like Olive Oil, Sunflower seed Oil, Jojoba oil and pretty much any other natural oil.  These things will build up in your hair and cause it to be more dirty.
  • Avoiding petroleum has a fist full of other advantages really. It's why I'm *trying* to convert. For me, it's like trying to give up bacon, because it seems all the half way decent/ good stuff has something on what I refer "the list of bad oils", which I will explain in a moment as I gloss over my reasoning for not avoiding oil like the plague.

    Reason 1) I am pretty OCD, and I think I have a reasonably fair grip on my oils now. I somewhat memorized most of their health risks, (even some the remote ones,) their benefits, and applications, and the comedogenic values of the more typically used ones in cosmetics. I know some medicine interactions with essential oils as well and I'm not sure how I picked that up to be honest.

    My list of bad oils is anything 3 or greater equaling a universal comedone causer. You have palm, olive, mineral, glycerin, petroleum, cacao butter, Then you have your neurotoxins and your liver kidney destroyers and reproductive rippers (Those extend far past oils, but, that's another discussion.)

    I know there are light weight oils that absorb into skin fast. I just cannot recall any off of the top of my head for whatever reason. However here is this if you want to find one. I can't find the oil web source I used for myself way back when. But this is good to get your feet wet.

  • The Beauty Brains posted a link on the forum quite some time ago with comedogenic ratings. The link is below.

    Petrolatum, mineral oil, and glycerine have a rating of zero, meaning they will not cause acne. Olive oil has a rating of two, on a scale of zero to five. Cocoa butter, the other one mentioned above, does have a rating of four. 
  • Hey Lindy - good to hear from you again!
  • Thanks, Randy! Nice to be back!! 
  • Thank you for the information, but I have most of the you speak of memorized. If you had read me as I intended, my list of bad oils is anything 3 or greater equaling a universal comedone causer."  The bolded piece of the statement indicates I already knew about  cosmedogenic ingredient ratings, and the several sites with lists available. What you could also extrapolate from that quote, is since I knew of the value ratings, is that I must have alternative reasons for it making my "Bad List".  I mean.... Come on.... Do I really gotta explain I'm not an idiot here? 


  • I wanted to actually suggest this for his application, I got so distracted while writing my badlistat the time, I forgot? I know it's not what you asked for, buuuut. if you find it helpful That's pretty great! Actually Mineral oil has anecdotally been accused of stimulating hair growth but if you look here, it seems it doesn't do much in the way of anything, and I couldn't find anything else on it anywhere. Also, Coconut oil. It won't be non greasy, but, consider a once a week hair mask in conjunction with your ummm no poo?. And my source, as always.

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