Is Cantu Bad for Your Hair? (Popular & Affordable Hair Care Brand)

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Cantu can give you some amazing volume and defined curls, but is it good for your hair? Do Cantu hair products contain natural ingredients?

Is it better to avoid it and look for other hair products for your hair?

In this article, we research some of the pros and possible downsides of Cantu and why it may be good or bad for your hair. Read on!

About Cantu

Cantu, like Shea Moisture, is a brand that offers a collection of moisturizing products formulated for hydrating, moisturizing, and nourishing curly hair. There are some products in the brand line that caters to hair and scalp repair too.

The brand is popular among many popular and widely read online publications like Mashable, Cosmopolitan, Shape, Health, Healthline, The Cut, and has a sizeable following on social media.

There are dozens of Cantu hair care products out there to choose from. The brand offers shampoo, conditioner, hydrating curling cream, leave-in conditioner, shea butter shampoo, and a whole lot.

This includes Cantu Conditioning Repair Cream, Cantu Shampoo & Conditioner for Natural Hair, Cantu Coconut Curling Cream, and Leave-in Conditioning Cream.

However, are they good for your hair? Some of Cantu’s products like the Thermal Shield Heat Protectant contain drying alcohols (sd-alcohol 40-b or alcohol denat.), which can be truly drying if you use them.

Especially on sensitive hair. However, a good number of their products, while containing alcohol, don’t come with the drying one.

Therefore, if you’ve used some of their products in the past and didn’t face any issues, then you don’t have to worry too much. Since not every product is going to work for everyone. 

In essence, the specific product you choose from Cantu will determine whether it’s good or bad for your hair. The most common complaint against Cantu is that contains alcohol.

If your hair reacts to alcohol, it’ll be better to avoid Cantu. You can try alternating the product and use it less, but that can also affect your hair in the long term.

Why Use Alcohol in the First Place?

Most alcohols, alcohol denat, are used in hair care products for their drying effect. So when you apply the product, it evaporates quickly so it doesn’t leave your hair messy nor will there be a trace of the product in your hair.

However, that drying process can also take away the moisture that your hair needs. However, not all of them are bad, which is why the FDA and the likes haven’t banned them from being used in products.

Lauren Fine, MD, also opined that the alcohol in these products often makes the product faster absorbing, similar to what I mentioned above.

According to another expert, Gretchen Frieling, MD, it’s safer to opt-out of products that come with isopropyl alcohol, SD alcohol, methanol, ethanol, denatured alcohol, ethyl alcohol, benzyl alcohol, especially when they’re listed high in the ingredient list.

If you don’t understand what all these means or want to be even safer, you can get your dermatologist to recommend products for you.

What Does Cantu Do to Your Hair?

The Cantu Shea Butter For Natural Hair, for example, promotes growth, cleans the scalp and hair, is free from sulfates.

It’s formulated with shea butter that helps stop split ends, breakage, and can add shine and manageability to hair. The result is hair that is not only curly but also healthy and growing.

The brand also has products that are dedicated to curly hair or making hair curly like the Natural Hair Coconut Curling Cream.

These products are free from harsh chemicals and can help your hair grow. Ultimately, you should try to go with a product that matches your hair type. Because if you don’t, the result may be unsatisfying.

What Type of Hair Is Cantu Product For?

Cantu products are most suitable for textured hair. So, if you have straightened, relaxed, curly, wavy, kinky, or coily hair, Cantu will work nicely with your hair, everything being equal.

Outside of these, the product may struggle to work for you. This is one of the reasons a lot of people find some Cantu products don’t have any effect on their hair. Or worst-case scenario gives their hair a tough time.

Is Cantu Good for All Hair Types?

No. As mentioned above, the product is only good for some hair types. There are many other competing brands out there to look at if you’re interested in products with a similar profile.

Is Cantu for Natural Hair?

On the brand’s website, the products are categorized as wavy, coily, curly, and straightened. Meaning that aside from natural hair, some Cantu products can work well with relaxed or treated hair.

Are the Products Chemical-Free? Do They Have Sulfate?

Most Cantu products are sulfate-free and are free from harmful chemicals to the hair. However, it’s important to check each product for the ingredient list as well as what it’s made for.

This way, you are totally sure it doesn’t come with the kind of ingredients you don’t want. Further in this article, we’ll go over some ingredients used in Cantu products so you can read that and pay attention.

Is Cantu Curling Activator Bad for Your Hair?

The Cantu Curling Activator is formulated for moisturizing hair and can make hair wavy, smooth, and well-defined. The Activator is a curl cream or styler made with 100% pure shea butter and free from drying alcohol, silicones, or parabens.

Ingredients Used in Cantu Products

Picture culled from

There are some ingredients that are generally considered bad in the hair care community. Some are backed by research studies while others are still considered to be rumors.

Some of these include sulfates, parabens, silicones, mineral oils, etc. You’ll probably find many other publications listing these ingredients as bad and better avoided.

Therefore, it’ll never hurt to avoid or cut out products with ingredients that may possibly cause problems to your hair.

Fortunately, brands like Cantu have always made effort to create natural products that are free from ingredients that may result in a negative reaction in the hair.

So, whether Cantu is good or bad for your hair is dependent on how good you sift through their product and choose the most suitable one for you.

Here are the ingredients:


In most publications and studies, this ingredient usually tops the list of ingredients to avoid. It’s usually found in shampoos and gives them the foaming action.

When you come across them, sulfates will usually be in different forms. The worst offenders are both SLES (Sodium Laureth Sulfate) and SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate).

These are both quoted by The Journal of the American College of Toxicology to be among ingredients to avoid because they can cause rashes on the scalp, separate skin layers, and often strip the hair of essential oils. The latter often results in dry hair and scalp.


Silicones are very much present in shampoos and conditioners. And like sulfates, silicones are part of the ingredients to watch out for.

The function of Silicone is to make the hair smooth and shiny, often creating the illusion of healthy hair. Interestingly, Silicones work like a double-edged sword.

On the one hand, they coat the scalp, clog the pores and lead to hair dryness when present in shampoos and conditioners.

But are important in styling products that are designed to protect the hair from curling or straightening irons. When used during chemical treatments like this, they are deemed okay.

But for the sizeable side effects they provoke, they should be avoided in shampoos and conditioners. They can also add weight to the hair.


Any list like this one that doesn’t include parabens is probably not complete. The main issue with parabens is that they can cause hormonal imbalance, which ultimately leads to hair loss.

Now, everyone is looking at nurturing healthy, growing hair. Not alopecia.

They are found as preservatives in shampoos and conditioners and can easily be rinsed off. Maybe, it’s not that potent but it’s good to know parabens are among the ingredients to watch out for.

Mineral Oil

This is another ingredient found in Cantu products. It’s used for its moisturizing effect and after-effect shine. It’s effective and readily available, which is why most manufacturers use it.

Like silicones, mineral oils can sit on your hair and are not as easy as parabens to wash out. Thereby disrupting the free passage of the real moisture that your hair needs.

Some Cantu Hair Products

As raised at the beginning of this article, Cantu has a lot of products ranging from leave-in conditioner, shampoo, hair creams, and so on.

Cantu Hair Conditioner


This is one of Cantu’s popular products. This leave-in conditioning cream is formulated to repair damages to the hair caused by other hair styling products. It can also keep the hair soft, hydrated, and breakage-free.

This conditioner is made from 100% shea butter, which is full of vitamin A and E with essential fatty acids in much-needed quantity for shine and moisture.

Cantu Curl Activator

We’ve reviewed this product before on the blog. It’s mostly formulated for curly hair; enhancing the natural curl and reducing frizz and hair dryness.

It’s recommended to be used after a wash. If you’re looking for a hair growth cream, you should try it out. It contains shea butter, coconut oil, and a few other ingredients that’ll turn bland curl into bouncy curls.

Cantu Curling Cream


If you have 4A, 3C, 2, or relaxed hair, you can use the curling cream to add more to it. It can also help with adding moisture and shine to the hair.

If your hair is dry or damaged, this cream is also recommended. It’s free from gluten, paraffin, parabens, sulfates, silicone, propylene glycol, DEA.


Cantu beauty is actually a good brand. Also, Cantu hair products are one of the most popular for curly hair.

But for any hair care product, you have to consider the ingredients andnot just the brand or price. In the case of Cantu, some of their ingredients aren’t that impressive.

And if you have wavy hair or other hair types that’s not textured, you may not enjoy the product. If you’re looking for natural ingredients, try and consider other brands.

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