Dickey on Essence.com – Ask the Experts

The Texture Guru Dickey was featured in this Essence.com Ask The Experts post

We’ve summarized it here for you to enjoy!

Decoding Parabens

“Parabens are preservatives found in commercial hair products that stop the growth of bacteria,” says Dickey. “The controversy about them is that they can mimic the hormone estrogen which is known to play a role in the development of breast cancer. As more women desire to live healthier lifestyles, they are now wanting these ingredients to be taken out of products. Nowadays, there are enough replacements and more natural ingredients available to replace products with parabens in them.”

Decoding Sulfates

“It’s a fairly new trend to keep sulfates out of shampoos,” says Dickey. “Sulfates are ingredients in cleansers that make them foam and become sudsy. Women with natural hair should really avoid using shampoos that lather and use a cream-based shampoo instead. They should only use sudsy cleansers as a treatment to remove thick buildup.”

Decoding Silicones

“You’ll often here silicones shortened to ‘cones’ in the natural hair community,” says Dickey. “The truth is there are good and bad silicones. There are the heavier silicones, like dimethicone and simethicone that are usually found in styling products. They coat the hair and prevent any real moisture from getting into the hair shaft.

Decoding Alcohol

“Isopropyl alcohols are very drying and you should avoid them,” says Dickey. “But there are good alcohols such as cetyl alcohols which are derived from coconut or palm oil and can help conditioners and hairsprays evaporate into the hair shaft more easily.”

Decoding Mineral Oil

“The myth about mineral oil is that it suffocates the skin, and that’s only true when it’s not in its purest form,” says Dickey. “When I developed my hair care line, my team spent two years researching a replacement for mineral oil but there’s no substitute for its performance. Many people think that it’s a cheap ingredient added to products and that’s not entirely true. The cosmetic grades of mineral oil are considered the safest and most non-irritating.”

Decoding Synthetic Fragrances

“You definitely want to stay away from synthetic fragrances and colors, especially on young children,” says Dickey. “They are a carcinogenic and can cause illnesses in children. They’ve also been linked to certain types of hormone imbalances, especially in young men. Phthalates are the most dangerous, so avoid them at all costs.”


  1. Stephanie Wright says:

    I can’t find my way back to the place where you ask questions. Sorry. I’ve got a couple of relatively recently acquired bald spots that don’t seem inclined to regrowth. I’d like a referral for a dermatologist that someone in your universe may have positive history with. I’m in NYC/NJ area. I do apologize because I asked this question before and someone did kindly reply. I called myself cleaning up my emails and carefully preserving that reply until such time as I was able to use it, and now I’m ready to visit the doctor and I can’t find the referral. I believe the doctor’s first name was Jenine and she was in Jersey. With much gratitude….

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