Knowing Your Ingredients: Xanthan Gum and Dehydroxanthan Gum

Let me give you a minute to get over your “dafuq moment” and we will begin….

Ok, here we go.

Some of you have probably heard of these ingredients and some of you are probably like “dafuq” is that? Its ok, we got this boo!

So, on my never ending search for a good gel, I always look at ingredients that are going to lead me to believe “Ok Tasia, this product will work!” Some people look for moisturizing properties, but honestly, I don’t have time for that. I have a lot of moisturizers, leave-in, puddings, pastes, pomades and butters to moisturize. Not to mention AVG for my edges if I really need it and Castor Oil is a good edge tamer for me. So with all these products, please explain why I need them in a gel again?

Not that I am making fun of people who do, but I do like a little moisturizing or healing properties in my gel, but I usually apply AVG or Castor Oil (Wheat Germ Oil if I can remember too) to my edges before I use an actual gel. This provides softening properties, taming of this shrew and anti-caking/flaking.

Now, I am very goal oriented as my activities today are always for the way I want something to be in the end. When I buy hair products, I am the same way. I know we all read ingredients, and thats what we should be doing (did you know that Shea Moisture took out Japanese Honeysuckle as a preservative, I forget what they use now, but that sucker has been replaced! Also, older Nubian Heritage body washes have parabens in them, so make sure your supplier is selling the newer ones) on a purchase basis, but sometimes, it only varies to shampoos, conditioners and leave-ins/moisturizers. Not to much more because after that, other products just get specific and they should just work.

But when I look a gel, I looks for the specific gel-like quality that will make it a gel and not just a styling product. And now we are back to know our ingredients.

From my undergrad days, I remember learning Xanthan Gum is derived from bacteria and Dehydroxanthan Gum is the removal of water from Xanthan Gum implied by dehydrox-. It can also be derived from corn.

Xanthan gum is a sugar that is a food additive, which is safe, and since it grows on some leafy vegetables, it creates this slime. This slime has become an alternative to other thickeners. Along with food, it is also used in the cosmetic industry as a stabilizer and binding agent and is also use to create gel-like qualities desired.

Dehydroxanthan Gum, however, is the key to styling gels. This is the new kid on the block that everyone is sleeping on because they don’t know his strength. Traditional gels have PVP/carbomer formulas, but they are limited in how they work bases on natural elemental factors such as humidity. Also, they are artificially derived. Dehydroxanthan Gum is a natural derived thickening agent that outperforms artificial thickeners in that it performs well in humid conditions because it reacts well with water, allowing styles to hold and not flake, and also provides better detangling properties for less combing and decreased mechanical damage.

And we all love decreased damage and anything that will decrease it 🙂

In the end, gels with Dehydroxanthan Gum will be less tacky, gives good hold over prolonged periods, can withstand natural elemental changes, provides no flaking and can be combed, then reactivated with water. Is that not what we look for in a gel. Its like the perfect child… Hopefully, we won’t be hearing anything negative about it in 10-15 years.

And now, back to CurlMart.

One Day, It Will Happen

Tasia B.



6 thoughts on “Knowing Your Ingredients: Xanthan Gum and Dehydroxanthan Gum

  1. Wow, thank you for this! I’ve been wondering what their purpose was, but been too lazy to even attempt to figure it out. Now I really want to try CJ pattern pusha

    • No problem. I have been looking at that too, but I need more of a edge controller and not something for the whole head. It’s still on my wish list though.

  2. Love your explanation. My one and only gel is the Crown Pride Naturals Curl Control Styling Puree. It has Dehydroxanthan Gum and it is a dream gel, just so perfect. I mean, all its ingredients are dreamy.

    This is the ingredients list:

    Aqeous extracts of **Calendula officinalis (organic calendula) flowers, **Althaea officinalis (organic marshmallow) root, **Lavandula augustofilia (organic lavender), *+Dehydroxanthan gum, **Honey (organic honey), Helianthus annus (and) Beta Carotene (carrot tissue) oil, *Panthenol, Phenoxyethanol (and) Caprylyl glycol, lactic acid, Parfum

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