I was shocked at how soft my hair felt after using it. It was neither stiff nor crunchy, but still stayed in place. The base of my puff was smooth and shiny, but it didn’t look as if it was shellacked to my head. Which is why I was happy to see that after sitting for hours outside in the 80-plus degree weather we were blessed with that weekend, my hair still looked just as good as when the bristles of my brush first kissed my gel-coated strands. And still, no stiff, gel feeling — just super soft hair I couldn’t stop touching. The gel is infused with honey extract, which cosmetic chemist Ginger King mentions is there as a moisturizing agent.
One thing King did point out, which I would be remiss to omit, is that the formula includes some ingredients that are “not so cool” these days for people looking for a “clean” (whatever that means!) product. Now, Ampro isn’t claiming to have a “clean” formula, but for those who may care, King mentions the inclusion of lanolin and mineral oil, the latter of which she says has “pore-clogging potential.”
“Clean” beauty can be a loaded term, as we know, and many ingredients that have been deemed “bad” aren’t as harmful as they’re hyped up to be. Sulfates, for example, get an extremely bad wrap when in reality, in most cases they’re really not that terrible for your hair.
As for mineral oil, though some people try to avoid it because untreated or lightly-treated mineral oil is a carcinogen, and could be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane. However, there isn’t evidence that the amounts present in the ultra-refined mineral oil used in beauty products is particularly harmful. “The biggest unknown is: What level of 1,4-dioxane is safe?,” Ni’Kita Wilson, a cosmetic chemist based in the New York City area previously told Allure. “The studies so far have involved giving the raw material to animals; that’s not the same as applying a diluted version to the skin.” Some beauty consumers still choose to steer clear of it, though.
King also noted the inclusion of DMDM hydantoin, a formaldehyde-releasing preservative. It’s there to keep the product fresh — formaldehyde also occurs naturally in some foods, like apples and pears — but it can potentially be irritating to the skin. The amount of formaldehyde released by DMDM hydantoin is small, roughly equivalent to a pear. As cosmetic chemist Kelly Dobos previously told Allure, “The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) panel of expert physicians and toxicologists concluded that free formaldehyde in cosmetics should not exceed 0.2 percent.” She adds that DMDM hydantoin is usually “used at concentrations of less than half a percent total, which means it’s unlikely cosmetics contain [formaldehyde] levels above that recommendation.”