Is Cantu Bad for Your Hair? What About Their Shampoo, Conditioner, and Other Products?

Young African American woman with a curly hair type styled with Cantu shea butter and Cantu curl activator cream.

Countless natural hair care brands and products have gotten a bad rap over the years. These companies have garnered negative press by marketing and selling products to naturals that fail to cater to the specific needs of their hair types.

Cantu, an established hair care brand, has been publicized as “bad” for your hair on several occasions. But is it really? In this article, we will answer the question “Is Cantu bad for your hair?” and more. 

Amazing black woman at the beach with a 4A curly hair type coconut hair oil and Shea Moisture leave-in conditioner.

Is Cantu Bad for Your Hair?

Cantu hair products are not bad for your hair. After we looked at the ingredients and reviews of several Cantu products, we think that many Cantu hair products are perfectly fine for wavy, curly, kinky, and coily hair types (and straight hair types too).

However, it’s important to remember that some of the products could have harmful ingredients. These ingredients are usually used in small amounts, so in most cases, they are safe for your hair.

If you’re concerned about these chemicals, you may want to check with your stylist or dermatologist to see whether this brand is a good fit for you. When it comes to introducing a new product to your hair and scalp, it’s usually better to be cautious rather than sorry.

Also, your natural hair regimen should be designed to counteract any harmful ingredients that your hair encounters. Keep reading for a complete overview of Cantu products and the most common ingredients.

Key Takeaways

  • Cantu Hair Products. Generally safe for various hair types, including curly, kinky, coily, and straight hair. They offer a wide range of products designed to accentuate natural hair textures.
  • Key Ingredients. Products contain natural ingredients like shea butter, aloe vera, grapeseed oil, and coconut oil. These ingredients are beneficial for hair health and growth. However, some products contain potentially harmful chemicals like Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) and petrolatum.
  • Product Diversity. Cantu offers a diverse lineup, including shampoos, conditioners, oils, and styling products. The Cantu Coconut Curling Cream and Cantu Curl Activator Cream are notable for their effectiveness on curly locks.
  • Consumer Feedback. Positive reviews highlight the benefits, such as moisture retention and detangling. These products also help improve your scalp’s health. Some negative experiences include hair feeling weighed down or dry.
  • Considerations for Use. Despite some drawbacks, Cantu products are deemed safe. Users with specific hair care routines or concerns, like sensitive skin or scalp, should review ingredients. Look for potential irritants and consult a stylist or dermatologist for additional help.

An Overview of Cantu Products

Beautiful young female with bouncy 4A curls styled with our Cantu shea butter and vegan styling products.

Cantu has been developing and selling natural hair care products since 2003. The company prides itself on delivering products that accentuate the natural beauty of textured hair.

Cantu manufactures products for the entire body but focuses mainly on hair care. Their ever-growing product collection features shampoos, conditioners, oils, mists, gels, and much more. 

Cantu promotes a natural hair collection, an essential oil collection, and even a kid’s collection. Though each collection is geared towards a particular group, Cantu affirms that all of their products nurture your hair and make styling a breeze.

Peruse the section below as we spotlight some of Cantu’s best-selling products along with their claims.

Coconut Curling Cream

Coconut Curling Cream – This curling cream works to not only moisturize but strengthen hair without leaving buildup. The cream is lightweight, conditioning the hair without weighing it down. The product contains no sulfates, silicones, parabens, or gluten. In 2013, the product won Naturally Curly’s Best of the Best award.

Cantu Shea Butter Coconut Curling Cream container, ideal for moisturizing natural hair textures.
Cantu Shea Butter Coconut Curling Cream: A hydrating blend for natural curls, coils, and waves. When using this product, smooth the cream onto damp hair section by section. Begin at the root and work toward the ends. Do not rinse. The product can be used on dry hair to re-moisturize your curls. Finish with an oil to seal in the moisture.
Back of Cantu Coconut Curling Cream packaging showing why it works and how to use it for type 3 curls and type 4 coils.
Cantu Coconut Curling Cream is formulated with shea butter, coconut oil, avocado oil, almond oil, jojoba seed oil, olive oil, mango seed butter and oil, carrot seed oil, and grapeseed oil to deeply moisturize, add slip, and shine to your hair strands.
Close-up view of the creamy texture of Cantu Coconut Curling Cream, emphasizing its richness for hair care.
Close-up of Cantu Coconut Curling Cream’s rich texture, perfect for nourishing curly and coily hair types.

Sulfate-free Cleansing Cream Shampoo

Cleansing Cream Shampoo – This sulfate-free shampoo cleanses the hair while leaving it moist and preventing breakage from dryness. Made with pure shea butter, this cleansing shampoo provides a nice lather to rid the hair and scalp of tough buildup. It can be used on natural or color-treated hair.

Cantu Sulfate Free Shampoo Bottle scaled
Cantu Shea Butter Sulfate-Free Cleansing Cream Shampoo: Provides gentle care for natural curls, coils, and waves. This unique formula has fair trade organic shea butter, gently removes heavy buildup, and nourishes to help reduce breakage. Plus, it’s enriched with B vitamins to help encourage healthy hair growth.
Using Cantu Cleansing Cream Shampoo scaled
To use this product, wet your hair completely. Massage the shampoo into your wet hair, beginning at the root and working toward the ends of your hair strands. Then, lather and rinse your hair thoroughly with cool water.

Sulfate-free Hydrating Cream Conditioner

Hydrating Cream Conditioner – This conditioner helps the hair seal in moisture, creating a healthy environment for hair to grow and flourish. Like the shampoo, the hydrating conditioner is made with pure shea butter. The natural coconut fragrance adds a pleasant aroma to the hair. 

Cantu Shea Butter Sulfate-Free Hydrating Cream Conditioner bottle, ideal for moisturizing natural hair and retaining oils.
Cantu Shea Butter Sulfate-Free Hydrating Cream Conditioner: Nourishment for retaining natural oils in curls, coils, and waves.
Application of Cantu Shea Butter Hydrating Cream Conditioner, focusing on its benefits for curly and coily hair hydration.
Cantu’s Hydrating Cream Conditioner is used to moisturize and help prevent split ends and breakage. It’s made with pure shea butter to nourish strands. To use the product, apply a generous amount of the conditioner to the ends of your hair and work toward the root. Then, rinse thoroughly with cool water. The product can be used in conjunction with Cantu Cleansing Cream Shampoo. It’s good for type 2 waves, type 3 curls, and type 4 coils.

Leave-in Conditioning Repair Cream

Leave-in Conditioning Repair Cream – This leave-in conditioning cream helps detangle hair after a good wash to prepare it for styling. The cream can be used to repair brittle ends, breakage, and dry, delicate stands. It is suitable for textured, colored, relaxed, or permed hair.

Bottle of Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream, targeted for softening and repairing dry, damaged hair.
Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream: Intense moisture for revitalizing damaged and dry hair.
Hands applying Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream, demonstrating its use for intense hair moisture and repair.
You can use Cantu Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream as a deeply penetrating conditioning treatment infused with shea butter and other natural oils to help promote healthy hair. To use the product, apply a generous amount of cream to the ends of your damp hair and work toward your roots. Comb through your hair for even distribution. Don’t rinse the product out. Apply daily to your split ends and damaged areas.
Close-up view of the rich, creamy texture of Cantu Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream, highlighting its moisturizing properties for hair care.
Use the product as a leave-in treatment for maximum absorption. Apply as directed, cover your hair with a conditioning cap, and let it sit for 30 minutes. Then rinse it out with cool water. You can also use it as a rinse-out conditioner by applying as directed and rinsing the product out with cool water.
  • Comeback Curl Next Day Curl Revitalizer – This curl-enhancing spray can bring your curls back to life, preserving the styles you work so hard to achieve. This light spray helps to add shine back to lackluster curls and controls frizz and flyaways. There’s no need to do a new twist-out every day with this spray. 
  • Tea Tree & Jojoba Hair and Scalp Oil – This hair and scalp oil can be used on natural hair, weaves, braids, extensions, and other styles. The essential and carrier oil blend really packs a punch. It injects moisture into each strand while conditioning hair and increasing growth.
  • Grow Strong Strengthening Treatment – This treatment was developed to strengthen weak strands damaged by heat or chemicals. It can even be used to seal in moisture during heat styling.
Cantu Shea Butter Wave Whip Curling Mousse can, formulated to define and enhance natural curl patterns.
Cantu Shea Butter Wave Whip Curling Mousse: Ideal for crafting and defining natural waves and curls. The product is a lightweight mousse that’s infused with shea butter to smooth and define curls.
Application of Cantu Shea Butter Wave Whip Curling Mousse, showcasing its lightweight formula for curl definition.
You can use Cantu Wave Whip Curling Mousse by applying the product to wet hair, then scrunch your hair upward toward the scalp, hold and release your curls. Then, allow your hair to air dry or diffuse.
Bottle of Cantu Shea Moisturizing Curl Activator Cream, designed to enhance curl definition and add shine.
This Moisturizing Curl Activator Cream is formulated with a unique moisture blend of shea butter, olive oil, coconut oil, grapeseed oil, avocado oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, and mango seed oil to add volume and definition.
Applying Cantu Shea Moisturizing Curl Activator Cream to hair, showing its effectiveness in curl enhancement and shine.
To use Cantu Moisturizing Curl Activator Cream, you’ll apply it to damp hair section by section. You can reapply it to dry hair as needed for additional moisture. Finish by using an oil to seal in the moisture.
Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioning Cream bottle, designed to soften and reduce hair breakage.
This product is formulated with a deep penetrating moisture blend to help restore strands.
Hands applying Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioning Cream to hair, showcasing its use for repairing and softening hair.
To use Cantu Leave-in Conditioning Cream, apply a generous amount of the product to the ends of your damp hair and work toward the roots. Then, comb through your hair for even distribution. Do not rinse it out. Finish your hair with a hair oil to seal in the moisture.
Close-up view of Cantu Shea Butter Leave-In Conditioning Cream's texture, emphasizing its moisturizing and repairing properties for hair.
Close-up of Cantu Leave-In Conditioning Cream’s creamy texture, ideal for hair nourishment and repair.

Cantu Product Ingredients

Young African woman with spiraling curls created with cruelty-free essential oils and vegan hair moisturizer.

Cantu products rely on a plethora of ingredients to enhance textured hair. Some of the ingredients support healthy hair maintenance, while others are questionable.

Knowing and understanding the ingredients will help you identify the right products for you and which ones you should skip. Keep reading as we look into some of the good and bad ingredients in Cantu hair products.

The Good Ones

  • Shea Butter – Shea Butter is a staple within the Cantu collection of products. It is a natural ingredient derived from the Shea-Karite tree nut. It is a multifaceted moisturizer used to soothe scalp irritation, protect hair from damage, and soften hair. Shea butter can be found in nearly all Cantu products.
  • Aloe VeraAloe vera is a plant filled with a rich, jelly-like substance. This super plant is known for its healing properties. It restores hair strands and can reduce scalp inflammation. Cantu uses aloe vera gel and juice in several of its products, including the conditioning repair cream, curl activator cream, and moisturizing twist and lock gel.
  • Grapeseed Oil Grapeseed oil is a light carrier oil that moisturizes and tames hair. It contains vitamin E, linoleic acid, and flavonoids, which the hair needs to maintain vibrancy. The oil can prevent split ends, strengthen brittle hair, and lessen dandruff. You’ll find the ingredients in several of Cantu’s products.
  • Coconut OilCoconut oil is another ingredient found in various Cantu products. This oil is very big in the natural hair community due to its fantastic moisturizing properties. When applied to wet or dry hair, it protects the hair from damage and moisture loss. Coconut oil is found in the majority of Cantu products. 
Positive black girl at the beach wearing 4A defined curls styled without harsh chemicals keeping her hair moist.

The Bad Ones

  • Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) – Polyethylene glycol is a thickener that makes products easier to work with and dispense. But PEGs can potentially cause hair to lose moisture. PEGs can also contain carcinogens that have been discovered to lead to cancer. These compounds are found in Cantu conditioners.
  • Petrolatum – Petrolatum is a sticky moisturizer that works wonders for bringing dry skin to life. But when it’s put in your hair, it can cause buildup. Petrolatum is found in several of Cantu’s products, including the Coconut Curling Cream and the Tea Tree & Jojoba Scalp Oil. 
  • Fragrances – Cantu uses fragrances in almost all of its hair care products. Although fragrances leave the hair with a pleasant smell, there is no way of knowing exactly what’s in those fragrances. Cantu simply uses “parfum” or perfume when listing fragrances in their ingredient list. This leaves consumers in the dark about the composition of their fragrance solutions. 

Customer Reviews on Cantu Products

Beautiful African woman with frizz-free bouncy curls walking on the sand at the beach.

Overall, the majority of reviews on Cantu products are favorable. Most well-known products have good reviews. But with any hair care product, there will be negative reviews. Both good and bad reviews should be considered when deciding whether you should try a product. 

Reviews for Cantu’s best-selling leave-in conditioner are below.

Positive Reviews

  • Great for straight, curly, or wavy hair (and relaxed hair).
  • Keeps hair feeling moist.
  • Aids in detangling unruly roots and ends.
  • Helps to heal scalp inflammation.

Negative Reviews

  • Leaves hair feeling weighed down and greasy.
  • Leads to hair and scalp dryness.
  • Results in an unpleasant odor on the hair.

Examining customer reviews on specific Cantu products will help you determine whether a given product may be a good fit for you. 

Should You Try Cantu Products?

Happy black girl with Cantu shea butter in well-defined curls making her hair smooth with amazing volume.

After reviewing the ingredients and reviews on Cantu products, we encourage you to try whichever Cantu products spark your curiosity. Keep in mind that you may be exposed to some of the harmful ingredients discussed earlier.

However, these ingredients are used in minimal amounts, making them safe to use on your hair. Whether your hair will like the products remains to be seen. 

If you are worried about exposure to these ingredients, you may want to consult your local stylist or dermatologist to decide if this brand is a good fit for you. It is always best to err on the side of caution when introducing a new product to your hair and scalp.

Related Articles

Although Cantu contains a few subpar ingredients, we believe all their products are safe to try on the hair. The brand’s use of these few ingredients should not drive you to cancel Cantu as an entire brand.

Our “cancel culture” within the natural hair community has led to severe misinformation about exceptional products. We encourage you to always review and research the ingredients in the products you’re interested in rather than relying on rumors.

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