Last week’s post touched on topics such as how to choose products, highlighting key things to look out for when choosing products specific to your hair needs. So going off of the categories listed in that post, I’ll key point some of the relevant ingredients that seem to be beneficial for hair care depending on what you aim to achieve with your hair needs. Most times reading and understanding the ingredient list at the back of a product can be quite daunting especially when most aren’t easy to pronounce, but nowadays some hair product companies have sought to change this and now you’ll find that some products ingredient list both contain the scientific or botanical name of the ingredient with also it’s commonly known name for e.g you’ll find that Aloe vera will more often than not be listed as ‘Aloe barbadensis’ or Avocado as ‘Persea Gratissima’. However with years of us naturals trying to decipher these ingredient list (with the help of the internet of course) it is with great pleasure to read these ingredients with its scientific names and actually understand it, I most times find myself regarding each ingredient with their scientific names (in my mind) without referencing to the English name (eventually that happens). For the sake of not generalising, below are some list of ingredients to consider for each specific need that I have tried and tested, which also seems to be prominent nowadays in most of the natural hair care products or hair care products period.
So what to look out for on the ingredient list
1) To deeply moisturise: if you are aiming to find a product that thoroughly moisturises your strands no matter what you already know about your hair (check here to confirm you know your hair), the ingredients list may contain some or all of these emollients such as: Water (of course), Aloe vera juice, Avocado oil (or extract, preferably organic or unrefined) Sweet Almond oil, Mongongo oil, Vitamin E oil, Jojoba oil, Cocoa butter, Palm kernel oil, Argan oil Castor oil, Aloe vera oil (ideal for my low porosity peeps) Cupuacu butter (a good alternative to try for those intolerant of shea butter), Honey (Humectant I. E attracts moisture), Mango butter.
2) Strong hold and lasting curl definition: Most gels or ‘curl definers’ will contain ingredients such as Aloe vera (gel) which binds water particles when in contact, Xanthan gum, Guar gum(acts as a thickener), some hydrolyzed proteins for hold (such as hydrolyzed wheat or oat protein), CARBOMER (acts as a thickener/ binder).
3) To deeply cleanse and clarify: Rhassoul clay, Bentonite clay, some sulfates (cleansing agents), one such as Sodium Laureth Sulfate and some Coconut derived surfactants such as Cocamidopropyl betaine and Sodium Cocoyl Isoethionate to name a few.
4) To mildly cleanse and condition: Ingredient lists may contain such as some oils mentioned on list 1, Dimethicone (silicone based emollient/moisturiser), some Ayurveda plant cleansers (such as Shikakai and Reetha), Kaolin clay (mildest clay cleanser) Panthenol (vitamin B5 moisturiser), Behentrimonium Chloride (conditioning agent)
5) Minimum hold and curl definition: May contain some of the ingredients on list number 2 without the use of proteins, instead more emollients; honey (humectant), or Aloe vera gel, flaxseed gel, agave nectar, Slippery elm and Marshmallow (binds water particles together and offers a ton of moisture).
6) To strengthen and restore: Protein based, mostly listed as hydrolyzed Wheat, Oat, Soy or Rice proteins, Algae, hydrolyzed Keratin, Silk amino acids, Henna, some moisturising butters and oil as suggested on list 1.
7) To make hair pliable for detangling: Mostly ingredients with “slip” factor (slip refers to the ability of products to glide through the hair strands with little to no resistance) which will include some silicone (dimethicone etc), slippery elm, marshmallow root (also conditions and smoothens), some oils such as the types listed above on list 1, Stearyl and Cetyl alcohol (fatty alcohol emollient/lubricant).
This list showcases just some of the ingredients that are relevant to look out for in hair products. With any of the ingredients mentioned it is vital to do some research to understand their benefits and how it can assist with your hair needs. Doing some research on your own path is vital as it aids to broaden your understanding so that you can be well equipped in caring for your hair. Starting this process can clarify some of the questions that you have failed to find the answer to, after all virtually almost every information is now synced to the WWW (lord help the web server).
As mentioned previously, when next you pick up a product read the back label to understand the ingredients list as this plays a much bigger role in determining the products performance than the brand name.
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Thanks for reading. If you made it this far to the post, you are much appreciated x.