Learning to read product ingredient labels is probably one of the most important skills to acquire while on your hair journey. Knowing what you’re putting in your hair will assist you in taking better care of your hair. As a rule of thumb, they say the first 5 ingredients are the most important as it makes up the majority of the product. With that being said, ingredients further down the list, tend to be less potent. Next time you are looking for a protein/moisturizing conditioner, make sure the key ingredients are in the top 5 or towards the beginning of the ingredient list.
Shopping for a moisturizing product, whether that’s a conditioner, leave-in or moisturizer isn’t always easy. How do you know what is moisturizing and what isn’t? Moisturizing products tend to have fatty alcohols such as ceterayl alcochol, stearyl alcohol etc. These alcohols are all fatty and derived from coconut oil giving the hair a soft manageable feeling. Fatty Alcohols help the cuticle to lie flat. Behentrimonium Methosulfate is a popular ingredient found in moisturizing products. It provides tons of slip, which is excellent for detangling your hair! It moisturizes and conditions your hair from the inside out. Look out for Panthenol as it helps thicken each hair strand – naturally! Panthenol penetrates the hair shaft and can thicken the hair up to 10%, according to Live Strong website. Panthenol, a natural humectant improves elasticity, moisture retention and the flexibility of the hair. Last but not least, Stearalkonium Chloride, my favourite, is a common hair care ingredient found in moisturizing products, helping to condition your hair leaving it shinier, softer, and more manageable.
Spotting protein ingredients is slightly easier! Protein products tend to have “hydrolyzed” proteins, which are usually found in the top five ingredients on ingredient labels. Hydrolyzed means that the ingredient has been reduced small enough to penetrate deep into hair cortex to correct and prevent damage. When hunting for a protein product, look out for “hydrolyzed” ingredients, whether that’s hydrolyzed silk, hydrolyzed animal protein, hydrolyzed keratin etc. Hydrolyzed Protein particles are known to fill in the cracks along damaged areas in the hair shaft successively strengthening the hair, increasing elasticity and volume. Reading and understanding ingredient labels is essential! It helps us understand our hair needs and wants.
Understanding ingredients helps us with product selection aiding in a more successful hair journey!