A healthy hair regimen starts with choosing hair products that cater to your hair’s specific needs. With so many products on the market, it can be overwhelming to know which ones are right for you. Understanding how different products work and their ingredients will help in choosing the right product for your hair. Check out our Hair Regimen Builder to find out the specific types of product are needed in a healthy hair regimen. Hair products are a very complex category, so information will be added to this article overtime.
Choosing the right hair products starts with reading and understanding product labels are important when choosing the right products for your hair. Understanding ingredients and how they work will help in knowing if a product will meet your hair needs. Ingredients on a product label are usually labeled in order from the highest to lowest concentration. The first five to seven ingredients are usually the highest concentration of the product and make up over 50% of the product. Other ingredients listed below that are in much lower concentrations and account for 1-2% of the product. For example, you want a product that has Coconut Oil because you like the benefits of it. You choose a product that is marketed as being ‘enriched with Coconut Oil’ and upon reading the label, you see that it’s far down on the ingredient list. Since the coconut oil isn’t listed towards the top of the ingredient list, there isn’t much of it in the product for you to get any benefits from the Coconut Oil at all. Usually when this happens, it is all for marketing purposes to attract consumers to that product.
Moisturizing products are needed to give the hair elasticity to endure manipulation from styling, detangling, etc. It’s imperative to make sure that your moisturizing products are water based (the first ingredient is water). Water is the only true moisturizer-nothing else. Moisturizing products usually include conditioners and moisturizers. However, styling products can be moisturizing if they are water based and are full of emollients. Products that are labeled “hydrating”, “penetrating”, or “moisturizing” are usually moisture based.
Protein-based products help to strengthen hair and prevent breakage. However, these products should be used in moderation. When used too often, they can make hair stiff, hard, and dry. This combination can cause breakage so easily. Products that are labeled with words such as “strengthen” “repair” or “rebuild” are usually protein based.
To learn more about when to use moisture and protein, click here.
Humectants are emollients in hair products that attracts water from the air and uses it to moisturize hair. Products that contain humectants are extremely beneficial to those with dry hair. Humectants include ingredients with a high sugar content such as aloe vera juice and honey. More often used humectants are glycerin, propylene glycol, panthenol, and non-hydrogenated castor oil.
Though humectants are great for dry thirsty strands, they can’t be used all of the time. Remember that humectants pull moisture from the air. If there is no moisture in the air, the humectant is still working to pull it from somewhere. And guess where that moisture comes from? Your hair. In dry or cold climates where there is minimal moisture in the air, it’s best to stay away humectant based products. The best time to use humectants is when the dew point is between 40°F to 60°F. If the dew point is lower than 40°F, it will cause the humectant to pull moisture from your hair. A dew point significantly over 60°F can draw too much moisture with humectants. Staying within the dew point of 40°F to 60°F is ideal when using humectants. A rule of thumb is to use humectants is in the late spring and early fall.