I recently attended a natural hair event. While it was good for those who were on the verge of transitioning or those who were brand new to the idea of caring for their own hair, it did very little to address the practical side of hair care.
The idea of caring for your own hair sounds great but the reality of the day to day aspects of hair care it is where most people give up.
Unsurprisingly majority of the women at the event had locs; long, short, thick and thin, they were all out in their droves. On the day there seemed to be a misconception that to go natural you have to grow locs, obviously we know that’s not the case but that’s a subject for another day.
The area where many of us get confused at the beginning of our hair journey’s is product selection, in particular, deciphering the ingredients in each bottle of shampoo, conditioner or styling product you purchase.
Knowledge is power so giving yourself the opportunity to learn what to look for when purchasing new products is way more useful than random product recommendations that may or may not work for you.
Giving you a breakdown of every ingredient you will ever encounter would also be way too much information, and truthfully rather boring. All you want is to know what to buy right?
Well, we all know the red flag ingredients like sulfates and petrolatum/mineral oil* but a lot of us still don’t completely understand ingredient lists in general. Most importantly you should know that ingredients are always listed in the order of their volume in the formulation of the product. Simply put there will be more of the first ingredient than the last one in the product.
In the US the minimum meat content allowed to be labelled as ‘Pork Sausages’ is 42%. Now I don’t know about you but if my sausages are more than half made of anything other than meat, they are not worth my money. ‘Pork flavored breadcrumbs’ would be a more accurate description of these sausages. The same principle applies to hair products.
If you are buying an oil based hairdress or hair butter, you want to make sure that the headline ingredient shows up as one of the first few ingredients in the list. No point advertising a product as a coconut oil* hairdress when another oil is the first ingredient but manufacturers do this all the time. Take a look at the example on the next page: