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If you’ve ever been in search of a new favorite product, you know how horrible the process can be. Some people simply pick it by the color of the bottle while others read the label to see if it’s for coily hair. But if there’s one thing to take away from all of the frustration as a newly natural, it’s to read some of the hair product ingredients.

Importance of Ingredients

Hair product ingredients are important in three different ways. For one thing, type 4 hair is fragile and often times brittle. The wrong hair care product can make a hair “situation” worse instead of better. If you know what’s in it, you have a better chance of finding what your hair needs.

Also, you’re not just fighting the hair battle against your hair, but your scalp and body as well. Ingredients that are toxic can damage cooly hair or irritate your skin. These are important to note on any hair care label. Ingredients can also be hidden on labels, so you really have to dig to find what you know should not be put on your head.

Finally, hair care products may often boast one thing, but the ingredients in the product may scientifically lack the ability to do that thing for your hair. So if you’re weeding out shampoos, conditioners or styling products, the ingredients list is the place to look first.

The Best Ingredients for Coils

There are a variety of fantastic and well known hair product ingredients that are helpful and healthful for type 4 hair, specifically emollients and silicone.

Silicones are actually not bad for your hair and can actually help restore it. Unless you've recently big chopped, silicones will do more for your hair than not.

An emollient is really just a fancy term for an oil or ingredient that contains fatty acids. These fatty acids penetrate the hair cuticle, giving nutrients and moisture the opportunity to absorb into the hair. Olive oil, macadamia nut oil, sesame oil and jojoba oil are fantastic emollients that can be found in everything from shampoo to styling products. Some emollients penetrate better than others, such as sesame and olive oil (which are both anti-inflammatory, as well). For coily hair, all emollients work to help bring back that strength in shine.

That being said, an emollient works even better with silicones. Silicones, often known under the more common dimethecone, place a light film over the hair cuticle to protect it from the damaging effects of daily wear and tear. This is fantastic for an emollient in that it not only protects the hair from splitting or breaking, it also keeps nutrients and emollients inside the hair cuticle. And because it creates that protective film, silicone (and to some extent the lesser ingredient, collagen), makes combing and styling coily hair much easier.

Keep note, however, that if you do use products that contain silicone, you will need to shampoo your hair more often. Many in the textured hair community prefer to avoid silicones in order to avoid shampoo. Silicones are actually not bad for your hair, and can actually help restore it. Unless you've recently big chopped, silicones will do more for your hair than not. If you are concerned about silicones, check out this article about which are water-soluble and which aren't. The best offense to a silicone defense is to be educated.

Lesser Known Ingredients

Most of the best and well-known hair product ingredients are non-toxic and healthy for your hair. However, there are a few lesser known or understood ingredients that significantly increase the health and shine of type 4 hair. Coenzyme Q10 boosts keratin production with keratin or hydrolyzed keratin, a natural building block of hair, and fills in gaps within the hair cuticle. Ginseng root extract is believed to strengthen hair and prevent split ends. Jojoba extract reduces frizz. And last, wheat protein strengthens damaged hair. All of these ingredients are great additions to all types of coily hair care products.

Final Thoughts

This list of good ingredients doesn’t just stop here. From cetearyl alcohol (an emollient, emulsifier, conditioner and thickener) to glycerin (a non-toxic by-product of soap making), there are dozens of ingredients that have been proven to be a great addition to various hair care products.

Remember some ingredients are great, and some are just downright toxic. As always, when it comes to your health, research and education are key.

 

0 Comments
Hear Hear! I am absolutely in love with olive oil and try to find products that contain it or just slather it on for some deep conditioning. I also just switched shampoos and found something paraben free. I'm so glad there's so many options out there! ... Catch me on my Twitter handle, @SamanthaBerley
I like fatty alcohols, vegetable oils/butters, vegetable glycerin, honey, behentrimonium chloride and behentrimonium methosulfate in my conditioner (rinse out or leave-in). These ingredients give my tightly coiled hair great slip and help it retain moisture. I'm not a fan of silicones, mineral oil, protein or paraben in my conditioners.

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