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The best way to buy hair products without wasting money is to know what you are looking for in products, and that includes the ingredients. We no longer purchase solely on product claims. We delve into the ingredient listing to ensure it will do what we need it to do without harming our curls or color.

Basics in hair care products

Hair care products contain so many ingredients that shopping can be an overwhelming experience. We all need to clean, condition and style our curls, so knowing the backbone of what can be found in most products helps to determine if the brand you are interested in has what you need.

Here are a list of ingredients that can be found in most products and what they can and may do to and for your hair.

1. Ceramides

Ceramides are natural occurring long chain lipids (oils) and a major component in surface skin structure and in hair cuticles. It is different from the oil on the outside of the hair surface called sebum. According to The Natural Haven, ceramides act as a glue to hold all the layers of hair intact or as most of us know, keep the layers smooth or flat as opposed to raised. They are necessary for their water retention capacity, cellular regulation and repair, and hair elasticity while combatting dryness. Oils with excellent concentrations of ceramides are safflower oil, grapeseed oil, hemp seed oil, and sunflower oil.

Here are some popular products with ceramides:

Read more: Damaged Hair Repair Doesn't Stop at Proteins
2. Essential fatty acids

Many of the natural oils we love for our curls have fatty acids 3 and 6 but there are even some with all three like flaxseed oil, hemp seed oil, and soybean oil. Other oils include almond oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil. These oils are amazing all on their own, but here are a few products utilizing the powers of these fatty acids to make them greater.

Read more: You Need These Good Fats for Healthy Hair
3. Humectants

Humectants are key ingredients that attract moisture to hair the skin. They aid in volumizing hair by pulling in moisture like a water magnet, which expands the hair shaft. Most popular among curly girls is glycerin. Glycerin, sorbitol, and honey are popular humectants found in hair products. Here are some products utilizing humectants:

Read more: The Ultimate Guide to Humectants and Hair
4. Natural oils

There are essential oils and carrier oils that range in properties from antioxidants to anti-inflammatories to aiding in blocking UV rays. Their benefits are immeasurable for our hair and scalp. There are too many oils to list but popular essential oils like lavender oil or rosemary oil or carrier oils like coconut oil or olive oil are found in hundreds of products from shampoos to conditioners to styling aids. Here are two products containing the essential or carrier natural oils that textured-haired women love.

5. Proteins

According to Medical News Today, proteins are large molecules consisting of amino acids that our bodies and the cells within our bodies need to properly function. Keratin is a protein in skin, hair, and nails that can be depleted by chemical, thermal, and mechanical damage. You can find proteins mostly in conditioner and some moisturizers, but if proteins are going to actually help our strands then they need to be small enough to attach the hair shaft.

Read more These 6 Proteins Must be Hydrolyzed...If You Want Them to Work

Any ingredients you want more information on? Let us know below in the comments.