The quality of ingredients in hair products is more important now than ever before. Buyers are more conscious of what is placed in their hair and the benefits that will enhance the health of their strands over time. Brands proudly boast of their products being free of sulfates, parabens, and mineral oil to appeal to the newly savvy buyer. However, the biggest question I have found as I too become more sophisticated in purchasing products is how does one determine the grade and quality of the ingredient listed on the label, specifically natural and essential oils?

High quality vs. low quality oil

Curls CEO Mahisha Dellinger states there is absolutely a difference in quality when it comes to hair oils and always suggest sourcing organic oils whenever possible. Here are a few warning signs she suggests looking for when shopping for oils for your hair:

  • Scent - Low quality oils tend to have a rancid smell. Smell before you buy if possible.
  • Bottle - Check to see if the oil is packaged in a cheap plastic bottle. Chances are the oil itself is cheap oil blend. Certain oils like argan oil cannot be stored in plastic bottles.
  • Ingredients - How many ingredients are listed on the label for your oil? A high quality oil blend should just have one ingredient, 100% XYZ oil.

More about argan oil

Argan oil sometimes labeled as Argania spinosa kernel oil and often noted as "liquid gold" has amazing qualities for hair and skin. Here are a few additional ways to tell if your argan oil is of high quality:

  • As mentioned above, argan oil should always be packaged in a dark colored glass bottle. Light breaks down this oil's properties, so if it is stored in a clear bottle it is not 100%.
  • Argan oil is also often priced on the higher side; low quality oil will also be partnered with a low price.
  • Check the texture. The oil should be smooth and silky, not sticky and watery when applied to the skin.
  • Cosmetic argan oil is a golden, yellow color. If your argan oil is too light it might be diluted with other oils.

Refined vs. virgin coconut oil

Coconut oil, often listed by its scientific name Cocos nucifera, is frequently found as an ingredient in hair care products due to the impressive moisturizing and conditioning properties. An interesting thing to note is there are two grades of each. Here's how to tell which grade you have:

  • Refined coconut oil has a neutral scent and flavor. It is made from dried coconuts and can be heated up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Virgin oil on the other hand has a true coconut scent and flavor since it is made from fresh coconuts. Virgin coconut oil can be heated up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 
Both grades provide the same level of benefits for the hair and skin so the decision is more of a personal preference for most women.

Do you care about the grade and quality of your ingredients? Is this important to you?