Key Ingredients That You Should Always Look For In Your Products
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Diving into the world of hair care, particularly for those with wavy, curly, and coily textures, often involves tackling common issues like dryness, frizz, and moisture retention. In this guide, we’re not just skimming the surface of hair care products; we’re zeroing in on the specific ingredients that directly address these issues. It’s about understanding each ingredient’s ‘why’ and ‘how’ and its impact on textured hair.

Sifting through hair care ingredients can sometimes feel overwhelming with the scientific terms and industry jargon. But we’re here to simplify things. We’ll highlight the essential ingredients that are particularly effective in tackling problems unique to wavy, curly, and coily hair types.

Get ready to discover a wealth of ingredients that provide your strands with deep nourishment, proteins that fortify and rebuild, etc. Each ingredient discussed will be linked to a specific hair concern, providing you with targeted solutions that cater to the needs of your textured hair. 

Common Hair Care Challenges and Solutions for Textured Hair

Issue #1: Dryness

Dryness in hair is a lack of moisture. It can be caused by over-styling, rough handling, or harsh chemical treatments, which can reduce the protein content in hair fibers. This results in hair becoming porous, dry, and brittle. To maintain healthy, voluminous hair, ensuring adequate moisture levels is essential.1,2

To manage hair dryness effectively, there are two main strategies:

1. Preserve the Existing Moisture: This involves keeping the hair’s current water content and controlling its evaporation.1

2. Add Moisture: This strategy aims to reintroduce water molecules into dry hair fibers.2

Solution – Key Ingredients for Dry Hair: 

  • Glycerin: A humectant that adds moisture to dry hair. It can be slightly sticky in high doses.
  • Propylene Glycol: Helps add moisture without a sticky residue.
  • Propanediol: A natural biodegradable, new-generation humectant that enhances the water content in hair and is highly preferred for all hair types.
  • Pyrrolidone Carboxylic Acid (PCA) Salts (Sodium or Zinc PCA): A component of the natural moisturizing factor (NMF) that add water molecules to dry hair, having a higher water-binding capacity compared to traditional humectants. Strongly recommended for extremely dry and damaged hair.
  • Betaine: Derived from beetroot, this natural moisturizing agent has excellent water-binding properties, perfect for dry, damaged, and highly porous hair.
  • Aloe Vera: Contains sugar-based natural polymers known as polysaccharides, adds water molecules and provides a superior natural texture. It is a natural, sustainable ingredient that benefits hair fibers and the scalp.

Products Featuring These Key Ingredients:

Mielle Organics Babassu Oil & Mint Deep Conditioner


(contains Sodium PCA)

AG Hair Curl Revie Sulfate-Free Hydrating Shampoo


(contains glycerin, sodium PCA)

Issue #2: Frizz

Frizz is a common issue for damaged and highly porous hair fibers, leading to hair that’s difficult to manage and style.4 Frizzy hair often appears “messy” and lacks style and curl definition. Certain vital ingredients are particularly effective in addressing this.

Solution-Key Anti-Frizz Ingredients and Their Benefits:

  • Argan Oil: This oil is a quick fix for frizz, offering softness and protects against UV damage.
  • Shea Butter: A natural emollient that provides excellent spreadability, conditioning and shine, making it ideal for damaged, frizzy hair.
  • Macadamia Nut Oil: Known for its light texture, this oil has superior hair-softening benefits that help reduce frizz and static.
  • Sunflower Oil: A poly-unsaturated oil that guards against UV damage, this ingredient helps reduce fiber friction, protecting the hair shaft.
  • Sesame Seed Oil: Rich in natural antioxidants that aid in fiber protection and color retention and improve hair manageability.
  • Jojoba Oil: Effective against frizz and breakage, Jojoba Oil is also non-comedogenic, making it suitable for all hair types.3
  • Silicone Oils (Cyclomethicone, Dimethicone, Phenyltrimethicone): These synthetic oils are highly effective against frizz due to their hydrophobic properties. They offer a quick solution for smoother hair.

Products Featuring These Key Ingredients:

Cantu Argan Oil Leave-In Conditioning Repair Cream


(contains argan oil, shea butter, dimethicone)

Every Strand Argan Oil with Macadamia Hydrating Conditioner


(contains argan oil, macadamia nut oil, cyclopentasiloxane)

Issue #3: Knots and Tangles

Knots and tangles are prevalent for individuals with curly hair, creating challenges in styling and managing their curls. These knots can lead to a loss of body, and curls often fail to maintain a defined shape.

A formulation containing a blend of detangling and fiber-softening agents is essential to untangle these knots effectively. Cationic surfactants and polymers are particularly effective as they align the cuticles, detangle the hair shaft, and help manage static charge density.

Solution – Key Ingredients for Knots and Tangles:

  • Cetrimonium Chloride, Behentrimonium Chlorides: These are suitable for natural to lightly damaged hair fibers, helping to smooth and detangle.
  • Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine / Behenamidopropyl Dimethylamine: These ingredients are ideal for extremely damaged, porous, and brittle hair, offering intensive softening and detangling benefits.
  • Polyquaternium-10: This is a strong cationic agent with high substantivity, making it perfect for excessively damaged and chemically treated hair. It’s commonly found in shampoos and deep conditioning masks.
  • Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride (GHPTC): A cationic guar polymer that effectively coats and aligns hair fibers, aiding in cuticle alignment and enhancing the deposition of active ingredients. It’s frequently used in conditioning shampoos, conditioners, and masks.

Products Featuring These Key Ingredients:

EDEN BodyWorks Coconut Shea All Natural Hair Masque


(contains cetrimonium chloride, guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride)

Pura D’or Advanced Therapy Conditioner


(contains stearamidopropyl dimethylamine)

Issue #4: Hair Breakage and Split Ends

Hair breakage and split ends are often the result of protein loss in the hair fibers. This can occur due to excessive styling, harsh chemical treatments, and repeated hair swelling, which leads to the weakening of the hair over time.5,6 As a result, hair loses its natural strength and becomes prone to breaking during routine activities like combing or styling.

Solution: Best Ingredients for Restoring Hair Strength

  • Panthenol (Vitamin B5 Derivative): It is a Vitamin B5 derivative. It is also known for its dual benefits of hydrating the hair fiber and strengthening it. It helps to restore the natural resilience of the hair, reducing the likelihood of breakage and split ends.
  • Proteins – Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein: Proteins undergo hydrolysis, breaking them down into smaller molecules, allowing for easier absorption by the hair.7 Depending on their molecular size and weight, they can bind to the surface or penetrate deep into the hair cortex. Hydrolyzed wheat protein, with its smaller fragments and amino acids, is particularly effective in compensating for lost mechanical strength. It works by replenishing the hair’s protein content, restoring its mechanical strength, and making it more resilient to damage.8

Products Featuring These Key Ingredients:

Kerastase Nutritive Masquintense Hair Mask


(contains hydrolyzed wheat protein)

Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Leave-in Conditioner


(contains panthenol, hydrolyzed wheat protein)

The journey to healthy and vibrant textured hair begins with understanding the right ingredients. Each ingredient is pivotal in addressing specific hair care challenges, from hydrating with ingredients like glycerin and aloe vera to combating frizz with argan oil and shea butter.

The practical tips provided in this article and the recommended products featuring these key ingredients empower you to make informed choices. Remember, healthy hair is not just about the products you use; it’s about understanding their ingredients and how they interact with your unique hair type. By embracing this knowledge, you’re well on your way to achieving and maintaining the beautiful, healthy hair you deserve.


  • Marsh, J. M.; Gray, J.; Tosti, A. Healthy hair; Springer: 2015.
  • Barba, C.; Martí, M.; Manich, A.; Carilla, J.; Parra, J.; Coderch, L., Water absorption/desorption of human hair and nails. Thermochimica Acta 2010, 503, 33-39.
  • @sisterscientist / Instagram.
  • Zviak, C., The Science of Hair Care. Taylor & Francis: 1986.
  • Robbins, C.; Kamath, Y., Hair breakage during combing. III. The effects of bleaching and conditioning on short and long segment breakage by wet and dry combing of tresses. Journal of Cosmetic Science 2007, 58 (4), 477-484.
  • Robbins, C.; Kamath, Y., Hair breakage during combing. IV. Brushing and combing hair. Journal of Cosmetic Science 2007, 58 (6), 629-636.
  • 7. @sisterscientist / Instagram.8. Schueller, R.; Romanowski, P., Conditioning Agents for Hair and Skin. Taylor & Francis: 1999.
Verna Meachum

Verna Meachum is an informational blogger who aims to empower others with tools to restore, maintain healthy locks, and celebrate the hair they were born with.

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