Monday, May 7, 2012

What's In There - How To Read Ingredients In Hair Products

Knowing what products to purchase to take care of your hair can be a hassle sometimes especially with so many different brands on the market. Choosing the right product for your hair type is important to ensure that it helps to maintain your hair's strength and healthiness as it grows. Hair products are necessary since we need to keep our crowning glories looking in tip-top shape.

The elements of the environment such as chlorine, sun, wind, dust, etc can be harsh on hair especially if we have processed it by the use of colors, relaxers, perms, and the use of hot tools for styling. Hair is made up mostly of keratin protein and each time we process with chemicals and hot tools, we deplete some of that protein, which if not taken care of will continue to deplete over time, become very damaged and eventually fall off. Regardless of hair type, hair needs to retain a balance of protein and moisture in order to stay healthy.

In this article I wish to share with you the ingredients found in moisture-based and protein-based hair care products.

A moisture-based moisturizer/deep conditioner/regular conditioner has these ingredients in high concentration:

Alpha hydroxy acids

Aqua (Water)

Cetearyl alcohol



Glyceryl triacetate


Oleic acid

Palmitic acid


Propylene glycol

Pyrrolidine carboxylic Acid

Sodium PCA


Stearic acid

Stearyl alcohol



Protein-based hair products contain:

Amino acids (various, e.g. silk, hydrolyzed)

Animal protein (e.g. lanolin)




Milk protein

Panthenol - ALL Pantene products have this in them. This is where they got the name Pantene from :)

Plant protein (coconut oil, olive oil, argan oil, etc)

Soy protein

Wheat protein

(If you see hydrolyzed in front of the word, or amino acid after the word - it is a protein ingredient)

Any product that says it is volumizing, thick growth, etc and gels usually contain hydrolyzed proteins.

NOTE: ALL MOISTURE-BASED PRODUCTS WILL HAVE SOME PROTEINS IN THEM, AS WELL AS PROTEIN-BASED WILL HAVE MOISTURE IN THEM. To know how concentrated the ingredient is in the product - it will usually appear as one of the first five listed ingredients. This will let you know if the product is protein or moisture based. Now, you should also read carefully, because some manufacturers list their ingredients in alphabetical order. If this is the case, just look at the list and see how many times you see a protein or how many times you see a moisture ingredient. If you see about 3 or 4 protein ingredients, then it is a............protein product, and vice versa as regards the moisture based ones.


  1. Fantastic post!!!...Very Informative.

  2. Thanks love. People ask me this question all the time, and I find that I have had to type out all of that over and over, so I decided to do a blog post, so now, I can just share the link - much less typing! LOL! LOL!

  3. LOL I completely understand:-)