Many naturals have been double-checking the ingredients label on their hair products due to a variety of publications describing the dangers of some of the ingredients in our hair products that we use every day. Sometimes it may seem like everything we eat, use, or take has a degree of negative health effects to it. It may have many wondering what the good ingredients to look for in hair products are.
Luckily, there are still natural hair brands both present and on the rise that feature all-natural ingredients. Of course, you can also always create your own chemical-free natural hair products. Either way, there are various ingredients that are healthful to you and your hair.
Here are some good ingredients to look for in natural hair products:
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Straight from a natural source that is the aloe vera plant, this ingredient provides many uses and benefits, and is widely popular in cosmetics. For hair care, aloe vera serves multiple soothing properties. When it is added to products, or used by itself, aloe vera helps to smooth and lay the hair cuticle. Because of its soothing properties, it also makes a good remedy for scalp irritation or itchiness.
In addition, the aloe vera gel is naturally rich in nutrients – antioxidants, enzymes, omega fatty acids, minerals, and more. The combination of these nutrients helps to promote growth and good hair health. So, aloe vera is definitely one of the good ingredients to look for in natural hair products. You can even use aloe vera gel straight from the plant and create your own hair mask or leave-in conditioner.
Glycerin / Vegetable Glycerin
You have probably seen glycerin on the label of a few of your natural hair products. It is another one of the good ingredients to look for in natural hair products. Glycerin and vegetable glycerin are essentially the same thing. They are humectants, meaning they draw in moisture. For natural hair, glycerin typically absorbs moisture from the air more readily. These ingredients can also help your hair products to better absorb into the hair strand. Just be sure that the glycerin listed is from a natural source (plant oils, fatty acids, etc.) and not synthetic glycerin.
Honey is another healthful choice to add to the list of good ingredients to look for in natural hair products. When used on natural hair, it leaves your hair feeling smooth just like it. Honey is a natural humectant, helping to absorb and retain moisture. Because it is of a thicker consistency, it helps to smooth and soften the hair strands for a shiny, fluffy look. In addition to this, honey has other nourishing benefits, including antibacterial properties which help to alleviate certain scalp conditions. Add this ingredient to your deep conditioners or other DIY mixtures and flaunt the result.
Our hair strands are comprised of a protein called keratin. Keratin helps to keep your hair strands strong and in-tact. Biotin is a necessary vitamin that can be found in many of the foods we eat. The amino acids derived from biotin aid in the composition of keratin, contributing to hair health and growth. Biotin is also commonly found in hair growth vitamins, but many users have gotten acne breakouts from taking such vitamins.
This is why biotin added to your natural hair products may be a better alternative, since it is not being ingested with the possibility of interactions. While biotin has not been found to directly speed up hair growth, it can help to strengthen the hair and provide the needed nutrients for growth. If you have thinning hair or hair that is constantly breaking off, biotin is one of the good ingredients to look for in natural hair products.
Coconut Oil, Avocado Oil, Olive Oil
The reason these oils are listed together is because they are moisturizing oils. Most natural oils for hair serve as sealants, meaning they help to seal in moisture from products applied. However, coconut oil, avocado oil, and olive oil all help to seal in moisture as well as provide moisturizing properties. They are able to penetrate the hair shaft with the help of water. These are good ingredients to look for in your natural hair products that will retain softness, shine, and moisture. Mix them together with other complementary oils for a hot oil treatment and reap the benefits!
Shea butter is a common yet good ingredient to look for in your natural hair products. It is rich in vitamins and minerals, including omega fatty acids that give it its moisturizing properties. These nutrients help it to penetrate the hair shaft, serving as both a moisturizer and a sealant. Shea butter additionally helps in the prevention of breakage because of its conditioning properties – promoting health and strength for all of your hair. Its thick consistency is why it can get to feel a bit greasy or heavy for some when it is used in its raw form. However, because it is so thick, shea butter is good for the humid weather, aiding in the prevention of frizz by helping to smooth the hair cuticle.
Aqua / Water
It may seem like an expected ingredient, but there are some natural hair products that aren’t hydrating which can result in hair that is more prone to dryness (e.g. hair gels). In order to provide moisture, there needs to be water there whether to provide, absorb, or retain it. Specifically, water should be listed as the first ingredient or at least the very top, showing that it is most prevalent. Water-based products are even better. Water being listed as an ingredient is ensuring that your strands are going to receive as much moisture as possible.
You may notice multiple ingredients ending in “extract” on your hair product labels. Natural extracts are additional good ingredients to look for in natural hair products. The majority of these extracts are derivatives from natural sources including plants, seeds, fruits, and more. It will typically list in parentheses the source it is extracted from. The benefits of these natural extracts range from shine to anti-aging properties to reduced shedding. Some examples of healthful natural extracts for your hair products: bamboo extract, guava fruit extract, rosemary leaf extract, flaxseeds, yucca root.
1Babcock, Christine. “Aloe Vera Benefits: Healing Skin, Constipation & Immune System.” Dr. Axe, Dr. Axe, 12 Oct. 2017, draxe.com/aloe-vera-benefits/.
2“Shea Butter for Hair: Raw, Hair Growth, and Natural Hair.” Healthline, Healthline Media, www.healthline.com/health/shea-butter-for-hair.
What are some ingredients you have found that your natural hair loves?