I am a beast at reading ingredients in hair products (humble brag). They are extremely important to me, and while it may seem rather boring to read about ingredients, it is valid to understand the first five ingredients. The FDA requires that skin care ingredients (including hair) on the product label be listed in the order of highest to lowest concentration.
Ingredients listed near the end of the list are typically comprised of less than 1% of the total.
Oftentimes products love to boast of its ingredients on the front of the packaging to get your attention, and of course they are ingredients that many curlies, coils, and wavies hone in on like argan oil, olive oil, or coconut oil. But some ingredients like sea kelp, shea butter, and rich minerals will even stir our curiosity. The bottom line is to make you think you need that product because of its ingredients, but if you turn the bottle around and the boasted ingredient is not within the first five ingredients then there is a high possibility that there is not enough in there to make a difference or a benefit to your tresses. All is not lost lovelies, for that is a general and not absolute application to beauty products. As the Beauty Brains explains:
“Now, before you start an ‘Occupy Cosmetics’ movement to complain about the 1%, let me point out that this doesn’t mean that none of the ingredients below the 1% line matter. For example, pigments are used at very low levels yet they are critically important to color cosmetics. And preservatives are only used at a few tenths of percent, yet I wouldn’t want to buy a product without them! There are many exceptions to this ‘First Five’ rule.”
According the The Natural Haven, with shampoos and conditioners (including leave-ins) water generally takes up 50%- 80% of the total weight of the product. This is why you hear that water is the best moisturizer! Water does hydrate our hair and skin. It takes up the most weight in your shampoos and conditioners, but after that the next four or five ingredients matter the most or are responsible for the main purposeful properties of the product. Beauty Brains says that the four or five ingredients following the first ingredient in shampoos are the cleansers and for conditioners they are the softeners and moisturizers. That magic ingredient that made you pick up that bottle in the first place needs to be in the top of the list, so if it is not then you may want to put it back on the shelf.
Now you know why we discuss the first five ingredients and how important they are to read instead of wholeheartedly trusting the marketing claims on the packaging. The power of the product is on the back and your power as a consumer is in your ability to decipher what is best for your hair’s wants and needs.