Reading the Label: Decoding Shampoo Ingredients

Cute African American using shampoo

Pretty packaging, misleading marketing language, price, and a lack of education on this subject leads people to buying hair products that could do more harm than good to their hair and overall health. Learning to decode ingredient labels is an important step in a healthy hair journey. Most commercially available hair care products today contain harmful and potentially carcinogenic ingredients, so it’s important to educate yourself on what you’re being exposed to on a daily or weekly basis.

I wanted to start my “reading the label” post on this blog with shampoo, because it is one of the most important products in our arsenal. A good shampoo keeps your scalp healthy which leads to easier maintenance and more hair growth. A bad shampoo will lead to breakage, scalp irritations, frizz, and tougher hair maintenance.

Here are 7 ingredients you want to avoid in your next purchase of shampoo:

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Creating a Natural Hair Regimen

Surprised woman

Repost from The Brandista Guide

When starting a healthy hair journey it can be quite overwhelming. Most people have to forget the improper lessons of the past and do something completely different. Patience, knowledge, and consistency is going to be the best option for turning your hair around. Therefore, if you’re starting a natural or healthy hair journey, the first place to start is with a regimen. There are seven steps to a proper hair care regimen. The products and the order of the regimen will vary from person to person but the seven steps below provide the foundation of what you need for a healthy hair journey.

Shampoo – Shampooing hair is usually the first step for many people in their regimen. You want to make sure your shampoo doesn’t have harsh ingredients such as sulfates (SLS), parabens, and mineral oil. I suggest washing your hair once a week to see if you need to wash more often or less. I know some naturals who wash their hair once a week, once a month, or not at all (although most will use some cleansers to remove build-up from their hair like Baking Soda, Apple Cider Vinegar, or cleansing conditioners).

Protein Treatment – Protein treatments are extremely important for those with damaged hair and for those trying to maintain the strength of your hair. Your hair is made of protein so adding protein back in your hair gives it strength. I would only do this once a month for most people, twice a month if your hair is extremely damaged. It is very important to do a protein treatment after you’ve compromised the strength of your hair in some way; such as using heat. You want to make sure you follow up every protein treatment with a moisturizing conditioner.

Conditioner – This is extremely important after shampooing your hair. Even if you use a sulfate-free shampoo your hair will still crave moisture. This is where the conditioner comes in. Many naturals condition multiple times a week, while skipping the shampoo process, commonly referred to as co-washing.

Tip: After conditioning, use a cotton t-shirt to dry your hair instead of a harsh towel. This will eliminate a lot of frizz and keep your hair feel soft and not stripped!

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