What is in the conditioner you use on your hair? Do you choose your conditioner by how it makes your hair feel, or do you look for ingredients which will help improve your hair’s health, texture, structure, moisture and shine? Both are important.
I study ingredients that improve hair strength, texture, moisture retention and elasticity and are proven to be non-toxic.
Here is my short list of favorite ingredients. Most of these are included in my own conditioning hair cleanser.
1. BTMS which is a combination of Behentrimonium Methosulfate (which is not a detergent or sulfate, despite its name) and Cetearyl Alcohol. BTMS is a conditioning compound that has myriad positive effects for your hair. It has a positive charge which helps it to stick to our negatively charged hair adding substance to fine hair. It mimics hair’s natural lipids in the hair cuticle (outside) which helps to lock moisture as well as strengthen the hair by “gluing” the cuticle scales together and flat – which also imparts substantial shine. BTMS helps to give hair a slippery feel, making it easier to comb for many users.
2 Panthenol. This vitamin B 5 derivative acts as a humectant – binding water molecules from the atmosphere to the hair adding moisture. Panthenol itself creates a smooth film on top of hair, giving it extra sheen and slip.
3. Avocado Oil has high penetration of hair shaft making hair stronger and lubricated. It protects hair from environmental pollutants and stimulates growth. It is also high in antioxidants to keep scalp healthy.
4. Raw Honey – a great humectant and light cleanser. Raw honey is packed with nutrients to benefit your hair and scalp.
5. Hydrolyzed Protein. Protein molecules are too large to benefit our hair when applied topically – like in a conditioner. Protein needs to be hydrolyzed, which means broken down in a chemical reaction with water molecules. The result are smaller protein molecules that can be absorbed by the hair. Different hydrolyzed protein have different properties, so it may help to experiment with products which have individual proteins to determine what works best for your hair. Hydrolyzed proteins that have been proven beneficial to hair are the following:
• Hydrolyzed wheat protein increases hair’s ability to retain moisture, adds volume, and reduces porosity and increases smoothness.
• Hydrolyzed silk protein Because silk is among the strongest natural fibers known, it significantly improves hairs elasticity, resiliency and increases shine because it forms a crystalline protective barrier on hair.
• Hydrolyzed soy protein increases hair’s ability to hold moisture while adding shine and smoothness. This protein can strengthen and mend the hair fibers.
• Hydrolyzed keratin protein revitalizes hair’s natural protective layer while rebuilding strength and increasing elasticity. Damages from harsh chemicals can be significantly reduced. Hair is made from keratin protein, so many believe that this protein may be superior to others.
Look at the ingredients list on your conditioner and cleanser bottles. The ingredients listed first are those which the product has highest concentration. Look for these ingredients in the first quarter of the ingredients list.