Low-end, High end, drugstore or salon, niche or mainstream–a hair care product should be worth every penny, no matter what its price point.
How can you make an educated purchase?
I bring to you a snippet from the Beauty Brains.
You can read the full article here, to understand why we have ingredient lists and their purpose (besides the obvious).
With that said, let me provide you with a cliff notes version of their post, which is essentially what I keep in mind when I stare down the back of a bottle. (Again, the full version is here.)
According to the Beauty Brains:
When properly written, the labels can provide you with a lot of useful information. In the United States, any chemical above 1% by weight in the formula is required to be listed in order of concentration. Below 1% the order can be anything they like. Typically, preservatives, fragrances, and colors are listed at the end.
They go on to use the ingredient list of Jergen’s Natural Glow Daily Moisturizer (a gradual self tanning lotion) as an example:
Ingredients: Water, Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Petrolatum, Mineral Oil, Ceteareth 20, Dimethicone, Glyceryl Dilaurate, Erythrulose, Persea Gratissima Fruit Extract (Avocado), Avena Sativa Meal Extract (Oat), Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Extract (Jojoba), Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Olea Europaea Fruit Oil (Olive), Tocopherol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Stearic Acid, Acrylates/C10 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Citric Acid, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Hydroxide, DMDM Hydantoin, BHT, Fragrance, Caramel, Titanium Dioxide, Mica, Dihydroxyacetone
The first ingredient is water which means this formula is mostly water. Based on this Brain’s knowledge of lotions, it is about 80% water. Glycerin is the next most abundant ingredient probably in there at about 5%. The next few ingredients are anywhere from 1-3%. Look at other skin lotions. I bet you find many of the same ingredients listed in the first line.
It’s also good to note here that the bulk of what you’re paying for is in the first five ingredients. I generally don’t buy a drugstore OR salon product if what I’m paying for is not in the first 5 ingredients.
So what about that super fancy extract, or pearl powder, or silk protein, or avocado oil advertised on the bottle?
Most manufacturers like to throw lots of these “feature” ingredients in the formula just so they have something to talk about and to show their formula are different. The truth is the real functional work of the product is done by the ingredients above this 1% line.
This isn’t strictly true as there are many ingredients that give quite good benefits below the 1% level, but generally it’s true. The more abundant a material, the more function it will have.
Don’t be duped by clever marketing–know what you’re paying for by paying attention to the first 5 ingredients of your next hair care product purchase.