These 18 terms will help you know more to maintain healthy hair.1. Amino Acids
Amino acids, the building blocks of protein, are commonly found in shampoos, conditioners, and leave-in products. The acids are small and make up keratin, the key structural component of hair and nails, allowing them to penetrate deep into the hair shaft to repair and strengthen.
Beeswax is a common ingredient in pomades and creams. "It can also be used to help with emulsification to provide rich cream formulations of many uses," says Rolf Mast, chemist with Number 4 Haircare. Beeswax protects hair from moisture loss and environmental damage, while also providing volume and sheen.
3. Blow-dry Cream/Thermal Protection
Often sold as a cream or gel, it's a must-have product for anyone who styles hair with heat three to five times a week, as repeated use of hot styling tools depletes hair of moisture and natural oils over time. A blow-dry cream offers stronger protection than a traditional leave-in conditioner.
De-tangler is a type of leave-in conditioner that minimizes frizz and snarls. It works by reducing inter-fiber friction and is intended for use after rinsing shampoo or conditioner. Natural detangling conditioners contain ingredients such as aloe vera gel, vegetable glycerin, fruit, or vegetable oils.
Foams are lightweight and provide body, volume, and style memory. They are especially effective for hair that is fine, curly, or wavy. Innovative at-home hair color products use foam for easier application as they like a liquid but are easier to evenly distribute.
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6. Hair Spray/Finishing Spray
Sold as a liquid in a spray bottle or aerosol can, hair spray is designed to keep styled hair in place. Lasting power ranges from flexible to firm hold and dries almost instantly. Some sprays contain ingredients for shine to counteract the dulling effects of the product.
Shampoos, conditioners, and other styling products include humectants, like honey and glycerin, to keep hair moisturized. "Humectants are ingredients that absorb or help hair retain water by pulling moisture from the air," says Diane Bailey, celebrity stylist.
This thick cream is an intense nourishing conditioner that repairs hair from the inside out. "These are great for color-treated, damaged and long hair," says Frank Galasso, LA-based celebrity hairstylist. Avocado oil, an ultimate hydrator, is a common ingredient in masques.
Mousse styling products add volume and shine to fine and curly hair. These versatile products can be applied to wet or dry hair. Most contain alcohol, so use sparingly or in combination with moisturizing products or oils to avoid drying out.
Common natural ingredients include Shea butter, jojoba oil, and beeswax. But "natural" hair products (which are not regulated by the FDA) are primarily labeled for missing ingredients: additives, colors, preservatives, parabens, silicones, and sulfates. These products lack preservatives and have a limited shelf life.
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Natural oils help reduce frizz, nourish the scalp and hair, and act as a barrier to keep in moisture for all lengths and textures. Oils can be used as stand-alone products before blow drying or as a finishing tool to moisturize and enhance shine.
To garner the organic label, "a product must include at least 95 percent organically produced and processed ingredients," according to the National Organic Program of the USDA. Organic products are gentler on hair since they lack harsh elements or chemicals; they also ease worries of environmental damage from chemical residue found in traditional products.
Synonymous with balm, putty, and paste, pomade is a thick styling product that creates long-lasting, sculpted looks. These products help smooth down the cuticle, seal strands with a firm texture, and shape hair. Balms are generally sold in small jars because a little will go a long way, especially for fine hair.
Many serums contain vegetable glycerin, which binds moisture to hair for better retention. "It is mostly used as a finishing tool to provide high gloss and frizz control," says Toni Jackson, national platform educator for L'Oreal Professional. Another key ingredient, silicone, also protects against the damaging effects of heat styling.
15. Styling Gel
Styling gel is a must-have to attain more manageable hair. This is a versatile product with a range of hold options that vary from flexible to strong. Mix gel with other products to customize the effect for your hair type.
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16. Texture Spray
Texture sprays, often known as beach spray, add weight and holding power for quick styling with fingers. "They're basically a very diluted, liquid combination of hair spray and gel," says Galasso. Spray on wet or dry hair for a piecey, messy look.
This term is touted on products intended to create thicker, fuller looking hair. "Wheat and starch are found in volumizing products because they both build up hair's resilience and body," says Marc Mena, celebrity hairstylist. Products with lower alcohol content are gentler on hair. Root lift is a specific volumizing product that plumps up individual strands at the root. Often sold as a liquid or foam, it's easy to spray and commonly contains caffeine.
For coarse and curly hair, wax in solid or spray form creates lasting hold and enhanced shine. It's a thick product that holds hair - even curly or coarse strands - in place. Wax also helps repel humidity and control frizz.
What products or ingredients do you use to maintain healthy hair? Let me know in the comments!
-by Jennifer Barnes
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