Products, more specifically their ingredients, are paramount in deciding whether you will experiment with them, continue to use them, or toss them in the trash.
When I first started transitioning, these are some of the products I used at the time:
Cream of Nature shampoo/conditioner
Kemi Oyl (ah, i used to love the smell of that oil)
Pantene Relaxed and Natural Daily Oil Cream moisturizer
Back to Basics (the yellow top, when the bottles were short, squarish, and stout)
Infusium 23 (back when it used to be really good *hump!*)
Pink Oil moisturizer (yep, i can’t believe i used to use that stuff)
Softee Gel (the brown stuff that used to flake up )
IC Fantasia Frizz Buster Serum (never had a problem with its performance, just didn’t like the ingredient list)
What I hadn’t yet realized was some (probably most) of these products were full of what I think is unnecessary stuff like silicones, mineral oil, petrolatum and the like which primarily functions to coat the hair.
From my understanding, these ingredients makes your flyaways and frizz lay down so that it looks like your hair is all healthy. But these ingredients coat the hair to keep moisture out too.
I think this phenomena is what contributes to the mysterious incidences of using a product you think is great, but having that product seem to “stop working”. This may be what happens when you think your hair has allegedly “gotten use to” something; meaning it doesn’t work like it did when you first used it.
Heavy silicones, in my opinion, need to be removed by heavy duty shampoos (clarifying shampoos with SLS). If that doesn’t happen on a regular basis, it can cause build up and thus, the product will appear not to work as well as it did when you first used it.
I stopped using all these products completely because I wanted to try out more natural products. Then I gradually moved towards creating my own stuff.
What seemed to work, then not to much?
Pink Oil moisturizer was too gloppy and felt too heavy.
Kemi Oyl smelled good, but seemed to stop softening my hair like it used to. It just sat there after a while.
And I could swear at some point Infusium 23 changed their formula and it just wasn’t the same at softening as it used to be.
What was no problem but I just became enlightened about its ingredients?
Frizz Buster Serum worked with almost no problems, which is ironic because its full of -cones. However, I hated the image on the front showing a big red slash through the picture of a woman who looks like she has curly hair. I had to be careful about buildup, but I ran from it when I became knowledgeable about the ingredients.
If these products were awesomely wonderful in my hair, I’m not sure I would have continued to search for different or better products.
Contrast the products mentioned above with a whole new world of better, more natural ingredients in products from small and medium manufacturers that I found only online.
Take Qhemet Biologics, for example. Two products I fell for before I starting whipping up my own concoctions was the Amla and Olive Heavy Cream and the Olive and Honey Hydrating Balm.
Compare/Contrast these two:
Pantene Relaxed and Natural Daily Oil Cream moisturizer INGREDIENTS:
Qhemet Biologics Olive & Honey Hydrating Balm INGREDIENTS:
I mean, seriously. Is there really any comparison? In the case of Pantene, throwing a little coconut oil and jojoba oil into something doesn’t necessarily make it any better; especially since those two oils are at the end of the ingredient’s list of the Pantene Relaxed and Natural Daily Oil Cream.
In addition, ingredients are listed in a decreasing order of percentage. For example, if water is listed first, that means most of the product is water. Don’t be put off by that. Water is necessary to moisturize your hair.
The next few ingredients which follow water are the most important to determine if you may like it and whether it will work over time. If that ingredient is mineral oil, like in the Pantene product listed above, then that may be a problem for you.
Qhemet has better, simpler, healthier ingredients, in my opinion. The first ingredient is Olive oil. That means the product is made up mostly of olive oil. Olive oil is so good you can literally use it by itself to do a deep condition.
Interestingly enough, according to the ingredients list, there is no water in that specific Qhemet product either, which typically means longer shelf life without the use of a bunch of preservatives.
Most products are desirable because of their ingredients so people tend to seek out products with a specific ingredient. For example, when I first became aware of what shea butter was, I was looking for anything with shea butter in it. It hadn’t yet occurred to me to search for 100% shea butter.
But be careful to read the ingredients list of any product. Its quite likely that shea butter could be added to a product full of mineral oil and -cones.
A product’s ingredients are paramount indeed. And their performance on your hair and your knowledge about what they contain will probably determine if you continue to use them.