Navigating the Hair Care Tangle – Great Products Don’t Have to Cost a Lot

by Gina Blitstein · 0 comments

As a young girl I was given a book called, “The ABCs of Beauty.” The letter “H” stood for hair and the book said that your hair can be your best friend – or your worst enemy. Whether you had a book tell you the way your hair looked was important or not, we all start out with hair and most of us would rather it be a friend than an enemy.

No matter how much we seek to be on good terms with our hair, the subject of its care is a mystery to most. Products abound, but as with many personal care products, claims and costs can be high while results can be low. The key is to know your hair and what it needs. Empowered with that knowledge, you are in control in the marketplace, prepared to make wise choices about hair care products.

Dry or Oily?

Take this test to determine whether your hair is dry or oily. Using a spray bottle, spray your hair in one spot with a little water and notice what happens. If it’s immediately absorbed into your hair, your hair is dry. If the water beads up on your hair’s surface before being absorbed, it’s more oily.

Once you know your hair type, you can choose between products for “normal to dry” hair or for “normal to oily.”

Shampoo and Conditioner Basics

Dry hair requires products that will moisturize it or at least not dry it out further. Oily hair needs thorough cleansing and light moisturization.

Shampoo’s job is to cleanse hair thoroughly, yet gently. Whether a shampoo is gentle or not depends upon the type(s) of surfactant (the actual cleansing agent) used in its formulation. Sodium Laureth Sulfate is a common surfactant used in shampoos. Conditioners moisturize and can also add body and shine, tame frizz, static and tangles, and straighten or define curl.

There’s no need to buy pricey salon products with which to wash and condition your hair. Find products which contain ingredients that will fulfill your hair’s particular needs.

Products containing rich ingredients like aloe, seed oils and shea butter will add moisture to dry hair. Use them sparingly, especially on fine or thin hair because they may weigh it down. Oily hair needs light moisturizers to untangle it and control static. Products containing Dimethicone, a mineral emollient, will help smooth and straighten thick hair, making it easier to style.

Should your hair require an extra measure of conditioning, try a leave-in conditioner which creates shine and body, tames frizz and defines curls. Hair masks, hot oil treatments and deep conditioning packs restore softness and shine.

Styling Products

Once hair is clean and appropriately conditioned, a multitude of products exist to help you create or maintain style. Consider your hair’s requirements as you choose among styling products, such as:

  • Volume-enhancing sprays and root-lifting products add volume and lift to flat, limp, thin or straight hair.
  • Gels and styling cremes add texture and shape to hair, define curls and help hold style. Cremes are softer; gels create a stiffer effect.
  • Pomades stop static and flyaways and tame frizz.
  • Hair spray tames flyaways, adds volume and seals style. Light hold looks more natural, firm hold, more rigid.

Use styling products sparingly. Once it’s in your hair, you can’t remove it. Start with a tiny amount, adding more if needed to achieve your desired effect.

Make appropriate choices and you and your hair will be friends without wasting money on the wrong products or paying too much for what you need.

How do you save on hair care?

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