Hair products are evolving each year. They are also very plentiful. You walk to your favorite beauty supply store, and you see tons of hair products. But from time to time, you may end up finding a new hair product you haven’t heard of yet. However, they’re being promoted heavily through poster displays and brochures. Next thing you know, you find yourself looking more into the product through the Internet, through social media with your friends, or through discussion forums of other product users.
Many companies have transitioned to providing more natural, healthy ingredients in their hair products, and have eliminated a few of the ingredients many have deemed harmful. Now many can see that the industry has gone a long way where in the past tons of hair products contained synthetic ingredients that weren’t the best for hair, but the mass market were still using. Not to say that the mass market still use hair products from popular brands, but now there are more options than ever.
Donyale Lee, who owns her own salon, is an advocate when it comes to safe and healthy hair care solutions. She does her research on current and future products, and tests them out for herself. Testing is part of the way she finds out if a product is good or not. Whether they are good for someone with fine, thin hair, or even someone with damaged, dry hair looking for rejuvenation solutions.
Donyale will give you truthful feedback on a hair product from her own experience. And in this article, she provides feedback to us on some of the ingredients to either look for or stay away from, her methods to consulting with consumers concerned of what products are right for them, and her thoughts on the trend of natural hair products.
Sheldon Alexander: Briefly tell me a bit on your experience in using and testing hair products.
Donyale Lee: The first thing I look for when using hair products is looking for the main ingredients, which can help to contribute in conditioning my hair. I use all products for fine, medium, or coarse hair in order to make sure they don’t weight hair down. Ingredients like olive oil, shea butter, and milk protein are what I look for. When a new product is out, I test these products to get an idea on if it is universal, which can be used for clients with relaxed hair, and for those who are transitioning to natural. I usually try and find hair products that provide some sort of volumizing agent for all hair types.
SA: Do you mainly discover the quality of hair products through your own usage, or from applying it onto your clients/testers?
DL: I evenly use the hair products on all three, which includes my hair, my client’s hair, and testers. When I find a new product, I try it on myself, and I apply the product onto testers who have the same hair texture as mine, which is a coarse texture.
SA: What are some ingredients that are in hair products you should avoid? What are some of the effects of these ingredients?
DL: One of the first mainly is mineral oil. Some have that confused with glycerin. Mineral oils are bound in serums, which sit on top of hair, and weight the hair down. Some people think the mineral oil relates to moisturize, but that isn’t the case. Mineral oils can also cause allergic reactions like skin irritation. Isopropyl alcohol is another ingredient to avoid, which is found in hair sprays, shampoos, and color rinses. It is a synthetic alcohol, and it causes split ends, dry hair, and for natural hair it dries it even more than other hair types.
SA: What are some of the ingredients in hair products you find that bring the best results?
DL: For natural or chemically relaxed hair, olive oil is a great choice. It restores the strength, shine, and moisture of the hair. It has the multiple vitamins, including A, B, C, D, and E. Honey nectar is another great ingredient, as it provides great protective layers, plus helps to prevent damaged hair as it adds moisture and manageability for the hair. Natural shea butter is good for it provides that strength and shine. It also provides the smoothness for the hair that you need. Extra virgin olive oil, which isn’t chemically altered, is great for natural hair as it provides great smoothness. Castro oil is another great ingredient. Because it is anti fungal, it promotes a clean, healthy scalp. It is also good towards the thinning edges of your hair. You just apply it, massage it below the hairlines, and it promotes moisture. Jojoba extract is good for damaged ends. A lot of times when you conduct thermal styling, and you’re using heat based treatments for hair, jojoba extract helps in sealing moisture into the ends of hair. Avocado oil is also great, which contain vitamins A, D, and E, which will help prevent spilt ends, and helps to prevent hair loss. Vitamin A promotes healthy hair, increases softness, promotes growth, and provides manageability of dry brittle hair. Vitamin B is essential for healthy hair growth, while also helping to straighten and strengthen hair. Vitamin C and D are good to prevent hair loss, and Vitamin K helps to keep hair healthy. Biotin helps produce keratin, a protein that hair naturally produces in order to keep hair strengthened.
SA: Do you normally recommend the best hair products for your clients? If so how do you go about it?
DL: One thing I do is doing the consult, which is identifying the hair, the density, the textures, and the situations that the clients are having. That’s when I can then make the best recommendations in terms of what hair products they need for their hair. The best thing to do when recommending products is getting the total diagnostics of their hair. Then telling them about being responsible of lifestyle, like what we take in when eating, plays a role in the look and feel of our hair.
SA: How often do you hear about and service people who encounter hair problems as a result of the products they use?
DL: I often hear concerns on the effects of products used on their hair. They are not in the know on what they need. If we as professionals can educate the consumers on the proper products that need to be used on their hair, then they can conduct their research on the hair products that can personally prescribe to their hair. There’s a lot of information from different resources that may not be geared specifically to their hair type. Thus, consumers should build a relationship with the professional in order for them to help provide advice for what the consumer needs for their hair.
SA: What do you think is the biggest trend right now in terms of key ingredients in hair products?
DL: Right now anything natural. Olive oil, avocado oil, milk protein, honey nectar, morrocan oil, argan oils, and casein are some of the ingredients that are popular. Getting back to the basics of natural oils and herbs to promote healthy hair growth is what is really trending right now.
SA: Do you think it’s a good idea when hair product manufacturers jump onto the latest trends, and develop hair products around that trend?
DL: As long is the basis of that trend is going to be effective. We must make sure that ingredients that are trending and popular are elements that are going to promote healthy, beautiful hair.
SA: Overall what do you think of the quality of hair products on the market today? How can they improve moving forward?
DL: I think there are many hair products out there that are nothing more than following a trend. Like many of the natural hair products and ingredients, just because they contain natural ingredients doesn’t mean that they’re going to promote healthy hair. An example of that is that there are so many consumers that have a cabinet full of hair products that are expiring because they aren’t doing what they need to do for their hair. New clients tend to tell me of the entire amount of hair products they have shelved. And so then I educate them on the hair products that either do or don’t provide productivity for their healthy hair growth. As my main objective is to educate my clients, on proper hair care and home maintenance products so they can maintain hair in between visits. Formulation of the hair products is key as when done right removes the idea that it has to smell good, and has a set of consistency. I think reducing the agents, fragrances, the temporary fixes in hair products, like silicone, which masks the true results of what the product can do for the hair, can really make a difference. I think product manufacturers should stop giving general instructions for usage that’s labeled on the products, instead providing specific instructions on how to properly using the hair products. One example is the literature, tutorials, and detailed instructions Natural Kinky and Curly (www.naturalkinkyandcurly.com) provides for the use of their hair products. You can find out more through their website.
SA: What advice can you give to customers looking for hair products that suit their needs?
DL: The consumer needs to look around, do research, and look into salons. Don’t judge a hairstylist just because they can produce a great hairstyle. You need to make sure they are properly educated on proper hair care. Ask the hairstylist to set up a consultation session with them. Ask them questions and take note on how they respond to them. Building that relationship is very important in order to find out the quality of the hair services you’re going to receive from them, as well is the hair products and ingredients they are going to recommend that are safe, and healthy for your hair and your health. Make sure that your hairstylist has the Triple EEE’s that make them a threat, which is Educated, Effective, and Essential.
Darlene Alexander is a licensed cosmetologist for 31 years, is an author, and is a manufacturer of professional hair products. She helps salon professionals provide healthy hair solutions for their clients to give them beautiful, healthy, sensational hair! You can contact her at her email firstname.lastname@example.org and visit www.heavenlyessence.net for the latest hair care and salon business tips.