Have you ever scanned through a product ingredient list and felt confused? We’ve been there. Labels in beauty and hair products carry the scientific names of ingredients and can be quite intimidating.  


In this guide, we’ve highlighted common ingredients you can spot when purchasing haircare products. By learning this simple hack, you can avoid products that could cause more damage to your hair and seek those that fit your hair type better.  
Pro tip: When shopping on Powder Beauty, we have a special tool that allows you to scan through a product’s ingredient list and learn more about the ingredient including its source and potential uses.  

Ingredients to seek  

Moisturizing Agents: Look for hydrators like glycerin, aloe vera, and panthenol. These ingredients draw moisture into the hair shaft, promoting elasticity and preventing breakage.  

Proteins: Keratin, silk protein, and wheat protein help to repair and strengthen damaged hair fibers, essential for those with chemically treated or heat-styled hair.  

Natural Oils: When it comes to oils, Argan, coconut, and jojoba oils are your friends. They nourish the scalp and hair, adding shine and softness without weighing it down.  

Antioxidants: Vitamins E and C protect hair from environmental stressors like pollution and UV damage, keeping your strands vibrant and healthy.  

Ingredients to avoid

Sulfates: Commonly found in shampoos, sulfates like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) are detergents that can strip hair of its natural oils, leading to dryness and irritation. Those with curly or color-treated hair should be particularly wary.  

Parabens: Used as preservatives, parabens can mimic estrogen and have been linked to hormonal imbalances. While the research is ongoing, many prefer to err on the side of caution and avoid it.  

Silicones: Ingredients ending in -cone, -conol, or -xane can build up on the hair over time, weighing it down and preventing moisture from penetrating the hair shaft. They’re not all bad but look for products that are easily washable or use them sparingly.  

Alcohol: Not all alcohols are created equal. Steer clear of short-chain alcohols like ethanol, SD alcohol, and isopropyl alcohol, which can be overly drying. Fatty alcohols like cetyl alcohol and stearyl alcohol, on the other hand, can be beneficial for hair health.  

Synthetic Fragrances: While they make your hair products smell delightful, synthetic fragrances can be irritating to the scalp and skin. Look for products that use natural fragrances or are fragrance-free.  

Additionally, some products may have a vegan label, which means that all ingredients are vegan and cruelty-free label, which means that they’ve not harmed or killed any animals.  

Equipped with the knowledge of what to seek and what to avoid, you can make informed decisions to purchase haircare products that benefit the health and beauty of your hair