How to Evaluate Hair Products

Besides reading ingredient listing, besides buying the actual products or getting samples prior to purchase, how do you know your hair products will work? Here are some simple tips anyone can do to see if the hair care products hold their merit.

1) For shampoos– besides the fragrance (yes, most of consumers purchase shampoos based on the fragrance as it’s a total experience and that’s what made Clairol Herbal Essence a huge hit), I usually check to see if I can “hear” any squeeky sound during shower. If it’s squeeky, it will cause dryness and frizziness. Unless the product is for super oily hair, and I mean hair not just scalp, It usually requires some good conditioning afterwards. Some people also value the “foam” as it’s also part of the experience. With the buzz of “sulfate-free”, most of the shampoo now are less foaming. The good news is the “foam” does not dictate how clean your hair will be, once again, shampoos are experiential for the senses. Fragrance and Foam don’t matter but will help you to use more. Thus lather, rinse, REPEAT.

2) For Conditioners– A licensed hair dresser used to say you can use detergent to wash your hair but you must have an awesome conditioner! A good conditioner should feel like a butter and when rinsing, you can feel the moisturization all the way to your toes seriously! A good conditioner also will not weigh down the hair but adds in moisture and perfect for both wet and dry combing. If the conditioners feel great during wet comb, they usually have great detangling quaterium  ingredients in there. If it feels great during dry comb, that’s the power of fatty alcohol and silicones.

3) For Styling Products– Since I have jet black hair, the first thing I do is rub the products vigorously between my fingers- if it flakes, it will flake on my hair and looking like dandruff. That’s an automatic reject. For people with straight hair, they are  the best model to check for shine as they reflect most of the light. Shiny hair symbolizes healthy hair. If you don’t have straight hair to check for shine, get two glass plates and put the styling products in between and see if it dries up clear film or hazy. Of course, the more clear it is, the shinier it will be on your hair. For style retention, I used to use a mannequin head propped on a motor and let it spin for 30 minutes continuously.  If the sytle does not bust, it’s a pretty good helmet hold. I also immersed the mannequin heads in water for 60 minutes to check how well the style will hold up after swimming. In the laboratory settings, hair chemists usually will also run humidity test for curl retention to check for holding power. You can also do a “stick” test on a strand of hair, apply the styler and bend it after it dries, it tells you pretty much if it’s flexible hold (brush able/bendable), or a long lasting hold (not brushable but bendable for style memory).

You can have a lot of fun evaluating hair products from hearing the squeek to feeling the buttery moisture between your toes and looking for shine on straight hair or glass plates. Evaluating hair products engages our senses. Next time, try out my tips and see if you have a different appreciation of your hair products. Share with us what are your favorite hair products too and your own evaluation tips!

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