This will be the first spotlight in several I have planned. My goal is to dissect and single out one ingredient we commonly see in hair care products. I want to see how they act in my hair alone so I can better understand how that product might work in my hair or to better understand what my hair wants and needs. It also gives me the option to using that alone or making something myself and thus making the cleanest products for my hair since I won’t need preservatives etc. I am not always up for DIY recipes, in fact I rarely am. But I do like to know what I am using and why. This can be helpful to you if you are still struggling with figuring out your hair and the products you are using. We can have the cleanest, most expensive products, but if we aren’t using it in the right context, we might not be getting its full potential.
The most common ingredient I see are humectants. Some of examples of humectants are honey, aloe, glycerin, slippery elm, marshmallow root, and flax seed. What a humectant does is preserve moisture, or in our hair – brings moisture to our hair. This can be great and can also cause issues for certain hair types.
If you are interested in humectants in skincare or skincare at all check out Marie from And The Color Green. She produces amazing videos on skincare and really made me interested in ingredients in hair care. You will not be sorry. In fact go, now! (And then of course come back).
Our first spotlight is on Aloe Vera, my most favorite ingredient in hair care and skin care. Aloe is wonderful because it is easy to grow and is so multi purpose. I prefer this as a base to my products over water or oil.
For someone like me, whose hair is flat and lacks volumes, humectants like aloe give great volume to our hair. Sometimes at the sake of extra frizz. If your issue is frizz you may want to avoid aloe, or at least products with aloe high up on the product list. You might also want to look at products that have butters and oils. I think aloe is great for people with finer hair and looser curl patterns.
Another thing to consider is the time of year and the dew point you live in. Because humectants draw in moisture, if you live in a particularly humid area, it will draw in too much moisture causing frizz. If it is exceptionally dry where you live or during the winter this will cause the humectant to draw moisture from your actual hair leaving your hair dry and brittle. These are some things that you might want to consider if you notice suddenly your products aren’t working when you move to another area or the seasons have changed. Knowing how these ingredients work can help us to have great hair to matter where or when. Knowing our hair on a basic level really helps me to care of it better.
I decided to pick up some whole leaf aloe vera gel that I got from whole foods. I picked up a 32 oz bottle for roughly $8. I wash and conditioned my hair normally then I applied the aloe as I would a normal product. I also added a couple tablespoons of the gel to about a half cup of water in a spray bottle and spritzed in through y hair to make sure i was evenly distributed. It was hard to tell how much and how even it was because it felt so water like. My hair dried faster when I diffused my hair so that was a nice surprise. The finished product was beautiful! My hair had tons of volume, it did have a bit more frizz, but that doesn’t bother me in the least. My hair felt clean and light. I felt no film or residue in my hair at all.
Some of my curls fell flat towards the end of the day because aloe doesn’t have a hold at all. I didn’t sleep in a pineapple, I just slept with my hair down that night. The next morning I took the water aloe concoction in the spray bottle and refreshed my curls. I let it air dry and then you have the picture of the right. Great curls, a bit more frizz, but great volume again. At the end of this day my curls fell a little flatter so the next day I simply threw it up. Still didn’t feel weighed down, felt light even after reapplication. This could make for a great addition to my water spritz to refresh my curls!
Have you tried aloe alone in your hair? Do you already know if your hair is a fan?