Shea Butter is naturally rich in Vitamins A, E, and F as well as other vitamins and minerals. It does wonders for dry over-processed hair and is perfect to add to leave-ins for thick curly coily hair. High in fatty acids, shea butter is an emollient — meaning it provides a layer of oil on top of the surface of a hair strand, significantly reducing the amount of moisture (water) lost.
Coconut Oil: Many natural hair products contain coconut oil, another emollient perfect for sealing moisture into the hair. Coconut oil provides both shine and strength to locks, making it a popular ingredient for naturals. Coconut oil can also be used as a leave-in conditioner for thicker textured hair. Because the natural hair oils have difficulty sliding down the curls, you'll need to use an abundant amount of coconut oil.
Aloe Vera can be used to promote hair growth, stop hair loss and treat scalp problems. The easiest way to use Aloe Vera is to mix some Aloe-Vera gel into your shampoo or conditioner.
You can also apply Aloe Vera gel into your scalp and gently massage it in before rinsing it off. You should notice an improvement in the condition of your scalp and hair in about two to three months. Make sure to leave the aloe gel or juice on for at least two hours before rinsing or washing your hair. This treatment also works to promote hair growth, since aloe Vera contains an enzyme that stimulates hair follicles.
Jojoba Extract: Jojoba is another humectant perfect for adding to damaged ends. Because it is very similar to your natural hair oils, jojoba oil can be used to balance oil production at the scalp, aiding overproducing glands that cause oily hair. Jojoba is also non-greasy and will give your hair a healthy, natural shine.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO): is an emollient that seals and softens the hair. The "extra virgin" on a label means it was produced using only physical means (no machines involved) and has no chemical treatment to alter it. Use it as a quick pre-shampoo or a deep conditioner.
Castor Seed Oil: Not only is this vegetable oil a humectant; castor oil also has anti-fungal properties. This will ensure a clean scalp, with the hair follicles clear and prepared for better hair growth. Some apply it to the temples to increase the thickness of thinning edges.
Avocado/Avocado Oil: Many natural hair products use avocado since it's packed with vitamins A, D, E, and contains more potassium than bananas. Easily absorbed into the skin, avocado oil is a quick way to get multiple nutrients onto your scalp for improved hair growth.
Tea Tree Oil: With potent antiseptic, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, tea tree oil is a soothing remedy to a dry scalp. It is an essential (concentrated) oil, so a little goes a VERY long way. Over-application of a potent essential oil may actually cause irritation.
Cetyl or Cetearyl Alcohol: Don't let the alcohol scare you; this is nothing like SD-alcohol 40, which should be avoided. It's a non-greasy, non-sticky ingredient you'll often see used in conditioners, to make them thick and creamy, just what dry hair needs.
Sodium Laureth Sulfate: For those of you out there who are already into reading ingredient labels, this one may throw you, especially if you avoid using sulfate-based shampoos. The vast majority of commercial shampoos contain either sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate. The former, sodium lauryl, is drying and should be avoided. The latter, however, sodium laureth sulfate, is a suitable cleanser for black hair that won't overly dry it.
Water is the ultimate moisturizer. Not only does it work on the outside of your body, it works from the inside, too. If this is the first ingredient listed on products, that's a good thing. It means the product is putting moisture back into your hair. After that, it's up to you to retain that moisture, so make sure you seal it in with whatever method is effective for your tresses.
Agave Nectar: a soothing hair humectant which provides moisture and gives hair a lustrous shine.
Coconut Milk: Adds strength, luster, and manageability to hair while also providing great moisturizing properties.
Amla is an ayurvedic herb that conditions, softens, and darkens hair while also revitalizing curls. It is extremely rich in vitamin C
Hemp Oil is also a ceramide oil loaded with linoleic acid that keep the hair cuticle flat and intact. It provides lasting moisture in hair which is extremely helpful for hair that tends to be on the dry side.
Marshmallow Root Extract is a popular ingredient in many hair conditioners for its amazing slippery texture for easy detangling as well as softening the hair. It is high in plant protein that promotes healthy hair growth and shine while also soothing dry scalp and skin inflammation.
Honey is a natural humectant that soothes the hair cuticle drawing moisture into the hair. It is a perfect ingredient for deep conditioning treatments.
Vegetable Glycerin is known for being a humectant. It is an amazing ingredient to add when air drying hair. It is amazing for curly hair and really dry hair. It should be used very sparingly so that it doesn’t create a sticky film.
Rosemary Essential Oil stimulates hair follicles, therefore increasing hair strength, hair growth, and for dry and flaky scalps. It has also been used as a remedy for mental fatigue.
Lemongrass Essential Oil stimulates hair follicles and also adds a refreshing citrus fragrance to the leave-in conditioner. It has anti-bacterial properties and is calming and soothing to the body.
Flax Seed Gel gives a great hold and is wonderful for natural wavy and curly hair as it really helps your curls clump together without the drying effects of store bought gels.
Green Tea is full of antioxidants and soothes dandruff, psoriasis, and other scalp irritations. Green tea contains vitamins C, D, and E as well as vitamin B5 (panthenol). Green tea stimulates hair follicles therefore increases healthy hair growth and reducing hair loss.
Apple Cider Vinegar is a natural antibiotic with antibacterial properties that balance the pH of your scalp while removing dead skin cells on the scalp. It is also a natural remedy for hair thinning, hair loss, and dandruff while providing detangling and conditioning benefits.
All of these ingredients can be used on all hair textures and hair types. For those with thin fine hair avoid products that contain large amounts of oils, butters, and humectants, although in small dosages will greatly benefit hair. Thicker straight, wavy, or curly coily hair can get away with using more oils, butters, and humectants even if you do have fine strands.