Key Ingredients' Impact On Your Hair

Using the wrong product can cause your hair to be dull, oily, limp or lifeless. The overall behavior of your hair depends on a combination of all the ingredients in your products-some beneficial, some not so much.

Here's a list of some of the most common hair-product ingredients and what they can do for and to your hair...

DIMETHICONE
There are different types of silicone-derived dimethicones, and almost all are emollient-rich and leave hair feeling silky and soft by coating the hair shaft.

GLYCERIN
This humectant is an excellent natural hydrator.

PANTHENOL
Also known as vitamin B5, panthenol strengthens and moisturizes strands to thicken them so hair appears fuller. Since it hydrates, it also helps diminish the appearance of split ends.

POLYMERS
Polymers give substance to the surface of the hair, which in turn causes it to look and feel thicker and more voluminous.

PROTEINS
Oat, wheat and rice proteins are commonly used in shampoos and conditioners to add volume and thickness and plump up the roots.

SILICONE
In addition to adding shine, silicone also smoothes hair so it doesn't look as frizzy and unmanageable.

SULFATES
Two of the most common sulfates, sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate, allow shampoos to lather and conditioners to spread.

SURFACTANTS
Surfactants allow for oil to be washed away from the hair and scalp, but they can possibly dehydrate them as well.

Keep in mind, some experts believe sulfates and surfactants can fade your color. They come in different quality grades and are either chemically engineered or naturally derived, which can determine if they're damaging or non-damaging. Sulfate-free shampoos are an alternative, as are those with natural sulfates, but they may not foam as well as other shampoos.