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  1. Analyze the ingredients with the isitcg.com

The first step… know what ingredients are in the products you use. That’s where the isitcg? app comes in handy. This app breaks down all of the ingredients in your products by putting them in categories. This allows you to see if there are any common denominators in your routine. Maybe your hair hasn’t been looking so great and after running all of your products through the app, you notice that a lot of them contain coconut – this could be a culprit. Some common ingredients that have potential to cause problems are coconut, aloe, protein, glycerin, shea butter, polyquats, etc.

  1. Use the same products for an extended amount of time

A good way to know how your hair reacts to a product or ingredient is to use those products over and over for an extended period of time. It’s very possible to use a product once or twice and have good results, but if you can get consistent results over an extended amount of time, it’s very likely that those ingredients will consistently work for your hair.

It’s good to note that hair can be finicky and products can just flat out stop working or the weather can change and signal it’s time to change things up. I typically change up my wash and condition routine, but keep my styling products pretty consistent. Also, if you try a new product and your results go haywire … you can compare the ingredients to your go-to products and see if anything sticks out.

  1. Add protein drops

Adding protein drops to a protein free conditioner is a great way to determine if you hair likes protein or not.

First try a wash without the protein drops. On your next wash day, try adding the drops to your conditioner. Mix a small amount of the drops with the conditioner in the palm of your hand and condition as usual. Now compare your results, if your hair perks up on the second wash than you know your hair likes protein. If it falls flat or looks frizzy, protein is probably not your friend.

  1. Not so happy accidents … trial and error

So much of this curly hair journey is trial and error and with time and patience, you will start to see a trend of what works and doesn’t work for your hair. Sometimes happy or not so happy accidents can help speed up this process.

For example, I was super excited to try a new line of products. I splurged on black friday and bought a shampoo, leave-in, serum and gel. I thought for sure this was going to be amazing, but unfortunately, I had the worst results ever. I was so disappointed! I tried it again .. same results. I thought to myself, what the heck?!?!? So I checked the ingredients and each product had aloe as one of the first two ingredients and wow! I had no idea my hair didn’t like aloe. So I started to remove the aloe from my routine and wouldn’t ya know … my hair started to snap back and I was having good results again!

  1. Use a hair diary to track your results

There are a variety of hair apps available that allows you to track your hair results. You can take pictures of your hair on wash day and log the products you use. This allow you to look back on your results and easily see what products/ingredients produced the best results. HairDays is one app that comes to mind. You can also easily do this with phone camera and photos app by adding a caption to your photos with the details of your washday.

So there you have it … 5 easy ways to help you get a handle on what ingredients work and don’t work for your hair. I hope these tips help you on your curly hair journey! I would love for you to share some of your experiences with ingredients in the comments!