So you're ready to move out of the regular NTUC or typical Guardian/Watson, off-the-rack, generic hair products which are not only of low quality in terms of the hairstyles you're going to achieve, but also damages your hair. Badly.
Now you're looking into purchasing a better hair wax or, as you should now call it, hair product (because it's not always wax), you should know what are the aspects of the product you should be looking out for.
1. Product Ingredients
Typical low grade products are made of cheaper ingredients which are mostly artificial chemicals. You want to look for products that are made of natural, botanical ingredients. Look out for Jojoba esters or Jojoba oil in the ingredients list, and try to get products that are rich in natural oils/amino acids so your hair doesn't get stripped of its' natural oils and shine. Avoid products that contain a few different types of alcohol in the ingredient list too, as it dries up your hair.
2. Product Base
Petroleum is a common ingredient in most products from the cheaper range because it's not naturally occuring and is easily manufactured using chemicals. However, petrolatum is hard and can cling on to your hair, making it difficult to wash off without a really strong shampoo. If your shampoo is able to clear away your petrolatum-based wax, it's probably too strong and can strip away your hair's natural oils as well. Look out for soy wax or beeswax-based products which are softer, easier to wash off, and prevents buildup which can lead to dandruff, hair loss, and irritable scalp. Water (Aqua) based products are also a great alternative.
3. Product Description
There's a large array of hair products you can get your hands on to try, that are both healthy and gives great style. The next item you need to look at is the product's hold and finish.
Hold (or strength) means how long your hairstyle can last. Hold can range from low, to medium, high, super high, and industrial level hold. Note that it doesn't always mean the longer the better. You may want a product with firm hold for everyday use, but for special occasions to last around 4 to 5 hours, a product with medium hold would suffice. By determining the right level of hold you need, you open up your choices to a larger variety of products that can give you the style you want to achieve.
For the finish, it's a scale on how much shine a product gives. A product can give you super high shine (note that super high shine product should make your hair look fresh and clean, and not greasy), to medium shine, to zero shine (matte).
4. Product Application
Besides doing research on the product prior to purchasing it, you also need to try it out to see if the product is doing what you want it to do. There are a lot of travel-sized or sample-sized products that you can buy for a fraction of the full price for you to try out at home before deciding to commit and purchase the product. When trying it out, take note of the way you are applying the product. You need a product that is easy to scoop out and distribute to your hair. If you are experiencing a lot of tugging, the product probably isn't good for you. After application, experience and observe how long your hair stays in shape (the longer your hair, the lower the hold you will get, regardless of what the product says). If you are comfortable with the hold, shine, application process, and washability, the product is most likely suitable for you.
Above all, as Andrew from ADH brand puts it, good hair doesn't just come from a jar. Achieve good looking hair by protecting it from damaging chemicals and buildup, using good quality products, and keeping it clean and conditioned.
New to hair styling? Here's a quick guide.