Sozo Australia's Hair Health Trios containing all-natural shampoos, conditioners and hair masks

How to read the ingredient list on your haircare products

Being able to read and understand the ingredient lists on your hair care products is a vital skill you can develop to ensure that you always know what it is that you are really applying to your scalp, hair and body. Reading ingredient lists of hair and beauty products can certainly be overwhelming, especially if you don’t know what you’re actually looking for. But there’s no need to worry! We’re going to break down everything you need to know so you can always make informed decisions about your hair care products, and so you can also feel confident in knowing what is genuinely in those products, regardless of the marketing terms that have been used. Here are four key tips to help you master the skill of reading and understanding hair care ingredient lists.

1. Ingredients are listed in descending order

One of the most fundamental elements that you can know and understand about ingredient lists is the fact that all the ingredients are arranged in descending order. What does this mean? The ingredients at the very top of the list have been formulated at the highest percentage in the product. Simply by knowing this, you can identify the overall quality and type of product you’re investigating. To be specific, if you see chemicals, or perhaps aqua (water) followed by harsh chemicals, listed at the top, you can immediately know that it is not a natural product.

Taking into consideration the importance of the first ingredient in your hair care products, we have intentionally formulated aloe barbadensis leaf juice (and not water!) as the first ingredient in all of our Sozo Hair Health products. Having aloe as the first ingredient provides you and your hair with intense hydration and moisture for more effective results than products formulated with water alone.

Not only is the first ingredient vital, but the placement of the other natural ingredients in the product will also reveal to you the quality and potential effectiveness of that hair care product. Because we know ingredients are arranged in descending order, it’s essential to identify the ingredients listed towards the very bottom. If a particular product claims to contain a range of natural ingredients that provide specific benefits, you need to assess where these ingredients are ordered in the list. If you find that most of the key natural ingredients are only at the bottom, you can know that the impact of those ingredients is not going to be very significant. In order for ingredients to have a visible and noticeable impact on your scalp and hair, they are required to be formulated at proven percentages. Although the ingredient lists on hair products do not reveal this type of detailed information, it is easy for us to conclude that the impact of a certain ingredient can only be limited (and has been included predominately for marketing purposes) when it’s listed at the very bottom.

2. Look for additional information

Often ingredients used in hair and beauty products are listed with names that are unfamiliar to many, so it is always a good idea to look for as much additional information as possible. One of the greatest tools you can use from within the ingredient list on your hair care products is the words inside the brackets ( ). These will often help you to understand more about a specific ingredient and/or what type of ingredient it is. Let’s look at a couple of examples of ingredients found in our Sozo Hair Health range.

  • Camellia sinensis (green tea) leaf extract: We know this particular ingredient is green tea leaf extract which you may not have known without ‘(green tea)’ being included.
  • Caprylic/capric triglycerides (plant/vegetable/naturally derived): This additional information helps you to know that this ingredient is naturally derived and is not a harsh chemical, which you may not have otherwise known.

3. Do a quick search of the hair care ingredients you aren’t familiar with

If there are ingredients you are still unfamiliar with even after looking for additional information within the ingredient list itself, it is always helpful to conduct a quick search to at least provide you with a basic level of information. Unless you are particularly interested in learning about the role of each ingredient within your hair care products, it is not necessary for you to know all the specific elements and features of every ingredient. Simply being able to identify whether an ingredient is natural, or a chemical, will help you to ensure you have the control over what you choose to apply to your scalp and hair.

4. Utilise our Sozo Hair Health Ingredient Glossary

If you’re especially interested in the all-natural hair care ingredients scientifically formulated into our Sozo Hair Health products, don’t forget to take a look at our complete Ingredient Glossary. In this glossary, you can find and learn about the role of each and every ingredient used in our Hair Health Shampoo, Conditioner and Hair Mask and how these ingredients will allow you to experience healthy, hydrated, conditioned, moisturised, repaired, protected, shiny, strong and voluminous hair.


Reading ingredients lists can be overwhelming, but with these simple tips you can understand which hair care products will give you the hair results and transformation you’re looking for. Knowing how to read and analyse the ingredients in all of your hair and beauty products is the best way to know what you’re really investing in, regardless of how a certain product has been marketed or promoted.

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