Image of four happy women with wavy and curly hair

Published 4th May 2022

How To Tell If Hair Products Are Heavy Or Lightweight

Understanding the difference between heavy and lightweight products is crucial if you want beachy waves. It's the difference between soft, bouncy waves and a weighed down, droopy mess. 


Problem a lot of people experience is that they use curly hair products on wavy hair. Some products will work fine. Yet most curly products contain heavy ingredients that simply aren't suitable for us wavies. 


So in this article, we will run through what lightweight hair products are and how you can identify them. 

what are lightweight hair care products?

Lightweight products are water-soluble products that are thinner in consistency than heavy products.


Usually, lightweight products are serums, gels, or mousse. Whereas heavy products are usually butters and oils. Some shampoos and conditions are also lightweight, but not all of them.


Because lightweight products are thinner and less heavy than their sticker counterparts, they don’t weigh down your waves as much. As a result, it’s easier to style your hair and keep it in place for the day ahead.


Lightweight products are usually:


• Oil free

• Butter free

• Wax free

• Silicone free

• Petroleum free

• Mineral oil free

How to find the best lightweight products for curly hair

Here are some of our top tips for identifying the best lightweight products to use when you have wavy hair. 

Image of a women with a wavy hair

1. search for a product that is mostly water (AQUA)

All lightweight products should consist predominantly of water. In other words, water should be the first ingredient on the list when you take a look at the label.


Water is a hydrating molecule for the hair and it is extremely lightweight. It won’t wear your hair down and it won’t affect your ability to style your waves in whichever way you like.


Water is the first ingredient in all of the Merwave products, including the Protect Gel, Feed Treatment, Cast Foam, Repair Shampoo, and Repair Conditioner. 

2. avoid oils and butters

Both oils and butters are thick components that can cause a product to feel heavy on your hair. If you look at the label of a product and one or more of the first five ingredients are oils or butters, it’s best to avoid it when you have wavy hair.


For example, a popular leave-in condition may contain water, coconut oil, sunflower oil, propanediol, and distearoylethyl dimonium chloride. 

These heavy ingredients are fine for thicker, curly hair. Yet not recommended for finer wavy hair.  It'll just weigh them down. 


Heavy ingredients that are commonly used in hair care products are shea butter, macadamia oil, and avocado oil. If you spot these on any labels, it's wise to give the products a miss!

3. pay particular attention to the first five ingredients

Even if water is the predominant ingredient in a hair product, there could still be some heavier components.


When you are taking a look at the ingredients label, check the first five ingredients. Since components of a product are listed in order from the highest percentage to the lowest, you can get a good idea about whether or not a product is lightweight based on the first five ingredients that are listed on the label.


For example, the Merwave Deep Conditioning Hair Mask has several lightweight ingredients, which are listed in order of concentration on the label - Aqua (Water), Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetrimonium Chloride, Behentrimonium Chloride, Hydrogetaned Ethylhexyl Olivate.

4. search for products that contain other lightweight ingredients

Products that are produced mainly with extracts, milks, and hydrosols are likely to be lightweight. As long as these ingredients aren’t combined with lots of heavier components, like oils and butters, they shouldn’t weigh your hair down too much.

wrap up

Curly hair products contain heavy ingredients (butters, oil). Wavy hair products contain lightweight ingredients. Heavy products will weigh your waves down and leave it feeling tacky. 


That's the main reason why we started Merwave in the first place, there was literally nothing out there just for us wavies. 


Lightweight ingredients will provide hydration and nourishment, leaving your waves looking luscious and healthy. They will also make styling your hair much easier by providing a hydrated base to work with.


If you’re searching for the perfect lightweight products for your waves, head over to the Merwave shop to find everything that you will need when it comes to styling and maintaining your locks.

£80£56
£14

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