When I was younger, I wasted too much of my time trying to fight my hair. My mother believed in the importance of the all-mighty straightening iron, blowouts, and copious amounts of product that promised “smooth, frizz-free” locks. I learned at a young age that my hair was a problem. Instead of working with what I had, my mother and I made the mistake of hoping that these aforementioned miracle methods would change my hair into something it was not and would never be. As much as I tried to tame my thick, kinky curls and as much as my mother subscribed to an ideal of non-confrontational beauty, I was left less than satisfied. Now that I’ve grown older and grown up, I’ve realized that my natural hair should not be a source of shame. Natural hair requires a certain type of care and upkeep that does not coincide with a one-size-fits-all routine. Curls require moisture, moisture, moisture! Before you stock up on new products, figure out your texture pattern in order to get the best results.
1. One ‘n’ Only Argan Oil Moisture Repair Conditioner – An alternative to OGX Argan Oil of Morocco Conditioner. This conditioner is free of sulfates, phosphates and parabens, which means that it’s safe to use on chemically and color-treated hair. Argan oil has long been touted as a great hair and skin product and for good reason: If you have particularly thick, dry curls, it helps restore hair’s softness while strengthening. It should be noted that if you have thin, fine curls, this conditioner may be a bit heavy for your hair type.
2. Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie – Confession: I swear by this stuff! I have yet to find a leave-in conditioner or cream that hydrates my hair as well as this Shea Moisture product and does not leave it feeling greasy. The ingredient of coconut oil protects hair and reduces breakage, while the silk protein and neem oil reduce frizz. The Enhancing Smoothie can be used on wet, fresh-out-the-shower hair or dry hair.
3. Jamaican Mango and Lime Black Castor Oil – This multi-purpose product can be beneficial for all natural hair types. In addition to increasing blood flow to the scalp, it moisturizes, thickens, and strengthens hair. Unlike other castor oil, JBCO contains a higher ash content, which makes for a more effective oil.
4. Kinky-Curly Curling Custard – This is probably the most expensive item on the list but it does the job. At under $20, this herbal conditioner is free of parabens and sodium lauryl sulfate. If you’re like me and won’t give up using hair gel, have no fear! Kinky-Curly caters to all types of curl patterns.
5. Palmer’s Coconut Oil Deeping Conditioning Protein Pack – Probably the cheapest item on this list! At under $2, this protein pack contains Vitamin E and replenishes damaged hair. Some consumers may be a bit put-off by the various alcohol contents listed in the active ingredients list, but it should be taken into consideration that not all alcohol-based products are harmful to natural hair. Use Palmer’s Protein Pack once a week, at the most. If your hair is protein-sensitive, you obviously may want to skip out on using a deep conditioning pack with a high protein count. How do you know if you’re protein-sensitive? Easy: pay attention to your hair! If you find that your hair is hard or brittle after using a product, this is a sign that it’s having an adverse reaction to your hair.
All of these products can be found at your local drugstore (CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid), discount beauty supply store (Sally’s) or Target/Walmart. This is by no means a rigid inventory of tools for naturals. Everyone has different hair that responds accordingly to various products. However, these five products are a good start into the world of natural hair care.
To -Poo or Not to -Poo?
I’ve also found that the key to maintaining a natural style is NOT to pile on too many products. I’ve embraced the “no-poo method” and thus have forgone shampoo. I only wash my hair with conditioner, which actually seems to have helped retain the porosity, in addition to deterring split ends and breakage. The change was gradual, though greatly appreciated. My hair initially felt a little drier but this didn’t last for too long.
Never underestimate the power of a good comb! I use Ouidad’s Double Detangler Comb which gets out the knots without ripping out half my scalp! The comb can be purchased at Sephora/Ulta or via Amazon.
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