All things from coconut, oils, and shea butter,
Low lather cleansers, Paul Mitchell, Shea Moisture,
Stylers that give my mane God-given wings,
These are a few of my favorite things!
Besides my reasoning for making that unnecessary jingle, I’m sure you all are wondering, “Hey what do you put on your hair?”. You wanna know how I know? No, I’m not a tambourine-tappin’ gypsy psychic (no shade to Ms. Cleo or the other psychics out there). I know this because I get dang near death threats on my doormat (AKA my inbox) every day demanding that I reveal what I hold sacred in my arsenal of hair care. So, I thought my first natural hair post would be sharing what works for me. But first, a few disclaimers!
1. Please know, that statement is just that… these products are what work for ME! This combo of products will not guarantee you your picturesque idea of a beautiful mane. This stash of oils, conditioners, and stylers galore was created to properly cleanse, detangle, moisturize, and style MY HAIR. And since not only everyone’s hair, but end goals, are different, this shrine of holy grails, should you choose to indulge yourself, may bring a smile, or frown, to your face.
2. Also, please note that this shrine took me two LONG years to discover. I had to become not only a shameful and unintentional product junkie for 2 years, but a full-time mad scientist experimenting in my lab (AKA my shower). I had to try different products that would leave me looking nothing less than Bob Marley’s long-lost orphan child. I mean, his dreads are nice, but spending 5-6 hours on wash day only to end up with the Rastafarian dread look is NOT my idea of efficiency nor a good time. But all good things come to those who wait, right? I'd like to think that after 2 frustrating years of spending oodles of non-refundable time and money, I'm a testament to this mantra. So, just know that unless your hair was touched by an angel, you're probably going to have to put in some work and time to find your perfect product line-up.
With that said, here's the run-down on what I’m using so far.
For a pre-poo, I use my own blend of natural and essential oils. Catch the vid below!
My favorite shampoo HAS to be Shea Moisture’s Coconut and Hibiscus Curl and Shine Shampoo with Silk Protein and Neem Oil. The ingredients are stellar, there is a smooth, buttery lather, not to mention, a pleasant smell, and a bullet-proof result of a clean scalp with hair that can still be moderately detangled. I can practically dilute this shampoo about 100 times and there will still be a lather. I have used the more popular shampoos out there for naturals; however, this one gives me the best results. Also, it should be noted that some of the other shampoos for natural hair do not have the best ingredients. I use this 1-2 times per month.
My favorite co-wash is Shea Moisture’s African Black Soap Deep Conditioner (Shea Moisture's African Black Soap Purification Masque with Tea Tree Oil and Willow Bark Extract). I originally got the idea to use this as a co-wash from Mahogany Curls on YouTube. I find a lot of co-washes to be stripping of my hair; however, this concoction packs two punches for the price of one: cleansing, and deep conditioning. Therefore, my hair NEVER feels stripped when cleansed with this masque. And, if I’m ever short on time, I can do both at the same time!
4. Deep Conditioners
And the award for the best deep conditioner goes to… my home-made deep conditioner with Shea Moisture’s Manuka Honey and Mafura Oil Deep Conditioning Mask. I blend all of my ingredients together, and apply the homemade deep conditioner in my shower, and layer the Shea Moisture deep conditioner on top. I do this instead of blending the deep conditioner into my mix for three reasons: 1. That's too much work and I am a proud sloth on wash day, 2. It seals in the moisture, and 3. I am able to detangle much easier in this manner. There are a lot of ingredients for this mix, but I feel like I am getting all of the benefits possible by using a good variety of ingredients vs. solely using 2 or 3 things. Also, on batch usually lasts me two weeks, so I store my left-overs in the fridge.
5. Leave-In Conditioners
My leave-in conditioner shifts depending on the season that is present at hand. During the God-sent warmer climates, I tend to drift towards using Paul Mitchell’s The Conditioner (Original). It has great ingredients, provides so much slip, and because it contains a SMALL amount of water-soluble silicones, it helps to define my curls.
During the colder months delivered by Lucifer himself, I flock towards using Shea Moisture's Coconut and Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie with Coconut Oil, Silk Protein, and Neem Oil. Now please do not let my kitten-sized hands fool you, I tend to be a very heavy-handed natural. However, I had to learn my lesson pretty darn quickly when using this product, because using too much will leave not only my hair, but my face, hands, clothes, and patients… GREASY. Just a small amount provides just enough moisture, and it also helps to smooth the section of hair that I’m working with. It does provide some, but minimal, definition to my curls, so I have to use my Denman brush with this leave-in conditioner to provide extra definition.
As for my styler, say it with me: Eco styler gel, Eco Styler gel, ECO STYLER GEL! This concoction of virgin unicorn tears and baby angel breath is the ONLY reason why I can stretch my wash and go’s to 7 days. It smoothes my frizz, defines and elongates my curls. Now I love my hair; the kinks and coils alike. But I have to be realistic: I DO NOT have time to re-do my wash and go’s every 3 days. I HAVE to have something that gives me enough hold to last me a whole week, even while exercising and re-moisturizing throughout the week. So, this product is needless to say, slightly heavy when it comes to hold. I have 4a and 4b curls in the back of my head that tangle and break without a product with some decent hold; this gel elongates them, allowing them to become less tangly throughout the week, and therefore reduces the amount of breakage and fairy knots. So, if you are unlike me, and don’t have to take 40 days and 40 nights to do your hair each week, and actually have time throughout the week to re-do your wash and go, and / or do not have the issue of having to elongate kinks in your kitchen to avoid breakage and fairy knots, this may not be the product for you. But for me, if this ever gets pulled from the shelf, Jesus better be coming back the day after ‘cause I’m not having a life without this! I have found that my hair, as with most products, loves anything with olive oil in it, so I use the Olive Oil Eco Styler gel.
Welp! That's all she wrote! My list of products that give me the perfect balance between retained moisture and a maintained hairstyle, whether a wash and go, to a twist out, for 1 week This completes my arsenal! Hope this helps! What products do you have stashed away in yours?
***Any images used may or may not be solely my own. Any borrowed images have been cited as not my own, and no plagiarism was intended.***