By Charlene of Textured Talk
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At the core you need 4 types of products for your natural hair care regimen, tops. Also, remember products are formulated to work best together so you can save time and money by purchasing each product from the same brand.
3. Daily Moisturizer
4. Sealer and/or Styler
There are variations of each product type but at the end of the day the choice is yours. Let’s break these products down a little more:
-1 Moisturizing Shampoo (weekly)
-1 Clarifying Shampoo (monthly)
-1 Co-wash (optional)
The foundation of natural hair care starts with clean hair as clean hair will ultimately become healthy hair. Use a hydrating sulfate free shampoo to cleanse with lukewarm water weekly and use a clarifying shampoo once a month depending on your level of product build up. Clarifying shampoos have a higher pH level to gently open the hair cuticle and remove dirt, build-up and environmental elements and are greatly needed to ensure a healthy scalp.
My Product favorites – Obia Natural Shampoo Bars – great for moisture and detangling. For clarifying the Hydratherma Naturals Herbal Amino Clarifying Shampoo works wonders with removing product buildup after a long month of styling with butters and heavy creams. Co-washing is optional but can be completed every 2-3 days. If I choose to co-wash the Eden Body Works Cleansing Co-wash is hands down the best.
-1 Deep Conditioner (weekly depending on dryness)
-1 Leave-In Conditioner (each time you shampoo & daily if needed)
Use a hooded dryer, steamer, warm towel or hair therapy wrap for 20-30 minutes to deep condition. The use of mild heat helps further open the hair cuticle to moisturize. For extremely dry textures once a week is suggested; otherwise, 2 times a month is optimal. Use a product that explicitly states DEEP conditioner or masque/mask. There is a difference between regular conditioners and deep conditioners. They are not the same and are not intended to serve the same purpose.
One step you can’t afford to miss is the leave in conditioner. Leave in conditioners are intentionally the final step in your shampoo & condition process because it usually has the lowest ph balance to close the hair cuticle to retain moisture.
My Product favorites: I always get great results using the Mielle Organics Babassu & Mint Deep conditioner. This one contains protein so if you’re protein sensitive opt for the tgin Honey Miracle Mask Deep Conditioner. In a given month I rotate between both for optional protein/moisture balance. For leave in conditioners, you also can’t go wrong with the Obia Natural Hair Curl Moisture Cream or the Karen’s Body Beautiful Sweet Ambrosia Leave-In Conditioner.
3. Moisturizers (Daily)
I seriously can’t stress this enough…moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! Natural hair care is all about making sure those curls are soft and hydrated. This is the #1 issue among women with natural hair because we are not moisturizing properly, we are not enough. It’s ok to moisturize your hair every day and this is the first thing I encourage when women complain about severe dry hair issues. Note: Moisturizing is not shampooing, co-washing or oiling your hair every day. At the core, moisturizing is using water based products to refresh your natural curls daily. Opt for a moisturizing hair milk or daily refresher spray.
My Products favorites: Plain & simple h2O and a little oil mixed in a spray bottle. A light spritz at night before bed and again in the morning will ensure your hair stays moisturized throughout the day. Your daily moisturizer can also be a leave-in conditioner of your choice, which in some cases may work as a styler too! Perfect right?
4. Sealer and/or Styler (Each time you style)
Once you have moisturized the hair by deep conditioning and applying leave in conditioner, seal moisture with natural oils such as castor oil, jojoba oil, or shea butter based products to retain moisture. Test different oils to see which ones work best for your texture. Castor oil or shea butter may appear too heavy if you have a fine texture. Lighter oils such as almond, avocado, or jojoba might work better. Regularly moisturized hair will reduce breakage and will help with retaining length. If your hair is constantly dry, your risk of breakage increases. As a result, the hair can break off at the same rate it grows.
Product favorites: Camille Rose Naturals Aloe Whipped Butter Gel, Alikay Naturals Moisture Rich Hair Parfait, Bee Mine Organics Bee Hold Curly Butter
Your choice of styler such as a twisting cream could also work as your sealer, but pay attention to ingredients. My best results for longer moisturized hair are creams that contain aloe vera juice, mango butter, shea butter and/or avocado oil, just to name a few. Although these ingredients seem heavy, when produced into a creamy styler my hair can remain moisturized for up to 3 days.