The Beginner's Guide to Natural Hair Products

Photo Courtesy of Ambrosia Malbrough


With our curls, coils, and waves we have choices despite universal practices for all curlies like cleansing, conditioning, moisturizing, styling, and health reinforcement. Within each category you determine what works best for your hair by trial and error and I cannot stress that enough. Thinking you can just come out of the gate knowing what your hair likes might be unrealistic. Patience and a willingness to learn what your hair needs take time and practice through trying different products and techniques. Here are regimen categories with different product options that cater to your specific needs.

Read On!>>>

Protein Rich Products for Strong, Healthy Natural Hair


No matter the hair type, all hair needs a balance of protein and moisture. The protein is called keratin and whenever that delicate balance is off kilter, we tend to see breakage. Just like anything in life, you can’t have too much of one without affecting the other and our hair needs protein and moisture to stay healthy and look great.  Keeping the moisture/protein balance in check requires attention, and many naturals are quick to add moisture, but rather hesitant to add protein. Protein treatments help to “patch” cracked, chipped or missing cuticle in damaged hair and “gaps” in porous hair. Protein, when used correctly, temporarily shores hair up against environmental and mechanical damage. (Shelli, Split End Prevention)

Finding the right protein treatment depends on your hair’s needs and your hair maintenance so here are some great protein-enriched products to help your strands stay strong and healthy!

Read On!>>>

3 Must Haves For Your Natural Hair Shampoo


by Nicole Harmon of Hair Liberty

In my opinion, your shampoo may be the most important product in your arsenal. I say that because a good shampoo keeps your scalp healthy (which means better hair growth) and makes your hair easier to comb. A bad shampoo will lead to drier hair, scalp irritation, and unstoppable frizz. Your shampoo is truly the first step to smooth, manageable hair. You NEED a good shampoo in your life!

The best shampoos contain:
• Sulfate-free cleansers to prevent excessive dryness and scalp irritation
• Cationic ingredients to condition your hair while you cleanse
• pH adjusters to balance the pH of the shampoo and prevent unnecessary cuticle damage to your hair

SHOW AND TELL- FIERCE FRIDAY!

Hola Chicas!
Fierce Friday is a way to celebrate our natural hair, displaying our dopest styles and best hair days... for inspiration and motivation. Wanna be featured? All you have to do is upload your favorite pics to Instagram with the tags #FierceFriday and #CurlyNikki. Be sure to share a brief description of the style, where you were headed, why you felt amazing, etc.!
From wash and go to twist out. I can be so indecisive at times #Her #BeYou #Twistout  Only product used was @lovelottabody wrap me foaming mousse @curlssodope

Trying to decide if I should retouch my highlights for the summer. My hair is growing faster than I realized. These dark roots takin over. Wat yall think? @brandilou88

READ MORE>>

How Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein Stops Natural Hair Breakage



Our beautiful hair strands are 91% hard protein also known as keratin, which is responsible for the strength and structure of the hair strand and very important to hair care and hair growth. As the hair grows it can gradually get weaker at the ends, as the hair shaft has been chipped away by the elements and general manipulation from hair care and styling. The ability to keep the hair strong, while maintaining moisture to the strand is a balancing act. Too much strength could make the hair hard and brittle while too much moisture can make the hair mushy, both of which are not the ideal situation for hair. According to Hilda Sustaita, wheat protein is considered a gentle protein, broken down into smaller portions to penetrate the hair shaft and adhere to cracks along the cuticle layers.


Read On!>>>

SHOW AND TELL- FIERCE FRIDAY!

Hola Chicas!
For those of you that are new to CN, Fierce Friday is a way to celebrate our natural hair, displaying our dopest styles and best hair days... for inspiration and motivation. Wanna be featured? All you have to do is upload your favorite pics to Instagram with the tags #FierceFriday and #CurlyNikki. Be sure to share a brief description of the style, where you were headed, why you felt amazing, and thangs of that nature!
Fro | tas·tic @hey_curlie

#longwalk#teamnatural_ @zion_aug

SHOW AND TELL- FIERCE FRIDAY!

Hola Chicas!
For those of you that are new to CN, Fierce Friday is a way to celebrate our natural hair, displaying our dopest styles and best hair days... for inspiration and motivation. Wanna be featured? All you have to do is upload your favorite pics to Instagram with the tags #FierceFriday and #CurlyNikki. Be sure to share a brief description of the style, where you were headed, why you felt amazing, etc.!


 The EYES are one of the most POWERFUL tools a woman can have. With one LOOK, she can RELAY the most INTIMATE message. After the connection is made, words cease to Exist.emoji #carolsdaughter#curlynikki @amia_renee
Curls and Swirls BABY @the_monanissi

SHOW AND TELL- FIERCE FRIDAY!

Hola Chicas!
For those of you that are new to CN, Fierce Friday is a way to celebrate our natural hair, displaying our dopest styles and best hair days... for inspiration and motivation. Wanna be featured? All you have to do is upload your favorite pics to Instagram with the tags #FierceFriday and #CurlyNikki. Be sure to share a brief description of the style, where you were headed, why you felt amazing, etc.!


Even though we didn't make it to St. Louis for Thanksgiving, we were still surrounded by love and laughs! Thanks Ulani, Ronan and fam!  #NoNewFriends #OneNewFriend
@curlynikki


That's Gia's bun, lol!
Meko, New York Natural Hair Care Spa & Boutique...."Where Naturals Blossoms" Meet Blooming Natural, Eunide rocking the "CoilyFro" Crochet Styled by: Meko & Jo Thank you Eunide for trusting us with your beautiful natural hair! @mekony

How Fish Oil Promotes Hair Growth



First off, what is fish oil? This is not a silly question! Drugs.com says, “Fish oil capsules contain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids are found in oils from certain types of fish, vegetables, and other plant sources. These fatty acids are not made by the body and must be consumed in the diet.” Fish oil comes from the tissues of fatty fish like herring, mackerel, swordfish, salmon, anchovies, and trout.

Read On!>>>

SHOW AND TELL- FIERCE FRIDAY!

Hola Chicas! 
For those of you that are new to CN, Fierce Friday is a way to celebrate our natural hair, displaying our dopest styles and best hair days... for inspiration and motivation. Wanna be featured? All you have to do is upload your favorite pics to Instagram with the tags #FierceFriday and #CurlyNikki. Be sure to share a brief description of the style, where you were headed, why you felt amazing, etc.!

I can only take good selfies in my car emoji #dontworry #iwasntdriving #carparked #waitingfortheschoolbus @theother_queenb

Hello curls.. #hotd #naturalista #naturallyshesdope #curlynikki #[email protected]lovelyanneka
Meet Pretty Little Natural, Savanna rocking her CoilyFro @mekony

 READ MORE>>

Natasha Is Naturally Glam!


Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper? What was your journey like?
I was a transitioner, I transitioned for a year. During that year I wore braids and extensions. My journey was kind of hard because I could not find a stylist who could properly handle the two different textures. I think I lost a lot of hair during that process because the stylist was not good at detangling, or would use a small tooth comb on my hair. So in 2010 I decided to cut all of the perm out of my hair.

READ MORE>>

April- “Natural is a way of life not just a hairstyle.”



My name is April. I’m a 24-year-old student trying to obtain my RN. I’m from NJ but moved to Hawaii shortly after graduating high school. I work at a rehab hospital in the dialysis department and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

How long have you been natural? What motivated you to go natural?
I’ve been natural on and off since my late teens but for some reason I would always go back to straightening (flat iron no relaxer since early teenage years) my hair to make it more manageable. When I moved to Hawaii, I was unable to find a stylist that I felt could handle my hair like back in NY/NJ. I decided to try a well know French salon where the stylists were all very experienced and talented. The first time she flat ironed my hair, it looked like a million bucks. She did it in less than an hour and it was bone straight. The more I fell in love with it, the more I would go to her. It became a weekly thing.  After a while, I began noticing that my hair was very stringy, wouldn't curl and felt similar to a rubber band.  Really lifeless. She was using 450 degrees on the flat iron which had fried my hair. Poor thing. One day after showering and combing out big chunks of hair I realized there was nothing I could do. I decided then I would go natural. I started doing twist outs but it just seemed so time-consuming to achieve a curly look that sadly wasn’t my own. So in July 2010, I had my first big chop! I asked him to cut as much dead hair off as he could. It was short on the sides and back and longer on the top-- cute cut but still some dead ends. I tried twisting the ends to match the textures but it didn’t look that great (in my opinion).

the grow out!

Vibrant Hair Color Without Bleach



If you've been seeing all of the vibrant color trends and are curious to give it a try this summer, but DON'T want to subject your hair to bleach, then you'll be happy to know that Alexis here got this look without lightening her hair first. 

Morenike is Naturally Glam!



My name is Morenike and I'm from Detroit. I big chopped 2/2011.

How long have you been natural?
I've been natural all of my life. I decided to transition once I got tired of my heat damage and wanted to do twists and braids. My ends were so damaged they didn't curl anymore.

What motivated you to transition? Were you a transitioner or a Big Chopper& why? 
I started watching youtube videos and wanted to start wearing my hair in its natural state again. As a child, I wore braids and twists all of the time. I transitioned for about 7 months and then out of nowhere I decided to big chop.

Read On!>>>

Danielle Gore is Naturally Glam!



Were you a slow transitioner or a Big Chopper & why? (tell us your natural hair journey)
I intended to transition for two years! I wanted to get to that mark before I cut - I’m big on setting goals for myself no matter what aspect of life. However two days after I approached 19 I called it quits lol. I was going away for spring break, I was over braids and the straight ends, so I went home one day and told my mom to cut my hair. I’m surprised I didn’t cry, I think in the moment I realized it’s hair and it will grow back. I used to be so sad when I would get just three inches of my hair cut, but my big chop was about 12.5 inches and I took it like a champ! It’s been seven months and three days since I did my Big Chop! (But who’s counting ?).

I transitioned from August 13, 2011 to March 14th 2013.

Had you always embraced your texture?
I wish my answer to this was yes, see I was natural until 16 years old, my mom swore up and down she wouldn’t perm my hair. “Not until you’re out of my house” she said. Somehow I was able to wear her down, cause all I wanted was straight hair, my natural hair was, at the time, so hard to manage. I was not here for it at all! My mother saw the beauty in my natural hair, which I could not embrace at the time.

Read On>>>

Do You Exfoliate Your Scalp?


via Just Curlz

Most of us exfoliate our face, our hands, our feet, our neck... but have you ever considered exfoliating your scalp? We all tend to buy the requisite shampoos, conditioners and various stylers. But how often do you think about your scalp? Do you massage it? Exfoliate it? Most of you would answer a 'NO' for this. Did you know that our scalp is one of the most neglected parts of our body? Our hair is rooted in the scalp, so it's kind of important.  Neglecting your scalp can result in severe hair damage and premature hair loss. After all, it's the scalp that provides all the necessary nutrients to the hair root to make your hair more healthy and strong. So let's give it some TLC!

The purpose for exfoliating your scalp is the same as exfoliating your face, which is to remove the dead cells, which tend to accumulate and cause problems. The funny part, is that the most common reason behind dead skin and gunk on the scalp is the use of products which supposedly are used for boosting good hair health! Usage of hair gels, and not thoroughly rinsing away shampoo and that delicious deep conditioner, can all result in the accumulation of left over sediment on the scalp. This can create problems like itchiness, dandruff, flakiness, and dryness; which ultimately results in preventing the hair from receiving proper nourishment for continued hair growth. Gently exfoliating your scalp at least once a week can also increase circulation to the hair follicles which will definitely prove to be beneficial for healthy hair growth. The process is very simple and can be done before, during, or after you shampoo or condition your hair.

On the market, there are scalp exfoliating treatments and scalp exfoliators such as-

1. Carols Daughter Scalp Exfoliating Treatment
2. My Honey Child's Honey Bee Sweet Scalp Exfoliater
3. Organic Root Stimulator Scalp Scrub
4. Jane Carter Scalp Renew

Or you can choose to create your own scalp scrub. The most popular do it yourself (DIY) recipe is the brown sugar scalp scrub (look for fine granules!) but there are other DIY recipes as well- 

1. White sugar and Jojoba Scrub
2. Molasses Sugar scrub
3. Crushed Almond Scalp Exfoliator
4. Oatmeal Scalp Scrub

Keep in mind that when you do exfoliate your scalp, that it must be done gently. Whether you are using a store brought scalp scrub or using a DIY mix, you can cause tears and damage to the scalp when you scrub aggressively or roughly with fingernails. Always scrub gently with the pads of your fingertips.

Do you exfoliate your scalp?
If so, do you use a store bought scalp scrub or do you prefer to create your own?

Heat Stretched Bantu Knot-Out- Natural Hair Styles




Stephanie of Beautybylee writes:

Love your curls, coils and kinks, but want to switch it up? Well, here's a very easy, sexy and ultra chic style you can do yourself!

Total time:70 mins. 

Maintenance: retwist and bantu knot at night but with larger sections.

Products used:

-Giovanni Direct Leave in conditioner
-Carols Daughter Macadamia Heat protecting serum
-Darcy Botanical Organic Coconut butter Styling Pomade to set twist
-Olive oil to Untwist

I Big Chopped- Alexandria



Meet Alexandria. She currently resides in Fayetteville, North Carolina. She's a single mother, an army soldier, sister, daughter, and friend. The creator of Thenaturalher.tumblr.com, she big shaved and kept a brush cut for sixth months and on March 28,  2011 cut for the last time!


What is your current regimen?

My routine is pretty simple.

For a curly look I rinse my hair while I am in the shower. Next, I spray my hair with the Carols Daughter’s Black Vanilla Leave in and use the palms of my hands to work it throughout my strands using a circular motion. Next, I apply a dime size amount of the Kinky Curly Leave-in and work in using the same palm method, then apply a dime size of the Kinky Curly Custard and repeat the palm motion. I wait five minutes and then spray my favorite oil mixture or the Carols Daughter leave in spray. I do not touch my hair in this step…

For my TWA on dry hair… I spray some Carols daughter’s leave in pick out my hair, slick down my edges with some Curl Control, and put a head band on.


 I co wash about once a week, and shampoo and deep condition every Sunday. For my Shampoo and Conditioner, I use the Roux Porosity Control line; it really has helped me with my previous issue with retaining moisture. My porosity issue was not due to chemical processing since I big shaved, so I did not have any chemical issues, I believe it was because I kept my brush cut for six months and the clippers where not so good to my hair. My hair has done a 360 with this stuff. It says that it is for chemically treated hair, but I saw a post about it on the CN site, and gave it a try. Thank GOD for that.

I deep condition with a mixture of oils that I have handy and the Shea Moisture Deep Treatment Mask. This stuff is amazing as a leave in as well.

Of course I sleep with a bonnet, and I barely ever use styling combs unless doing a fro which I’ve only done maybe four times.

The Big Shave!

Progress!

What have you learned throughout your journey? Advice for others?

Being a young single mother, I was struggling trying to grow up and heal, mentally that is, and figure out what kind of woman I wanted my daughter to strive to be. I knew one thing; she would know the answers to all the questions I wondered for myself, like what love is, who she is and what she stands for. So I started internally…. I am still a work in progress but I found a spirit within myself, not so much a religious one, but one that could be FREE… I started gravitating to my sister Michelle, her energy is so pure, holistic in a sense, and if it wasn’t for her… first and foremost, I wouldn’t be the way I am today. I practiced meditation, I became a pescaterian (fish and seafood diet no meat) I began reading Deepak Chopra, I practiced humility, and I found interest in the beauty of nature. I went NATURAL for my child; I needed her to see a true model of self love and in the process of this change, what I learned most importantly was how to love myself.

My advice for others is simple. Going natural isn’t easy, but it is worth it. Knowing yourself in your purest form, the one you were created to be is such an awakening. Take your time with it, be sure about it, but most importantly embrace it. You will find things about yourself and about others that you have missed.


Where can we find you on the web?

You can find me at http://thenaturalher.tumblr.com/ 
On Facebook- http://www.facebook.com/TheNaturalHer 

Please follow the blog, support The Natural Her Movement. Be beautiful, Be blessed, and be NAPPY!

Show and Tell- Fierce Friday!

Hola chicas!

It's that time again! The images below are of CN readers at their flyyest...at work, on the town, and with the fam. Showing us all that natural hair is not a fad, it's a way of life...an extension of our beauty! Click on the images to enlarge them--


Kelli
At work...infamous bathroom pic! Lol. Rocking my chunky twist out!

Shannon
86 degree day here in Norfolk, VA so I thought I'd snap a shot because I felt cute and my hair was loving the Curl Enhancing Smoothie Moisturizer with the pin up fro out style.

Natasha
Candid shot of me in D.C. chillin/ dancing at the National Zoo. Enjoying a beautiful day and an even more beautiful twist-out! 

Ginger
This is a 25 single braids/ braid out using Shea moisture and Organic Root Stimulator Twist and Lock Gel with rodded ends. Done on freshly washed hair and air dried over night. Braids were let down then fluffed at the roots for volume. 

Kimberly
After church photoshoot, rocking my "version" of Senagalese Twists (done by me). This is my go to protective style during my personal length retention challenge. 4-6 weeks in and a 2 week break of deep conditioning and moisturizing. Check www.bungalow91.com for growth updates! 7 years natural and Loving It! 

Stacey
My hair has been in mini twists for a few weeks now and I was headed to a going away party some friends were throwing for me. I did a french braid going up the back and then wrapped the hair in the front around the back to cover the hair left out from the braid. The big blue flower was the finishing touch.

Khrys
I was on my way out with a friend of mine. I had done the two strand twist out on my hair using water, Palmers Olive Moisturizer and Carols Daughter Loc Butter. Keeps my hair moisturized for days:)

Monica
I was preparing to wash my hair but when I checked out my locks in the mirror, I said "I'm good" (because she was good). I'm rocking a 5 day twist out using Shea butter and jojoba oil. 

Sheena
I've finally gotten the confidence to rock more 'daring' styles now that my hair has grown. Can't wait to experiment more in the future! 
 

Tajuana
I'm in the bathroom playing with my camera phone. :) I call this my "curly fro". I used Knot Today Leave in Conditioner by Kinky Curly and good old h2O. 


**To submit**:
Send in your favorite picture with a caption detailing where you were (or where you were headed to), along with a brief description of your hairstyle, to [email protected] I'll post several each Friday. Be sure to use 'Fierce Friday' as the subject line!
We always need more!

Curly Kids- Kennedy

via Hairscapades

as told by Yutonya (mother)--

What’s your child’s name and age? Tell us a little about her.
Kennedy is six years old and loves, loves, loves singing. She sings in the morning, afternoon and evening. She hums in the car and has started asking for singing lessons. She loves her curly hair, but every once in a while wants to see what it would look like straightened, which it has never been. I attempted to straighten it one time with an In-Styler type tool and, ¼ way through, decided that I didn’t want to straighten it. I washed her hair and put it in a bun. I would like to say it was out of some purist ideal, but, truthfully, I think I looked at how much hair she had and saw the hours of pulling hair through that flat-iron and opted out.

How do you care for her/his hair? What products do you use, how often do you wash/condition, what techniques do you use (i.e., how do you detangle), etc.?
I co-wash her hair about once a week. I usually do this whenever we change hair styles. I shampoo about once a month. I detangle using my fingers and sometimes lightly brush the ends while there is conditioner in it if the ends get tangled. However, because she wears mostly protective styles, I find that I usually don’t have to detangle too much or use the brush. I have recently begun using olive oil overnight as a pre-poo treatment, only because she can now stand having her hair wrapped for the entire night. I use all Carol’s Daughter products on her hair. We have just started using the Monoi sulfate-free shampoo and Hair Mask from CD. Daily, we use the lite Hair Milk and the Hair Balm. The Hair Balm is a little thicker than the Hair Elixir, which is a very light liquid oil. Although heavier, we switched to the Hair Balm because the Elixir has a strong spearmint/woodsy smell and she would get so many comments in class that she smelled like tree or grass (in a good way) that I decided to switch. The two are very comparable with the same base ingredient of sweet almond oil. Lisa’s Elixir is definitely fragrant as are most of the CD products.

Do the same products that work for you work for your child’s hair?
Actually no. I have sisterlocks, which means I utilize very little products. But the question is interesting because, for the last year, my daughter has been asking me to take out the locks because she wants to see my hair. She can not recall what my hair looked like before the locks. I tell her that it basically looked the same. However, I wanted to go back to my natural hair as well. So, for the past two months I have actually been growing out my sisterlocks. As my locks are considered microlocks, I have just been growing them out and using braid outs to disguise the transition from the sisterlocks to natural. So far so good. Maybe for the next GOC I will post my pictures showing me growing out the sisterlocks. It is an interesting process.

But, back to the question, no we do not use the same products, but maybe soon. I primarily use Carol’s Daughter on Kennedy’s hair. I have managed to control my PJism and found that Carols’ Daughter’s products, although a bit costly, have all of the ingredients that I could possibly combine, mix, create or buy on my own or find in other products. I just find it easier to order online and try different products within that line. I save my adventurist side for trying new styles on her hair vs. trying new hair products. Her hair seems to respond well to CD products, so I stick with them, even when my bank account cries foul. Now, once I grow out my sisterlocks, my PJism will probably return full force, because I will personally want to try out every product under the sun on my newly free hair.



What is a typical style? Do you employ protective styles? If so, how often?
I predominantly employ protective styles. Kennedy basically only wears her hair fully out on special occasions, birthdays, etc. For school, protective styles last longer and withstand the rigor of elementary school. The two styles I always fall back on are the bun and my favorite, the single flat twist with bun. Once the bun is in place I always put a decorative bow or clip to match her outfit and also ensure that it doesn’t look so adult.

Kennedy loves wearing hair clips like her Aunt Shelli. Yes, Aunt Shelli of Hairscapades. Aunt Shelli’s October post on silk bonnets convinced her that it was okay to sleep with her pink silk bonnet to protect her head, and she does not complain when we put it on before bed. And she still asks for the two strand twists that Aunt Shelli put in her head during their sleepover. I think she has found her hair idol.


What challenges do you face with your child’s hair?
None really, because I truly like trying new hairstyles and accessories. She definitely also enjoys new hairstyles as well and has requested the Princess Leia on occasion or other hairstyles specifically. I would say the biggest issue is the distraction that the highly fragrant CD products caused her class. It was probably the combination of the hair products and the body products as we use those as well. LOL!



Have you ever relaxed/texlaxed your daughter’s hair? Why or why not and, if you relaxed her hair, what prompted the decision to return to natural?
I have never relaxed my daughter’s hair and express to her daily that she should appreciate and love the fact that she has beautiful curls. I also instill the same self-love in my son who says he loves his curls. I hope this will be enough to ensure that she does not relax her hair, but if she does, I can relate. Hair does not define all of who we are or will be and I myself have tried every hairstyle in the world from relaxed hair many years ago, braids, natural and now sisterlocks. And for the next GOC, I will go back to natural. Sometimes curiosity does not mean a lack of self-love, it is simply that, curiosity. I know many natural women who went natural simply out of curiosity and nothing more. I hear many also say they did it just because they didn’t want to go to the salon. All reasons are valid, real and worthy. So, would I prefer that she never relax her hair? Absolutely. But, if she does, I can totally understand it. I have scratched the curiosity itch many times and always came back to natural.


Anything else that you’d like to add?
We love Aunt Shelli and Uncle Weusi!

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