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Curly Nikki

Curly Hair Product Criteria

By January 27th, 20217 Comments

Curly Hair Product Criteria
Kenya writes:

I am a certified PJ and have been even before transitioning. When I buy a product, I don’t have specific criteria it must fit, like whether it’s all natural or CG friendly. I generally go with what works the best with my hair. My question is:

Do you have a product criteria, and if you do, would you use a product if it didn’t quite meet your criteria, but works well for your hair?

CurlyNikki writes: When I first started experimenting with my natural curls, I became a frequent visitor of and was totally on the Curly Girl (CG) bandwagon. I avoided sulfates (in shampoo) and silicones (in conditioners and stylers) like the plague. I also steered clear of protein, mineral oil, ‘the bad’ alcohols, parabens, polyquats and other black listed ingredients.

As time went on, I became a bit more lax and expanded my product arsenal. What works for some curlies truly doesn’t work for all… this is true of the CG method and other popular and much hyped regimens. I stopped taking info at face value and started doing a little experimenting of my own. Through trial and error, I learned that my hair wouldn’t revolt if I used silicones and that the occasional use of a sulfate shampoo wouldn’t stop the world from spinning. I also learned that my hair really doesn’t like protein and that it adores conditioners containing Behentrimonium Methosulfate. My criteria today? Since I’m mostly a conditioner junkie, I look for the following:

-Excellent reviews (, curlynikkiforums,com,…)– I try to research products prior to purchase. I hate to buy something only to get home and read that most folks who tried it had a bad experience. In the reviews I look for phrases like, ‘good moisture’, ‘lots of slip’, ‘can be used as a leave-in too’, ‘great as a deep treatment’, ‘too much moisture, made my hair limp (says the looser, type 2 curly)’, etc.

-I look for fatty alcohols (Stearyl, Behenyl, Cetearyl, Cetyl, Lauryl, and Myristyl are a few of the popular ones)

-I avoid the drying or short chain alcohols (SD alcohol, SD alcohol 40, Alcohol denat, Propanol, Propyl alcohol and Isopropyl alcohol)

-I avoid proteins

-I avoid mineral oil/paraffin

-In the dryer months, I try to make sure I use products with few, if any humectants. If one of my favs contains humectants, it’s usually not one of the top five ingredients.


  • Anonymous says:

    oh man… I am SO OVERWHELMED. My daughter is 6.5 and has curly hair. not kinky curly, more like banana curls, so I have been told (I have stick straight hair).

    I am looking for something that wont dry her hair out and keep it from frizzing all over the place.

  • Queenofthe4s says:

    Nikki- if you like Behentrimonium Methosulfate, you should try Giovanni's "Smooth as Silk" conditioner.. it is da bomb!! I get a 33oz pump bottle from Marshalls or TJ Max for $13.

    Love all of their conditioners!

  • Thomasine says:

    I see that a lot of people avoid using mineral oil – WHY? I ask because i have found some products by Palmer called Olive Oil Formula Hairdress – – that i love and i noticed that it has mineral oil in it. Is mineral oil just as bad a petroleum?

  • Barbara Naturally Speaking says:

    I read every ingredient in products. I avoid lots of protein as it tends to dry my hair out. Since I first big chopped I've been mainly curly girl, so I move away from "cones". I do use a conditioner with cones when I henna as it serves as a good co-wash prior to henna and I've never had an issue with dryness hair after a henna treatment. I also stay away from petroleum and mineral oils.

  • Anonymous says:

    Thank you for posting on this topic and I still feel like I am figuring it out what truly works for my hair. I definitely thought I would never try Henna or Cassia Obovata, but now I couldn't imagine living without it. On the other hand, I never thought I would give up my Aubrey Organics GPB Treatments, but the lasting effects of Henna has made me kiss my protein treatments good-bye. Now, I am all about wetting / misting my hair everyday, shealoe butter, cassia obovata, and Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose Conditioner.
    If you told me 7 months ago this would be my routine, I would giggled at you and paid you no mind. I still can't believe it, but I am thankful.
    Live, Love, Peace. ~Sweetsop
    P.S. I don't plan to change my routine until it stops working. At this time, I hear this little voice inside that says, "If it isn't broke, don't fix it."

  • Timmik says:

    I avoid mineral oil,and labels with the majority of silicones, and things with lots of oil(like carols daughter hair milk that product just sits on top of my hair too many oils) right now I am searching for the right combo to do twists I need something that when I take twists out they are defined

  • vonnie says:

    I check to make sure that I can actually pronounce and read most of the ingredients. I avoid mineral oil and petroleum, but other than that I look out for product reviews (especially from women with hair like mine) and just go about using things to see what my specific head of hair likes :)

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