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Curly Nikki

Design Essentials Natural Line

By January 27th, 202130 Comments

Design Essentials Natural Line
Hola Chicas,

I’d love to be able to tell you that this line blew me away. I’ve heard great things about their other products from relaxed divas gone curly, but had no personal experience with them. To be honest, I’m disappointed that nearly every product in the line contains hydrolized wheat protein… the one protein my hair hates the most! I honestly believe that folks who aren’t protein sensitive may have a different experience than the one I share below.

Product Line Description:


Design Essentials Natural Hair Care System is a suite of products infused with a blend of natural butters and oils to maintain and style loose wavy to tightly coiled hair textures. Comprised of nourishing ingredients like Jojoba, Cocoa Butter and Almond Oil, you are sure to produce beautiful, healthy hairstyles that are rich in moisture, high sheen and strong hold for lasting style.

*Formulated with high quality
*Natural Ingredients Provides Excellent Moisture
*Provides Lasting Sheen & Hold
*Controls Frizz
*Appropriate for All Textures

Products I tried:

Natural Curl Cleanser- Similar to curl cleansers I tried in the past- – it goes on rough, has a slight lather and upon rinsing, leaves my hair feeling oily, yet dry. I gave it three chances and sadly I’m not impressed.

Natural Daily Moisturizing Lotion– I love the slippery feel and light, fresh fragrance, but this lotion left me dry, dry, dry. It’s probably the hydrolized wheat protein. For those of you that aren’t sensitive, it has great hold and would probably result in an awesome wet set or wash and go if used alone.

Defining Cream Gel– I used the gel twice- once with the Moisturizing Lotion underneath (as instructed) and once with an oil underneath (no other leave-in in my arsenal played well with this gel). Both times, I received stellar results. Excellent definition… chunky, gorgeous Twist-n-Curls. The problem? It left my hair feeling like straw. No definition in the world is worth that. I’ll have to pass, but as I’ve stated before, for those of you that aren’t protein sensitive, you’ll probably love this! I’m talking gawgeous, chunky sets! Great hold and a delicious vanilla fragrance. It goes on a bit rough… it’s the consistency of a heavy butter or thick lotion (like Eucerin) but really gets the job done. This gel definitely reduces shrinkage, aka stretches the curl.

Design Essentials Natural Line

Curl Stretching Cream– I didn’t use the Cream as instructed… the Daily Moisturizing Lotion left me so dry that I skipped it when trying this one out. I used a different conditioner underneath ( Shea Moisture) which mixed well and left me with no white flakies or gum balls. Like the gel, it goes on thick and rough and at first glance looks as if it’ll never be absorbed by your curls. I was pleasantly surprised by how soft my hair felt after it dried. It was very shiny, soft, moisturized, but unfortunately felt a bit product-y. I’d probably use this again for the times that I plan to bun, but never for an ‘out’ style, it’s a bit too heavy and did nothing for my frizz.

There you have it folks. I’m interested in reading the reviews of those that can tolerate the wheat protein. Stay tuned… I’ll be giving away the entire line in the coming weeks 🙂

Design Essential Buns
Design Essentials Natural LineDesign Essentials Natural Line
Design Essentials Natural Line
Look who I caught smiling at me while snapping pics 🙂
Design Essentials Natural Line

**I received the products from Design Essentials and was not paid for this review**


  • Anonymous says:

    My hairdresser gave me this line of products to try bc she was considering selling it in her shop. (shes not natural) I found the exact same results that u did. She insisted that I must be using the products wrong. Lol really? I would guess after being natural for 18 months and being a college grad reading has never been an issue. The product left me superrrrrrrrr dry. I didn't know why but after reading your review I guess it's bc I'm protein sensitive also. Thanx! LG

  • Unknown says:

    I have been using these products for about a month now and what you described is exactly what is happening to my hair. So I guess I'm protein sensitive as well. I'v been natural for about 6 months, so I'm still new to this. Any suggestions on what I should try next?

  • Anonymous says:

    I was just curious if you noticed any change in your hair after having your daughter. I had my little one 5yrs ago and my hair was so healthy and relaxed . After having my daughter my hair started to thin and fall out. I then decided to go natural 18 months ago. I am not so inlove with my texture and the growth is very slow. I am considering returning to a relaxer. Your thoughts or anyones.

  • always4evamoi says:

    i have been hearing so much about protein sensitivity, and yet, i still don't know how your hair is supposed to feel if it doesn't like protein so i don't know if my hair is protein sensitive or not, or whether certain kinds of proteins work for my hair….anyways, thank you for that review…i was considering that product line…:)

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm reading the blog to hear about Gia as much as about to learn about haircare. Gia is absolutely beautiful. What a precious gift she is!


  • Unknown says:

    My Stylist used this product line on my hair on Sunday. I am hooked. I've been transitioning for about 2 months and was skeptical about "natural hair products". I thought it was a bunch of hype to get me to go broke. Now I can't wait to purchase this line of products. I've never tried Carol's Daugher or Miss Jessie's and I don't plan to.

    (Ty in Texas)

  • Anonymous says:

    Your bun is beautiful, full and shiny and I simply love the up do on top of your head (beautiful definition). But my favorite was to see Baby Gia laughing at her mommy, that is too precious. Thanks for the straight up review on this product. I'll probably put this one on the back burner for now. I'm not sure my hair likes protein.
    Allnatural1 (Michelle in TX)

  • Leo the Yardie Chick says:

    Protein? Darn it!

  • Anonymous says:

    I could care less about the product, look at that grinning baby!

  • Unknown says:

    OMG! Gia is soooo cute! You are about to make me break down and change my mind about having a second child! Lol! Just kidding! My luck, I'd have another boy! (Trust me, one boy is enough. My son is great but whew! He's so active and just plain silly!) Anyway, I'm loving the buns! So shiny. But, your hair is always throwing out beams of light! I was curious about the DE line, but I've been simplifying my regimen drastically. No more product junkyism… for now anyway!

  • Ms. Lisa says:

    Thanks for the review. When I saw "protein" on the ingredients label, I knew this wouldn't work for me. My hair hates protein.

  • HFJ says:

    Gia is so cute, so sweet smile! :]

  • JazBNatural says:

    Baby G is such an attention-stealer! Shes so cute =]

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Nikki,

    I too tried Design Essentials a few days ago. Although all I have to do is rewet my hair, the wash and goes feel like….what you described as Hay when they air dry. At the Salon I sat under the dryer and it was a little softer.

    Well, I won't be using this again…I don't like the sticky goopy (for lack of a better word) feeling of my hair when I rewet it the next day. The looser curls were defined perfectly, but the not so loose curls in the back of my head was a messy, poofy mess.

    Also baby Gia is so beautiful!

  • finomenal1 says:

    Gia is the cutest little doodle! I haven't figured out if I'm protein sensitive yet as i have only been transitioning for a short time. I recently purchased a Giovanni protein treatment pack to test it out to see if it could help my dryness. We'll see. Thanks for the review!

  • Anonymous says:

    So before I "logged" on I said I hope there is a picture of that sweet baby. Lol!

    Anyway, my hair does really nicely with proteins. I don't know if I'll try this though as I am trying to limit my product junkie-ism. Great review though!

  • momo7 says:

    Your hair looks bertifoo az alwayz! Your baby loves you so much! She's admiring you and your hair creations! Aaaaaaawwwwwww

  • Unknown says:

    My beautician gave me the product to try since. I have a short twa-blown out I am channeling Angela Davis. The product wasn't great at first but I attempted a twist out and re wet my hAir applying curl stretcher and Shea moisture curl smoothie. Will see how tomorrow goes.

  • Anonymous says:

    Gia is so freakin cute LOL and I love that bun!

  • Anonymous says:

    OK, I have to admit it………….lately, I am logging on mainly to catch a sneak peek at Baby Gia! I am hopelessly hooked. Sorry!

    But back to the matter at hand…….nice, objective review of the product line. I appreciate the total honesty and unbiased assessment. My hair hates protein as well. I am frantically looking for a non-protein leave-in condish and a styler. My hair type is strikingly similar to CurlyNikki's. Any suggestions?

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the Gia surprise pix. I did not expect it but so enjoyed seeing her.

    My hair loves protein, and I have finally found the products that work for me. I might try this, just because. Is it similar to Aveda Defining Whip?

  • Lori says:

    Gia!!! So cute.

    Oh, this is about the product, right? ;~} I would love to try these as I don't seem to have any reaction to protein. Thanks so much for the review even though you knew/suspected how it might react with your hair. Awesome devotion to your readers to be our hair product guinea pig.

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm not 100% sure if I have a protein issue or not, I've been transitioning for 7 months and over the weekend I did a DC of honey, EVOO and (baby food) bananas and – OMG! My hair was NOT happy, it was like straw and combing was not as easy as normal. Does one of the ingredients have protein in it? I thought I was moisturizing my hair – not!

  • CURLYNIKKI says:

    thanks ladies!!! As far as being protein sensitive, my hair takes on a very hay like, stiff, brittle feeling. It feels like it's on the verge of breaking… even though it's not. However, if I use proteins for too long, my ends split like crazy.

  • Anonymous says:

    my hair seems to love protein. I would so try this, but I've found the product that my hair loves!!

    Great review!! KNH

  • iri9109 says:

    gia is sooo cute…my hair doesnt really like protein so i'll pass

  • Anonymous says:

    Your hair is gorgeous and baby Gia is too adorable. I can feel the love <3

  • Doc says:

    she's so friggin cute

  • Anonymous says:

    How does one know if their hair is protein sensitive? Im new to the natural hair game so please help me I dont need anything else to dry my hair. Its dry enough on its own..

  • Goombagirl says:

    Gia is just looking more delicious as the weeks go by. I'm not a protein fan either so I'll skip this one. Great review!

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