Y’all know I’m a PJ, right? Although I can only use a few products at a time, I do have somewhat of a laundry list of others that I highly recommend. I’ve tried many of the curly lines on the market and most of the products available in stores, but the ones below get my stamp of approval.
Whether you’re transitioning or a natural vet, this list is a great place to start if you’re in the market to build a new regimen. My advice? When trying a new routine, figure out what your hair needs are, choose products designed to address those needs, try the routine for 3 weeks, re-assess and determine if you need to go back to the drawing board. Don’t try too many new things at once, and keep a journal- – documentation is key. Take pictures of your results and record how various product combos work for you.
If you’re starting from scratch, pick a product from each of the categories below (broken down by Brick and Mortar or B&M, versus Web Store). Remember, no two heads are alike, and what works for some will not work for all.
The products that I’m currently using are preceded by ‘***’.
Every natural hair routine needs a good, effective shampoo. You can ‘poo as often as you deem necessary. Divas that use heavier products, stylers and butters may shampoo as often as once a week or prior to every styling session, while the minimalists (folks that use lighter products) shampoo less frequently, opting for conditioner washing in between (using conditioner as shampoo). I shampoo when my hair and scalp feels gunky… usually twice a month.
No matter how often you shampoo, moisture retention should be a top priority. Even with the milder options listed below, pre-poos (moisturizing treatments applied prior to shampoo’ing) or deep treatments (moisturizing treatments applied following shampoo’ing) are essential! For tips on choosing a mild cleansing agent, click HERE.
-Brick & Mortar (B&M) ‘Poos
Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat (Target, Whole Foods, Vitamin Shoppe)
Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle (Trader Joe’s)
***Treader Joe’s Nourish Spa (Trader Joe’s)
-Web Store ‘Poos
Elucence Moisture Benefits Shampoo
I love a good conditioner. I’m always elated to find a multi-purpose one– a conditioner that can be used as a co-wash/detangler, leave-in/styler, and deep treatment. Below you’ll find a list of my favorite B&M and web store conditioners along with a key to share how I use each one.
CW -Co-wash and/or Instant Conditioner
D- Detangle…(most of these aid in detangling, but the ones that get a D are the slipperiest!)
S– Leave in and Style (because it has light to medium hold)
DT– Deep Treat (I add honey and olive oil to the conditioner)
***Herbal Essence Hello Hydration (most drug and grocery stores) —CW, D
Aussie Moist (most drug and grocery stores)– CW, D
Paul Mitchell The Conditioner Generic (Sally’s)– CW, D
***Trader Joe’s Nourish Spa– CW, D
Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle– CW, D
Aubrey Organic’s GPB- DT, D
Matrix Biolage Conditioning Balm (Target, Ulta, the generic version can be purchased at Sally’s)-
-Web Store Conditioners
Elucence — CW, DT
Curl Junkie Curl Assurance Smoothing Conditioner— S, DT
Oyin Honey Hemp Conditioner— CW, DT
Mizani Supreme Oil Conditioner– CW,DT
Living Proof Full Thickening Conditioner– CW, S DT
This is yet another essential in any natural hair care regimen. Curly hair is naturally very dry and deep treatments (applying a moisturizing conditioner with a heat source) help to retain moisture and health, and thus length. For more information on deep conditioners and ingredients to look for, check out THIS POST. Most of the conditioners above can be used as deep treatments as well, just be sure to add honey and oils to the mix.
-B&M Deep Conditioners
Aubrey Organics Honey Suckle Rose (Vitamin Shoppe, Whole Foods)
Aubrey Organics White Camellia (Vitamin Shoppe, Whole Foods)
***Aubrey Organic’s GPB (Vitamin Shoppe, Whole Foods)
Matrix Biolage Conditioning Balm (Target, Ulta, the generic version can be purchased at Sally’s)
Lustrasilk Shea Butter Cholesterol (Sally’s)
-Web Store Deep Conditioners
***Jessicurl Weekly Deep Conditioner
Curl Junkie Rehab Moisturizing Hair Treatment
***Curl Junkie Hibiscus and Banana
Myhoneychild Olive You (very slippery and ultra moisturizing! my fav right now)
This is a less essential step in a natural hair care routine– gels, curl creams and mousse fall in this category. The use of a styler often results in a more controlled, sleeker, less voluminous look. If you like big, fluffy hair, you may want to skip this step, opt for a light hold styling product or find a conditioner that has a little hold. Many of the products listed below are lighter stylers… I heart big hair.
Aloe Vera Gel (health food stores– I like the refrigerated varieties)
Aubrey Organics Mandarin Magic Ginkgo Leaf and Ginseng Root Hair Jelly (Whole Foods)
Jane Carter Wrap and Roll (Target, Whole Foods, Vitamin Shoppe)
***Ouidad Hydrafusion Curl Cream (Sephora)
As I Am Smoothing Gel (Sallys)
-Eco Styler Olive Oil Gel ( I don’t like heavy gels, but lots of naturals love this one!)
-Kinky Curly Curling Custard (Again, I’ve yet to try it, but the
reviews are mostly good. Just be sure to use a light hand and apply to
soaking wet hair)
-Flaxseed Gel- RECIPE
Sealing the hair (especially the ends) is a key step in any natural hair routine. For sealing to be effective, you must first use a water-based moisturizer (a conditioner or cream that has water as its first ingredient), and then seal with a butter or oil. The molecules in most butters/oils are too large to pass into the hair, so they stick to the outside of the shaft, trapping in the rich goodness of the moisturizer.
-B&M Sealants (Look for oils that are cold pressed and unrefined)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (grocery store, health food store)
Unrefined Shea Butter (beauty supply)
***Coconut Oil (health food store)
Vatika Oil (beauty supply, local Indian grocery)
Castor Oil (Walmart)
Jane Carter’s Nourish and Shine (Target, Whole Foods, Vitamin Shoppe)
***Ouidad’s Mongongo Oil (Sephora)