Starting out in the natural hair game can be very exciting but also overwhelming! This is because building a regimen based off of choosing the right products for your hair can be quite a challenge. While it certainly takes time to fully flesh out your routine, a few helpful tips can guide you along that road a lot easier.
There are tons of natural hair products on the market- some great and some that definitely aren’t worth the time or the money. It’s easy to fall into product junkie-ism when you’re a natural newbie but until you know what your hair responds well to, you may want to refrain from impulse buying.
This is not a “go buy these particular products” post: you’ll have to figure that one out for yourself. But what this post will do is give you the tools to decide what products are worth the investment.
Note: Before you start trying products, it’s always good to make sure your hair is at its healthiest. Otherwise, you probably won’t get the most accurate results. So if you need a fresh trim, get it. And if you’re working your way back to healthier hair, just know that your hair may react differently now than when its at its prime.
1. Do your research.
You’ve heard about widely used natural hair product lines such as SheaMoisture, TGIN, Aunt Jackie’s, Soultanicals, Jane Carter, Camille Rose, Kinky-Curly, Mielle Organics. There are also brands that have made lines for natural hair, (such as Motions Natural Textures). This doesn’t even tip the iceberg when it comes to the natural hair products that are available on the market. When you research these lines, pay close attention to the ingredients, product sizes, and price. Can they be purchased online and/or in store?
You should also decide what products you actually need. Here’s a basic product guide for any natural. I’ve included the products that I’m currently using:
- Moisturizing Shampoo (one that is sulfate-free and that does not strip the hair): SheaMoisture’s Tahitian Noni & Monoi Smooth & Repair Conditioning Shampoo
- Moisturizing Conditioner: Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition Conditioner
- Co-wash: Mielle Organics Detangling Conditioning Cleanser
- Deep conditioner: (Eden Bodyworks Jojoba Monoi All Natural Deep Conditioner or a homemade concoction)
- Protein treatment or Deep Conditioner with Protein (when necessary): Nunaat Naat Brazilian Keratin Deep Conditioner
- Leave-in conditioner: Cantu Shea Butter Moisturizing Curl Activator Cream
- Extras: (oils, stylers)
Check out this awesome guide by Healthy Afro Hair for a more in-depth discussion regarding what hair products you need:
2. Take a walk down the natural hair aisle.
Once you have an idea of the products that seem like a good fit for your hair, take a trip to Wal-Mart, CVS, Walgreens, or Target. These stores have the products you need (and if your city’s anything like my neck of the woods, the prices will be better than your local beauty supply store).
Don’t start grabbing everything off the shelf and throwing it in your buggy! I’ve been natural for five years, so I know what my hair likes and I use products from many different lines. But when you’re just starting out, it’s actually better to choose one product line and give it a chance. That way, you can truly see how your hair responds to the products. The goal is always super moisturized, shiny hair that looks, but most of all, feels good.
3. Start on the low end.
You don’t want to go shelling out the big bucks on the most expensive products you can find just because you’ve “heard good things.” There may be a product that is much cheaper that will yield the same results. Think about it like this: your hair could care less about how much the product costs, so let your tresses do the talking, not your wallet.
If you know anyone who’s natural, ask them what they use. It’s great to get an opinion from someone you know because you can a more personal idea of how the product works for them. Also, you can peruse your favorite naturals via social media. The product lines they vouch for are all wonderful; it’s just about choosing a line that you really like and sticking with it.
Of course, different hair types and textures require different products. But having a general idea of some products that come highly recommended is better than diving out there with no sense of direction.
5. If at first you don’t succeed…
There will be products that your hair hates and loves, but don’t worry: there is a resolution. Keep at it and continue working until you find your “miracle” products. But in the meantime, don’t throw away the shampoos, conditioners, etc. that were a “no.” You can always try product swapping with another natural or altering the product to fit your needs. Any conditioner can be mixed into a deep conditioner concoction or used as a prepoo, and some shampoos can be diluted to make them more suitable for Type 4 hair. Now you’re ready for the big time!