I don’t know about you naturals out there, but it took me forever and a day to settle on what I wanted to use to take care of my natural hair. I was reading and watching so many others who recommended a plethora of different products; making me a product junkie just months into my journey. What I now understand that I didn’t then was that my hair isn’t like anyone else’s. It just isn’t. Therefore, I wasn’t going to be using the exact same products as everyone else.
However, in my researching I was able to find what worked for me and even what worked for my mother and younger sister (because I do their hair as well. This list I created isn’t to tell you what to use, nor to say that you need to use these in order to get the growth I’m getting. I’m hoping that in your research you come across this and perhaps find something that will help you as I did. 🙂
Number 1: Water
Don’t scroll past just yet!
I know that it gets annoying to hear that water is important and number 1 and blah, blah, blah. Yes, drinking water is important for your entire body; including your hair. It is extremely important to stay hydrated, and the easiest way to keep track is by checking your urine. It should be a pale yellow to clear.
What I also found out about water and my hair is that it can’t have junk in it. I mean no hard water! I found that in my journey, using distilled water in my spray bottle instead of mere tap water has helped tremendously with problems like product build up. Obviously I’m not about to spend money in bottles and bottles of the stuff to wash my hair (to solve that problem, it’s best to get a water softener), but getting a few to keep on hand for my spray bottle is a must and has done wonders!
Number 2: Apple Cider Vinegar
Women all over the internet raved about ACV, it’s effects, and how cheap this simple product is. I’d always heard about it’s use for your face, but never for hair. I played with tons of ratios of ACV to water and where to fit it into my regimen before finally settling on a 1:3 ratio every 2 weeks or so. This is what works for me, however, ACV is known for improving shine, curl definition, and even restoring the PH balance of your hair. I usually like to do a rinse if I feel I have too much product build up on my scalp; I shampoo, ACV rinse, then condition.
(You can get yours here.)
Number 3: OGX Shampoo and Conditioner
When I first big chopped, I began using Shae Moisture’s first line. The ones with the orange label. It was all the rave among so many naturals, so I thought it would work for me too. Ha, no… It wasn’t truly saturating my strands, and I was having to use the shampoo 3-4 lathers at a time for my hair to get clean. I tried using Carol’s Daughter next, but I wasn’t getting a good lather, and again I wasn’t getting clean after one use. I was hesitant about OGX because I didn’t know how it would do with my natural hair. It was also very expensive where I was from. In Arizona, only the smaller bottles were available for $7 and change/bottle. The large bottles weren’t in stores and OGX didn’t have many products on the shelves. After I moved to Waco, TX, I saw both sizes in a grocery store and to my surprise, the small bottles were just $3 and the larger were around $5. I finally bought OGX Brazilian Keratin Therapy shampoo and conditioner after it was recommended to me by another natural while we were shopping for shampoo, and lemme tell y’all something…
My hair has never felt so alive.
I got a good lather, clean after one use, without my hair feeling stripped! I now have OGX Brazilian Keratin Therapy, Aragon Oil of Morocco, Coconut Curls, Coconut Water, Cherry Blossom Ginseng, Tea Tree Mint, Kukui Oil, Bamboo Fiber, Sea Mineral Moisture, and Vitamin E (both shampoo and conditioner for EACH) sitting under my sink right now.
Number 4: As I Am Leave-in Conditioner
Just like with the rinse out conditioners I had been experimenting with, it was difficult for me to find anything that was truly saturating my hair. I have 4C, thick, coarse hair; I need all the penetration and thickness I could get!
I decided to stop going off of what I was hearing about ingredients and start looking at the thickness of leave-ins instead. I finally settled on As I Am because it was much thicker than anything I’d ever used. I’m very happy with the product, however I see now that some lines have come out with leave-ins that come in containers rather than bottles and have more of a thickness to them… If any of you use these kinds, please let me know which are your favorites; I think I’d like to try some of them some time!
(You can get yours here.)
Number 5: Organic Root Stimulator Hair Mayonnaise
This one is kind of unfair because I didn’t discover it… My mother has been using this on my hair for as long as I can remember. I was relaxed at the time and my mother would give me a touch up about every 4-6 weeks. After washing the relaxer out of my hair, she would apply the hair mayonnaise, cover it with a shower cap, and have me sit under our hooded dryer for 30 minutes before rinsing it out.
What I love about this product is that it’s more of a two in one: deep conditioner and protein treatment. I have never done a specific protein treatment for my hair; I just use ORS hair mayo. Now that I’m natural, my usage of it has increased, as well as how long I let it sit on my hair. I now use it every 10-14 days and let it sit for about an hour. I have never used any other deep conditioner, but you know the saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
(You can get yours here.)
Number 6: Raw Shea Butter
There are tons of lines and companies who try to promote their products by adding shea butter to them for extra moisture and deep penetration. The problem is, it’s only an ingredient shadowed by fragrances, preservatives, oils, and more. My hair was crying for cream or butter, but I couldn’t find anything thick enough to leave my hair alone for more than a day. Not only that, I was wasting tons of money on products that didn’t work for my hair. With no more funds to experiment with and my curls nearly threatening to leave me, I finally decided to make cream myself.
I went straight to Amazon and bought a pound of raw shea butter. Once it came, I chopped some off the block, poured in a bit of oil, and whipped it in the kitchen. Because it’s raw and natural, it can’t get too hot (it will melt) or too cold (it will harden into a brick). My hair is in love with shea butter, and it can hold onto it for 3 days max. I won’t ever be using any other butter or cream for my hair than the one I make.
(You can get yours here. Be careful if ordering from hot climates. This product can melt. I just stick it in the fridge until it hardens and then keep it under the sink in my bathroom.)
Number 7: Olive Oil
Olive oil is a classic go to for natural hair, though I use it for a reason I don’t think most do: I use olive oil for my main carrier oil.
Many people claim that olive oil aids in a huge number of things for our hair, but little research has really been done on it’s effects. What research has been conducted shows that, like coconut oil, it is often used because it can help add moisture to the hair. The main way I get my nutrients in my hair and scalp is actually through essential oils, but because of their potency, it’s recommended that they be used with a carrier oil like olive, coconut, jojoba, and so on. Olive oil has worked best for me, so I always keep a bottle on hand.
Number 8: Coconut Oil
Like I mentioned before, coconut oil is a great carrier oil and helps to add moisture to the hair. I use it for the latter option as well as hot oil treatments before I shampoo. I also find that it works great when I whip it into my shea butter. I think coconut is my favorite because I use it for my body; not just my hair. Moisturizing after I shower, wax, wash and so on, coconut oil stays in my bathroom.
(You can get yours here. Like shea butter, it can melt. Be careful.)
Number 9: Tea Tree Oil
This is one of my most used essential oils, mainly because it helps with itchy scalp. I used to battle this a lot before I was natural and even when I finally finished my transitioning journey. I couldn’t find a product to help for the life of me until I came across a woman who swore by using essential oils. She was the one who recommended tea tree oil. It has a strong, earthy smell, but after being diluted with a bit of olive oil, I find that my scalp is soothed to perfection!
(You can get yours here.)
Number 10: VO5 Conditioner
I may have mentioned this is one of my previous posts, but I have finally achieved a perfect wash-and-go thanks to what I’ve learned watching Anthony Dickey on YouTube. In his routine, he explains that naturally curly hair thrives off conditioner, and when applied for a wash-and-go, should look like a relaxer on your hair.
I don’t know about you, but as a broke college kid, I don’t have much money to spend on conditioner to slather around and make it look like I have a relaxer on my head.
In order to combat this and still get that relaxed look, I opted for a cheap yet moisturizing conditioner: VO5. I don’t have a particular scent that I like, but for less than a dollar/bottle, who really cares…? I use an entire bottle for a wash-and-go, and have been using this conditioner for about a year now for this purpose alone.
What are some of the go to products that any of you use? I’m always trying to learn new things about my hair, other’s hair, and what it takes to take care of it. I’m determined to grow my hair from bra strap length to waist length, and if you have any products that help you, I’m all ears! c: