Ive been meaning to do this post for a while. Sorry for the delay!!
So as some of you may know I have been natural for officially 9 months *bbm dancing face* and it has been a struggle but also a blessing to learn what products have benefited my hair and what hasn’t. During these 9 months I’ve have made a conscious decision to only use natural products in my hair as these have promoted my hair health greatly since I removed artificial ingredients from my regime (future post on its way :s Soz).
Now i’m not saying that artificial products are bad for your hair (some can be quite good) but this has just become my personal preference.
So lets start at the very beginning!!!
After I chopped off my relaxed ends (I transitioned for 8 months) I tried to find advice on a regime that would help moisturize my hair (it’s extremely dry). After looking at a few blogs I found one that I thought would work for me. The majority of the products were artificial and were easy to get hold of at the local afro store and Boots. So this is what I used for 3 months or so:
I used this shampoo on the premise that because it was for coloured hair it wouldn’t dry out my hair (colouring hair dries out the hair making it brittle) and would help retain moisture. For a while it worked really well, but as I continued to do my research and notice the drying effects it was having on my sister’s hair I stopped using it. Unfortunately for my sister, it helped in the breakage of her hair (along with other factors).
Right so I cant really fault this product, apart from the fact that it is man made. It works a dream and still does (used it again for the first time in a long while, i hennaed my hair, for which a post will fellow in due course). This product left my hair so (with a few extra ooooooo’s) soft and light, it felt like a dream. So far its been the one of the best de-tangling conditioner I’ve used to date. I would recommend this product if you suffer from dry hair and you want a purse friendly, easily accessible conditioner.
Now for all the sista’s saying, “hold up but they are “white people” products!”, the myths that they are bad for our hair is not true. In fact from my experience (pre and post natural) they are far better than the products that are catered to us by the black hair industry. So don’t be afraid to try products out of your comfort zone.
Now this product also worked well in my hair, except I found it to make my hair feel greasy and heavy. Now as we all know, we have been taught that the more greasy our hair the more moisturized it is. However as I have learnt, grease is not the best. With this product, though it didn’t contain the common nasties (to my knowledge) and is a water based cream. It just sat on my hair and absorbed at a snail’s pace, especially when my hair was wet. So it wasn’t a practical solution for me, especially if I was doing a wash’n’go, get out quick hairstyle.
Whilst using this product I also made a spritz using vegetable glycerin and water. This was for moisture, but once again too heavy for my hair.
Whilst I was braiding my hair a few of the braids come out at the root, leaving me with bald patches. I read that Castor Oil was amazing at repairing damaged roots. Going on the premise that this worked, I invested in a bottle.
This stuff really works. I used it for a few weeks and I noticed that my temples were looking fuller and healthier. So if you are suffering from breakage from braids or just generally over worked hair, invest in a bottle. you can get it from any good afro hair store.
This is one of my staples that has not changed from my regime since I’ve been natural. I still use it today. This bad boy of an oil is my be all and end all!!! Many naturals have this as a staple in their product collection. And im going to explain why!
Coconut oil has many uses. It can be used in the hair as well a great moisturizer for the skin. I use it as a pre-shampoo (pre-poo) and pre-condition wash (pre-co-wash) treatment. I use it as part of my moisturizering regime and it is also in many of the natural products I use (which you will meet in a short while).
The reason this oil is so effective and so popular is because it is possibly one of the only oils that can directly be absorbed into the hair shaft, therefore feeding the hair the nutrients that it needs to remain strong and healthY.
I will stress again I CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT THIS PRODUCT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
At this time, after using these products for a while I decide to get the help from fellow naturals at The Natural Lounge Facebook group and I ask them about natural hydrating products I could get hold of at a reasonable price. One member suggested I try the Naked Shine range. I tried the conditioner first.
Now just like the Herbal Essences, this worked like a dream and it was reasonably price (about £4 from Boots), didn’t contain all the nasties (SLS’s, Parabens or silicones) and is 97% natural (the 3% are preservatives to prevent the natural ingredients going bad). To top it off, it was rich so I didn’t have to use much. It makes detangling effortless and leaves your hair soft, managable and smells amazing. I still use this every so often, and I use it in my sister’s hair also.
As the conditioner worked so well in my hair, I thought the shampoo would as well.
However this was not meant to be. now I only shampoo my hair once a month, and co-wash every week. So when this dried out my hair, I was not impressed. This started my search for an all natural shampoo, and all natural regime.
So now to the present day these are the products that I use.
As you may know I went to The Natural Lounge’s (in association with Naptural Roots Magazine, based in the USA) Naturally Fabulous event a few weeks back (read my review here). Before I went, I read up on some of the stall holders, exhibiting their goods. I came across I love Afro (check out the Resources page for product info), a UK company that specializes natural afro hair and skin care products. They intrigued me, mainly because their products were so reasonably priced (price is important to me as I dont earn alot of money and I’m also a student, and natural hair care can be expensive, only if you let it!) and the ingredients it contained were those my hair appreciates. As well as supplying reasonably priced products, the website was really informative, down to telling you how to apply the product before you even choose to buy it.
Well I decided to talk to the creator of I Love Afro, a lovely lady called Sasha (I hope she doesn’t mind me using her name :s) and seek her advice. I told her I was looking for a shampoo that wouldn’t make my hair dry. She expalined to me how the I Love Afro Wash ‘n’ Go shampoo worked. It doesnt foam (as artificial ingredients are needed to make shampoo foam) but it cleans your hair without stripping it and also provides some of the nutrients it needs to stay soft and healthy. She recommended I try the Cleansing and Moisturizing Essentials Pack. This pack incldes the Wash ‘n’ Go shampoo.
Now almost a month later, these products are now a solid staple in my regime (I’m due to make my next order in the next few weeks). They have really promoted my growth (I’ve retained a quite a bit of length) and the Shea Moisture Lotion melts into my hair like chocolate on a tounge!!! I will not be going back to any other products! Also the Shea Moisture Lotion works wonders on the skin too.
Also the lovely Sasha gave me a nice tip. To maintain moisture in your hair during the day, make up a moisturizing spritz, which is water based. I use aloe vera juice (with honey) and a drop of almond oil (any oil will do, as its for sealing purposes). This is my spritz.
If you are new to mixing or don’t know what would be good for your hair, purchase the Moisture Mist to start you off.
Now my hair is a sucker for moisture so I had to also find a leave-in conditioner to work with my Shea Moisture lotion. So this comes in the form of Mmm…Hair Moisturiser conditioner.
I purchased a trial size at Naturally Fabulous and this small bottle has lasted me for a hot minute! You can either leave in or was out. My hair absorbs this like its water. It’s not sticky and leaves no residue (check out the Resources page for product info).
Lastly but by no means least, my sealant:
Pretty Curls Coconut Souffle gives my hair the ultimate softness! It helps greatly in styling my hair and maintaining its manageability. It smell amazing in the hair and last all day (and if in a protective style it will last the duration of that style). The consistency of the product is like a light fluffy moose with just melts into the hair with ease.
I purchased this product based on the review of Angel Smith, the founder of The Natural Lounge and I was not disappointed. My first tub (100ml) lasted me about 3 months (its very rich so you can use it sparingly) and I also purchased the Tropical Twist butter which I used on my skin.
I found out that the Pretty Curls team were also going to be at the event so I planned to stock up whilst I was there. I even asked them to bring along my favorite butter on facebook. On the day I asked for the Coconut Souffle and they remembered my name and thanked me for my custom. I’m a sucker for great customer service!
So thats my product history from the start of my journey to the present day. I shall not be changing my products in a hurry but I will definitely be trying some new products for styling.
If you are interested in any of the products I’ve mentioned, go to the Resources page for more info. If you use any of the products please comment and let me know how you get on!