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After almost 18 months of this natural hair journey, I finally figured out my wash day routine and staple natural hair products. When I first transitioned, I studied the Curly Girl Method heavily and wore mostly wash and gos, but now I use some products containing silicones, styling tools, straighten my hair, and wear protective styles. Either way, my fro is growing and curls are popping so clearly I’m doing SOMETHING right. If you’re a new natural with kinky or curly hair and looking for the best staple products for natural hair, here are some affordable suggestions of product staples to add to your hair care regimen.
Hair Growth after a year of using staple natural hair products in my natural hair regimen
Staple Shampoos and CoWashes for Type 4 Hair
I cowash at least once a month with As I Am Coconut Cowash Cleansing Conditioner or Jane Carter Curls to Go Curl Drench Cleansing Co-Wash. As I am cowash literally leaves my 4a natural hair and scalp squeaky clean and helps retain the moisture. Another cowash I use frequently is Eden Bodyworks Coconut Shea CoWash. It is just as affordable and penetrates the hair shaft to improve strength and flexibility. If you wash your hair in sections, a little product goes a long way because it distributes generously through each section. My hair loves coconut and avocado for moisture so I use Marc Anthony Defrizzing Coconut Cream Curls Shampoo. This shampoo is sulfate-free, hydrates, reduces frizz, and adds shine to my 4A hair. My go-to cleansing shampoos are Shea Moisture’s Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Shampoo and African Black Soap and Bamboo Charcoal Deep Cleansing Shampoo. Both shampoos are good for clarifying, removing buildup, and adding moisture.
Staple Natural Hair Conditioners
When it came to finding staple natural hair products, finding a great conditioner was a lot of trial and error. My conditioners generally come in three categories: leave-in conditioner, wash out conditioner, and deep conditioner. Below are my staple natural hair products in those categories.
I love EDEN BodyWorks’ Coconut Shea leave-in, Jane Carter Solution Curls To Go Untangle Me Weightless leave-in, Shea Moisture’s JBCO Reparative Leave-In Conditioner, and Alikay Naturals Lemongrass Leave-in Conditioner. All four leave-ins have a great slip and work well with pretty much any styler used on my 4a natural hair.
Wash Out Conditioners
When I first transitioned, Tresemme Naturals and Paul Mitchell: The Conditioner were my holy grail product staples. In the past couple of months, I switched to using the Marc Anthony Curl Conditioner Coconut Cream, SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Conditioner, or SheaMoisture’s Raw Shea Butter Restorative Conditioner.
When my hair needs a bit more love, I use a deep conditioner for about 15-30 minutes. My favorite deep conditioners for natural hair are Kinky Tresses Avocado Infusion Restorative Conditioner, Eden BodyWorks JojOba Monoi Natural Deep Conditioner, and Shea Moisture SuperFruit Complex 10-in-1 Renewal System Hair Masque.
Natural Hair Oils
I generally use coconut oil as a pre-poo, massaging my scalp with the oil and deep conditioning for 15-20 min with a plastic shower cap. Pre-pooing with coconut oil helps as I rinse and finger detangle after deep conditioning. Coconut oil is able to bind to the natural protein structure of the hair, helping it retain natural moisture and reinforces the hair fibers, making it stronger. I love castor oil and use it as a sealant on my 4a natural hair in the winter months. Castor oil acts as a humectant, absorbing moisture and benefits the hair shaft by locking in moisture. My favorite brand of Castor oil is Caribbean-American ownedTropic Isle Living‘s Jamaican Black Castor Oil. If it is too thick, you can also easily add essential oils like lavender, coconut, or peppermint oils to dilute. You can also use castor oil for holistic purposes.
Hair Butters and Creams
I make my own whipped hair butter with pure unrefined organic Shea Butter, Vitamin E oil, and Jojoba oil. This butter is used for twists, braids, and an aide to dryness and breakage on the ends of my hair. I now purchase hair butters and creams like Marc Anthony Smoothie Cream Coconut and As I Am DoubleButter Cream.
Gels for Natural Hair
The last staple products for natural hair I use are in the gel category. I normally use a gel in my natural hair for wash and go styles or to slick my hair back. My favorite gels are by Eco Styler (usually Krystal) and Aunt Jackie’s Don’t Shrink Flaxseed Elongating Curling Gel.