Embarking on a healthy hair journey can be a trying process but with the right essential products for natural hair, it can be enjoyable. If I had a nickle for everytime someone asked me what I use in my hair, I’d have… ten cents. Truth is, there is no magic potion or overnight method that can give you healthy hair (and inches, if that’s what you’re aiming for!) If rocking natural hair has taught me anything, it is patience. It is so easy to get caught up in the downward spiral of YouTube tutorials and product hauls that make you buy every product under the sun.
If you’re just starting out with your natural hair regimen or just looking for some guidance, here are three essential products for natural hair. I wholeheartedly believe in keeping it simple and remaining consistent with your routine. This allows you to get into a routine that feels manageable and attainable because let’s be real here – nobody has time to dedicate an entire day (or more) every week to tend to their kinks and coils. The last thing you want to do it get discouraged by overwhelming yourself and trying to adapt a routine that doesn’t fit your lifestyle and align with your hair care goals.
If I’m being honest and speaking from experience, shampoo is the least important product on this list. Hear me out. You don’t need to spend an arm and a leg on a high end shampoo; they all do the same job. Clean. You don’t need to shampoo your hair weekly, I personally alternate between co-washing and shampooing, but I do recommend that you regularly (every other week) use a shampoo to cleanse your scalp and properly remove product build up.
I personally prefer using drugstore shampoos which run me about $2 – $4 a bottle. Garnier Fructis Butter Rich, Cantu Shea Butter Cream Shampoo and Aveeno ACV Blend Shampoo, are three of my favourites. I do take care to ensure that I choose shampoos that are sulfate and paraben-free. Sulfate is known for stripping the hair of its natural oils which breaks down and weakens the hair follicles. Parabens are preservatives that extend the shelf life of shampoos and conditioners. They are known to cause hormone dysfunction, particularly estrogen in women.
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My absolute favorite part of wash day is deep conditioning because I personally believe that this is the most important step. If there is one product I’d encourage every natural to splurge on, this would be it. I promise that you’ll thank me later. If there is anything you take away from this post today, its this part. Think of gardening.
The deep conditioning step would be like applying fertilizer to the soil. This is where the building blocks of growth are implemented. Deep conditioning nourishes and moisturizes your hair, promoting strength and hair growth. Like plants, hair requires moisture and care to grow. Deep conditioning also helps to prevent heat damage that can be caused by styling tools such as blow dryers and straighteners.
I started using deep conditioners more consistently in early 2019 and I’ve since noticed that my curl pattern is more defined and my natural hair has become more manageable. I find myself not re-moisturizing as often during the week, so a few nights a week vs every night.
I find that I get the best results if I sit under a dryer with a shower cap on once I’ve applied my deep conditioner. This allows for maximum absorption into the hair strands. Think of steaming your face with warm water and opening up your pores. This is the heat cap similar to the one I use along with my blow dryer; it’s a cheaper alternative to having a hooded dryer and is travel friendly. I like that it has a strap that goes around the neck to keep it from slipping off.
If you prefer a deep conditioning option that allows you to move around and multitask around the house, this deep conditioning heat cap is really good. You just pop it into the microwave to heat it up!
As a kid, I remember getting my hair washed and the final step before being styled or braided consisted of my hair being lathered with Blue Magic hair grease. To this day, the smell of it brings back so many memories – mostly painful ones. Needless to say, I’ve come a long way from petroleum based greases that don’t moisturize your hair but simply sit on the surface of the hair strands.
Applying a leave-in (conditioner that is formulated to be left in the hair) allows for continuous moisture that will prevent frizz and brittle hair, a recipe for breakage. Your leave-in will act as a barrier for your hair. For a bonus step, apply your favorite hair oil after your leave in to seal the moisture. My holy grail leave-in conditioner is the Garnier Whole Blends Smoothing Leave-in but I equally love the Cantu leave-in conditioning cream.
Incorporating these three essential products into your natural hair routine is a great start to building a regimen and embarking on a healthy natural hair journey that works for you. I’ve broken down a simple hair care routine in this post that will be a great starting point for beginner naturals. Most importantly, listen to your hair. Make note of how it reacts to new products and adjust as needed.