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If I had a nickle for every time 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. I’ve been a victim, so I totally get it.
If you’re starting out your natural hair journey or just looking for some guidance, here are the three products that you need in your regimen. 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. I personally use drugstore shampoos which runs me about $2 – $4 a bottle. Garnier Fructis Butter Rich and the Cantu Shea Butter Cream Shampoo are two of my favorites. I do however 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.
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 early this year and I’ve since noticed that my curl pattern is more defined and my 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. You can buy my favourite deep conditioner here. 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 that I use along with my blow dryer; its a cheaper alternative to having a hooded dryer and is travel friendly!
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 this one but I equally love the Cantu leave-in conditioning cream.
Incorporating these three important things into your hair routine is a great start to building a regimen that works for you. Most importantly, listen to your hair. Make note of how it reacts to new products and adjust as needed.