My Aunt stopped by my place a few weeks ago wanting to know what to do with her TWA to keep it moisturized. She had transitioned to natural and had about 3″ of hair which she had in some corn rows; however, she was having problems with under-moisturized hair. So ode to all the new naturals who have no idea where to start in terms of the very basics, here’s my list of MUST HAVES for new naturals:
1. Moisturizing Conditioner
Having a good conditioner is one of the most important factors of maintaining soft natural hair. Retaining and maintaining moisture starts with your rinse out conditioner during the wash process . Conditioner does to your hair the same thing fabric softner does to your clothes – softens. Your conditioner should immediately soften your hair on contact. If your current conditioner does not do this then its as good as being useless. Throw that junk out and get your hands on something better!
I bought the Shea Moisture Restorative Conditioner that many naturals swear by but I quickly realized that it did not soften my hair on contact and that my hair was difficult to detangle with it in as it provided no slip whats-so-ever (to my hair). I switched over to the ever faithful V05 brand and the difference was night and day!
Tip: you may add a carrier oil to your conditioner if it is lacking slip.
Remember: your fingers should easily run through your hair when conditioner is applied
- Giovanni Smooth As Silk Deeper Moisture Conditioner (or any conditioner from the Giovanni naturals line)
- Shea Moisture Restorative Conditioner (this works for many naturals; it just didn’t work for me)
- V05 Herbal Escape Moisturizing Conditioner (or most V05 brand conditioners)
- Herbal Essence Hello Hydration Conditioner
- TRESemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner
2. Water-based Leave-In Conditioner
A good leave-in conditioner is just as important as your rinse-out conditioner. Pick a leave-in with water as the first ingredient. Your leave-in is meant to add moisture to your hair so you want one that is more creamy (like a conditioner) as oppose to oily (like an oil moisturizer). I would also skip over the liquid leave-ins as it is my opinion that they do not carry enough weight for kinky hair.
I have had great results mixing up the KimmayTube’s ph-Balanced Leave-In Conditioner which is simply using your store bought leave-in condish but adding a few other ingredients to it to give it an extra boost. It is my go-to leave-in. I love it!
- Giovanni Direct Leave-In Conditioner
- Shea Shea Moisture Restorative Conditioner
- KimmayTube’s ph-Balanced Leave-In Conditioner
You can moisturize the hell out of your hair, but if you’re not locking that moisture in then it will quickly evaporate and you will be left with dry hair despite your efforts. A sealant can be either an oil or a butter. After applying your leave-in conditioner, seal that moisture in by rubbing some oil or butter on your ends. If your hair is thin, try lighter oils like olive or coconut oil. If your hair is thick, you can try a heavier oil like castor oil or a butter like shea butter.
Shea butter is a great sealant but may be too heavy for thinner hair. One way to go around this is to whip your shea butter to make it light and fluffy so that application is easier. Remember, with shea butter, a little goes a long way!
Tip: check out the LOC Method for sealing in moisture
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
- Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (EVCO)
- Castor Oil
- Whipped Shea Butter
4. Styling Product / Pudding
So many of us give up on our natural hair defeated by a lack of moisture retention; but are we really trying any product besides conditioner and grease? I was guilty of this – been there, done it TWICE! I complained that my hair wouldn’t hold moisture but I never stopped to purchase anything to assist this. I expected my leave-in conditioner to take care of the problem on its own.
A pudding styling product works to moisturize your tresses and to also help it retain moisture.It gives your hair body, adds definition, helps control frizz etc. The day I discovered the Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie, my life changed! This product worked to help my hair retain moisture and remain soft. It is my top MUST HAVE product for me personally.
- Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie
5. Deep Conditioner
Deep conditioners are vital in natural hair care, especially naturals who struggle with moisture retention. Deep conditioners penetrates the hair shaft to a greater extent than your regular conditioner and should work harder to help moisturize your tresses. Some naturals deep condition after every shampoo, some bi-weekly. Choose what works best for your hair.
You can purchase a deep conditioner or you can have fun doing a DIY with what you already have in your fridge/cupboards. My favorite DIY is the Banana & Coconut Milk Deep Conditioner. This recipe is the bomb.com! But there are many easy recipes available online.
Tip: adding coconut milk to your store bought deep conditioner has helped my hair stay soft.
Tip: Freeze left over coconut milk in an ice tray and defrost as needed.
- Motions Naturally You Deep Conditioning Masque
- DIY: Banana & Coconut Milk Deep Conditioner
6. (Daily) Hair Moisturizing Spritz
When natural hair dries out, you need to add back moisture to it. The best moisturizer is simple H2O – water. Some hair types requires moisture daily, some every few days while others can moisturize once a week. Whatever your hair type, it is great to have a moisturizing spritz on hand for when the need arises.
I have always made my own DIY spritz and it is so easy! Some naturals will mix water with some oil and voila! While others will add a few extra ingredients for added benefit. Here is my DIY: Daily Hair Moisture Mist recipe. You can add or take away ingredients as you see fit! Just get a spray bottle and have fun!
- DIY: Daily Hair Moisture Mist
- Taliah Waajid Protective Mist Bodifier
So, to sum it all up, as a new natural all you need to start your journey off to healthy and moisturized hair are 5 to 6 products. Do not feel overwhelmed when you see other naturals using 101 products in their hair. Do not let that discourage or defeat you. Start simple and experiment as you go along.
Natural hair can be exhilarating; but not if it you let it burden you. WEAR your hair. Do not let it wear you! If ever you begin to feel overwhelmed, stop – take a step back (away from Google, YouTube etc) and just breathe *-*
Most of all, ENJOY THE JOURNEY and fully embrace your natural tresses no matter what texture you were blessed with 🙂 And take lots of photos! When you feel like your hair isn’t growing, do a comparison photo collage. That is the best hair boost you can give yourself 🙂
Peace and love curlies xo
PS – if you have recommendations for the above lists then please feel free to share in the comments section and I may update the list as I go. Thanks xx
To see my full list of hair products that I have accumulated over the past year, go here.