Hair products are not a new phenomenon in the natural hair world. Before now, a lot of us used to use relaxers, shampoos, conditioners and hair grease as well as styling lotions to maintain our hair. So, it’s not completely foreign. But just like there’s a difference between relaxed and natural hair, there’s also a difference between the type of products that are used for maintenance.
But before then,
What are Natural Hair Products?
Simply put, natural hair products are hair products that have been formulated and manufactured specifically for natural hair. This means that while you can use other kinds of hair products to manage your natural hair (although it is not advisable), natural hair products when used correctly and consistently will give you your desired hair goal of long and healthy hair.
, what is the difference between relaxed and natural hair products?
Relaxed hair products have been manufactured to maintain relaxed hair otherwise known as chemically processed hair. Relaxers are chemicals. This means the products that are made for relaxed hair are filled with specific ingredients to maintain and manage relaxed hair. Often times, these ingredients are not safe and useful for natural hair. In fact, they are sometimes harmful as consistent use can leave your natural hair feeling dry, brittle and prone to breakage. This is why at the beginning of your natural hair journey, you need to sort your relaxed hair product stash and toss anyone that wouldn’t be useful for your natural hair.
On the other hand, just as I mentioned earlier, natural hair products have been produced with your natural hair in mind. This means that you will find a product for every single hair issue you might have from dryness to breakage and itchy scalp. So, as you start your natural hair journey, make up your mind to set aside a budget and invest in natural hair products. Some people might think that they are pricey but I don’t agree because there are products for every budget. I also believe that if you can invest so much on skincare and makeup, your natural hair products should be the least of your worries. It’s all about budgeting and prioritizing.
What kind of products do you need for your natural hair?
This is where it gets really overwhelming because some people don’t know where to start from. But I’m going to break it down to the basics so that you as a beginner can find it handy:
- Shampoo. A shampoo is used to cleanse your natural hair and get rid of dirt and bacteria on your scalp. Your scalp needs to be clean at all times for your hair to grow healthy. Dirty scalp causes all sorts of problems from dandruff to itchy scalp. So, you need to get a sulfate-free shampoo for your natural hair. A sulfate-free shampoo doesn’t contain all the harsh chemicals from your regular relaxed hair shampoo that will strip your natural hair of its natural oils and leave it dry and brittle. A sulfate-free shampoo will cleanse your natural hair gently without drying it out.
- Conditioners: One of the most common problems that naturals face is dry ‘strong’ hair that breaks combs. This is because the hair isn’t used to having moisture and other nutrients so its default state is dry and unmanageable hair. Conditioners are important to help you detangle and replenish all the moisture lost during the cleansing process as well as your day-to-day activities. There are different types of conditioners that you will need for your natural hair:
- Rinse out Conditioner: This is the conditioner that you will use immediately after using a shampoo. This conditioner will help you detangle and moisturize your natural hair. It is also not supposed to be left in your natural hair. It is supposed to be rinsed-out.
- Deep Conditioner: For people that have really dry hair, it is important to use a deep conditioner every week to get soft hair. It’s almost like magic. The right deep conditioner can turn your natural hair from a hot tangled mess to soft and manageable hair which you can comb without any issues.
- Leave-in Conditioner: After rinsing out the shampoo and deep conditioner, your wash day has ended. It is time to moisturize and style. This is where you will need a leave-in conditioner which also doubles as a moisturizer you can use daily. A leave-in conditioner is a light moisturizer that keeps your natural hair soft during the week until the next time you wash your hair. So, instead of pouring water on your hair every day when you’re having your bath, use a leave-in conditioner instead.
- Sealant: After using your leave-in conditioner, you don’t want your natural hair to dry out quickly especially if the weather is very hot. Also, you don’t want to waste too much product, this is where you need a sealant. A sealant can be a natural oil like Castor Oil or a natural butter like Shea Butter. After applying your leave-in conditioner, you apply your Shea Butter to seal and lock in the moisture. This way your natural hair is moisturized throughout the day. Moisturized hair means zero breakage.
- Styler(optional): The beauty of natural hair is the versatility. This means that natural hair can be styled in any shape or form. Sometimes you want that style to last for up to a week, this is where a styler comes in. A styler is a product that keeps your natural hair styler longer.
- Natural Oils. Oils are one of the cheapest things you can use to maintain your natural hair. They are used for pre-shampoo treatments and most importantly as a sealant. Get your hands on one or two oils like Olive, Coconut and Castor Oil and you’re good to go.
These are the basic products you need for your natural hair.
Do I really need multiple conditioners for my natural hair?
You must have noticed that I mentioned three conditioners. That’s because conditioners are the most important products for natural hair. Our natural hair is dry by nature and when it is continuously dry, it will break and look like it’s not growing. This is why we need to do everything possible to ensure that there’s an element of moisture in our hair at all times. From cleansing to conditioning to moisturizing, you need moisture in your natural hair.
Now, you might be wondering, do I absolutely need all three conditioners particularly if I’m on a budget? No, you don’t need all three but you need a minimum of two. So make your choice:
- Either a rinse out conditioner (which can double as a deep conditioner when you add oils to it) + a leave-in conditioner. OR
- A deep conditioner which also doubles as a rinse out conditioner + a leave-in conditioner.
Regardless of what you choose, your leave-in conditioner which you don’t rinse out is absolutely important.
Products are very important to manage your natural hair. There’s no two way about it so the earlier you embrace natural hair products as part of the process of going natural, the better for you.
If you still need help with product selection and recommendations, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.