If you have highly textured hair, then it goes without saying that you are no stranger to hair products. You probably have products for every type of season, occasion, and mood. Us naturals absolutely love trying new products that have promised to make our curls P O P or our strands stronger. While shopping for new products can be exciting, there is also a dark side of product shopping that is rarely acknowledged – the fact that it is almost impossible to read a review or watch an ad and have even a sliver of an idea of how that product will actually work on our hair. Let’s face it – our hair textures vary enormously. So what works for some naturals won’t work on others. Hair product shopping is a game of trial and error that can sometimes turn into a nightmare. You know what I’m talking about. Remember that fancy, new, leave-in that worked magic on your natural hair vlogging idol but left you looking like you just got electrocuted? What about the shampoo that your sister wouldn’t stop raving about that left your hair feeling completely stripped of any and all moisture that ever existed on your head? This is how we end up with a dust-collecting basket (or Monkey-shaped backpack) full of hair products that only get used when the ducks fly home. Well, it finally feels like the spring we were promised on March 20th. What better time to clean some of those unwanted products out of your basket? P R E S S E D Blog is here to help you determine which products you do and don’t need to properly care for a straight natural hair style.
1. Cleansing Shampoo
Throughout the day, dead skin, hair, sweat, and dirt, build up on your scalp around your roots creating that stiff itchy feeling we get after a week of not washing. It’s often difficult to really remove all that buildup with your basic drugstore shampoo, so it’s a good idea to invest in a good clarifying shampoo. While there are a lot of opinions out there from naturals that discourage frequent shampoo use because of its reputation for stripping natural hair of its oils, the reality is, that properly cleansing your hair is not only a crucial step to giving your hair that next-level-fierce movement, but it is also a crucial step to keeping your hair healthy. As long as your shampoo is sulfate and paraben free, and you follow your cleanse with a good conditioning, your hair will thank you.
Bonus tip: if you have an itchy scalp, adding a bit of tea tree oil to your shampoo will calm an itchy scalp while removing all the buildup.
2. Deep Conditioner
If you are heat treating regularly it’s insanely important that you deep condition. Straight naturals go longer between washes than our curly natural sisters, so by the time we get under the water our hair is B E G G I N G for some moisture. There are tons of products out there that market themselves as “moisturizing” or “hydrating”. If you stop at the label, you’re bound to get got! To ensure a soft and moisturized head, you have to go beyond the labels and take a look at the ingredients. Stick to conditioners that have fatty alcohols like cetyl, stearyl, and cetearyl.
If you are deep conditioning at home, best practice is to section your hair and coat each section thoroughly with your conditioner. Throw a shower cap over your head for the duration of your hot shower to hold in the heat. Heat helps the deep conditioner penetrate the hair shaft so you can reap all the benefits and give your hair the moisture it needs to shine through the next week or more.
3. Heat Protectant
While straightening natural hair is not inherently damaging, it’ll cause serious havoc if done incorrectly. Using a good heat protectant is just as important as conditioning when it comes to reducing damage. That’s right, a good heat protectant. Not all heat protectants are created equally. When choosing a heat protectant, look for the temperatures that it protects. Because of the nature of our hair, we use tools that sometimes reach up to 450 degrees! Make sure that your heat protectant is 450 degrees safe.
While this list doesn’t give you the secret formula of ingredients for beautiful hair, it should give you guidance about which products no longer deserve a place in your product basket. Happy Spring cleaning!