Below you will find a few things that I believe are pertinent to embarking on a healthy hair journey. Notice that the items have been given general names; due to different hair types and textures I would be doing you a disservice if I simply said this products is all you need. Like you hair, you must learn to be flexible and agile. I don't recommend buying products at cost; link up with a few curlies and swap products, contact companies and ask for samples, check out LolasGreenHair.com and if you're lucky, and persistent, you'll find a good steal at Ebay. Nonetheless, enjoy the experience! Don't become frustrated if a products doesn't do for you what it did for someone else. It's not that the product didn't work, it just doesn't work for your hair! You can't wear shoes that aren't your size!
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Again, welcome to the Natural Hair community!!
A Natural Newbie Survival Kit
Your Natural Hair Starter Kit
Most of these items can be found in your local beauty supply store, grocery store, pharmacy or natural food store. If you cannot find them around town, do a google search and purchase from Amazon or another reputable online retailer.
■Spray Bottle—Your hair needs moisture and that comes from water. Whether you get it wet in the shower or use a spray bottle you should water your hair and scalp daily. Good ol tap will be just fine or you can get fancy and use distilled water.
■Wide-tooth Comb—Essential to any natural hair detangling regimen. There are lots of snazzy tools that can also be used but this is a basic, cheap and widely available. When detangling add conditioner or oil to the hair to provide slip, separate into manageable sections and start combing at the ends working your way toward the roots.
■Color Applicator Bottle—This simple device will be such a God-send for mixing, containing and applying your hair mixes without causing a lot of mess and allowing you to control how it is applied. You can find it at any beauty supply store.
■Elastic Headband—You will want to pull your hair back and the puff is probably the most popular style. Make sure you get the headbands without the metal clasp so that your hair is not snagged.
■Satin Pillowcase or Bonnet—While you are sleeping you need to protect your hair from tangles and breakage that can be caused by friction of the cotton pillow case. Tuck your hair inside a bonnet or pick up a satin pillowcase.
■Microfiber towel or Old T-shirt—A common complaint of naturally curly hair is frizz. Frizz is commonly caused by rubbing or friction especially when done with an ordinary body towel is used to dry the hair. To soak up excess water blot, don’t rub, the hair using a micro fiber towel or an old cotton t-shirt.
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■Sulfate-Free Shampoo—Sulfates are strong cleansers that can often strip or dry-out natural hair which is already prone to dryness. Opt for a sulfate free or low sulfate shampoo to minimize the drying effect.
■Conditioner for Dry or Curly Hair—These products are formulated with additional herbs, extracts and oils to help soothe, moisturize and soften your tresses. Curly and dry hair both have the same basic issues so don’t fall into a marketing ploy. A product designed for Caucasian women with curly hair will also work well for African-American women with dry hair. Your hair will want to drink it up so grab the big family size bottle.
■Deep Conditioner—Natural hair can be prone to dryness and regular deep conditioning treatments will help revive dry, limp, frizzy and/or lifeless hair. Look for deep conditioners that do not contain mineral oil or petroleum. Ingredients like shea, aloe, herbs, natural oils are key things to look for.
■Moisturizer or Leave-In Conditioner— These moisturizers should be water based (water should be the first ingredient) and should not contain mineral oil or petroleum. They are used to add additional lasting moisture and softness to your hair after you have gotten it wet by either washing our spritizing water.
■Aloe Vera Gel—Aloe vera gel is a simple way to add moisture to the hair and help promote curl definition. I do not endorse any brand however I actually use Fruit of the Earth which you can find at Wal-Mart and Lily of the Desert which is in most health food stores. You want to look for an aloe gel that is alcohol free, non-medicated and free from dyes. You can find this in the lotion or sun block section.
■Oil—Oil is used to lubricate the strands and seal in moisture. While the great to oil or not to oil the scalp debate goes on without end, choose for yourself what is best. Make sure you are actually purchasing oil and not silicone. I know that sounds silly but most products found in the hair care section labeled as oils are actually silicone. Go to the grocery section and look in the baking aisle. Choose from Olive, Grapeseed, Safflower which all work well for natural hair and are listed in order of density with Safflower being the lightest.
■Butter—Not actual butter that you eat, but rather shea butter or coconut oil (which is not a butter but is a solid at temps of 70-75˚F or below). These are additional sealants in addition to the oil that can be used to keep your hair moisturized, as a styler and also add shine. Coconut oil can be found at the grocery in the baking aisle. Shea butter can be found at most BSS, African Grocery Stores, or health stores.
■Hair Gel—Opt for an alcohol-free hair gel that will help define the curls, minimize frizz, and lock the style in place. Experiment with different levels of hold and ingredients to find one that is right for you.
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