How to Find Natural Hair Products that Work for You

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How to Find Natural Hair Products that Work for You

Gather around Naturalistas!

What is your natural hair story? Maybe you recently had a big chop where you cut off all your relaxed hair to start your natural hair care journey on a clean slate.

Have you been natural for years but still have no clue what to do with your hair, so you constantly bury it under protective styles, wigs and braids? Maybe you have committed to keeping your natural hair dreadlocks. It could also be that you are considering going natural but want to be sure of what you can expect.

No need to worry. This article will share a comprehensive overview of the curls and kinks of natural hair and the products that are best suited for it.

What is your natural hair type?

The first step towards finding natural hair products that work best for you is identifying your hair type.

Natural hair is classified by numbers based on curl patterns; types 2 (wavy), types 3 (curly), and types 4 (kinky or coily). The subclassifications are based on the diameter of the wave, curl or coil – A being the widest and C being the tightest. Most people are usually a combination of two or three sub-classifications of a hair type.

Type 2A; very close to a straight texture with a slight curl

Type 2B; pretty straight at the roots and form into waves toward the middle of your length

Type 2C; more coarse than other textures in the Type 2 family, characterized by defined waves and ringlets

Type 3A; well-defined curls with a spiral or ringlet shape

Type 3B; springy and voluminous texture with a smaller width compared to Type 3A curls

Type 3C; thicker strands with curls resembling tight corkscrews

Type 4A; small and tight coils that resemble a zigzag pattern. The coils begin at the scalp and continue through to the ends

Type 4B; strands have a ‘Z’ shaped pattern that tends to bend in sharp angles instead of curling.

Type 4C; offers a range of thin to coarse textures with a very tight zigzag pattern. Densely packed strands that are often prone to significant shrinkage with less definition.

What is your hair porosity?

Now that you have been able to recognize your hair type. You need to identify your hair’s porosity.

Your natural hair can either have a high, medium, or low porosity. Hair porosity refers to how well your hair can absorb and hold moisture.

Low porosity hair has a tightly bound cuticle layer with overlapping scales that lay flat. This type of hair is considered healthy. It can get very shiny, especially when it is in a dark color. Low porosity hair repels moisture when you try to wet it and is hard to process since it resists the penetration of chemicals. It takes longer for low porosity hair to get wet when washing.

Medium porosity hair usually requires the least amount of maintenance. The cuticle layer is looser, allowing just the right amount of moisture to enter while preventing too much from escaping. Hair with average/medium porosity tends to hold styles well and can be permed and colored with predictable results. Continuous processing, however, can damage your hair and increase its porosity with time.

High porosity hair can either be an inherent property of hair or damage from chemical processing, poor treatment, or a bad environment. High porosity hair has gaps and holes in the cuticle, leaving too much moisture into your hair and leaving it prone to frizz and tangling in humid weather. Simple acts such as bathing, swimming, and shampooing can create more damage and breakage due to the high amount of moisture highly porous hair can absorb.

What Products do you need?

Shopping for natural hair products can be extremely overwhelming if you go in with no guidance or plan. There is such a plethora of products on the market with varying claims, uses, and price ranges that it may seem almost impossible to wrap your fingers around them all.

The good news is, you do not have to know or try them all to achieve the hair style you wish. Knowing your hair type and porosity helps you cut out about one-third of the products on the market.

1.    Shampoos and Cleansers

What do you want from your shampoo? A deep cleanser that completely detoxifies your hair? A gentle moisturizing cleanser? If you’re going to get rid of the build-up to get your hair squeaky clean, a clarifying shampoo is a way to go. The product label will clearly state that it is a clarifying shampoo. If you are looking for something milder for frequent use, the regular shampoo will do. Some shampoos can also help with detangling hair as well.

When it comes to texture and consistency, preference will be the deciding factor; you get to choose from bar shampoos, cremes, and gels. It is all up to you and what feels good to your hair.

We advise that you start by washing your hair every 7-10 days. With time, you will naturally recognize which timeline works best for you.

Whichever way you choose to go, pay attention to the listed ingredients and make sure you stay away from shampoos with sulfates.

2. Conditioners

Conditioners are not an all in all fix for damaged hair, but they do give a boost of moisture and hydration to your hair strands. They are used after shampooing or cleansing.

Conditioners come in three forms;

  • Deep conditioners (Treatment/ Repair conditioners); penetrate the hair strands and add moisture from the inside out. The product label will usually indicate how long you should leave a deep conditioner in your hair before you can rinse it out.
  • Rinse-out conditioners; these are worked into the hair while wet and then rinsed out. Naturals usually detangle their hair with their fingers or a detangler. In contrast, the hair is coated with conditioner as it gives it more ‘slip.’ Washing your hair with only a rinse-out conditioner in the absence of shampoo is known as co-washing.
  • Leave-in conditioners; are applied after you wash your hair and are usually incorporated into the styling process, as they are not washed out.
  • When choosing your conditioner, do well to avoid products with silicones (names with -cone as suffix).

3. Oils and Butters

After blessing your hair with moisture from your conditioner, you need to seal the moisture in with some oils, butter, or both. Natural oils and butters such as coconut oilcastor oilargan oiljojoba oiltea tree oilalmond oilpeppermint oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, and mango butter are great for locking in moisture after hydrating your hair strands, in addition to their other benefits.

You may use these rich oils and butters in their natural state or products incorporated with other ingredients.

Hair types 2-3 usually do better with lighter products, while type 4 hair takes better with thicker products.

If you have low porosity hair, note that your hair will need moisturizers rich in emollients such as shea butterjojoba oil, coconut oil, and mineral oil. It also benefits from lighter, liquid-based products such as hair milk that will not sit on your hair and leave it oily or greasy.

For medium porosity hair, deep conditioning with protein conditioners will help maintain the hair, but you should avoid including proteins in your daily regimen.

With high porosity hair, it is essential to use leave-in conditionersmoisturizers, and sealers. Layering these products will help your hair hold on to the moisture you are giving it so you can prevent dry hair. Following up with heavy hair butter will help fill the gaps in your damaged cuticles and protect your hair from losing too much moisture.

4. Gels and Stylers

There is a wide variety of gels, custardscremes, and mousses used to define curls and style hair without having to go to the hairstylist. Some gels and styling products may not work well with the other products in your hair and may flake when applied. Before tossing such products out, try switching up the regimen and quantity used. We advise that you keep adjusting and readjusting until you find your perfect fit.

Choosing natural hair products can be a headache. Still, if you approach it systematically and patiently, you will soon have a functional and invaluable collection of products you are loyal to using. When making your choices, always remember to factor in other elements such as; use of fragrances, weather conditions, the health of your hair, allergies, and cost.

You may not get it all together on your first try, but that is what makes the natural hair journey so beautiful. You keep learning and growing as you go along.

References;

1.         Naturally curly, Hair Types. https://www.naturallycurly.com/hair-types

You are a great person 2.         Naturally Curly, Hair Porosity, https://www.naturallycurly.com/texture-typing/hair-porosity

3.         Byrd K. The Ultimate Guide to Finding the Best Natural Hair Products for Your Regimen, https://www.curlcentric.com/natural-hair-products/

4.         L’oreal Paris Hair Textures: Understanding Different Natural and Curly Textures https://www.lorealparisusa.com/beauty-magazine/hair-care/all-hair-types/hair-textures.aspx

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