My natural hair journey started back in the 80’s when I first saw Lisa Bonet wearing her naturally curly hair. I loved her hairstyles but didn’t quite know how to wear mine like hers. There were not many products, if any, on the market for natural hair back then, so I worked with what I had. And what I had was a big jar of Blue Magic hair grease. I wet my hair and applied the entire jar. What I was left with were flat, stringy, and greasy strands, not at all the big volume curls Lisa had.
After years of damaging my hair from hot combing and straightening, I did the big chop in ’96. But it wasn’t until 1999 when I used my first natural hair care product—Mimosa Hair Honey by Carol’s Daughter. The texture was similar to hair grease, but didn’t have mineral oil and petroleum and didn’t weigh my hair down. I used the Hair Honey for a few years until the early 2000’s when a number of natural hair products started to pop up.
Over the years I’ve used many natural hair products on myself as well as my clients. I’m always in awe of the vast array of hair textures and how each product reacts differently because every curl is unique. Here I’ve put together a list of my top 10 products for a variety of natural hair types to add to your regimen.
Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Shampoo
- Ideal for use on treated and heat styled hair
- Clarifies and moisturizes hair
- Jamaican Black Castor Oil promotes growth
DevaCurl No-Poo Decadence
- Ideal for use on wavy and curly hair
- Gently cleanses and doesn’t strip the hair
- Quinoa Protein defines curls
Elucence Moisture Balancing Conditioner
- Ideal for use on extremely dry and coarse hair
- Detangles hair easily
- Squalane restores moisture
Oyin Handmade Honey Hemp Conditioner
- Ideal for use on finer, tighter curls
- Softens curls
- Aloe Vera gel moisturizes and defines curls
Ouidad Curl Recovery Melt Down Extreme Repair Mask
- Ideal for use on dry and damaged hair
- Strengthens hair and leaves it shiny
- Cetearyl Alcohol, a fatty alcohol, acts as a thickener
Eva NYC Therapy Session Hair Mask
- Ideal for use on all hair types
- Nourishes and revitalizes hair
- Keravis Protein increases hair strength
Cantu Shea Butter Leave In
- Ideal for use on coarse hair
- Tames frizz
- Shea Butter repairs split ends
Kinky Curly Knot Today
- Ideal for use on looser curls
- Melts tangles and knots away
- Marshmallow Root adds slip
Kusco-Murphy Lavender Hair Crème
- Ideal for use on children with curly hair
- Sets the curls
- Lavender protects strands
Uncle Funky’s Daughter Super Curl
- Ideal for use on super tight curls
- Clumps curls together
- Coconut oil keeps scalp moisturized
You may have had an experience similar to mine in the past or may even be struggling with what to do with your hair right now. I hope this list helps you find the right products to add to your regimen and care for your hair.
What’s your curly journey? Which products have worked for you? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!
Jessica Sutherland says
Wow so many tips and products. Im terrible at hair up keep, but I think im gonna try a few of these tricks. The thing with my hair is that I have soo much of it, its very thick and im not really sure I treat all of it when I do my hair. What are some things that can get moisture and products to the roots of my hair?
Renée Loiz says
For super thick hair, make 4-6 sections in your hair. Wash and deep condition each section then dry with a micro fiber towel or a t-shirt you don’t use to reduce frizz. Next use a leave in and/or a styling product on each section. This will allow for each section to be focused on and get the same amount of product distributed evenly. Let me know if this works for you!
As someone with very dry and coarse natural hair I was very excited to see this blog post! I can’t wait to incorporate the Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Shampoo and the Elucence conditioner into my wash day routine. I also deep condition my hair every time I wash it so I am going to give the Eva NYC Therapy Session Hair Mask a try because my hair is also very weak and I think it needs more protein. Thank you for the post and I can’t wait to give these products a try! 😀
Renée Loiz says
You’re welcome Emily! I want to hear how these products work for you. After you have washed, deep conditioned, and conditioned your hair, make sure to put in a conditioning styling cream and smooth it in the hair thoroughly. This will keep your curls moisturized all day.
Renee, I absolutely love your list. I have been meaning to try the kinky curly knot to day leave in conditioner, but I haven’t gotten around to it. Thanks for the reminder.
Also, I consistently use Shea Moisture’s Jamaican castor oil shampoo. There is also a castor oil deep conditioner from Shea moisture as well that I adore! I started using this at least once a week and it’s alleviated my breakage problems.
I feel like a Shea Moisture commercial but I also really like their coconut and hibiscus curl enhancing smoothie for when I do twist outs. My hair stays soft and the curls are refined. When touching up on days one and two of a twist out I use Shea Moisture’s castor oil styling creme.
Okay, enough accidental product placement. I want to ask you about this new method I saw on Pinterest. Have you heard of the Max Hydration Method? It uses the kinky curly knot today leave in often. What do you think of that method? I thought about trying it, but there seems to be a big time commitment on the front end of that approach.
Renée Loiz says
Thanks for your comment, Lauren! I have done some research on the Max Hydration Method and while it does seem very time consuming, the results look positive. It requires a lot of dedication and upkeep, so you would have to decide if your schedule allows. If you do try it I would love to hear how it works for you! Please keep me updated.
I had a similar experience with seeing Lisa Bonet’s hair in the 80’s & was clueless as to how to go about making it happen.
I’m planning on buying Kusco-Murphy for my daughter & Shea Moisture shampoo for me, I use the leave in conditioner and like that the scent isn’t overwhelming. Eventually I will try the rest on the list.
Someone needs to make a Birchbox-type subscription for hair products.
Renée Loiz says
I think the Kusco-Murphy will work well for your daughter. A little bit goes a long way with this product. Try spraying her hair with a bit of water so it’s damp and add less than a pea size amount to palms, rub together and run fingers through her hair focusing on the ends. Let me know how it works. Also, there is a service called Curlbox. Similar to Birchbox, but with curly hair products. Hope that helps!
K Reed says
We randomly choose from what the store has(usually depends on how good package looks :p) We use Cantu products a lot, recently found products called “Just for me”(for kids), but doesnt work well for my daughter. I most love “Mixed Chicks”. Everytime I use it, I feel like it makes my daughter’s hair softer. Doesnt need to put too much product and still works great! But I think I still want to go for more healthy, kids friendly product. We are going to try some of the products you posted. Thank you!!
Renée Loiz says
Thank you for your comment. I would love to hear about what new products you try. Please keep me updated.
Thanks for the tips Renee! I have been natural since about 2008 and have tried many hair products. I have found some that I like and some that just didn’t work with my hair. I have tight soft curls that shrink and I’m always looking for ways to grow and lengthen my hair. I currently use the Cantu products which I love! I’ve never tried the Carol’s daughters products but have heard mixed reviews about it. I’m always looking for ways to improve my hair care experience, so thanks for the info.
Renée Loiz says
You’re welcome Isobo!
Have you tried Dark and Lovely’s Naturale products? They are anti-shrinkage and help with elongating the hair. Also massaging plain Jamaican Castor Oil in your scalp helps with growth. I try to massage my scalp nightly and have seen a difference. Let me know if you decide to try those products! I would love to hear if they work for you.