The two shampoos I use are Elasta QP Creme Conditioning Shampoo & DOO GRO Moisturizing Growth Shampoo. Elasta QP is great b/c it’s sulfate-free, dirt cheap (I got this bottle for $2.99) & it cleans your hair without drying it out. If you are a faithful follower of the Curly Girl Method, you’ll probably like this shampoo. However, if you use a lot of synthetic or petroleum-based products, Elasta will not remove all of the product build up. On occasion, I use products containing silicones & other synthetics, so when I need to clarify (every 4-6 weeks), I use DOO GRO shampoo (costs about $5). I’ve been using DOO GRO since my permie days & I have always liked it. CAUTION: DOO GRO contains Sodium Laureth Sulfate. To minimize the drying effects of SLS, I dilute it mine with water (about 5:1 ratio).
V05 Moisture Milk Conditioner ($1) & Suave Almond & Shea Butter Conditioner ($3) are two inexpensive conditioners that I use from time to time, especially for co-washing my hair. They smell awesome!!! Co-washing is simply washing your hair with conditioner instead of shampoo (it’s also part of the curly girl method I referred to earlier). The rationale is that most conditioners contain enough cleansing agents in them to clean the hair & scalp sans the harsh detergents. I do co-wash my hair, but only about once a month. Plain conditioner doesn’t remove enough oil/sebum/product build-up for me to use it solely.
Our hair is made up of about 70% keratin protein. Proteins are responsible for giving hair it’s strength & structure. Chemical processes (such as relaxers & hair dyes) work by breaking down those protein bonds to permanently alter the texture of or deposit color onto our hair. On the molecular level, damaged hair looks like swiss cheese, so protein treatments help you fill those gaps & prevent breakage. Aphogee Two-Step Protein Treatment is an intensive treatment that I only use every 6-8 weeks. It costs about $7 & smells like dinosaur urine, but it really works!!! **NOTE: Follow the instructions on the label, or you will not be pleased with the results** On the week after I use Aphogee there’s almost no hair in my brush/comb, which means it’s staying on my head & I’m a fan of that! 😉 Mane n Tail Deep Moisturizing Conditioner ($5) is a protein-rich conditioner that I use in between protein treatments. I use it like you would any regular conditioner.
Protein can cause your hair to become hard or brittle, but you can counteract that side-effect with a deep conditioning treatment. I deep condition my hair just about every time I wash it; that’s about 2-3 times per month. The two products I’ve been using lately are Pantene Pro V Relaxed & Natural Breakage Defense Deep Conditioning Mask ($6) & my DIY “hair crack”… Pantene DC Mask is the friggin truth!!! It smells amazing, makes detangling a breeze & noticeably softens your hair. The only problem I have is that it is NEVER IN STOCK!!! Walmart, RiteAid, CVS, Winn-Dixie, Target… doesn’t matter where you go, they’re always out. The scarcity thereof either speaks to the popularity of the product, or the meanness of the Pantene people 😐 Yeah! So my hair crack is just an amalgamation of different conditioners & oils… I’ll post my recipe at some future point in time.
After I wash, condition, detangle & towel dry my hair, I divide it into about 6 sections, add product & roll it up (back to front). Because naturally curly hair is particularly dense, it is best to apply all hair products in sections, for controlled & even distribution. These are the styling products I use to achieve my roller set: TRESemme Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Protective Spray ($5), African Pride Leave-In Conditioner ($5) & The Body Shop Macadamia straightening balm ($12). In a spray bottle I combine equal parts water & African-Pride Leave-In. I do this because I prefer soft hold & it can make your hair hard, not to mention sticky, if left undiluted. I apply all three products to each section of hair before rolling it up. Piece-o-cake, no?
These are the oil-based products you apply to your hair during styling to seal in moisture & impart shine. I also use them for (pre-shampoo) hot oil treatments. My favorite oils/butters are Organic Virgin Coconut Oil ($8), Mango-scented Shea Butter (smells so pretty, cost me about $4), Organic Root Stimulator Nature’s Shine Spray ($5) & Africa’s Best Ultimate Herbal Oil ($5). WORD OF CAUTION: apply these products sparingly, cause errbody knows a greasy head is NOT a fabulous one!
Sistas will act a plumb fool about our edges, won’t we?!?! I’m not even gonna lie to you, natural (i.e. un-relaxed) edges prefer to be wild & free… the way God intended, but fortunately for us, the cosmetic powers that be have made all sorts of gels & pomades that can encourage your hairline to “behave” more civilized. How do I use it? I scoop out a small smear of product & rub it across my hairline, then I brush it back & tie it down. I leave it tied for a few mintues while I finish getting ready. When I take it off… VOILA! Slick edges! My favorites are Shea Butter ($4), Oyin Burnt Sugar Pomade ($5+ shipping) & EcoStyler Olive Oil Styling Gel ($4). Motions Shine Enhancing Pomade ($4) is a carry-over from my permie days… It’s BAD for you b/c it has mineral oil & a bunch of other synthetic ingredients in it. But I’m being honest with you & putting it on my list b/c I actually use it & it works *hangs head in shame for leading you astray*… Oh & don’t be like me & buy 16 products that do the same thing, just PICK ONE.
NOW you see why I call myself a product junkie… And these are just my favorites! SMH