A complete list of all the products that work great with your hair.

Y'all know I'm a PJ, right? Although I can only use a few products at a time, I do have somewhat of a laundry list of others that I highly recommend. I've tried many of the natural lines on the market and most of the products available in stores, but the ones below get my stamp of approval.

Whether you're transitioning or a natural vet, this list is a great place to start if you're in the market to build a new regimen. My advice? When trying a new routine, figure out what your hair needs are, choose products designed to address those needs, try the routine for 3 weeks, re-assess and determine if you need to go back to the drawing board. Don't try too many new things at once, and keep a journal—documentation is key. Take pictures of your results and record how various product combos work for you.

If you're starting from scratch, pick a product from each of the categories below (broken down by Brick and Mortar or B&M, versus Web Store). Remember, no two heads are alike, and what works for some will not work for all.

SHAMPOOS

Every natural hair routine needs a good, effective shampoo. You can 'poo as often as you deem necessary. Divas who use heavier products, stylers and butters may shampoo as often as once a week or prior to every styling session, while the minimalists (folks who use lighter products) may shampoo once a month or bi-weekly. I shampoo when my hair feels gunky . . . usually twice a month.

No matter how often you shampoo, moisture retention should be a top priority. Even with the milder options listed below, pre-poos (moisturizing treatments applied prior to shampooing) or deep treatments (moisturizing treatments applied following shampooing) are essential!

Brick & Mortar (B&M) 'Poos

  • Giovanni 50/50 (Target, Whole Foods, Vitamin Shoppe)
  • Giovanni Tea Tree Triple Treat (Target, Whole Foods, Vitamin Shoppe)
  • Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle

Web Store 'Poos

CONDITIONERS

I love a good conditioner. I'm always elated to find a multi-purpose one—a conditioner that can be used as a co-wash/detangler, leave-in/styler, and deep treatment. I gravitate toward highly moisturizing products, so know that most of the conditioners mentioned are not protein based.

Below you'll find a list of my favorite B&M and web store conditioners along with a key to share how I use each one.

Key:

CW -Co-wash
S- Style (because it has light to medium hold)
DT- Deep Treat (I add honey and olive oil to the conditioner)

B&M Conditioners

  • Yes to Carrots (Walgreens, Target)-- CW, S, DT
  • Yes to Cucumbers (Walgreens, Target)-- CW, S, DT
  • Garnier Fructis Sleek and Shine (most drug and grocery stores)—S
  • Garnier Fructis Triple Nutrition (most drug and grocery stores)—S
  • Tresemme Naturals (most drug and grocery stores)—CW
  • Aussie Moist (most drug and grocery stores)-- CW, S, DT
  • Paul Mitchell The Conditioner Generic (Sally's)-- CW, S
  • Trader Joe's Nourish Spa-- CW, S, DT
  • Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle-- CW, S, DT

Web Store Conditioners

DEEP CONDITIONERS

This is yet another essential in any natural hair care regimen. Curly hair is naturally very dry and deep treatments (applying a moisturizing conditioner with a heat source) help to retain moisture and health and thus length. For more information on deep conditioners and ingredients to look for, check out this post. Most of the conditioners above can be used as deep treatments as well, just be sure to add honey and oils to the mix.

B&M Deep Conditioners

  • Aubrey Organics Honey Suckle Rose (Vitamin Shoppe, Whole Foods)
  • Aubrey Organics White Camellia (Vitamin Shoppe, Whole Foods)
  • Matrix Biolage Conditioning Balm (Target, Ulta, the generic version can be purchased at Sally's)
  • Lustrasilk Shea Butter Cholesterol (Sally's)

Web Store Deep Conditioners

STYLERS

This is a less essential step in a natural hair care routine-- gels, curl creams and mousse fall in this category. The use of a styler often results in a more controlled, sleeker, less voluminous look. If you like big, fluffy hair, you may want to skip this step, opt for a light hold styling product or find a conditioner that has a little hold. Many of the products listed below are lighter stylers... I heart big hair.

B&M Stylers

  • Garnier Fructis Cream Gel (most drug and grocery stores)
  • Aveda Light Elements Defining Whip
  • Aloe Vera Gel (health food stores-- I like the refrigerated varieties)
  • **Eco Styler Olive Oil Gel (I've never used this as I don't like heavy gels, but I hear nothing but good things!)
  • **Kinky Curly Curling Custard (Again, I've yet to try it, but the reviews are mostly good. Just be sure to use a light hand and apply to soaking wet hair)

Web Store Stylers

SEALANTS/OILS

Sealing the hair (especially the ends) is a key step in any natural hair routine. For sealing to be effective, you must first use a water-based moisturizer (a conditioner or cream that has water as its first ingredient), and then seal with a butter or oil. The molecules in most butters/oils are too large to pass into the hair, so they stick to the outside of the shaft, trapping in the rich goodness of the moisturizer. Reversing those two steps will lead to dry hair. Sealing has saved my hair. Did I mention, they add shine too!

B&M Sealants (Look for oils that are cold pressed, cold pressed and unrefined)

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (grocery store, health food store)
  • Unrefined Shea Butter (beauty supply)
  • Coconut Oil (health food store)
  • Vatika Oil (beauty supply, local Indian grocery)
  • Castor Oil (Walmart)

**Glossers-- I'm loving cone based glossers right now. I'm using one by Phillip B., but many of them have very similar ingredients. Paul Mitchell's Skinny Serum comes highly recommended from many CN readers. Use them as a second day refresher to add shine and control frizz.

Web Store Sealants

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