This list is for anyone who:

  • Spent their childhood in pigtails finished with butterfly clips that flopped in the air as you skipped double dutch or attempted to bounce on a pogo stick;
  • Spent their adolescence playing MASH at the lunch table and listening to the Spice Girls on a CD player;
  • Watched Living Single on Thursdays nights and took trips to Blockbuster with their boo on the weekends;
  • The sulphuric yet nostalgic smell of a relaxer now makes you want to vomit;
  • Or, you just enjoy a good pre-1998 listicle.

From religiously watching Love and Basketball to AIM messaging your middle school crush on the low after school, a lot has happened since the late 90s. To celebrate NaturallyCurly's 20th Anniversary, here is a list of some of the most memorable hair products from before NaturallyCurly arrived on the scene in 1998.

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1. Blue Magic Conditioner

First up on the list is Blue Magic Conditioner. Anyone else share the experience of sitting in between your mom’s or aunties’ legs in the kitchen, getting your hair done, and having them finish it off with plenty of good ol’ Blue Magic? For whatever reason (let’s blame Eurocentric beauty standards) a shiny, not a hair out of place look used to be everything I desired, but I am happy that I’ve moved on #freethefrizz

2. Motions Shampoo

This yellow and purple bottle brings back scents of fruity body spray that transport us right back to the hair salon. From their relaxer and wash to their conditioner and oil sheen spray, Motions is the brand we all remember using to make our hair moisturized, slicked back and shiny as my forehead in the Texas heat.

3. Butterfly hair clips

Potentially my favorite on this list. Who else used to match their clips to their outfits? From clipping my bangs to the side, twisting my hair back or just dangling the clips at the bottom of my pig tails, these clips were the perfect addition to my ringlet curls as a kid.

4. Mane 'n Tail

The shampoo and conditioner made for horses, that for some reason took the hair care market by storm. Specifically made to promote growth and achieve longer, luxurious, fuller and thicker hair, it’s no surprise everyone had a bottle of Mane 'n Tail in the shower.

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5. Ampro Black Gel

I’ve never been a big fan of gel, but I do remember using this gel to slick back my baby hairs or smooth my hair back into a curly bun. I also remember those flaky leftovers the gel left in my hair though... gel formulas have come a long way since 1998!

6. L’Oreal Kids Swim Shampoo

Everyone I’ve spoken to while preparing this article let out the most nostalgic smile when I mentioned this fish-shaped no-sting shampoo. And the no-tears formula (as demonstrated by the kid in the commercial that literally smeared the soapy mixture all over their face) wasn’t even the best part. It also smelled like a popsicle, meaning it was basically every kid's dream shampoo.

7. Luster's Pink Oil Moisturizer

Dry hair? Frizzy hair? Breakage? Pink Lotion was the fix-all for every hair problem growing up. It was the kind of product you knew would be at your auntie's house, your grandma's house, and your best friend's house if you ever needed a little pick me up of moisture.

8. Sta Sof Fro Hair & Scalp Spray

This was the go-to wash-day product for coilies in the 90s. It didn’t matter how big or small the fro, this soft sheen promised to take dry hair to a moisture wonderland with a few sprays.

9. Liv Creme Hairdressing and Conditioner

You can still buy this old-school product at Sally’s, just be careful and make sure to rub this white creme all the way in because it has a habit of hanging around your hairline!

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10. Just for Me Hair Relaxer

“I want style, body and shine. A look that’s totally all mine. Hair so soft, silky and free. I want something just for me. Just for meeee!”

Anyone else still know the beat of this song?? Glad we learned we can have style, body, and shine without harmful chemicals and by being all natural. 

11. Isoplus Oil Sheen Spray

Is it just me or did every product before NaturallyCurly contain enough oil to fill an axel truck? It seemed like every brand had a version of an aerosol oil can.

12. Alternatives by SoftSheen Carson

A small rub of this stuff on the top of your head would send those frisky hairs right back where they belong. When we look back on it, I think these products were much less about actual moisture and more about that shiny look we all wanted.


13. Con Air Hot Sticks Flexible Hair Rollers

These squishy, slow-heating pink and blue tubes were all the rave to get the best waves. Who needs a perm??

14. Sun In Spray-In Hair Lightener

A beach bag was not complete without a bit of Sun In to “naturally” lighten your hair in the summer.

15. Barrettes

Who needs rubber bands? Barrettes, the more practical but less extra big sister to butterfly clips were a staple in every curly girl's hair accessory drawer (you all know the madness of this drawer in the bathroom cabinets).

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16. Dax Pomade

You know we couldn’t finish off this list without another pomade that slicked down your hair so tight that those edges couldn’t move even if you were in a hurricane. Dax was filled with nutrient-rich ingredients like vegetable oils, castor oil, bergamot, and lanolin, so even though it had those edges laid, it also kept them moisturized.

17. Crimping Iron

While crimped hair is apparently trying to make a comeback in some fashion circles, the trend was originally born in the 80s. Thankfully, the trend passed by the time I was old enough to use heat styling tools.

18. Fantasia Frizz buster serum

Our intern Selome reminded me of this product and as soon as she described it I knew exactly what she was talking about. This was the baby hair frizz extinguisher!

19. Suave

These sleek bottles and affordable prices made this brand a must in every curly home. Their conditioners and shampoos have stayed a curly girl drugstore favorite - and you seriously cannot beat the price.

20. S curl

This brand was created by Luster and mostly used by men to create the perfect waves and slicked back looks. Any man with this in his home definitely cared about his do.


What throwback products did we miss? Weigh in down below!