These are the products, styling tools, and accessories that a naturalista like me absolutely cannot go one day without.
Every naturalista has a must-have stash. You know, those products, accessories, and tools you can't just make it without. Although this list could have easily been 25 or 30 things I can't live without, I took a good hard look at everything I own, and narrowed down the 10 most essential and important things for my natural hair. Enjoy!
I'm a shower washer. I can't stand washing my hair in the sink, I never feel like I can reach the back and middle of my hair effectively, and I can't find a hose extension to fit my faucets. To avoid weekly appointments with a plumber (liquid or live), I invested a whopping $1.50 into this nifty little device to cover my shower drain twice a week when I wash my hair. It catches all my shed hairs, which also helps me keep track of how much hair I'm losing on wash day. A nifty little hack: if your drain is not inverted, just flip the trap upside down and it works just the same.
PHOTO COURTESY OF AMAZON
Ever since this handheld wonder waltzed into my life nearly a year ago, my hair are regimen has been full steam ahead (pun intended). The Q-Redew revolutionized my regimen, especially while I was transitioning. Using it for everything from prepoo and detangling, to blowouts and refreshing, the handheld steamer has been nothing short of amazing. Thanks to my Q-Redew, I don't spend money on refresher products, and my wash and go's are full of multi-day epicness. Need more convincing about the Q-Redew? Click here.
When I got my Curlformers from Hairflair, they were generous enough to send me a Softhood because they were very aware that natural hair takes 82 years to dry and set for a style.
Glory! Although it is huge and designed for use with Curlformers, I've used it for everything from deep conditioning to allowing my satin strip braids to set and dry. While there are others out there, this particular Softhood dryer model has several advantages over those you'd find at places like Sally's. The first major advantage is mobility. Instead of having to sit stationary under a dryer, I am able to move my head about, and even roam as far as my blow dryer cord will allow. The next advantages are in the design itself. It has a drawstring around the head, for snug fit, and a chinstrap. Laugh now, but that chin strap is revolutionary. No flying off the head for me - even at high speed! To see the Softhood in action, click here (about 6 minutes in to the Curlformers tutorial)!
PHOTO COURTESY OF AMAZON
Satin strips are something like a savior for me. Satin strip braid outs were my go-to transitioning style. They were perfect for me to create super-blended texture and style. When done correctly, satin strip braidouts have the awesome ability to make your transitioning tresses look 100% textured and natural! But back to the strips themselves. They are affordable, easy to make, and they can be as thick or as thin as you need them. How? Just grab a square or rectangular satin scarf and cut strips about 1.5 inches thick. I'll be doing an updated 100% natural satin strip braid-out soon, but for now click here to check out my transitioner tutorial version!
My buddy, my buddy, wherever I go, she goes! Seriously. I sleep on a satin pillowcase every night, even when I wear a scarf or bonnet. I take my pillowcase whenever I'm going away for a weekend, or out of town. Available anywhere for ten bucks or less, the pillowcase guarantees that I don't wake up with dry hair or breakage.
PHOTO COURTESY OF AMAZON
6. tgin Moisture Rich Sulfate-Free Shampoo
As a product junkie, it is really hard to narrow down what products are absolute must-haves...because that is subject to change every time I come across a new brand or product offering. But in 2014, I'm trying to change that a little bit. Click here for part 1 of my 2014 must-haves. But of that list, there is one shampoo that I can never, ever, ever, EVER run out of: tgin's Moisture Rich Sulfate Free Shampoo. Hands down, it is my favorite shampoo of ALL TIME. All time. It is super gentle, yet effective at cleansing hair and scalp. It has tons of slip, and will make your hair feel like you don't need a conditioner. Seriously... Get tgin's awesome shampoo here.
My boyfriend thinks I have a problem. I have bobby pins everywhere. At home, the motherload. In my car. In my gym bag. In my purse when I carry one. In my work bag. Sometimes, even in the back pocket of my jeans. I never know when I'll need to pull my hair back, or do an impromptu updo. If you see me in the streets and need a bobby pin, chances are I'll have one for you!
I fell in love with henna before I began my transition to natural hair. I loved it for the gorgeous red tint, but even more for the strength and scalp psoriasis relief I experienced when using it. The only thing I couldn't stand about the henna I was using at the time (Light Mountain brand) was the twigs and leaf bits that would get stuck in my hair, and take days to rinse and shake out. Thanks to a fellow blogger, I was introduced to Jamila Body Art Quality Henna a few short months later. I haven't looked back since. I still do monthly henna treatments. Click here to see how I mix it all together.
I honestly didn't expect to think I would have to always have at least 2 bottles of Curls Rock Amplifier in my life at all times. But I do. Thank you, Ulta. If it had not been for the buy 2, get 1 free sale, I would have never known the goodness of this product for curl definition. I have some favorite curl definers (like Soultanicals Curl Blaze Hair Glaze and tgin Twist and Define Cream), but Curls Rock Amplifier takes the cake as my #1 hands down absolute favorite in this category. Sure, it is expensive (weighing in at $17, 5.07oz), but a wash and go that lasts 6 days is worth it. Good thing I stocked up to last me through another sale.
What? Seriously, Christina? Your curls can't live without Instagram? Well theoretically they can, and my transitioner tresses chugged right along without filtered photos and memes. But in all honesty, my journey to natural hair would not have been the same without it. Instagram has not only allowed me to photographically document my hair journey and what product combinations work for me (as a product junkie, I have a hard time remembering what goes with what), the photo-based social network has been a place of hairspiration, community building, and information sharing. I've gotten the opportunity to connect with some amazing bloggers because of Instagram. I've been able to work with some amazing natural hair small business brands because of Instagram. Heck, the design on my nails is because of Instagram!