By far, the most common question I am asked — both in-person and online — is, “What products do you use in your hair?” And I’m never quite sure what to say in just a few sentences. What may work in one person’s hair may not work in another’s. Furthermore, even if our hair was exactly alike, we each have our own lifestyles and preferences. So with the holiday shopping season quickly approaching, I thought this would be the perfect time to provide some advice on finding the right products for your natural hair. (By the way, we’ll be sharing tons of Black Friday Deals here on Natural Hair Rules!!!)
Know Your Hair Type
Knowing your hair type is always a good place to start. And I’m not simply talking about the Andre Walker Typing System (3C, 4A, 4B) since it is mostly about aesthetics. I’m referring to porosity, hair texture ( fine, normal, coarse), and density (high,medium, low). You can read in more detail about these three topics here.
The porosity of your hair explains how your hair retains moisture and will play a major role in the products you select for your hair. Hair texture determines your hair’s sensitivity to heat and chemical processes. For example, fine hair should be straightened on lower heats and keeps chemicals applied for shorter periods of time. Also, if you have finer hair, heavy products can weigh your hair down.
Density refers to the number of strands on your head. Hair with high density has a lot of hair strands. It is important not to confuse hair texture and density — which often occurs. People often say that a person has thick (coarse) hair, when they are actually referring to hair density.
You can have 4C hair with fine hair, low density, and high porosity. Or you can have 3C hair with coarse hair, high density, and low porosity. That’s why it is important to step beyond the Andre Walker System to truly understand your hair’s needs. Read more on Understanding Hair Typing.
Take Inventory of Your Products
Before you go shopping for new products, take inventory of your current products. Categorize your products into three categories: love, like, hate. For the products you love, take some time to figure out what attributes you love. For the products you like, what characteristics do you like? What would make the products better? For the products you hate, determine what you hate — then throw them out or donate them to a women’s shelter.
Once you have taken inventory, make note of those product attributes as you shop for new products. Pay attention to the texture, thickness, and consistency of the product. What about the results? Does it leave a waxy residue? Does your hair feel soft? These are all things to consider.
Pay Attention to the First Five Ingredients
The first five ingredients, indicate the active ingredients of a product. (For moisturizers, one of the top ingredients should be water.) When you conduct an inventory of your products, take a look at the first five ingredients, then when you go out shopping, look for those ingredients. Does your hair love shea butter? (If you answered yes, then Sheamoisture are the products for you. If your hair love coconut Eden BodyWorks is the best.) Look for that in the first five ingredients. Did that product you hated have cones (silicones)? Look for that too. Be an informed consumer.
Too often, naturals look for the magic product. But unfortunately, there is no one size fits all product that works for everyone. It’s going to take some time and patience to figure out what works best for you. But these tips are a good place to start.
What tips do you have for finding the right products for your hair?
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