With the rise of the natural hair movement, drugstores and beauty stores are beginning to carry a plethora of natural hair products. Where we once had a shelf or two of products devoted to natural hair, some places now have entire aisles. While it feels empowering to become more effectively represented in the beauty world, there is a downside.
With so many products to choose from it can become quite overwhelming-I went to the drugstore the other day looking for a conditioner but found myself standing in the hair and beauty aisle for over 20 minutes wondering if I also needed a clarifier. Does everyone need a hair masque once in a while or is that optional? It is possible to detangle without a detangler, isn’t it?
I finally picked out a conditioner and went home with my head spinning. When I think about all of the hair products I have under my sink, I probably use less than half of them on a regular basis. With all the minimalism trends going around like decluttering and capsule wardrobes, I wondered if I could do the same with my hair products. Would it be possible to live with, say, less than ten hair products on hand? I took stock of all the hair products I have and weeded out which ones I actually use to come up with this list of natural hair essentials.
- Conditioner-This goes without saying. Conditioner is the cornerstone of every curly girls routine. Can we all just agree that we would die without conditioner and move on? It gives our hair nutrients, restores moisture, tackles frizz and increases strength-what’s not to love? (I usually add egg whites to my conditioner once a month, so we’ll throw eggs into the conditioner category).
- Leave In Conditioner-A good leave in conditioner is just as important as a rinse out. After a wash, a leave in is the best way to keep your locks moisturized and frizz free.
- Oil-I’m not sure how many other people classify oil as necessary but I definitely do. Having a good oil on hand can help you seal in moisture at the end of your routine, not to mention a spritz or two will help soothe an itchy scalp.
- Gel-Having curly hair means an abundance of two things: wash-n-go’s and buns, both of which require lots and lots of a good gel. A good hair gel is extremely versatile; having a good one in your cabinet will ensure that you can define your curls or to slick them down if the mood strikes. One could argue that you need an edge control in addition but for most, gel tames those edges just fine.
- Heat Protectant-Over the years, I’ve learned that a good flat-iron job means starting on squeaky clean hair with only one product applied-a heat protectant spray. Using heat tools without a heat protectant is a recipe for heat damage, split ends and out-of-control frizz.
- Shampoo-This is totally optional. Most curly girls co-wash instead of shampooing but sometimes enough gunk builds up to where you might prefer a shampoo. I’ve found that I’m able to cut shampoo out of my routine completely with the use of apple cider vinegar. It gets my hair and scalp squeaky clean without that awful stripped feeling afterwards and my curls absolutely POP.
- Moisturizer-this one is optional as well. If you use a leave in conditioner, you may not need to use an extra product just for moisture but some people do. I personally don’t use a separate product just for moisture on a regular basis but others may not find that their leave-in is effective enough at keeping their hair moisturized.
So that’s it-five essentials plus two bonus products. Without consciously trying to, I’ve been living with nothing more than what’s on the list above. Aside from not spending a fortune on hair products, I enjoy not having a battalion of bottles and jars spilling out of my bathroom cabinets. The reason most naturalistas have so many products on our counter is because of all the trial and error involved with finding products that work well. Everyone has a different mix but once you find the magic few, it’s a good idea to stick with them.
What do you think? Do you need to pull out all the stops or can you live with the bare-uh, the hair minimum? Let us know in the comments!