Finding the right products for your natural hair can be so draining sometimes. Some people get lucky finding a product their hair loves on their first search attempt but some others need to go through trial and error to finally find the perfect product for their hair.
As a natural, it is very important to find hair products that work for your hair and use them in the way that’s best for your hair.
There is no one size fit all when it comes to natural hair products. It doesn’t matter how well that product worked for other naturals, if it doesn’t work for you there’s no point using it and it’s totally fine.
Hair products are there to make your hair more manageable and easy to handle. When it comes to choosing the right product for your natural hair, there are things you need to do/know to make the process a lot easier. Some of which include;
1. Create a hair regimen
A hair regimen is simply a set of routine activities you do to your hair to keep it healthy. This hair regimen is set by you and it provides structure and consistency to the process of maintaining your hair. Your hair regimen is like a meal plan for your hair.
A good hair regimen should contain the following elements: cleanse, condition, detangle, moisturize, seal, deep treat, and style. Having a regimen would guide you in choosing the right products for each of these elements.
Do not follow the regimen of someone with hair that looks like yours. Their regimen may not work for you. We all need different needs for our hair based on hair porosity, thickness, density, lifestyle, and many other factors.
How to create a hair regimen
Let’s talk briefly on each of the components of a natural hair regimen as this would guide you in creating a regimen that is unique to you;
This has to do with keeping your hair and scalp clean in order for healthy hair to grow. For this, there are two types of cleansing agents you can use; soap and shampoo.
Many naturals love to use black soap and it does a good job in cleansing. If you prefer the shampoo, use a gentle, sulfate-free shampoo. You can also learn to make a DIY black soap shampoo.
How often you cleanse is dependent on you. Most naturals wash their hair somewhere between once a week to once a month. You will need to experiment to find what frequency works for you. If this is your first time establishing a natural hair regimen, I recommend starting with once a week then experimenting with longer intervals.
After cleansing, you always want to condition your hair in order to put in more moisture that the cleansing process may have taken away or stripped from your hair strands. There are three main categories of conditioners and all are important.
- Leave-in conditioner: This is used after washing your hair to replenish and maintain moisture in your hair. It should be applied to damp hair after washing and before styling. You don’t need to rinse this off.
- Rinse out conditioner: This is a light conditioner that can be used immediately after cleansing to make your hair easier to detangle and less prone to freeze and also hydrates your hair. As the name implies, it is meant to be washed out after a few minutes.
- Deep conditioner: This is an intensive moisturizing and nourishing treatment done after washing. This conditioner is kept in your hair for a longer amount of time then rinsed out. Deep conditioners help with detangling soft name freeze and moisture. You can deep condition once every two weeks or weekly for the best results.
Moisture is the answer to so many problems such as breakage, dryness, tangling, and even hair loss. Depending on your hair porosity you may need to moisturize on a daily basis. Moisturize all the parts of your hair but focus on the ends. You may want to moisturize in the morning and at night.
The LOC or LCO methods are the most common ways of moisturizing nature hair. You can use water, leave-in conditioners or a hydrating spray to moisturize your natural hair.
Your moisturizing process would be futile if you don’t seal in the moisture. It is important that every time you moisturize your hair you use a sealant to keep your hair moisturized throughout the day. You may need to experiment with different oils to see what your hair likes. Some examples of sealants include Shea butter, Jamaican black castor oil, jojoba oil, avocado oil, or olive oil.
Detangling often helps reduce hair loss, dryness, and breakage. Always use a wide-tooth comb or fingers to detangle. Start from the ends and then work your way up to the roots. This will reduce breakage. It is far better to detangle your hair when it’s damp rather than dry.
This is completely up to you and your hair. You can learn styles that you like and also practice some low manipulation styles such as buns and twists to do on days when you are tired and don’t have time. You should also set out time to put your hair in protective styles.
Your natural hair regimen won’t have results if you don’t stick to it. You can build your regimen to have a weekly or bi-weekly structure. Keep it as simple as you can. If you need to set a calendar or keep a journal just to be accountable, then do it.
Watch this video below by Efik Zara on how to create a healthy hair regimen that works
2. Have a hair goal
What do you want to achieve with your hair? Do you aim for length, volume, health, or definition? Do you have someone in the natural hair community that you look up to and you want to have such amazing hair like the person? You need to create a hair goal and most importantly, a plan to achieve it.
For instance, if your hair goal for the year is health and length, your product choices would be based on those that help you retain length whilst giving you healthy hair. This would also guide you in creating hair regimens to achieve that goal.
3. Knowing your hair porosity
Hair porosity simply refers to your hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture. There three types of hair porosity. We have low porosity, medium porosity, and high porosity.
Low porosity hair is moisture resistant which means that it may be hard to get moisture into your hair strand but once you do, you don’t need to worry about your hair drying out. This is due to their tight cuticle layer on the hair strands. Low porosity hair is prone to build-up from protein-rich products. If you have low porosity hair, you should opt for more moisturizing conditioners and light products such as whipped shea butter, coconut oil, jojoba oil to help avoid build-up.
Medium porosity hair possesses a loser cuticle layer which allows a steady flow of moisture in and out. If you have medium porosity hair most products would do great your hair but you should go for more moisturizing conditioners and a few protein treatments.
High porosity hair has way more loser cuticle layer in their hair strands which allow moisture to absorb quickly and dry out almost at the same rate. This usually leads to frizz and tangling in extremely dry weather. If your hair is high porosity you should go for more protein-rich products such as protein conditioners and you can use moisturizing products to help retain moisture in your hair.
To test your hair porosity, take some strands of your clean hair and drop in a glass of clean water. If your hair floats, then you have low porosity hair. If it sinks just to the middle and remains there, you have normal or medium porosity hair. If it sinks to the bottom of the glass, you have high porosity hair.
P.s: Ensure this test is carried out on freshly washed hair, as products in your hair can alter the results.
4. Understand what your hair needs
Before you buy any product take some time to assess the state of your hair. Hair products are intended to suit your hair’s needs. Does your hair feel dry? Does it have split ends? Do you have dandruff, itchy scalp, or bad edges? All these questions will guide your choice of products. For example, a hair that feels dry should use more moisturizing products. For hair that lacks strength and elasticity, you might need protein-packed products.
5. Check the ingredient list
You need to find out what ingredients are in the products. The first five products in a formulation will determine their effectiveness. You want to ensure that your product’s first ingredient is water/aqua especially conditioners. Also, look out for bad ingredients such as sulfates, parabens, synthetic fragrances, etc.
6. Trial and Error
You may have to do a lot of trial and error before you find the perfect product for your hair. You can try out a product sample before you purchase it or read reviews online to hear what others think about the products before you spend your money on it. Sometimes you may just have to go ahead and get the product, try it with your hair, and see if it works or not. In the long run, you will be you finally find what product actually works for your hair. Don’t be afraid to try.
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 shared above are a good place to start. Don’t forget to create a regimen that is unique to you, set a realistic hair goal, know your hair porosity, understand what your hair needs, know your product ingredients, and try out products to see what your hair likes.
I can’t wait for you to find the perfect product for your natural hair. Don’t forget to share this post with others. Sharing is caring!