I have been asked many times what I did initially to my hair so here is a list of the products I used. I tried a ridiculous amount of products in the first few months of transition.
September will be my 2nd Natural anniversary. Now unlike a lot of the brave women out there I did not do the big chop. You could say that I became a natural by accident. Yes I was tired of the relaxers and lamented having thing broken hair. I knew nothing of the natural hair movement and the many blogs out there.
At the start of my journey, I would say that my hair was around 2 inches of natural hair and the remainder was relaxed (in my case my hair lost its sleek look within the first two weeks of post -relaxer shampoos).
Lush Curly Wurly Coconut Shampoo
This shampoo is like marmalade. You either love it or you hate it. It has coconut pieces inside and after a shampoo you have to shake your head around to release the pieces stuck in. I have now moved on to a better shampoo and with hindsight this one does not have a perfect ingredient list. However, at the time, it gave me the necessary moisture and the first few defined curl patterns I noticed post shampoo gave me hope that my hair would go on beyond the unmanageable mop stage.
Aveda Brilliant Conditioner
I used to work in Aveda when I was 19 and bought a gallon of their Brilliant shampoo and conditioner. Fast forward many years and I am was still using the conditioner. Mostly because I had so much, I could use it in abundance. It provided moisture and slippage and I would use it pre shampoo to detangle my hair in accordance with Kimmaytube and post shampoo as a conditioner and wrap my hair with cling film and place a towel on top for the heat. Rinse it off an hour later et voila. Soft and manageable hair.
Oil treatment prior to shampoo
Coating the hair with oil such as olive oil prior to shampooing helps with the detangling process and conditions the hair. I usually coat the hair and scalp with oil followed by a massage and with only 15 minutes left, I wrap the hair with cling film or overnight with a head scarf.
Coconut and Shea Butter whip
I made this concoction myself and the first few times were failures. I melted the butters only to find that they will harden with time. I mixed them with various other ingredients only to find that the texture was wrong and in one case my hair stuck together as though slathered with honey. I finally stuck gold by shipping the Shea butter and adding castor oil over a 30 minutes times period. This concoction had evolved in the last two years and with time I find I need to use less and less as my hair retains moisture better.
Again the mixture I use for my scalp has changed dramatically. Back then, I mixed a simple blend of avocado oil and jojoba oil.
Jojoba oil is the oil that most resembles the natural oil our body makes. It is conditioning and light.
Avocado oil is deeply moisturising. One of the best oils you can find. It moisturisers and penetrates without being greasy.
Always invest in oil of a good grade. Some oils are mixed and diluted. Also don’t drench your scalp. Use a little every few days and most importantly see it as a chance to massage your scalp.
I shampooed my hair at least once a week. This allowed me to cleanse my scalp and refresh my style. I divide my hair prior t shampooing. Each section is taken at its turn and washed by placing wither hand around the hair and moving downward. You wash without mixing and twisting the hair.
Leave in Conditioner
From the outset, Giovanni Leave In Conditioner was the best thing for my hair. Since then I have recommended it to many other naturals and so far many are happy with it. It conditions without leaving your hair greasy or heavy.
Beware of silicone
At first the one thing I tried to reduce in my repertoire was the number of products which contain silicones and alcohol. When heat (via a blow-dryer, steamer, or diffuser) is applied, the silicone melts and is sealed into the hair shaft. Products with silicones at first appear to work well, your hair shaft appears smoother but they are actually removing the moisture from your hair and after a while you will notice that you hair is drier.
Seal the ends
It is important to seal ends of your hair. The oldest part tends to be the most susceptible to breakage and so it is always worth taking the time to add some oil at the ends. I use castor oil or my Shea butter moisturiser at the ends while the hair is till damp.
I went to the hairdresser once or twice, Adornment 365 in Brixton. The service was impeccable and the ladies lovely. However, I don’t think that natural hair is their real forte. They are really good with locs but when it comes to natural curly hair they styled by hair in a very weird twist. It looked short and limp.
I gave their details my friend Lauren and after a visit she was not too pleased with the style she received too. I think that when it comes to natural afro (meaning lose curls) styles, there are not many hairdressers who are great. Most naturals are better able to care for their hair.
Once I have made the decision to transition to natural hair, the first three months were the hardest. I had no idea what would work on my hair and spend ages trolling through the internet. Hope this small list helps to simplify things.
Weekly shampoos and conditioners
Leave in Conditioner
Always combing your hair when it is wet and moisturised
Conditioning hair spray to carry on the go when your hair feels dry
Anything with silicone
Heat (hair drier/straightener)
Constantly playing with your hair
Combing dry hair (NEVER do that!)