When I first started using the Curly Girl Method my hair was dehydrated and much in need of a styling product. As many of you know I was devastated after watching my hair balloon three times its size during a long sweaty dance audition. My hair was looking like an absolute wild mess by the end of the audition. Not cute!
So I switched back to using conditioners after my strict no ‘poo regimen. This time I’ve been making my own botanical conditioner while trying a new hair care technique. I’ve been using the Curly Girl Method for over six months now. I have seen a great improvement in my hair’s moisture and overall health. I also am exclusively finger detangling my hair at all times, no combs or brushes needed, and have added natural styling products.
A few of you asked which natural stylers I’ve been using and which one is my favorite. I was actually kind of surprised myself by my discovery to the point that I didn’t even get to try the other two natural styling gels I had my eyes on. I will still share them with you though.
1. Flax Seed Gel
Ingredients: flax seeds & water
There’s nothing fancy about flax seed gel, yet I’ve discussed it here and here already. I love simple products and this one is easy to make plus really works well! I’ve never had any problems with flax seed gel mixing well with other products or drying crunchy and hard. It is actually moisturizing to hair and provides consistent results and hold.
The only downside is that this DIY gel must be refrigerated. Although essential oils extend its refrigerated shelf life, mine has never lasted more than two weeks. One thing that I’ve done that eliminates having to make flax seed gel weekly is to make a big batch and put the remainder of what I won’t use within a week in the freezer.
2. Kinky Curly Curling Custard
Ingredients: botanical infusion of water, horsetail, chamomile, nettle and marshmallow, organic aloe vera juice, agave nectar extract, tocopheryl acetate (vitamin e), pectic, citric acid, potassium sorbate and natural fragrance
I tried Kinky Curly Curling Custard when the line first launched years ago. What I did not know at the time was the importance of layering it on top of conditioner and at the time my hair felt awful. After knowing much more about hair care in general and my own hair, revisiting this natural gel was a completely different experience.
Kinky Curly Curling Custard worked great with my conditioner and provided the strongest hold out of all the hair stylers that I tried. After using this gel I also came to the conclusion that I prefer a softer hold and for my hair not to feel hard at all. I don’t feel that this gel was drying to my hair, yet I was definitely looking for more touchable curls. Applying oils after my hair dried helped a lot. I purchased Kinky Curly Curling Custard for too much at Whole Foods, yet you can also find it at Target.
3. Shea Moisture Organic Coconut & Hibiscus Curling Souffle
Ingredients: aqueous infusion of agave teqilana leaf extract and sugar cane extract, pectin, vegetable glycerin, adansonia digitata pulp extract (baobab), cocos nucifera oil (coconut), butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), panthenol (pro-vitamin B-5), aloe barbadensis leaf extract, tocopherol (vitamin E), linum usitatissimum seed extract (linseed/flax), hibiscus sabdariffa extract, potassium sorbate, proprietary essential oil blend
Shea Moisture Organic Coconut & Hibiscus Curling Souffle is very tricky to use. I love the ingredients and was very excited to use this product since I enjoy the scent of all the products from Shea Moisture’s Organic Coconut & Hibiscus line. I tried applying this curling souffle to wet hair after conditioner as I usually do. I was careful not to use too much, but still wasn’t in love with how my hair felt. It didn’t feel sticky, yet my hair felt coated in a strange way. Because I still have a lot of this product remaining I decided to apply it only to the ends of my hair if they feel dry or in need of more moisture. Shea Moisture Organic Coconut & Hibiscus Curling Souffle is extremely moisturizing so I do love it for that! I just haven’t figured out how to use it effectively. You can find the Shea Moisture Souffle at Walgreens and Target.
4. Shea Butter
Ingredients: simply 100% pure unrefined shea butter
I’ve used unrefined shea butter off and on for years. This last time growing out my hair I had come to the conclusion that shea butter was too heavy of a product for my hair. Now that my hair is longer and I’m trying it again, the heaviness that shea butter provides is exactly why I love it so much. To my surprise shea butter clumps my curls and keeps my hair controlled, moisturized, yet not greasy to the touch. I never worry about applying too much.
I applied shea butter to wet hair after my conditioner and styled. Once my hair dried it felt amazingly soft and looked shiny and defined. I’ve come to the conclusion that if shea butter alone is enough to style my hair, why would I even continue searching for the perfect natural styling product?
I usually add oils to my hair throughout the week until I wash again. This time I’ve only been using shea butter. Shea butter is the very reason that I never got around to trying #5 & #6 on my natural styling gels list.
5. Kiss My Face Upper Management Styling Gel
Ingredients: water of utrica dioica (certified organic), calendula officinalis, athemis nobilis, hyaluronic acid, sodium hydroxymethyl glycinate (amino acid derived), faex extract, panthenol, tocopherol (vitamin E), citrus grandis
I’ve used Kiss My Face Upper Management Styling Gel before, yet was interested to trying it with my new hair care regimen and techniques. If you are curious about sodium hydroxymethly glycinate I’ve linked it to the Cosmetic Database. There is concern with this ingredient having formaldehyde contamination. Although there is not much information on the Cosmetic Database, that is something definitely to take into consideration.
6. Aubrey Organics B-5 Design Gel
Ingredients: aqua, aloe barbadensis leaf juice*, panthenol (vitamin B-5), acacia gum*, astragalus gummifer gum (tragacanth), rosa rubiginosa (Rosa Mosqueta®) rose hip seed oil*, inositol, methionine, cysteine, aesculus hippocastanum (horse chestnut) extract, equisetum hyemale (horsetail) extract, tussilago farfara (coltsfoot) extract, urtica dioica (nettle) extract, linoleic acid, biotin, glycerin, citrus grandis (grapefruit) extract, alcohol denat. (38b, lavender*), tocopheryl acetate, hamamelis virginiana water, ascorbic acid, glycine soja (soybean) oil, daucus carota sativa (carrot) root extract, beta-carotene, myroxylon balsamum (balsam) oil, citrus sinensis (sweet orange) oil*.
Here is another product that I have used in the past and wanted to try again. Of course I haven’t gotten a chance since my current love affair with unrefined shea butter. What I love about Aubrey Organics products are all of the botanical herbs in their ingredients. I love using herbs in my own products and I truly appreciate the healing properties that they provide. Aubrey Organics B-5 Design Gel is definitely one product that I do hope to try again some time in the future.
My New and Simple Hair Regimen
Recently I switched back to styling my curls in braids to prevent unnecessary single strand knots also known as fairy knots. I will no longer be doing wash and go hair styles. Although I do love the look of my natural curl pattern, I also love the curls and waves that braids give my hair as well. Since I am still growing my hair out, I’m choosing to use a styling method that will bring the best health to hair. I have noticed a big reduction in single strand knots since switching back to braid out styles. I never really dealt with single strand knots before now and hope to minimize them as much as possible.
I am currently using mainly two products: my conditioner and shea butter. The only other product that I use is henna for my strengthening and deep conditioning treatments. If I am not up to doing a full henna treatment then I will opt for a simple deep conditioning treatment with coconut milk and hemp oil alone.
What’s your favorite natural styling product that you can’t live without?
(Image by Dawn Michelle)