September marks my 18th anniversary of having relaxer free hair.  My natural hair journey wasn’t some journey to reclaim my natural texture or to  be free of relaxers. My hair was making me hot. It was the summer of my freshman year in New Brunswick, NJ and 90+ degrees. I remember being on my roller blades skating around campus with sweat dripping down my face. I’m not sure what possessed me to stop, but I ended up in front of a barbershop on George Street.  A few minutes later, I found myself negotiating with the barber who refused to cut my hair. He said most women would pay top dollar for the length I had. I told him to cut it off and sell it to them.  I just wanted it off my head. Eventually he sat me down in his barber chair and I pointed to one his barber photos on the wall. About 20 minutes later, I walked out of the shop practically bald.  Once I got back on campus and entered the dining hall, I walked to the section I occupied on a daily basis, utensils and mouths dropped.  That cut was the first of two big chops I’ve had in the past 18 years.

Currently, my hair is cut into a neck length bob, an impulse move I made last Thanksgiving. It was my first hair cut in about 10 years.  I flip-flop between wearing roller sets and a wash and go. Although I don’t use a relaxer, I do my own coloring.  Experimenting with color is definitely one of my favorite hair pastimes. Right now, I have somewhat of a brown and blonde ombre color that I did with a box of Feria. Eventually, once Fall officially hits, I’m going back to a simple jet black.

My go-to hair products for the past couple of years have been pretty simple. Gone are the days of me being a product junkie. I can’t even begin to calculate how much money I used to spend on products. Every week there was something new I had to try.  Nowadays, you couldn’t pay me to try some of these over priced products that are on the market.  But I do have my favorites that are quite affordable.

Shampoo & Conditioners

Herbal Essence Hello Hydration- not only is it less than $3 a bottle, it leaves my hair soft and smells amazing. I use the conditioner as a co-wash, and shampoo about 2xs a month.

Giovanni Leave In- This stuff is a godsend! Whether I’m doing a wash & go, or a blow out/roller set. It’s lightweight and doesn’t weigh my hair down. It runs about $7, sometimes cheaper.

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil – I use EVCO to cook, on my skin, as my oil pulling agent and on my hair. Coconut Oil prices vary, depending on size and brand. Typically I don’t pay more than $10 and it lasts for months.

Ulta Hair Smoothing Styling Serum- Whenever I’m applying any type of heat to my hair, this is a must. It leaves my hair frizz free and smooth.  It’s the Ulta equivalent to the expensive Chi version. Whereas the Chi version is $14+, this is only $8.

 After years of trial and error, I tend to know what products work best on my  hair. Occasionally I may switch up, or raid my sister’s bathroom, but for the past couple of years these are in constant rotation.  I definitely don’t like breaking the bank when it comes to my hair, I’d rather spend money on shoes.

Clutchettes, what are your must have styling products?

  • Rue

    Black Pro Sheen!! Ha ha just kidding:) I don’t even know for sure what that is, I heard it on Everybody Hates Chris once!
    Anyhow, to get serious, just flatiron, pink lotion do it for me i guess. I don’t know why, but my hair NEVER gives me trouble. I have been looking for an excuse to chop the MOFO off but it just doesn’t. Ah well, I’ll have to draw from your playbook now…Of with her head(of annoying hair!!)
    (In case anyone’s wondering I am bored and drinking wine at work;-)

  • Jess

    You can drink at work…I so need your job!

  • deebsooreal

    My favs are:

    Motions are naturally you smoothing conditioner as my cowash
    Shea Moisture Moisture Retention Shampoo
    Beautiful Textures Tangle Taming Leave In
    Olive Oil
    Coconut Oil
    Rosemary Oil
    Shea Butter
    ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar)
    If I used heat I use Beyond Zone Pro Formula Turn Up The Heat protective spray it really gets your hair smooth and it really protects your hair too.

  • silkynaps

    Recently stocked up on Nubian Heritage with BOGO.
    It’s marketed to relaxed heads, so the products are light
    and great for my fine, natural hair.

    Cowash – Repair & Extend Conditioner
    Moisturize – Heat Protect Leave-in
    Seal – Evoo & Moringa Repair & Extend Hair Butter
    Style – Heat Protect Keratin Wrap Mousse Honey & Black Seed

  • African Mami

    haha!! what kind of wine are you indulging in? Probably I might want to join you

  • Just Tee

    I can’t function without my Kinky Curly!! Nothing else gets the job done!!

  • Herstory Accessories (@herstoryonline)

    My tangle teaser, setting lotion … and here recently, Taliah Waajid’s Curly Creme & Sealer.

  • K.Dav

    My favorite products are Garnier Fructis curl defining spray, Shea butter ( whipped) and Aragon oil for the winter when my hair seems to get extra dry.

  • Sick

    My go to product lately has been Fantasia ic hair polisher OLIVE. I use it as a leave-in conditioner and comb it through my natural hair. I wear a ponytail and I have waves galore!!!!!!! They are shiny and manageable. Love it and my hair!!!!!!! I will never relax or texturize again!!!!!!!!!!

  • shadow

    My natural is really liking:
    Co-washing with Tressemme Naturals Nourishing conditioner & VO5 Moisture Milk Strawberries and Cream conditioner
    Curls clarifying shampoo (no parabens, sulfates, mineral oil, or cones, when needed
    Jojoba & EVOO
    Shea Butter to seal my ends

    Thinking about trying As I Am Coconut Co-wash in the near future. Heard good reviews on it.

  • michael

    Shew butter of course

  • camille

    I used to love Aveda Rosemary Mint Shampoo and Conditioner. Suave has a rip off version that is a fraction of the price and pretty damn good.

  • MC

    My hair currently is relaxer free. However, I don’t wear my hair curly, I press my hair using a flat iron (Sedu and Babyliss brand flat irons are the best and worth the cost, straightens my thick coarse hair). I use:

    Cantu Shea Butter Moisturizing Shea Butter Shampoo
    Cantu Shea Butter Moisturizing Rinse Out Conditioner
    Motions Deep Penetrating Treatment (when I do a deep condition)
    Motions Leave In Conditioner Spray (spray this on and comb through to get the tangles out before blow drying)
    Cantu Daily Oil Moisturizer (apply small amount before flat ironing)
    Cantu Super Shine Silk (apply to hair at night before you wrap it up, will have nice shine in the morning and lightweight)
    Mizani Oil Sheen Spray

    I love Cantu and Motions products because they are inexpensive (less than $10 for each product) and they are sold everywhere. Mizani Oil Sheen costs more than average oil sheen ($10-$12), but I love the way it smells and it doesn’t weigh my hair down. I also have seen that Cantu and Motions have products for curly hairstyles as well now.

  • luvlife289

    Relaxed Hair….Dark&Lovely: 6 week Anti-Reversion *Good Stuff*
    Cantu: leave -in conditioning cream *Great for extra conditioning*
    Infusium 23…*enough said*

  • Alexandra

    Neutrogena Triple Moisture Leave-In, Johnson & Johnson No More Tangles, Hair Pouss Plus and Herbal Essences or Aussie conditioners.
    And a wide-tooth comb; I’d be bald without it.

  • LeonieUK

    I should ship my CC to you, I get white bobbles from it. But I love the sealer.

  • LeonieUK

    On the shelve today for the natural grey headed beauty is…
    Jasmine oil, Jojoba oil, Soft N Free curl activator, Wide tooth comb, Paddle brush and tangle teaser, very basic.

  • C

    Terressentials Hair Wash, and before I started using that, I loved Suave Naturals Coconut conditioner.

    My bone detangling comb is also a must.

  • OSHH

    Right now I love Organix shampoos and condtioners.
    The macadamia oil and shea butter varieties.
    I also used to use the Herbal essences moisturizing shampoo/conditioner.
    Agran oil DEEP contioner, forgot who makes it.
    Infusium 23 leave in conditoner for relaxed/color treated hair
    Extra virgin coconut oil
    Macadamia oil=love it
    Palmers coconut hair oil.
    Ashea hair food.

  • B

    Suave naturals conditioner (awesome slip); Shea moisture moisturizing conditioner; qhemet biologics

  • Mahogany

    I’m natural and have 4b/4c hair.

    Shampoo: miss jessy creme de la curl

    Conditioner: earthly delight

    Curls passion fruit paste (smells so good, does the job and leaves no residue)

    Oils: coconut, olive, avocado, jojoba

    Knot Today

    Water, glycerin & jojoba oil (cheap easy moisturizer)

  • Nubian Princess

    Lekair’s Cholesterol conditioner for a deep conditioning treatment it makes my hair so soft and strong. and it really gets the tangles out.

  • Reecie

    I am relaxed and here are my must have products:

    Aubrey Organics GPB Conditioner: its great for my fine strands, perfect blend of protein and moisture.

    Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil: helps my scalp and hair. I use it for hot oil treatments and with my deep conditioners. also on my skin! I love love it!

    CHI Silk Infusion serum. this is my go to heat protectant prior to blow drying, flat ironing or just for a little shine. and I love the smell!

  • Charle

    Shampoo: Trader’s Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle (I recently bought this after seeing naturals online rave about it, but it’s pretty drying, so I’m using my sample bottle of Hello Hydration for the time being).

    Conditioner: Suave naturals almond and shea butter

    Leave-in: Garnier Fructis sleek and shine creme

    Moisturizer: Shea moisture curl enhancing smoothie

    Sealant: African Pride olive miracle anti-breakage formula

    I’m a huge fan of twist-outs, and my hair looks fabulous with these products!

  • NaturlPrettyGrl08

    I’m natural. Transitioned from Nov 2011 – May 2012 & BCd in May. I have defined curls that are really easy to style. I can literally wash and go. I have a few staples that get the job done every time.

    Shampoo: Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Shampoo
    Leave-in conditioner: Kinky Curly Knot Today
    Styler: Kinky Curly Curling Custard
    Styler: Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie
    Oil: 100% Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (my one true love!)

    If I want tighter curls I use the Curling Custard, looser curls Curl Enhancing Smoothie.

  • Janaè

    i’m a fine haired natural too and i just love Nubian Heratiage!

  • HarlemLonestar

    Curly: Mixed Chicks.. I swear by it. I moisturize with Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Style Conditioning Milk (Love)

    For a deep condition I use Olive Oil… totally interested in the EVOC. Do you make this (and what are the EVOO to CO ration)or can you buy it?

  • silkynaps

    The price is right and the it’s a Black company. I don’t think there are better products out there :)

  • Rosey

    ECOSTYLER gel!!! I love that stuff

  • chanela17

    damn girl you love you some cantu!! i don’t blame you.. i absolutely LOVE the cantu leave in conditioner. it does something to my hair that i simply cannot understand! when i want to do my hair in a braid out i use the leave in conditioner on my damp hair and braid it.. at first the braid it wet… then it gets super hard like the way that the ampro black gel makes your hair… then hours later my hair is phenomenally soft and moist.. yet bounces and moves whenever i walk or move my head! it’s crazy! my braid out also lasts an entire week.

    i love it love it love it!

  • chanela17

    has anyone ever used joico kpak reconstructer??? i’ve been using it but.. i’m not sure of what is going on or what it is exactly supposed to do for afro textured

  • Gell0h0h

    Shampoo – Everyday Shea Vanilla Mint
    Deep Conditioner – Olive Moisture Mask (Komaza Hair Care)
    Hair Treatment Protein Treatment & Pona Hair Treatment, Matani Hair Repair – Komaza Hair Care
    Moku Hair Oil – Komaza Hair Care
    Moku Lock and Braid Spray – Komaza Hair Care
    Castor Oil and Extra Virgin Olive Oil – From Nature with Love

  • Herstory Accessories (@herstoryonline)

    Omg, please do!!! I luckily haven’t had that experience with the Waajid products, but my ecostyler gel on the other hand…. well that’s a different story.

  • mrsmartin1123

    Its actually just a protein deep conditioner. So, its fine for any hair type.

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