Do you remember how confused you were before or just after you went natural? Are you a newbie in natural hair and feel scared, confused or overwhelmed? Join the club!
When I started on my natural hair journey (towards the end of 2015), I was seriously confused. I would log onto the internet to read blogs and watch videos. At every turn, I would be bombarded with: lingo that I didn’t understand, new products that everyone swore by, old products that people were now letting go of, a dozen steps to include on wash day and the list goes on. I was frustrated. It’s like I had entered a PhD class without going through kindergarten. With time and growth, I have realized that I have joined the bandwagon. I rarely stop to think that there are other people who are new to all this and all they need is a simple first step to plant a foot on. So today I’m trying to do that with the 3 basic products that every beginner should have.
You Don’t Have To Be a Product Junkie
The picture above is common – a hundred and one products for a thousand and one functions! Let me spill the tea today – you don’t need all that! *insert all the gasps from here to Timbuktu*
Really though, you don’t need all that! First, you have to be pretty rich (or rob a bank) to maintain such a product stash. Second, you have to do your hair often to use up all those products before they expire. Third, this exact picture is a problem because it scares away some people from going natural or taking time to learn their hair. I can write a whole thesis on this, but I will refrain and jump right into the products you ACTUALLY NEED.
Before we can go into the sulfate-free shampoo discussion, let’s start with the basics. You need shampoo to clean (clarify) your scalp. If you have a dry, itchy scalp that is prone to dandruff, you can buy a shampoo that helps with this. A good example is Head to Shoulders. I used to use that in the beginning. If you would like recommendations on some good shampoos, you can read more here. Currently, I’m using my Marini shampoo which I got from Hair Culture Kenya.
The main point is that you need to pick a shampoo.
2. Moisturizing Conditioner
I can never sing this song enough – moisture is important. If you want to grow your hair, avoid breakage and retain length, you definitely need moisture in those strands. Using a moisturizing rinse-out conditioner, deep conditioner or leave-in conditioner will go a long way.
Now, let me be brutally honest. Of all the effective conditioners I have ever used, none of them was cheap (under KShs. 400 or $4 for more than 250ml). I would like to recommend products under 200 bob but I can’t. I know for sure that the estate-salon-type-of-products that cost cheaper are honestly a hoax. They do not moisturize; they have a runny consistency which doesn’t make detangling easier and they contain ingredients that harm my hair in the long run. I am currently alternating the Mosara Deep Treatment Masque which I also got from Hair Culture Kenya and the Aussie Mega Moist Conditioner I got from Carrefour.
3. Oil, Butter or Cream
Finally, you need oil, a butter or cream. These products help to lock in the moisture for longer. Oils are lighter than creams and butters. If you have high porosity, castor oil or butter such as Shea would work better. On the other hand, lighter carrier oils such as Coconut or Olive oil can work. If you don’t know what porosity is, you can check out this post I did a while back.
Currently, I’m all stocked up on my Pietro Coricelli virgin olive oil and my Pameri Organics Shea butter.
As you start out, you don’t need a million products. Even though you might be able to buy them all, it is advisable to learn your hair first. Use one product at a time and see how your hair reacts to it. You can change it up: add more products or remove some later when you have an idea about how your hair reacts to the different products. What works for me might not necessarily work for you (and vice versa). So, start off with the basics and work your way up.
ARE YOU A NEW OR EXPERIENCED NATURAL? HOW WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE STARTING OUT ON YOUR JOURNEY? WHICH PRODUCTS HAVE WORKED FOR YOU SO FAR? LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW. 🙂