This Or That: Best Natural Hair Care Products and Practices
It’s no secret that we take haircare very seriously. However, today, let’s have a little fun! Every head of hair is unique, some requiring more TLC in particular areas than others, but we all tend to measure our “hair fitness” according to a few general concerns. We’re coming through with a special game of “This or That,” the "hair fitness” edition, covering 5 areas of concern: Definition, Detangling, Moisture, Breakage, and Scalp Care. Play along and pick which contenders suit you best!
Round 1: Products
COCONUT SHEA CURL DEFINING CREME
An OG fan-favorite, this thick, humidity-resistant styling cream is known for providing medium hold, helping to make even the coiliest of curls pop! It’s specially designed for high density hair and delivers moisture along with the definition. Stand out ingredients: Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, Aloe Vera, Avocado Oil, Rice Extract, and Jojoba Oil. It’s ideal for wash ‘n gos or stretched styles like twist-outs or braid-outs.
ALMOND MARSHMALLOW HYDRATION SERUM
Nicknamed “Liquid Gold” by customers, this jelly-like serum slips and slides through all textures of hair, providing unmatched shine and definition with soft-medium hold. Its lightweight formula smooths down the hair shaft to combat frizz and frayed ends. It hydrates and protects hair against daily pollutants. Reputable ingredients: Sweet Almond Oil, Marshmallow Root Extract, and Aloe Vera. Great for wash ‘n go styles + slicking back updos!
Round 2: Methods
The raking method refers to applying product to wet curls by using your hand as a comb and “raking” it through the hair, from root to tip, section by section. This takes a moderate amount of time, depending on hair length and density. It leaves behind defined “day one” hair, with moderate volume prior to fluffing or picking.
During the shingling method, product is applied to the hair overall (wet), then each curl is individually coated, clumped and twirled, one by one. This tends to take a considerable amount of time, leaving behind highly defined “day one” hair, with minimal volume prior to fluffing or picking.
Round 1: Products
PEPPERMINT TEA TREE CONDITIONER
Minty and refreshing, this rinse-out conditioner provides quality slip to varying hair textures. It’s creamy, but not super thick, so it spreads through curls with ease, providing a tingling sensation that’s therapeutic to the scalp. It’s built to fortify and soften the hair, especially following a clarifying shampoo. Peppermint Oil, Tea Tree Oil, Jojoba Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Castor Oil and Carrot Seed Oil are just a few of its knockout ingredients.
HIBISCUS HONEY CURL HYDRATION CONDITIONER
This hidden gem can serve as a rinse-out or leave-in conditioner. Soft and sweet-smelling, its lightweight consistency provides major slip to curls while also penetrating them with hydration. Key ingredients: Hibiscus Flower Extract, Honey, Shea Butter, Coconut Oil, and Aloe Vera.
Round 2: Tools
BRUSH WITH THE BEST, FELICIA LEATHERWOOD BRUSH
Made with incredible flexibility, this brush is only bonded on three sides, unlike most brushes, which are bonded on all four sides. These “flexi-bristles” provide fluidity, allowing them to move with the hair, which prevents pulling and breakage from occurring. It was crafted by professional stylist and Hollywood’s Natural Hair Guru, Felicia Leatherwood (@lovingyourhair).
WIDE TOOTH COMB
Simple, yet effective, this OG tool gets the job done. It’s a comb with teeth set spaciously apart from one another, to prevent breakage to curls.
Round 1: Products
HIBISCUS HONEY HYDRATION CUSTARD
Thick and ready to hydrate, this custard moisturizes while it styles. It helps smooth and strengthen the hair + define curls with a soft-medium hold that’s perfect for twist-outs, braid-outs and other stretched styles. It works particularly well on high density curls and coils. Made with Hibiscus Flower Extract, Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, Rice Extract and Aloe Vera, it’s sure to fight off dryness!
CITRUS FUSION HAIR + BODY BUTTER
Don’t let this product’s dual purpose fool you, it delivers when it comes to moisture - whether it’s used on the hair or skin. Loaded with antioxidants and nutrients, this butter provides intense hydration, leaving behind moisturized tresses (and skin) that’s soft to the touch. Castor Oil, Acai Fruit Extract, Aloe Vera, Honey, Grape Seed Oil, and Avocado Oil are just a few of its impactful ingredients.
Round 2: Practices
HAIR MASQUE TREATMENTS
This type of treatment involves thoroughly applying a designated hair masque or deep conditioner to the hair, especially focusing on the ends, which tend to be the oldest and driest part of the strand. Cover the hair with a plastic cap, and let the product work its magic for a minimum of 15 minutes before rinsing it out. Those with low porosity hair (when moisture doesn’t easily absorb into the strand) may also want to sit under a hooded dryer or heat cap to ensure the product penetrates. The frequency of these treatments depends on the individual; they can be done as often as every wash day, or as seldom as once per month.
HOT OIL TREATMENTS
An age-old practice, hot oil treatments are an effective way to saturate the hair with moisturizing nutrients. A number of different oils can be used or even mixed together to perform the treatment; some of the most commonly used are Olive Oil, JojOba Oil, and Coconut Oil. One of the most effective ways to carry out a treatment is to thoroughly apply the oil from root to tip, then cover the hair with a plastic cap. Sit under a hooded dryer or heat cap for 15-30 minutes, then rinse. Heat opens up the hair cuticle, allowing the benefits of the oil(s) to penetrate.
Round 1: Products
JOJOBA MONOI DEEP CONDITIONER
Another OG customer fave, this deep conditioner is thick and packed with nutrients. It treats hair that’s damaged from daily manipulation, heat styling, coloring or over-processing. It penetrates strands with moisture, locks it in, and smoothes out the cuticle, boosting the hair’s overall strength and integrity. It’s key ingredients are Jojoba Oil, Tiare Flower, Coconut Oil, Chamomile, Sweet Almond Oil, Castor Oil, and Tea Tree Oil.
ALMOND MARSHMALLOW SPLIT END REPAIR MASQUE
This masque has incredible slip! It melts right into the hair and smoothes out frayed ends. It infuses restorative ingredients into each strand, protecting the hair from snagging or becoming rough and brittle. Sweet Almond Oil, Marshmallow Root Extract, Cocoa Butter, Aloe Vera and Coconut Oil are its top performing ingredients.
Round 2: Protective Styles
Shelter-in-place has inspired many to try out DIY protective styles like this one. Mini braids are a series of small braids installed on natural hair, no extensions added. It’s super cute, and the style can last for weeks if the hair and scalp are regularly moisturized and cared for.
Trending right now, this style is very similar to traditional box braids, except the braiding hair isn’t added at the root. Instead, the extensions are gradually added to a person’s natural hair in small portions as the braid continues down, feed-in style. The result is: more “natural” looking roots, with less weight, tension and pulling. Knotless braids can last for many weeks, if the hair and scalp are properly cared for on a regular basis.
5. SCALP CARE
Round 1: Products
PEPPERMINT TEA TREE HAIR OIL
Scalp therapy in a bottle! This Hair Oil contains a unique blend that quickly absorbs and penetrates into the hair and scalp. It leaves behind a tingling sensation that helps stimulate blood circulation + relieve itching. The essential oils within its mix also work to treat dandruff without leaving behind buildup. What does it consist of? Sweet Almond Oil, Peppermint Oil, Coconut Oil, Jojoba Oil, Tea Tree Oil, Lavender Oil, Rosemary Oil and more!
PAPAYA CASTOR SCALP MASSAGING SERUM
This daily scalp treatment was formulated to provide hydration and nourishment at the root. It’s a lightweight serum that readily absorbs into the scalp. It soothes and cools, promoting a healthy environment for hair growth - great to use while protective styling! Ingredient highlight: Papaya Fruit Extract, Castor Oil, Mango Seed Butter, and Aloe Vera.
Round 2: Practices
Oiling the scalp is self-explanatory. It’s a way to alleviate itching, prevent dandruff and promote growth. While a number of different oils can be used, it’s important to opt for those that easily absorb into the skin to assure the scalp is actually reaping benefits. Some examples: Peppermint oil, Tea Tree Oil, Coconut Oil and Jojoba Oil. Many routinely treat their scalp with oil on a daily or every other day basis.
Co-washing is a practice intended to remove buildup between regular shampoos. Essentially, it means using a conditioner to wash the hair. Co-washes are conditioners containing very gentle cleansing agents that can break down product build-up on the scalp and hair while also infusing moisture back into them. Co-washing does not replace regular shampoo sessions, but it can be especially beneficial to those prone to buildup. As an example, if a person normally shampoos every 10 days, on day 5, they would co-wash.
Congratulations! You made it to the end of our “This or That” game. We’d love to hear your results! In the comments below, be sure to share which matchups were your favorites, along with your winning picks.