Wednesday, September 4, 2013

My Natural Hair Care Routine

I love my hair. I also love talking about my hair. So when a reader asked what products I use I practically jumped over myself to create a post on the topic.

Here are the natural hair care products I use, listed in the order I use them along with some Amazon affiliate links to where you can buy them, if you choose. None of these products contain synthetic fragrances or parabens. They're all made without animal products or animal testing. Most are fair trade and use organic ingredients. So I have an afrotastic hair day and nobody gets hurt. Yay!

Hair Typing: I'm not sure how much hair typing matters, but I do find it useful for managing expectations on how my hair should look after using a certain product or styling technique. I have 4A hair, which means it grows in lots of tiny, defined, and supertight coils. (You can discover your hair type here.)
Remembering that there are little distinctions even within hair types might help you determine if the products I use and how I use them will work for you. In other words, please don't get mad at me if your hair doesn't like the products I use.

My hair, today, showing it's natural curl pattern. (It hasn't been stretched or styled.)

Deep Condition: Everyday Coconut Super Hydrating Conditioner, Beautiful Curls Shea Butter Deep Conditioning Treatment, or coconut oil. I finger comb or use a wide toothed comb to distribute about 1/3 cup evenly through damp hair. I put on two shower caps or reuse plastic bags (produce bags are great for this) and a warm knit cap. I leave my hair alone for about 30 minutes. Now is the perfect time to work up a sweat cleaning up around the house. The steam created by body heat helps the conditioning process.

Shampoo or No Poo: Alaffia Kola, Ginger & Shea Daily Fortifying Shampoo. (I'm not sure if they still make it.) The bottle I used before this one was Alaffia Neem & Shea Scalp Recovery Shampoo. Both are sulfate-free, meaning they are low poo. low suds, non-drying, and non abrasive. This keeps curls happy. I only shampoo once and don't use a lot of shampoo. Squeaky clean is too clean. Hair needs some oils to stay awesome.
If you're dead set against shampoos, or just thrifty, an alternative to shampoo is the Baking Soda No Poo method.I tried it once. It does work.

Final Rinse: Once all the shampoo is rinsed from my hair, I do a final rinse with 2-4 TBS Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) + 8-10 oz homemade herb infused water or 2-4 TBS ACV + 8-10 oz water + 4 drops essential oil. (Lavender is my herb/essential oil of choice.) I do not rinse this out. It leaves my hair supershiny and the smell of vinegar eventually dissipates.

Dry: I gently squeeze hair dry then partially towel dry. I use Aquis Microfiber Hair Towel.

Leave in Conditioner: In a spray bottle, I mix together 1 part aloe vera gel (Aloe 80 Organics Skin Soothing Gel) with 3 parts filtered water and a few drops of essential oil. (Again, you can also use herb-infused water in place of filtered water and skip the essential oil, but for some reason I'm just thinking of this!)

Moisturizer/ Hot Oil Treatment: Coconut oil is a great way to seal in the moisture from leave-in conditioner. I usually want a hot oil treatment after washing, so I heat it by placing a small cup of oil (I use a sake glass) in a larger bowl of hot water. The heat makes the oil extra potent. 
When I rock a wash-and-go, I rub it through my damp hair with my palms so I don't disturb my natural curl pattern. If I am going to wear two-strand twists, I may use a comb or brush.
I've used many brands of coconut oil. Right now I'm using Dr. Bronner's White Kernel. Last month I used Dr. Bronner's Whole Kernel Coconut Oil. I haven't noticed a difference in results. I just buy what's on sale at Whole Foods. I like olive oil too. I would recommend always going for organic and food quality oil.

Touch-up/ In-between wash days: I do all the above every one to two weeks. Every other day or so, I mist my hair with my DIY leave-in conditioner and seal in moisture with a little coconut oil.

Random Tips: Healthy hair is part of a healthy body. A food based multivitamin supports hair growth and strength. (My hair stylist says a prenatal vitamin is even better.) Eating healthy fats like flax seeds and flax seed oil, coconut oil, walnuts, and avocados help keep your hair and skin well moisturized. 
Water is a friend of hair. I drink lots of water. I also let the steam from a hot shower treat my hair as well.
Massaging your scalp with your fingertips is also beneficial for scalp health and hair growth.

What hair products do you use? What's your routine?

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  1. I use a lot of similar stuff to you Olivia...We don't have Whole Foods on Big Island (crying out loud)...but I try to find what I can for cheap at our Health Food Stores or Vitamin Shoppe. Weirdest thing about my once abundant tight curls vanished into a frizzy mess. Got the book by the Deva Curl lady and started searching online and immediately started using baking soda and coconut oil...recently added the apple cider so excited to try your leave in conditioning blend. my curl is slowly resurfacing. great post as always! My Vegan, Organic Blogging Idol!!!

    1. "My Vegan, Organic Blogging Idol!!!" You know how to make a brown girl blush! :-) thank you! Funny you mention Deva Curl. I got THE BEST haircut at their salon in NYC (SOHO) a few years ago! I'm going back later this month for my birthday. So excited! Hugs and have a gorgeous hair day! (I like your hair!)

  2. Olivia, jealous of your trip to Deval Curl in definitely deserve a trip back for your bday...I have never had a "correct" curly hair cut, which seems so odd to me at 37. You would think more would be educated in curly girl/boy cuts. Come on, we make up a lot of the population too...And same with products. I have had some expensive cuts and been told I had to use specific $$$$$ brands which just ruined my hair. So thankful for simple organic products to snap my hair back to life. I have been telling my hubby about so many of your posts. He says he is an "O.G." Green Hippy...But now even he doubts his knowledge after me showing him your blog. We both agree if we lived in Boston we would want to be your friend and learn more from you...

    1. Oh <3 <3 Well if you ever come visit, mi ciudad es tu ciudad! I'm in Providence (a hour from Boston). It's superfun and very chill here. In the meantime, we are webby friends, which is 90% just as awesome!



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