Fay wrote in asking "Hi Nia, Can you tell me please, what is your routine now? What products do you actually use and how? I started reading your blog going back to the Skala Shea Butter and the Herbal Essences products but so many things have come on the market since then and I've made so many product (expensive) foe pars that I just want to get back to basics and/or get back to a stable routine. I trust your opinion so any advice you can give would be appreciated. Many thanks"
Hi Fay! It's been a while since I updated on changes on my haircare regime and I've found lot more new products that I absolutely love since then! With regards to making expensive product foe pars we all do it now and then - it's just apart of the process of trial and error. The best advice I can give you is do your research: read multiple reviews, analyse what the potential pitfalls or benefits of buying that product is then decide whether it's worth the money to try it out.
My haircare regimes is mostly based on the K.I.S.S (Keep It Simple Sister) Regime - which consist of only the essential things needed to keep and grow healthy afro or curly hair. It is a great starting point to design a haircare regime. Anyway I've listed below my favourite staple products that I love using and I would recommend others to try as well. Remember all hair is so individual so I cannot guarantee that these products will work for you but in my opinion are the best I've tried so keep that in mind. I've also included how I use products below as well.
I shampoo my hair weekly using Australian Organics Intensive Care Shampoo (£4.99). This particular shampoo is designed for dry, coloured or chemically treated hair so it is very gentle on my curls but it still cleanses well. It also SLS-free and paraben free. Another shampoo I have been trying out for a little while but really liking is Design Essentials Natural Curl Cleanser Sulfate Free Shampoo. This shampoo is extremely concentrated so you only have to use the tiniest amount to cleanse the hair and scalp. This shampoo is also quite mild and cleanses the hair without stripping it dry.
Before I shampoo my hair I section into 8 and braid the sections. Then I wet the braids with water and apply the shampoo to the braids and scalp. I do this to reduce hair loss/breakage as your hair is at it's weakest when it's wet and hair together is stronger then singular strands. It also helps to apply the shampoo to the scalp easily.
After I shampoo I always follow up with a deep conditioner. Deep conditioning restores moisture to the hair and helps to prevent damage and breakage. I have a few favourite store bought including: Organic Root Stimulator Deep Penetrating Conditioner (£3.79)- an old favourite which is great at adding moisture and adding life to damaged hair; III Sister of Nature Once a Week Nourishing Treatment (£6.99) - which is great for strengthening hair and gives my hair the most brilliant curl definition; and also Lush H'suan Wen Hua (£8.95) - another old favourite which is packed with lots of natural ingredients, protein and it also great at strengthening tired hair.
I apply my deep conditioner of choice to my hair in sections, detangle and then braid those section. I use processing cap and cover with a towel for at least 30mins and rinse,
I also tend to use home made conditioner a lot of the time because I can modify the ingredients according to the needs of my hair that particular week. Check some of those recipes here.
Mid-Week Washing / Co-Wash
During the week, in between shampoos, I might do a conditioner wash (co-wash) if I feel I've got a build up or if I want to do a wash'n'go style. However, I'm starting to move away from doing conditioner washes because I find if I leave my hair in a wash'n'go I'm more prone to single strand knots. So I tend to more stretched styles using light products that don't build up or protective styles.
But my favourite rinse-out/co-wash conditioner has to be Curly Q's Coconut Dream Moisturising Conditioner (£10.99). It super moisturising and the curl definition it gives my hair, is fantastic!
I'll apply a leave-in almost daily and before styling my hair because my hair tends to get dry quickly. I also like to apply a leave-in in my night time routine which just consist of a quick detangle and sectioning/braiding.
A new product I will be repurchasing very soon is the Tropic Isle Living Leave in Conditioner & Detangler (£12.99). It contains Organic Aloe Juice, Shea and Jamaican Castor Oil. It's easy to apply and just improves the condition of your hair, leaves it soft and manageable.
A great cheaper alternative I sometimes use is Organic Root Stimulator Elastic-I-Tea (£3.79) which gives great curl definition as well. Another leave-in I like is I Love Afro Moisture Mist (£8.99) which great at moisturising.
I apply a sealant after I moisturise my hair. It's a must step for me otherwise my hair loses moisture. Something I been using for a while now FroHer Brazilian Beauty Softening Hair Butter (£14.99), it's expensive but you only need the tiniest amount to seal the end of your hair. Another favourite is I Love Afro Choco Butter Melt Hair Tamer (£10.99) which has a gorgeous chocolate scent and reduces frizz. Also Mmm... Hair Conditioning Balm (£9.95) which I reviewed last year and must be one the only products I given 5 out of 5.
*Sealants can be quite expensive so if your on a budget you can use your favourite natural oils/butters. I like Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Extra Virgin Coconut Oil and Castor Oil.
My favourite multipurpose styling and haircare product has to be Taliah Waajid Curly Curl Cream (£4.99/£11.99). I don't know what about this product which makes it so magical but I thick consistency. It has great hold, it's moisturising, doesn't build, it great for wash'n'go or twist-out/braid-out style. I love this stuff! I recommend this to anyone looking for styling cream.
I moved away from using gel but my favourites have to the infamous Eco Styler Gel for my edges and Curls Unleashed Set It Off Curl Boosting Jelly (£8.49) for adding definition and holding curls.
Do you have a hair or beauty question? Need some hair styling advice? Contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org