Finding the perfect natural hair care products for your curls can be a difficult task, as different curls require very different care. The struggle ranges from trying to find products that infuse strands (and the scalp) with moisture without weighing your hair down. Plus, you want your strands to look and feel healthy. This means finding the perfect balance of products for curly hair that hydrate and define while simultaneously adding shine and fighting frizz and breakage.
This might seem like a tall order but we promise, finding the holy grail natural hair care routine doesn’t need to be a lifelong challenge. Thankfully, wearing your hair in its natural state is becoming increasingly mainstream and cool (though wasn’t it always?) which means there are even more products and formulas to choose from. The key to finding the best hair products for curly hair however, is to find ones that work with your natural hair type and texture, not against it.
You want to embrace and enhance your au natural curls and spend less time battling it. To choose the right products for your hair you need to first establish your hair type and hair goals. Ultimately, there will be a period of trial and error. Because your curls are unique you need to discern what ingredients, technique, and formulas will help create your dream hair.
To make this quest a little easier we’ve created the ultimate guide to choosing the best hair products for your curls. From shampoo and leave-in conditioners to styling creams and oils we’ve compiled everything your curls need to look and feel their best. Plus, what you should look for when establishing a new natural hair care routine.
Know Your Hair Type
Before you can even start shopping for natural hair products, you need to know your hair. This goes beyond just knowing your general curl pattern and more often than not you’ll have several different curl patterns on your head. Instead you need to consider the width and diameter of your waves, your porosity, density, and texture.
To identify your unique natural curl type it’s best to take a two-pronged approach. First, look at your curls when they are wet. Observe and feel how much hair you have per inch, is it coarse or fine? If your hair has a more oval shape this typically means you have coily hair whereas a more circular shape means you have curlier hair.
Essentially curly hair types are broken down like this:
Type 2 = Wavy:
Has a bendable S pattern that lays close to the head. Easily straightened.
Type 3 = Curly
More prone to frizz. Ranges from loose loops to springy corkscrew patterns.
Type 4 = Coily
Naturally dry and prone to shrinkage. Has tight, small curls typically in a zigzag pattern.
From here they’re broken down into subcategories based on the pattern, or the width and diameter, of your hair type:
Type A = Wide pattern
Type B = Medium pattern
Type C = Small pattern
Once you’ve identified your hair pattern you’ll want to tackle step two. We recommend keeping a hair journal to monitor how your curls or coils react to different products and environments. This also includes how much your hair absorbs those products as this determines its porosity. Because everyone’s curls react differently it’s best to see how these varying factors impact your hair. Still not sure what your hair type is? Not to worry, take the African Pride Talking Texture Hair Quiz now plus get a free sample of the product line that’s right for you.
Define Your Hair Goals
Now that you know what general category your curls fall into, you can take a closer look at your hair needs and ultimate objectives. Keep in mind these should be realistic goals based on your natural hair. If you have Type 4C hair for example, your goal shouldn’t be to create looser curls but instead, to properly hydrate your hair and eliminate frizz or breakage.
Natural hair products should be selected to satisfy your hair’s unique need, then you should narrow these down to 2-3 specific goals. Take a close look at your hair, especially when it’s clean and dry with no other products in it. Does it feel dry? Is your scalp flaking? Do you have breakage or split ends? Do you have frizz or dullness? Do your curls lose shape easily?
Consider what your hair’s biggest needs are and let that dictate how you shop for products. Dry hair that flakes or gets split ends and frizz likely needs moisture and protein. Oiler hair that loses shape easily needs clarifying and definition.
Look At The Ingredients
Before we talk about what ingredients you should look for in curly hair care products, let’s consider the ingredients that you should always avoid. Harmful chemicals and alcohols will strip your hair of its natural oils that help protect strands. Avoid any products with sulfates, silicones, or parabens as these can cause dryness, frizz, and damage.
Instead, look for all-natural ingredients that are full of proteins, vitamins, and fatty-acids. Coconut oil is an all-time curly favorite due to its ultra-hydrating properties. Plus, it deeply penetrates the scalp and strands for conditioning and strengthening. That’s why we made it the star ingredient of our Honey & Coconut Oil Shampoo and our Coconut Oil Conditioner.
You’ll also notice African honey in several of our products. Honey has so many benefits (read all about them here: 7 Ways African Pride Honey Can Transform Your Natural Hair) including smoothing frizz, moisturizing, promoting growth, and detoxifying the scalp.
In addition to these amazing ingredients, we recommend Shea Butter for wavy hair and Flaxseed Oil and Aloe Vera for curly hair. For coily hair, Olive Oil is one of the best natural ingredients due to its ability to seal in moisture and prevent breakage. Our Olive Miracle 2-in-1 Shampoo is a great way to revitalize dry strands while you wash.
Some of our other favorite natural ingredients? Argan Oil, Tea Tree Oil, Soybean Oil, and Jojoba Oil.
Don’t Believe Everything You Read
Your curls are unique. That’s a fact. This means that what works for your friends, your sister, or other family members may not work best for you. It’s actually fairly common to have a completely different hair type than your family.
When it comes to online reviews, getting another opinion on a new hair product can be very helpful. You want to trust that what you’re buying will actually work and let’s face it, we all get influenced by what celebrities and beauty gurus recommend.
Caring for your natural curls however, is a very personal journey. Maybe a certain formula, product, or ingredient is a miracle for some but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will transform your locks. Similarly, somebody might give a negative review of a product but that doesn’t mean it won’t work on your hair type. Before you give into the hype (or negativity) of a product take the time to see who is giving those reviews and if they share your hair type or not. Similarly, it’s possible those people weren’t using it properly or in the same way you would need to.
While some products really are miracle workers, most of us will have to go through some trial and error. It’s better to carefully select your products based on the criteria we’ve outlined here and then try it for yourself.
How many of you try a product once, don’t see immediate results and give up? We’ve all done it whether it’s a skin care serum or hair cream. When it comes to hair care (and skin care) good things take time.
Most products don’t work instantly. In fact, it typically takes 4 weeks for your cells to regenerate meaning you need to consistently use a new product for at least 30 days before you can expect to see very visible results.
This can be difficult, especially in a culture where we can pretty much get anything immediately at the push of a button. Practice patience as best you can and give your new hair care products a chance before giving up. We promise the wait is worth it for healthy, beautiful hair.
Our Best Products For Curly Hair
At African Pride we happily use all-natural ingredients in our products and formulate them without harmful chemicals, parabens, or sulfates. All our products are made for wavy, curly, and coily hair of all textures and patterns.
We do however, have our favorites for curly hair. We love our Argan Oil Curl Mousse for Type 2A-2B to add more texture and oomph. For Type 2C hair our nourishing Moisture Miracle Leave-in Conditioner is a lightweight way to add shine and hydration to hair.
Type 3 hair is tighter and springier, and much more prone to frizz. We recommend a Braid Sheen Spray for Type 3A hair while 3B will greatly benefit from a curl defining product like our Gel N’ Cream.
Fight frizz on Type 3C hair with a hydrating Flaxseed Oil Curling Cream and nourishing conditioner. When it comes to Type 4 hair, dryness is typically the biggest concern. All Type 4 hair regardless of texture will greatly benefit from nourishing, hydrating ingredients. Opt for our Moisture Miracle 5 Essential Oils, Shea Butter Curl Styling Custard, and a Deep Penetrating Conditioning Treatment to quench thirsty strands.
Naturally, finding a hair care routine that works perfectly will take a little bit of trial and error. Armed with the right products and ingredients for your hair type, plus a bit of patience however, achieving your dream hair will be easy. Remember, the key is to embrace and enhance your natural curls. Just like you they’re unique and deserve a chance to shine.