Hair Essentials: What Could You Do Without?

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In my conversations with other natural-haired ladies, we often share our product and styling regimens. Shampoos, pre-poos, conditioners, deep conditioners, leave-in treatments, oils, Curlformers, flexi-rods, clips, pins, and combs – at times it can be information overload!

When I first went natural, I fell into the trap of product junky-ism. I ended up spending a lot of time and money learning how to care for and style my hair, and while the time was well-spent, a good amount of the money was not. Natural hair sites and Fotki pages had me picking up any product or tool that worked for someone else. I bought products according to “hair type” – the alphanumeric classification where your hair could be a 2a, 3c, or 4b, or any mixture of them all. I tried to find my “hair twin” – that other naturalista whose curls looked similar in texture to mine – and followed her regimen. Sometimes it would work, sometimes it wouldn’t. At the end of the day, I learned 3 important lessons during my bout of product junky-ism:

  1. Most people are genuinely trying to help by sharing their product and styling regimen. Use them as references.
  2. Be aware that some people/brands are preying on your naivet√©. Do not allow anyone to take advantage of the fact that you’re still learning about your hair.
  3. Everyone’s hair is different. I’ve thrown the whole “hair typing” and “hair twin” significance out the window, because once it’s all said and done, everyone’s hair reacts differently to various products or styling. Use your references, but learn how to work with your hair.

That being said, I started thinking the other day about hair minimalism. Though my current regimen is pretty damn simple, I wondered what the bare minimum of products/tools would be for me. Here’s what I came up with:

  • A wide-tooth comb: Finger detangling is great, but I’ll admit that I don’t always have the patience for it. A good wide-tooth comb with rounded tips is the best thing for me to use to detangle and part my hair.
  • Pure coconut oil: I can’t live without it. My hair follicles shout for joy when I use coconut oil to condition and style my hair. It’s such a versatile care and styling aid that I have to have it!
  • Shea butter: Another simple staple for me. I can use it to twist, seal ends, slick down baby hairs – and it’s good for my hair too!
  • Bobby pins: I need ones like this. My hair laughs in the face of bobby pins like this. I can pin up my twists, pin my hair into a bun, ¬†get it up out of my way, and do whatever I need to do. Bobby pins (the thuggish ruggish kind) are great, inexpensive friends of mine.
  • A good shampoo/conditioner combo: I’ve gotta wash my hair, right? Herbal Essences or Earthtones Naturals are two of my tried and true favourites – give me a shampoo and conditioner, and I’m good to go.
  • A satin head scarf: As I wrote in my recent Three Naturals guest post, a satin scarf is vital to good overnight hair care. Plus, it can double as a scarf for bad hair days, or a tool to tie down my baby hairs after I’ve slathered them with shea butter!

I think that’s pretty much it! If I needed to get right down to the bare minimum, this is what I’d be rockin’ with. No Denman brush, no blow dryer, no hooded dryer, no zillions of lotions, potions, and mixtures – just the basics.

Have you ever fallen into the trap of product junky-ism? Are you still in it, or have you managed to dig yourself out? If you had to go down to the bare hair minimum, what products/tools would you keep?

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6 Responses to “Hair Essentials: What Could You Do Without?”

  1. MiahLove February 28, 2012 at 9:45 am #

    Gurrll you must have been reading my mind lolol!! I went to the hair store yesterday to simply purchase two things…conditioner and hair moisturizer. I was COMPLETELY overwhelmed, because I was bombarded by what seemed like hundreds different brands and their catchy marketing! I was also shocked by extremely high prices of the natural hair products!! I mean call me cheap, but $40 for a 200ml leave in cream just seemed outrageous to my wallet lmao!!

    One of the things that I love about your blog is the fact that you give amazing beauty advice, that is SIMPLE and AFFORDABLE and NATURAL (ie. things that are in my kitchen cupboard lol)!!

    P. S. I also just started the skin oil cleansing method that you recommend a while back and hun, it has been working wonders!!!!! I WILL NEVER BUY ANOTHER DRUG STORE CLEANSER AGAIN!! My skin has already started to glow and I definitely recommend that you re-post that article again!! I truly don’t think women understand how much damage these drugstore products do to our skin. The same thing goes for these hair products (I literally couldn’t pronounce half of the ingredients in the “natural hair” care products that I checked out yesterday…and I ain’t no dummy lmao)!!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing the knowledge xoxo!

    Bee for mayor!!!!

    • Bee March 1, 2012 at 11:32 am #

      LOL @ “Bee for mayor”!

      Yeah, honestly it stared becoming too overwhelming and costly to try and buy every new thing that came out. I’m not against trying to new stuff that will be effective and help me achieve something I’m struggling with (whether it’s a new style or improving the health of my hair), but having a closet full of half-used products isn’t the move. Lol.

      Glad the oil cleansing is working for you too!!!

  2. Christina Majaski February 29, 2012 at 4:32 pm #

    Great list. I’m a huge fan of coconut oil for lots of uses including hair. I use it on my skin and lips and stuff too. I’m going to guess that in all products especially hair, the more natural ingredients the better.

    • Bee March 1, 2012 at 11:35 am #

      Thanks! Yes, coconut oil is my savior most days. I started using it on my lips, and had a lot of bad drying and cracking, which I wasn’t expecting. I’m going to try it on my lips again soon and see what happens…

      I think it’s good to be mindful of what is in the products we’re using, but I don’t follow any hard and fast rules. A lot of people would never use a product with sulfates or silicones in them for example, but sometimes those work amazingly for me with no damage…so I say just know what works for you. Natural is simple, and that’s what I like best of all!

  3. ms_mignon March 4, 2012 at 1:54 pm #

    Bee thank you so much for your blog and posts on hair! I have been natural for most of my life, but have never really tried to find a regime that worked. Now that it’s winter and I have experienced post partum hair loss my hair has been a HOT frizzy mess!

    Your posts and links helped me open my eyes that there is a whole group of black women who are embracing their natural hair, so now I feel like I have more resources at my disposal. I used to just accept the frizz, matted-ness, tangles, ect but now I realize I have no excuse. There’s hope! Lol

    Thanks again,

    • Bee March 4, 2012 at 3:01 pm #

      Hey Ang!

      Thanks so much for commenting! There are a ton of us out here just trying to learn from each other, so you’re not alone! And if it helps you at all, I think your hair is GORGEOUS and you gave me hope when I started out! I hope the site continues to help you out!

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