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 naiveté. 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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