Basic Products for a Healthy Hair Regimen
A good moisturizing shampoo is one that cleanses while softening and detangling your hair. When purchasing a shampoo that claims to be “moisturizing,” scan the ingredients. If you spot multiple sulfates (e.g. ammonium lauryl sulfate, ammonium laureth sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate, and sodium laureth sulfate), the shampoo is geared towards removing product buildup and oils from the hair rather than providing moisture.
Suggestions: Kurlee Belle Almond and Shea Butter Moisturizing Shampoo
Clarifying & Chelating Shampoo
A good clarifying shampoo will deep clean to remove product build up and oils without stripping the hair. A chelating shampoo deep cleans as well but hair but also removes minerals that have attached to the hair from hard water and even no-lye relaxers. When minerals and products build up on the hair they prevent conditioners and moisturizers from penetrating into the hair.
Suggestions: Redken Hair Cleansing Cream Shampoo
Co-Washing Cleansing Conditioner
A cleansing conditioner is a conditioner that moisturizes while gently cleansing the hair. Co-washing is a great way to add moisture to tresses while lightly and gently cleansing the hair and scalp.
Suggestions: Eden BodyWorks Coconut Shea Cleansing CoWash • As I Am Coconut Cleansing Conditioner
Moisturizing Deep Conditioner
When looking for a moisturizing deep conditioner, scan the ingredients for a few things. Look for fatty alcohols like cetearyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, and stearyl alcohol. Fatty alcohols are emollients, moisturize and condition our hair, and provide slip. Also look for humectants like glycerin, aloe vera, and honey. Humectants draw moisture into the air but be careful. If your hair is very porous your hair will drink up moisture easily. Too much moisture will lead to moisture overload.
Suggestions: Thank God It’s Natural Honey Miracle Hair Mask • HairVeda Deep Conditioning Hair Masque • SheScentIt Curl Moist • Mielle Organics Babassu Oil & Mint Deep Conditioner
Protein conditioners come in various strengths (e.g. a hard protein treatment like ApHogee Two Step Protein Treatment, a milder protein treatment like Silk Dreams Hair Care Mocha Silk Infusion). The strength you use depends on how sensitive your hair is to protein. For some (like me) milder protein treatments get the job done without risking protein overload, for others using a hard protein treatment is just what the hair doctor ordered.
Keep in mind that relaxed hair requires more protein than natural hair because relaxers break apart the protein bonds in hair. Where relaxed hair may benefit from a heavy protein treatment, natural hair does not require such treatments.
Moisturizing Leave-in / Moisturizer
Many moisturizers can be used as leave-in conditioners. Water-based moisturizers help restore moisture to your hair in between deep conditioning sessions. My reviews of moisturizers can be found here.
A light oil to seal in the moisturizer, like coconut or grapeseed oil. Using an oil to seal in your moisturizer traps moisture into your hair. For more on the benefits of sealing, check out this post.