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Saturday, January 9, 2016

Favorite Natural Curly Girl Products for 3C/4A/4B Low Porosity Hair

(List of products and images are further down...scroll down to skip my tips one use)
There are a lot of naturals who swear by certain products and have a good handle on everything about their hair from texture, to type to density and porosity. Some of us are playing catch up...even if we are not newly natural.

My hair: 3C/4A with some 4B strands; LOW POROSITY, high density and fine to normal hair texture. I have been natural for a little over 4 years; yes I did a big chop to about a 1 inch of hair. My hair was between 20-22 inches before my last trim (Dec 2015) and now it is about 18-19 inches in most places. For the longest time I thought my hair was coarse and I had no clue about porosity. But the more I researched ( a LOT) I learned more and more. So now I can really begin to care for my hair properly (after this demi-permanent color exits stage left SMH...darn grey hairs!).

See how I have what appears to be a 3C curl clump and nearby is a 4A. In the middle photo you can see the 4A/4B strands and above you can see the hair without product looking dry as the desert and super frizzy.

I tried all types of products over the 2015 year and I added a few great ones in the mix, and returned to some of the ones I've been using for a few years. Although I am not as big of a stickler for ingredients, I do stay away from products with mineral oils, parabens, and sulfates. Most of the products I use do not have silicones and my styling products do not have alcohol. I wish I could use flaxseed gel, but my hair does not seem to respond very well and is always dry and brittle. But it's ok. The majority of the products that my hair responds well to are not that expensive, technically not a "natural" specific product, thus they can be found in Target, Walmart or Walgreens (except my Rhassoul Clay. I now get that from Mountain Rose Herbs for about $10 for a pound).

My current favorite products for my 3C/4A/4B low porosity, high density hair

Here are my MUST haves:
Giovanni Smooth as Silk Deeper Moisture Conditioner 
Aussie Moist 3 Minute Miracle Conditioning Treatment
Trader Joes Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner
Rhassoul Clay (Mountain Rose Herbs)
Ampro Pro Styl Curl Enhancer Activator (With Coconut and Aloe or Olive Oil and Aloe)
***I have used Proclaim Activator Gel and Long Aid Activator Gel too. I will have to do a separate review on all three once I have them all at the same time.
Xtreme Wet Line Styling Gel (green top)
Eco Styler with Argan Oil (yellow gel with red top)
Jojoba Oil (buying direct from the Jojoba Company or Whole Foods...believe it or not, can be cheaper).

I have these but don't use as often, but I still like these below products
*Garnier Fructis Tripple Nutrition (I will use this if I am out of the others, or in warmer months)
*Curls Goddess Curl Botanical gel (I cannot use by itself, but will sometimes use it in conjunction with something else based on the style of my hair)
*Leave-in-Conditioner: Giovanni Direct Leave In (I use on non-wash-n-go styles, which is not often at all. If I run out of my Giovanni Deep conditioner I sometimes use this a a pre-poo/co-wash).
*I do have two containers of Emma & Sana Ghassoul Clay, but I will only use if I run out of my Mountain Rose Herbs brand which I like a little better, plus its much cheaper!
I also have some Shea Moisture products, but I haven't bought them in a while and do not tend to use them in the colder months as much. The Curling Custard is one I like to use combined with the Curls "Goddess Curls." These are not my "must-haves" per-se, and while I do have and use them occasionally, I do not buy them often. I used them more often when my hair was shorter. Now than my hair is longer, it appears to prefer the products above.  I intend to try the Aubrey Organics brand, but not until I use up most of what I currently have. I had (have ;-) a tendency to buy different products before my products I own are used up. I will be posting soon showing ALL of the products I tried in 2015. I didn't realize how many I had until I took them out to take pictures. Sheessshhh.

The products I listed above are the products that work for me right now. I own a hair steamer and always sit under my hair steamer for 10-15 minutes when I deep condition, and then put a plastic cap on, and either immediately wrap it with a towel or sit under a soft hood dryer for another 15 minutes. My deep conditioning treatment is always done with steam/heat and always on for a minimum of 30 minutes. My hair is funny in that it didn't respond well to the flaxseed matter how many ways I tried it, my hair ended up dry, crunchy and sometimes with a white film randomly scattered throughout. I will try it again in the summer.

I found that spraying aloe vera juice with water mist on my clean, product-free, freshly cleansed hair makes my hair dry and brittle. However my hair does like some products with aloe vera already included in the product (go-figure). I won't say that my hair does not like aloe vera juice, I will just say that I have not figured out the proper use for my hair just yet...because both turn my hair into a frizzy or brittle mess. I did try something new today. I sprayed my hair with the aloe juice water mist to "refresh my curls," which already some curl enhancer and Xtreme styling gel on it. When it dried it was more frizzy that before I added it. However, I added more around the edged and slicked it back into a banana clip (bun) and the results were not bad. Not as smooth and slick as if I smoothed with a top coat of gel, but my hair has remained soft and does not feel dryer than before, even though the ends of my hair are way more frizzy than before the aloe spritz.

Ok so first you can see where my hair naturally separates because of my long standing parts. But this is how my hair looked after I spritz the aloe vera juice water on it and slicked it in a bun. My hair in the bun is super frizzy...hence why it was pulled back. It was not as frizzy prior to the water spritz. This was applied on hair with gel already in it.

I find that my hair does not care for leave-in conditioners when doing my wash-n-go styles in the colder months. I have not figured out if weather makes a difference. But once I stopped adding my leave in conditioners (I tried the Kinky Curly Knot Today, Giovanni, and a few others) my hair dried much softer and less brittle. My hair doesn't seem to respond like the majority of the girls report on all of these blogs. My hair doesn't absorb butters and heavy oils the same. So the quest continues since sooooo many ladies with my "same hair type" rave about it. I have to figure out my mistakes or the way that works right for me.

Any time I put conditioner on my hair, I make sure it is very warm, or I sit under a steamer or dryer. If I add water to a mixture, I always add filtered water. To heat my conditioner, I sit the bottle of conditioner in a cup of really hot or boiling water (I do not microwave the conditioner...never do that. It may change the structure of the ingredients). My hair soaks up the conditioner and feels very soft and amazing. The baking soda helps to lift my hair cuticles to allow it to absorb more of the goodies (conditioner ingredients) on my hair. I do not use baking soda every week, especially since I clarify with Rhassoul clay. But there are times where I may use it a few times a month, especially if I have heavy amounts of product or I have not been able to co-wash or cleanse in over 5 days. I do not over do it or add too much (usually a tablespoon to 6 oz of conditioner), but it works for me. I am not endorsing or telling anyone to go out and do what I am doing. I am sharing this information, for educational purposes, to hopefully help add to your own personal journey and help you put the pieces together for your own hair puzzle. I know if it were not for the many youtube videos, blog posts and comments to the posts, I would have never learned what I know now the way I did. So hopefully this post helps someone else out.

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