Individual Product Reviews
Beautiful Curls - Shea Butter Curl Enhancing Shampoo
This is a fair trade product that is a moisture rich combination of shea butter and coconut oil. It does not contain any sodium lauryl sulfates, wheat, soy, and is vegan and gluten free. It was not tested on animals, is biodegradable, and contains no synthetic fragrance! But BEST OF ALL...it is remarkably effective. After I wash my hair with this shampoo, it feels soft and moisturized. Subsequent de-tangling is not difficult. And it has a yummy texture and smell.
Ingredients: Chamomile extract, water, yarrow extract, saponified shea butter, virgin coconut oil, decyl polyglucose, cocamidopropyl betaine, magnesium sulfate, choline chloride, coconut oil and prunus armeniaca (apricot) fruit extract, ylang ylang flower extract.
Can be purchased online at http://www.beautifulcurls.net/ or at Wholefoods for about $12
Aubrey Organics - Island Naturals Replenishing Shampoo
This shampoo really gets your hair clean. It feels slightly striped, but...sometimes you need that. I would not use this shampoo often, and you must replenish the moisture and oils after using it. It does not lather as much as typical shampoos with sodium lauryl sulfates. I certainly keep a bottle in my cabinet for those times when I just have so much goop build-up, and need a good squeaky clean.
Ingredients: Aqua, coco glucoside, sodium cocoyl hydrolyzed soy protein, aloe barbadensis (aloe) leaf juice, oryza sativa (rice) syrup, glycerine, glucose, alcohol denat, xanthan gum, cocos nucifera (coconut) fruit juice, citric acid, pimenta acris (bay) leaf oil, pimenta dioica fruit extract, prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond) oil, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, butyrospermum parkii (she butter), mangifera indica seed butter, citrus grandis (grapefruit) seed extract, glucose oxidase, lactoperoxidase, tocopheryl acetate, hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) water, ascorbic acid, glycine soja (soybean) oil, daucus carota sativa (carrot) root extract, beta carotene.
May be purchased at Sprouts, Wholefoods and many other natural/organic stores for about $10
Burt's Bees Baby Bee Shampoo and Wash
This shampoo is a nice, basic, lathering, shampoo without all the toxic additives. It's great for children, and get's your hair clean. It doesn't do much else, however. It does not add softness, or help with detangling. It gets rid of goop, but isn't as 'stripping' as the Aubreys described above (which could be a good or bad thing, depending on your needs that day).
Ingredients: Water, decyl glucoside, lauryl glucoside, coco-betaine, glycine soja (soy) protein, coco-glucoside, glyceryl oleate, sucrose laurate, glycerin, betaine, vanilla planifolia (vanilla) fruit extract, illicium verum (anise) oil, citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) peel oil, citrus medica limonum (lemon) peel oil, eugenia caryophyllus (clove) flower oil, glucose, xanthan gum, glucose oxidase, lactoperoxidase, fragrance
Sprouts, Wholefoods, and even Target carry this popular brand. $9
Kinky-Curly Come Clean Shampoo
This shampoo really gets your hair clean in a "fresh" and "pure" kind of way. It doesn't feel stripped, but rather just free or residue and natural. The lather is nice, and the smell is very nice.
Ingredients: Purified water, organic mandarin orange fruit, organic marigold flower, organic white willow bark, organic sea kelp, c14-16 olefin, sulfonate and cocamidopropyl betaine (coconut derived), citric acid, sea salt, phenoxyethanol, natural fragrance.
May be purchased at Wholefoods and online for about $12
Beautiful Curls - Shea Butter Deep Conditioning Treatment
This is my favorite deep conditioner so far. Like the rest of Beautiful Curls products, is fair trade, vegan, and does not contain synthetic fragrance. It is a thick, concentrated formulation, so a little goes a long way (and this is coming from a girl who LOVES to overdo my conditioners). My very wiry feeling hair is very soft and supple after I use it.
Ingredients: Comfrey extract, water, arnica extract, she butter, aloe vera gel, cetearyl alcohol, behentrimonium chloride, emulsifying wax, penthenol, coconut oil, raspberry and ylang ylang extracts, potassiumm sorbate, magnesium sulfate, choline chloride, citric acid.
Again, can be purchased off the beautiful curls website, or Wholefoods for about $16.
Giovanni Smooth As Silk Deeper Moisture Conditioner
Giovanni products are very easily found, are safer options for hair-care than many other product lines, and are effective. I've used this product as a deep conditioner and for co-washing my hair. It was okay, but did not deliver on the promise of "detangling" and smoothing my hair. It has an amazing citrus smell, and a pretty thick consistency. I actually prefer the Giovanni Direct Leave-in version of this product.
Ingredients: Water, Rosemary extract, citrus aurantium extract, mango extract, lemongrass extract, ginko biloba extract, echinacea angustifolia extract, salix alba (Willow bark), sea kelp extract, chamomilla recutita (matricaria) leaf extract, lavender extract, grapefruit extract, soybean extract, cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, hydrolyzed soy protein, centrimonium bromide, butylene glycol, phenoxyethanol, ethylhexylglycerin, fragrance with essential oils.
Sold at Target/Walmart, Ulta, Sprouts for about $4.
Still looking for a safe, non-toxic reconstructor.
Aubrey Organics Replenishing Conditioner
This conditioner is the business! I've used it both as a deep conditioner, and a 'regular' rinse out conditioner. As a leave-in conditioner it works well, but doesn't absorb as well as others, and the 'finish' isn't as smooth. So I recommend using as a standard rinse out conditioner. After it's use, my hair is very soft and manageable. Also it's fantastic as a co-wash. Typically I apply this conditioner in the shower, and then use a wide tooth comb to comb thru my hair. With this conditioner, a smooth comb-thru the norm. It's thick, and leaves my hair feeling soft even after this brief application.
Found is Wholefoods, Sprouts, and other healthfood stores for about $8.
Aussie Moist Conditioner
Aussie Moist is especially good as a co-wash. The conditioner also has a ton of slip so detangling is easy. It does not contain the worst ingredients, but it is not the "best" either. Aussie moist's advantage is, it's found in Walmart/Target, is inexpensive, effective, delivers good results, and is a relatively safe product. product.
Ingredients: water, stearyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, stearamidopropyl dimethylamine, glutamic acid, fragrance, bis-aminopropyl dimethicone, benzyl alcohol, edta, methylchloroisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone, ecklonia radiata (australian sea kelp) extract, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, aloe barbadensis leaf juice extract.
Found at Target/Walmart, and just about every drug store, grocery store, and beauty supply store for about $6.
Everyday Shea Moisturizing Conditioner (Lavender)
Everyday Shea is paraben-free, has no synthetic fragrance, does not test on animals, and is fair-trade. It is inexpensive, and works well on my daughter's hair (where the performance isn't as important as the safety of ingredients). But, it does perform well. It provides deep moisture, but doesn't have tons of slip. So, as a sole product, I do not recommend it since it makes detangling more difficult.
Ingredients: Aqueous Shea Leaf (Butyrospermum parkii) Extract, Handcrafted Shea (Butyrospermum parkii) Butter, Cetearyl Alcohol (and) Behentrimonium Chloride, Emulsifying Wax, Palm Stearic Acid, Lavender Essential Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Citric Aciddelivers with this leave in conditioner .
Can be purchased at Wholefoods, Sprouts, and other healthfood stores. You get a huge 32oz bottle for about $14.
Beautiful Curls - Curl Activating Shea Butter Leave-in Conditioner
Again, Beautiful Curls delivers with this leave in conditioner. It is a light(ish) conditioner that allows me to comb through my hair without residue. It does not feel sticky or greasy, and it smells great. Like the rest of the BC line, it contains great ingredients.
Ingredients: Arnica montana and comfrey (synphytum officinale) extracts, water, shea butter, virgin coconut oil, cetearyl alcohol, behentrimonium chloride, emulsifying wax, panthenol, coconut oil and raspberry fruit extract, and ylang ylang flower extract, potassium sorbate, magnesium sulfate, choline chloride, citric acid.
Beautiful Curls website or Wholefoods for about $12.
Giovanni Direct Leave-In Weightless Moisture Conditioner
This conditioner is great as a co-wash, and as a standard rinse out in the shower option. It has lots of slip, is light-weight (but thick enough to "stick") and allows me to comb thru my hair in the shower. I have not used it as a leave-in because it doesn't seem to have enough 'oil' to 'stick' to my hair enough to make a difference as it dries. Like the rest of Giovanni products, it's relatively safe, sold everywhere, and is not expensive
Ingredients: Aqua (Purifed) Water, Rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalis) Oil, Nettle (Urtica Dioica) Oil, Thyme (Thymus Vulgaris) Oil, Birch (Butela Alba) Leaf Oil, Chamomilla (Anthemis Nobilis Flower) Oil, Clary (Salvia Sclarea), Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia), Coltsfoot Leaf (Tussilago Fargara), Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium) Oil, Mallow (Malya Sylvestris), Horsetail (Equisetum Arvense) Oil, Soybean (Glycine Soja) Protein, Cetyl Alcohol (Plant Derived), Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E), Trace Minerals, Citric Acid (Corn), Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Grapefruit Seed (Citrus Derived), natural fragrance.
Sold at Wholefoods, Sprouts, and many other common stores such as Target for about for about $8.
John Frieda’s Frizz Ease
I actually like this serum for blow-drying my hair. But I stopped using it when I discovered that my hair does just as well with coconut oil. Like with all serums, the only thing I recommend is not to overdo it – start with a small amount and work up, or it will be greasy
Ingredients: cyclomethicone, dimethiconol, ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, tocopheryl acetate (vitamine e), aloe vera extract .
Sold in most beauty supply stores like Ulta for about $8
Vegetable glycerin is like a serum. It adds shine, adds sheen and maintains moisture. Use this sparingly, otherwise it doesn't absorb well, and the residual may make detangling more difficult. I have not tried this on flat-ironed hair, or blow-dried hair (which is when serums are best). Glycerin can be ordered online, or purchased at natural health food stores.
Kinky-Curly Gloss Pomade
This products is designed to help decrease the crunch factor with the use of the Curling Custard. But, simple jojoba oil does the trick much better. This product is so thick and requires too much manipulation of your coils to really be effective. And it's much too thick (and doesn't distribute well) to use any other way.
I do not recommend this product for these reasons.
Ingredients: avocado oil, borage oil, black currant oil, jojoba oil, pomegranate oil, soybean oil, safflower oil, meadowfoam oil and lemon essential oil.
Sold at Wholefoods, and online at http://kinky-curly.com/ for about $10 for 2oz
Giovanni Shine of the Times Finishing Mist
I LOVE this stuff. My only reservation is, the mist is so fine, and it can't be good to inhale the chemical. But, if I hold my breath, spray, then walk away from the mist cloud, I feel a bit better about myself. The shine this offers is incredible. Especially for straight styles, but even for coily ones. It adds slip, and helps with detangling somewhat. It offers that "finish" that notifies the world that "yes, this hair-do is complete and was intentional."
Can be purchased at healthfood stores like Sprout and Wholefoods, most beauty supply stores, and even Target/Walmart for about $7.
Shea Butter - pure and raw
Pure, raw shea butter is my MUST HAVE product for my natural hair. It is firm and concentrated, packed well and difficult to dig out. BUT once you get a bit onto your hand, and rub your hands together, it melts into a wonderfully sweet smelling, smooth oil. Rub this oil onto your hair, and your hair instantly becomes soft and full of life. It does not weigh down my hair...unless I want it to. I use it (alot of it) to smooth back my pony tail. It keeps the edges smooth, and my hair subsequently has a nice wave pattern after I tie it down with a scarf for 10 minutes. The shea butter obviates the need for me to use gel, or any other product on my hair day to day (as long as I maintain my pony-tail). It washes out easily, and decreases breakage and tangles. I LOVE my shea butter.
Carol's Daughter Hair Milk
This product is one your hair will either love, or hate. On my hair, I don't like the strong smell on me all day (gives me a headache), and it doesn't seem to absorb well into my hair shaft. It leaves a greasy feeling that is superficial, all the while my hair still feels dry.
But my daughter's hair LOVES this stuff. She smells super yummy, her hair feels moisturized, and there's less breakage and more growth. It also has a slight stickiness that holds her pony-tails in nice/smooth positions until they are taken down.
Overall, I recommend this product, because if your hair loves it, you'll be happy you tried it.
Ingredients: Water, Soy Bean Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Vegetable Emulsifying Wax, Cocoa Butter, Shea Butter, Apricot Kernel Oil, Beeswax, Essential Oil Or Lemongrass, Fragrance, Jojoba Oil, Wheat Germ Oil, Vitamin C, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Bicarbonate, Phenoxyethanol, Tetradibutyl Pentaerithrityl, Hydroxyhydrocinnamate .
Dillards, Sephora, and from the Carols Daughter website (https://www.carolsdaughter.com/) for about $20 for 10oz.
Palmer’s Olive Oil Formula Conditioning Spray
I really like this oil spray. It’s light, the smell is wonderful. It adds lots of shine, and my hair feels less dry after using. The major drawback, however, is it contains "fragrance" and the specific chemicals of the fragrance are not listed. As we've learned, "fragrance" can equal over 500 chemicals. And "Green 6" bother's me too. So instead of using this product, why not just use pure olive oil, or pure canola oil?
Ingredients: Canola oil, Isopropyl Myristate, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil*, Dimethicone, Tocopheryl Acetate, Cocyl Hydrolyzed Keratin, Fragrance(Parfum). May Contain Green 6 (Cl61565). *Certified Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Walmart/Target, beauty supply stores $5.
I’ve used jojoba for a long time. It’s a bit heavy. Adding it to my hair when it feels dry will result in heavy oily feel, with dryness underneath. However, my daughter's (3a) hair loves jojoba oil. It penetrates her hair shafts well, and decreases tangles and breakage. I actually LOVE using jojoba oil as a face wash! I apply a little bit to a cotton pad, and rub it onto my face. The oil helps remove grime from my face; the cotton pad acts like a mild exfoliant. And my face glows and any fine lines disappear. LOVE it!!
Is a odorless, colorless light oil. You can get an entire 2 liter, food grade bottle at Costco for less than $15. This oil penetrates my hair very well. I use this oil as a pre-shampoo or pre-conditioner/wash, and depending on how much I use (which typically is ALOT) I still feel a comfortable amount of oil afterwards. Additionally, this pre-poo treatment makes combing out tangles in the shower a breeze with minimal to no breakage. I LOVE grapeseed oil!!
I recently purchased this at Wholefoods upon a recommendation by a naturally coily girl friend. Coconut oil is very light, and adds sheen and shine to dry hair. It's best if applied to dry hair to add moisture. Also, even though I hate coconuts, I love the smell. And this faint/subtle smell is perfect.
Olive oil is all the rage, but my hair isn't a huge fan. Olive oil doesn't penetrate my hair shaft well, and it doesn't mix well with other 'leave-in' products I like to use on my hair. I also tried it on my daughter's hair, and the results were no better.
I prefer grapeseed oil over olive oil.
Organix Vanilla Silk Blow Dry Cream
I used this product during a blow-drying session, and honestly, didn't really appreciate a difference the outcome whether I used it, or not. And because it has some questionable chemical components, it's not worth it for me to use it. But I will add, in the beginning, when my transitioning hair was more relaxed than natural, it did help me "deal" with it better.
Ingredients: Propylene Glycol, Water, Cyclomethicone, Dimethiconol, Cetyl Alcohol, Sodium Polyacrylate, Hydrogenated Polydecene, PVP/VA Copolymer, Trideceth-6, Quaternium-15, Chamomile Extract, Keratin Protein, Silk Protein Amino Complex, Shea Butter, Tocophery, Vitamin E, DMDM Hydantoin, Fragrance .
Amazon $5.99 + 3.00
Chi Silk Infusion
This is a good product. It worked much better for me in the early stages of my transition (because I used to blow dry my hair, and flat-iron it straight). It goes on easily, distributes easily, and seems to protect your hair with high heat. However, it is composed of some questionable chemicals, so unless the benefit clearly outweighs the risks, I would not use it on a regular basis. But for an occasional straightening treatment, I think it works great. A little goes a long way, so a 2oz bottle (at $9) is a fair price.
Ingredients: Cyclomethicone, Dimethiconol, Dimethicone, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Panthenol, Ethyl Ester of Hydrolyzed Silk, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance, D&C Yellow 11, D&C Red 17, Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide, Mica, Boron Nitride Powder.
Kinky Curly Original Curling Custard
I splurged on this product one day while shopping at Wholefoods. It's $30 for 16 oz, and makes great promises of defined, soft, beautiful curls...even for the kinkiest of hair. Well, I eagerly washed my daughter's hair (type 3a hair) and applied the custard. Her hair was BEAUTIFUL. Random people would stop us on the street and ask to feel her soft curls. My other daughter (type 4a hair) required more product, but it was also beautiful. Her tiny little coils were defined, and springy. It was a tiny bit greasy, but better than being hard and crunchy. The drawback was the smell (again with the headache for me) and it took a long while for her hair to dry (so for awhile, it's like living with a Jerry Curl, remember those?)
For me, my type 4a/4b combo hair did not do well. I could not get that defined coil pattern no matter how much product I used. It felt to greasy (after I applied all that product). The smell was too strong for me. And I could not comb it afterwards, or otherwise style it (even with my fingers). So, I had to get back into the shower and redo my hair routine.
I do not think this product works well for very small coils like mine.
Ingredients: water, horsetail, chamomile, nettle and marshmallow, organic aloe vera juice, agave nectar extract, tocopheryl acetate (vitamin e), pectin, citric acid, potassium sorbate, and natural fragrance.
Sold at Wholefoods, and online at http://kinky-curly.com/ for about $30 for 16oz
Kinky Curly Spiral Spritz Natural Styling Serum
While shopping at Wholefoods, I decided to go ahead and purchase the entire line of Kinky Curly as recommended to maximize the likelihood of it's success. The point of this product is to rejuvenate curls that have become slightly frizzy or lop-sided after sleeping (or whatever) to extend the life of the hair-style. Well, I found that plain water works very well for this purpose, and this stuff, is useless.
It's too thick, and the spray top doesn't distribute the product evenly as you might imagine. It comes out as a string of thick goop, so it's better if you squirt it into your palm, and rub it into your hair. The only problem with that type of application (as all coily girls know) it causes more frizz and less definition of the coils.
This product is not worth the money.
Sold at Wholefoods, and online at http://kinky-curly.com/ for about $12 for 8oz
Syntonics Edge Define Hairline Smoother
This product reminds me of the old Let's Jam (which if you've ever used it, you know it's a fantastic product that is very popular for good reason). HOWEVER, Let's Jam had a very annoying odor back-in-the-day. And the brown goopy color was a major turn off. AND, people would use too much, and that brown goop would dry and flake....and just looked gross.
This syntonics edge define is like a new and improved Let's Jam. It is clear, pepperminty, and non-flaking. It adds moisture, and helps prevent dryness/breakage at the edges. But best of all, it REALLY keeps those edges smooth all day. The only drawback is...it's not as organic as I'd like. And now that I've discovered shea butter, I hardly ever use it. But, I think it's a good product, and I still keep it on the upper shelf.
Ingredients: Aqueous (Water, Aqua Purificata, Purified) Extracts: Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf and Calendula Officinalis Flower, Ceteareth-25, Glycerin (Natural), PEG-7 Glyceryl Cocoate, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Propylene Glycol, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint Oil), Menthol, Diazolidinyl Urea, (and) Iodopropynl Butylcarbonate.
Amazon $13.25 + $7.95
Fantasia IC Hair Polisher
I have been a huge fan of this gel for over a decade. It has great hold, does NOT flake, and does not build up. This gel is a staple in my hair-care routine, especially for straight styles and coily edges. It is no overly hard or crunchy when dry, and my husband has even taken a liking to it (and he has type 1b, very straight sandy blond hair).
My only reservation, is of course, some of the ingredients (such as 'parfum'). But, I must be honest with you, to me, this product is worth the small risk. I've decontaminated my entire beauty routine, and this remains as a must have product (along with my antiperspirant during stressful times).
Ingredients: Purified Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Aloe Vera Gel, Dimethicone Copolyol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Polysorbate-20, Benzophenone-4, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance (Parfum).
$5 at Target, most beauty supply stores, most drug stores.
EdgeStick Ceramic Styling Comb
$69.00 (Consumer Model) and $79.00 (Professional Model)
I actually read good reviews about this particular styling tool online (on blogs and what-not) and decided to give it a try. BUT, instead of spending $69 for the EdgeStick, I paid $19 at Bed Bath and Beyond! And I must say, it is fantastic for extending the life of straight styles when you're a naturally coily gal. The tool is a double-comb design with ceramic-coated barrel. The comb separates the individual hair strands at the hairline and roots, allowing the hair to glide untangled across the heated ceramic-coated barrel to achieve an instantly smooth appearance. You can get very close to the root without burning yourself. I love this tool, and do not yet appreciate the necessity to buy the 'name-brand' EdgeStick.