Transitioning to Natural Hair: 3 Must-Have Products to Aid Your Journey
There’s a lot of confusion out there about products, ingredients and styling when you’re transitioning to natural hair and it’s great that you’re doing your research. I went through a lot of painful trial and error, especially when I realized most natural hair gurus raved about coconut oil which actually made my face break out badly and left me with crunchy dry ends.
I offer to you my transitioning journey and the products I’ve come to know and love without all the hoopla and the science. I’m just telling you what works for me, regardless of what all the blogs say.
But first, a peeve of mine when it comes to natural hair. (Scroll down for the meat of the matter if you’re just interested in the best products to use on transitioning hair)
Related: The Best Deep Conditioners for Natural Hair
The Most Common Arguments Against Natural Hair Care
I realize that there’s a good upsurge of people going natural right now, so much so that others are starting to look at it like a trend. “I went natural long before it became fashionable” Ok. Kudos to you. Here’s a cookie.
“I was thinking about going natural but I changed my mind, I don’t like being common.” Yeah. Relaxed hair is truly unique.
“A nuh everybody have the patience to deal with their natural hair and learn what works for them and what doesn’t, not everything works for everybody.” This is true with relaxed hair too, it’s why you leave the process up to your professional. There’s a learning curve with most processes and once you’ve overcome it, everything becomes second nature.
“Natural products are expensive.” The biggest myth of them all. It simply depends on the products you choose to use. There’s a variety of products in your kitchen cupboard and your fridge right now that’s beneficial to your hair. Get an aloe vera plant. Use raw shea butter and cold pressed coconut oil. (Or my favourites, jojoba oil mixed into Jamaican black castor oil.)
How much does it cost to get a relaxer again?
Me, trying to fight your comments
I don’t like the criticism. If I see a convo on my newsfeed about natural hair, I’m probably going to jump in and offer advice but when I’m met with any of the above I usually leave it alone as not every battle is mine to fight and if that’s the mindset, chances are you’re not ready for this.
Natural hair takes patience (to learn how to deal with your texture,) courage (to grow the hair that comes naturally out of your head and face the backlash from those who would prefer if you straightened it) and pride (to love the hair you were born with.)
They say relaxed hair is less of a hassle to deal with and not everyone is comfortable with their natural hair. Even these two points I like to combat because, for one, I certainly do not miss the time I used to spend at the hairdresser waiting to get my hair done.
I don’t miss the burns to my scalp and I SO do not miss shelling out dollars every 6-8 weeks for my relaxer. Which brings me to my second point. How are you arguing that natural products are expensive when you’re spending a good guap every 6 weeks to get your hair relaxed and then more ever so often to shampoo and treat?
Love the Skin (Hair) You’re In
If you’re not comfortable with your hair texture then you have inner issues to work out. That’s the hair that your Creator put on your head, girl, why are you fighting it? Even the thickest, kinkiest 4c textures can be styled with the most beautiful hairstyles if you take the time to learn how to work with what you have.
If you simply like the aesthetic of a relaxer then cool. This is not an argument fighting the straight style at all, I love a good blow out or a weave. One of the things that I love about natural hair is its versatility. I can get that bone straight look with a few swipes of the ceramic iron whenever I feel like it.
But if you’re truly trying to change your hair because you think that what you have naturally isn’t beautiful, then I am not qualified enough to help you. But I wish you could see how beautiful your hair is and stop trying to change it. Look at this beautiful head of curls:
4c hair. The thickest, kinkiest type. Her video here. My sis Ceta from Bawn Natural is a guru at knocking out the cutest styles of kinky hair.
Too fly. I get that you may not feel like tackling styling and maintenance all on your own, especially if you’ve been a slave to the salon most your life.
But even that’s not an excuse as salons specializing in natural hair care have been popping up all over and their prices aren’t outrageous. They will shampoo, detangle, install protective styles and do deep treatments too if you’re not inclined to become a mixtress like I have.
So yes, I get a little defensive when people say certain things about “going natural” because I feel like you barely know what your stylist is putting in your head each month but you feel enlightened enough to speak on what it takes and how much it costs to be natural.
This is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made as it has really made me pay attention to the things I put on my body and the things I put inside it. Team natural and team healthy and low and behold, team money saving.
The Only Products You’ll Need when Transitioning to Natural Hair
Shampoo and Conditioner: Black soap shampoo is really cheapie and will last you much longer than the one you’re using now because you’ll be washing your hair twice monthly or only once per month. The rest of the time you’ll be using conditioners to co-wash your hair. Raw black soap shampoo is even cheaper, the cheapest “natural” shampoo I can think of and your hair will thank you for giving up the sulfates and the parabens and all the other stuff in your Suave and Loreal.
In fact, some people don’t use shampoo any at all. They use apple cider vinegar to clarify their hair once a month. Don’t knock it till you try it, after an ACV rinse my hair is always so light and fresh and ready to go! This article was written by a cosmetic chemist and explains it better for you.
If you’re looking for an option to black soap shampoo, I have reviewed my favourite sulfate-free drug-store option that’s great for natural hair, here.
Leave-in conditioner or styling product: this can be as simple as some aloe vera mixed with a little coconut or olive oil. Voila. I use coconut oil to cook with so this one ingredient is not a huge cost to me as it does double duty. Coconut oil is healthier to cook with than vegetable oils, they say. A 1-litre bottle of Simply Natural coconut oil lasts maybe 2 months, maybe more. Recently I realized coconut oil makes me break out so I’ve switched to using avocado oil for my natural hair.
Again if you’re not a mixtress, the Kinky Curly Knot Today leave-in conditioner is my go-to. It is the best thing since sliced bread. I use it in both my curly hair and in munchkin’s kinkier hair. To stretch mine even further, I mix it with aloe vera gel. As you already know, aloe is my miracle hair care product and hey, it’s free. (I have plants growing outside)
In addition to the Kinky Curly, I use this Cantu moisturizer as well. The Kinky Curly is too light on its own so this helps to moisturize my situation. Read my full review on this Cantu Leave-In here.
Sealant: After you’ve cleansed your hair and then applied your leave-in, you’re going to want to seal in that moisture. I’ve tried many different ways to do this and the most effective for me has been going with castor oil and shea butter. I use raw shea butter whipped with oils on wash days to seal and days when I’m just spraying my hair with water to spruce it up then I use castor oil to seal. Jamaican Black Castor Oil is a little thick on its own so I mix mine with a lighter oil like jojoba or avocado oil which also helps to keep my hair soft, supple and shiny.
Confused about styles? Go to Naptural85’s channel on Youtube. Her hair is super long now but she has been doing videos since her hair was short, go back and watch those videos, she is amazing! Ceta also has a YouTube channel where she gives many great styles for kinky hair types.
Now, I don’t think any of this is expensive. You know why? Because easily I spent between $60 and $80 at my hairdresser monthly. Now, my hairdresser used to be on the more expensive side so maybe you are spending the same, maybe you are spending around $40.
I haven’t even gone anywhere near those figures yet with the few products needed to maintain natural hair. Plus, my natural hair products all last me over a month. I buy products for my hair maybe every other month, maybe every three months.
If you style your hair very often, maybe you’ll need to buy them monthly. I’m a wash and go type of girl (see my wash and go routine here) and so my products last a little longer.
Even the henna that I bought from an Indian grocery store, which is like the best deep conditioning, strengthening thing I have done to my hair so far, was like $2 for the little bag and I got 3 uses out of it. The henna I recommend is here.
I know you may be a little intimidated if you’re transitioning. You may read the blogs and feel overwhelmed. But one day at a time. Natural hair salons are very popular now and
Youtubers and bloggers like myself are here to help when you need a little motivation and assistance. If you’re thinking about going natural, now is a better time than ever to take the plunge.
Was this useful? Please let me know in the comments and share this post if you found it helpful.
Related: My own struggles when I was transitioning
I LOVE your fro!
thanks, thats not me though 😀
So true! I def don’t miss the time and money spent with relaxing, and love the fact that I can scratch my scalp any time I want with no concerns about getting burned in the days to come…lol.
When I first went natural, I spent a lot being a product junky – once I found the products that worked for me, the entire process of maintaining sexy, healthy hair became so simple and cost effective. Even flat ironing my hair seems to look better than I when I tried to get the straight look by relaxing.
thanks! it is tempting sometimes to buy every product the blogs recommend but my next vlog will explain what quickly curbed it lol
I forgot about the burns! Oh boy. I don’t miss those.
Thanks for this post. I’m so happy you took on this topic. I look at the amount of money my friends and family spend on hairdressers, relaxers, treatments and don’t let me get started on the cost of hair extensions, and i cringe. Now I am not knocking whatever y’all wanna do to your hair, but if only for the cost savings, going back natural was the best thing i ever did for my pocket. For health and beauty, going natural was the best thing i did for my hair. I get lots of attention for the simplest styles that i wear. lots of people telling me how they love my hair or asking my how i got my hair that way, and my personal favorite “wah kina hair dat yuh have in?” It fun telling them its all mine. And its not because I have “pretty hair” a term i never really liked. Until Jamaicans and everyone else realize that all hair is beautiful, we just have to learn how to treat it well and ‘un-learn’ all that we were taught by people who never had a clue of how to treat kinky curly hair in the first place then we’ll never fully appreciate just how awesome and versatile our natural hair is.
Shash preach! I’ve always loved, your hair, its so gorgeous! you have to let me feature you on here one day
Would love to ^__^
Honestly for me the cost is could be about the same. I very often would relax my own hair and I didn’t mind buying the cheapest kit I could find.
However now that I am natural, I am sparing myself strong doses of harsh chemicals. I don’t know how people could put that stuff on their kids.
raw shea butter – JMD$400 for 4oz…. will last you many months
a little warmed shea butter is all my hair needs to feel soft. It is also great for skin.
I believe the raw products are the best thing for your hair and skin. Those hair oils with a million ingredients I find to be a waste of time and money.
another cool item… peppermint oil/essence. Rub that in your scalp when it itches.
true santoinette except i go through shea butter so much quicker than that lol i whip it up and use it on my skin everyday so yeah
I cannot say thank you enough for this article!! I made the decision to go natural and I haven’t relaxed my hair since the middle of August. I am so excited but after doing all the research and looking at all these you tube videos I was feeling totally overwhelmed. This article has really put everything I have learnt into perspective and now I feel like all the little bits and pieces of information are coming together. Now I have some idea of what I am going to be doing over the next few weeks and the next few months. Once again Thank You!!
I’m so happy I could help. I know that overwhelming feeling for sure!
Great post!! Product junkie beware. . . you can run up a big bill. My Niece usually has all the products for me to try and brings me samples. Now that my hair is just about gone (thanks Mom) I condition it more.
I love a good natural hair post. I did the big chop many years ago ( I would say around 10 years) and never looked back. As time went on I figured out my hair rhythm and how it reacted to what products. So I know have a good thing going and my hair is thriving. Love love your tips. Wish I had this when I was transitioning!
We wrote almost the same post! I love your angle though, and for sure it doesn’t have to be expensive. We need to realise it’s become big business, so of course they’d want us to spends loads of money!
Right?!?! I’ve had great luck with things in my kitchen cupboard lol no need for big spending all the while. I’m gonna check out your post
I went natural a few years ago and its the best thing I ever done! I have so much more time not having to relax and straighten my hair. Plus my hair is healthy and growing. I am trying to convince my twinsister to stop relaxing get hair. I will for sure let her read this article!
That’s awesome Angie! I hope your sister is convinced 😉
I transitioned to natural hair without doing the Big Chop. It wasn’t easy but I did it wearing twist outs, french braid or pony tail. One of the main reasons I transitioned is because I have eczema and had a horrible reaction to the relaxer (clearly they changed their formula).
I’ve been natural for almost 3 or 4 years and I have no plans of ever getting a relaxer again. It’s not worth it to me. I may not be the best stylist in the world but my health is more important. Also, I make my own Black Soap Shampoo. It’s worked wonders for me. Love, love, Black Soap. I enjoyed the post. 🙂
I sooooo wish I could use coconut oil in my hair! I used to love making my own black soap shampoo! Thanks for stopping by 🙂
How do I cut off or trim off the relaxed hair from the natural hair I have a mix of 3c natural hair which is about 1in to 2in new growth but I haven’t completely cut off the relaxed hair. It was fairly long after being perm since I was a teenager. I’ve never seen my hair natural before now.
use new scissors or a pair specific for hair and go to town! It’s easy to see the line between the two textures when your hair is wet. Otherwise, you can ask a stylist to cut it for you.