Best brands and products you need to care you for your natural black hair
Lockdown has been difficult for many of us without being able to check in with our regular hairdressers who are always on hand to make sure we're sticking to our haircare routines and helping us maintain our crowning glory.
For black afro style hair it's been a whole different ball game, some of us have chosen to really explore their naturally curly, kinky hair and learning to understand it, while others have chosen to opt for protective hair styles like cornrows, braids or locks (for those dexterous enough to be able to do it themselves), wearing wigs or wrapping their hair in scarves.
The main thing during this time is that we're keeping those curls well hydrated, as that's what natural afro hair craves the most, moisturising your scalp, and avoiding doing any permanent damage!
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It's important for black and brown people to know exactly what type of hair they have, because that forms the base of how you care for your curls.
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How to figure out your hair type
Most black and brown people's hair type will fall under Type 3 or Type 4 hair, and each of those have an a, b, or c option. But it's also quite common for us to have two different textures either at your edges compared to the rest of your hair, or random strands that form a much looser pattern than the majority.
It can be frustrating but no one person's head of hair is the same and what's brilliant is that it's also unique, so embrace the uniqueness rather than obsessing over achieving that perfect curl!
Type 3a, b or c : Hair care site Black NAPS (Natural and Proud Sistas) explains that Type 3 curly hair tends to range between loose, buoyant loops to tight, springy corkscrews which have some sheen but are prone to frizz.
Type 4a, b or c – Black NAPS say Type 4 coily hair is more commonly referred to as Afro-textured or kinky hair, is naturally very dry and spongy in texture and can be soft and fine or coarse and wiry. Strands form very tight, small curls of zig-zags right from the scalp and are prone to major shrinkage.
Afrocenchix – this brand was created by founders Jocelyn and Rachael who met at university. They manufacture their products in the UK, use UK scientists and chemists to formulate their products and don't test on animals, and sell globally. Their best sellers include silicone free conditioners, moisturising oils and they also cleverly have a 'Wash Day Set', 'Braid Care Set' and 'Newly Natural Set'.
Almocado – The family owned business was launched in 2010, with British-Barbadian and Oxbridge graduate Annette Clark Headley as CEO. Despite becoming an alopecian in 2010, she refused to let her baldness prevent her from spreading her message of love & acceptance as the basis for cultivating 'good hair'. Their best sellers this month include peppermint tea shampoo and seaweed shampoo.
Antidote Street – What's different about UK company Antidote Street is it's more than just a site selling products, their mission is to 'make hair simple and easy' by providing remedies for your hair problems, by offering advice on how to care for your natural hair and teaming up with salons who can help you (once out of lockdown). They stock brands such as Afrocenchix, As I Am, Boucleme, Flora and Curl and The Afro Hair and Skin Co.
Bouclème – Michele Scott-Lynch is the brains behind Bouclème and it's simple three-step system of cleanse, condition and define. Also another brand that doesn't test on animals, the products are sulphate, silicone and parabens free. The best way to get stuck into this brand is with their Complete Discovery Gift Set (£42) which gives you the chance to try the three-step routine as well as the styling products of gel and cream.
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Flora and Curl – Rose is the founder of Flora and Curl and began experimenting mixing concoctions including Brazilian oils, Ghanian butters and botanical ingredients in her mum's kitchen. It's only been up since then as she's created a line of plant-based products that aim to take away the complication of caring for textured hair. You can shop by 'Hair Goal' with products selected for hydration, protection, shine, and a healthy scalp.
O So Curly – The brand was launched in 2016 by entrepreneur Shannon Fitzsimmons who is also known natural hair and beauty blogger UK Curly Girl. Hair care doesn't always just mean products, it's the accessories you use to protect your curls, so Shannon launched O So Curly after seeing a gap in the market for stylish satin essentials like scrunchies, bonnets, pillow cases and scalp massagers.
Those who like to co-wash instead of a full wash day, will love Palmer's Olive Oil Formula Conditioning Co-Wash (£6), once you get used to the no lather style of washing, you will love how nourished your hair feels after using this product.
Popular hair brand Cantu, have a whole range of products but their shea butter coconut curling cream (£7.99) as well as their leave-in conditioning repair cream (£6.99) are not to be missed.
As well as a place that provides luscious bath bombs and delicious smelling sleep cream, Lush also has Queen Bee Hair Honey (£10) that has been recommended as the perfect product to help achieve a defined twist-out style and can also be used to define your curls.
Dizziak's deep conditioner (£22) has been hailed as a "miracle brand" and has incredible ingredients list of Quinoa Protein, Babassu Oil, Inca Inchi, Coconut Oil and Argan Oil to really nourish and give your hair a treat.
Hair masques are a must-have in your natural hair care arsenal, whether you enjoy an occasional straightening session or need to give your hair a deep treatment Philip Kingsley's Hair Elasticizer Deep Conditioning Treatment (£33) is a holy grail product and worth the pennies.
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For those starting their natural hair journey, looking to learn new styles and hair tricks, or are confident in their haircare routines but are looking for some fresh ideas then head to Instagram to check out some incredible afro hair influencers.
@Freshlengths – ASOS ambassador and model Lesley is a fan of braids and twists at the moment, and loves a style switch up. Her natural afro curls are absolute goals.
@UKCurlyGirl – Entrepreneur Shannon Fitzsimmons has been blogging about her natural hair journey since 2014 when she decided to transition from her damaged hair and revive her curls. In 2017 she released a book called ‘Get My Curls Back’ available to purchase on Amazon which aims to help others learn the steps needed to get their hair back to health. You'll find her posting about the best ways to care for your hair with her Oh So Curly accessories.
@Curlyrosss – London-based Natural hair and beauty enthusiast Curlyrosss has amazingly defined curls that she has died blonde. Surprisingly despite using dye the hair influencer's crown is super healthy. She often shared tips on how to achieve the defined curls and also advocates going for the 'big chop' to really get your hair into top condition.
@CharlotteSevenSix – Charlotte Williams is the founder of Diversity-focused Social Media & Influencer Marketing Agency 'Seven Six' and when she's not sharing tips on social media practise and influencing, her personal page is chocked full of snaps of her gorgeous curls. She's pals with Lesley who posts at FreshLengths, so don't be surprised if you see them hanging out and sharing their tips.
@Momoshair – Momoshair is the hair stylist behind some of the most signature looks that celebrities like Rochelle Humes, model Jourdan Dunn, presenter Yasmine Evans and Little Mix star Leigh-Anne Pinnock have sported. She is a braid and crochet wig expert, and works outside of London. She is in high demand, but you can order one of her custom-made wigs through her Instagram page.
@Abbiecurls – Social media marketer and author Abbiecurls is a natural hair advocate with a 102k following thanks to her easy hair tutorials and refreshing approach to embracing your hair in all its glory.
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