I’ve purchased more hair products in my 2+ years being natural than I ever did when I had relaxed hair. Sometimes it was because I needed to find out what worked on my delicate, coily hair. Most of the time, however, it was because I actually enjoyed styling my “new” hair, and buying products was a way to get excited about rockin’ what I got. That’s all well and good, but not every product I purchased was a winner. Some conditioners weren’t very conditioning, a few shampoos stripped my hair and stylers gave my fro nothing but crunch and flakes.
I couldn’t throw the products (and my money) in the trash on the quest to find my staple natural hair products, so I found ways to transform my not-so-favorite hair products into tolerable ones. If a product doesn’t work for your hair at first, try these hair product makeovers before tossing it or passing it on to a friend.
1. Add Oils to Detangling Conditioners
Conditioner is still my most purchased hair product, so when I’m feeling adventurous and stray from my usual detangler of choice, I’m pretty bummed when the comb doesn’t glide through my hair with the usual ease. Even if it were a drugstore brand, I wouldn’t throw out that conditioner just yet. Add your favorite oil (for me, it’s coconut oil) to the conditioner. If you detangle in the shower, then you’ll have to pre-mix the oil and conditioner to avoid a slippery floor. If you condition your hair out of the shower, just pour or scoop out the oil into your hand and add a squirt of the lackluster conditioner. The oil will act as a lubricant and add more slip, helping your wide-toothed comb run through your tresses much more easily.
2. Add Oils to Deep Conditioners
The only thing more disappointing than buying a detangling conditioner that doesn’t detangle is spending cash on a deep conditioner that doesn’t give my hair enough moisture! Imagine sitting there with your shower cap or heating cap for an hour or longer and when you rinse out the concoction, your coils are still parched! Reach for your handy oil and start mixing. Coconut, jojoba, olive, take whatever you have on hand and add a couple tablespoons to your heaping handful of deep conditioner. The oil acts as a sealer, so when you rinse the mixture out with water, the conditioning effects of the product remain.
3. Add Leave-In Conditioner to Gels and Stylers
Fight the crunch! I now know that my fine hair and gels don’t go together. I can get defined twist outs just using a leave-in conditioner, but when I was newly natural, I tried multiple gels and twisting creams believing it was what a natural hair necessity. Wrong! No matter the advertised hold of the product, my coils are always superdefined and crunchy. To solve this, I make my own “custard” using my leave-in conditioner, a small amount of oil (noticing a trend?) and the gel. The oil and leave-in conditioner will dilute and soften the effects of the styler. But, wait! First, you need to test the compatibility of the products before dumping them into a separate container. Sometimes products don’t mix well and cause white residue or flakes. Add the three ingredients in your hand and rub them together. If it doesn’t make a residue on your skin, chances are it will act the same in your hair. If the test results are residue-free, you’re good to go! After applying a light layer of leave-in conditioner to each section of hair, apply your DIY custard and kill the crunch.
SOURCE: Evelyn Ngugi of Naturally Curly