Black hair is incredibly diverse. In terms of texture, it runs across a wide spectrum and many people might even find that their hair has more than one curl pattern.
Regardless of your hair type or how you plan on styling it, curly and coily textures tend to require a little more love and care, and using the right kinds of products is crucial to hair health.
“I love to use products that are just healthy for the hair, period,” Emmy award-winning hairstylist Lavette Slater told HuffPost. “Good products are just good products that have quality organic ingredients in it for any hair type. With that said, hair that is curly needs moisture. The natural oils from your scalp don’t reach the ends of the hair strand as easily as hair that is bone straight.”
Products catering to multiple hair textures, and Black hair specifically, and even products without potentially damaging ingredients like sulfates or parabens haven’t always been easy to find. Consumers are more conscious of which ingredients and products are right for their hair, and many Black-owned brands that cater to textured hair were born out of a lack of available products.
To help you narrow down your search for the right hair care products, we reached out to a few experts to share their favorite styling, cleansing and conditioning products they use on their clients and themselves. Read on to see their picks!
As I Am Leave-In Conditioner
As I Am
Slater’s picks are affordable drugstore staples. “One of the products I like to use on my clients is by As I Am. The leave-in conditioner is great. I find that it protects and strengthens your hair,” Slater said. “Leave-in conditioners are my favorites because it’s extra protection when you are styling or from climate change or from sun damage.”
Her next recommendations work perfectly together for conditioning, defining and styling hair. “The DoubleButter and Curling Jelly work great to define curls and for twist-out hairstyles,” she said. “The hair feels soft and also looks shiny. Use this with a hooded dryer and — amazing!”
Kendall Dorsey, the celebrity hairstylist behind Solange’s iconic looks (and who also counts Yara Shahidi and Justine Skye among his many clients) recommends his favorite multitasking — and affordable — hair care product.
“Nairobi is a Black-owned hair company that I absolutely love,” he said. “Their foam mouse can be used for so many different things. I personally love it to set my wigs and crest baby hairs, molding a short haircut, just so many things.”
“Virgin Hair is a brand that I support for my day-to-day clients. I like the lace front wigs in 150% density and their natural wave hair wigs are the highest quality,” Dorsey said. “Really, just a great brand and customer service.” Virgin Hair’s Raw Waves Frontal Wig is one of its bestsellers.
“This is a great product, as it’s an oil that actually cleanses your hair and scalp. If you’re dealing with dandruff or an itchy scalp, this oil is great as it gently removes buildup and flakes of skin while nourishing and moisturizing your scalp and hair,” Taylor said. “I love to use this before I put my hair into a protective style to ensure my scalp is really clean. If you have a really dry scalp, start using this once a week. If you are just using it for clarifying and maintenance, you can probably use it closer to once a month.”
Taylor’s next pick is a moisturizing masque. “Moisture is a key component of good hair health, so a really good conditioning treatment is a must in my hair routine,” Taylor said. “I love this keratin-infused masque, which restores, moisturizes and strengthens the hair while reducing frizz and breakage.”
The masque is safe for all hair types and for color- or chemically-treated hair. It’s also free of parabens, alcohol, sulfates and sodium chloride.
“Depending on your particular hair type and how dry your hair is, start by adding this hair masque into your wash routine about every other week,” Taylor continued. “If you feel that you need to use it more frequently or less frequently, you can adjust from there!”
Alicia Bailey, hair texture expert and director of education at Design Essentials, said using the right products and having a healthy hair routine is crucial to hair health.
“As a part of my regular regimen, I must have the Almond & Avocado Wash Day Deep Moisture Masque, Almond & Avocado Moisturizing & Detangling Leave-In Conditioner and Almond & Avocado Honey Curl Forming Custard,” Bailey said. “Having a set regimen is important to keep my hair healthy and moisturized at all times. Since it’s summer and I have level 10 hi-lift blonde hair, maintaining moisture is a must.”
“I have a combination of 3C, 4A and 4B curls and coils, which means my hair can get frizzy and dry out easily,” she continued. “I love how the masque coats my hair and imparts much-needed moisture. It leaves my hair very soft and easy to manage.”
Miko Branch, hairstylist and owner of CurlBar salon in Fort Lauderdale, FL (not to mention the CEO and co-founder of Miss Jessie’s hair care), recommends curl-friendly essentials.
“Miss Jessie’s Honey Curls has a great crème but gel-like consistency that gives the right amount of hold for your wash-and-go styles to lock in your curl, and uses honey as its natural ingredient,” Branch said. “The smell is so yummy as it glides so perfectly while applying it to your hair.”
Another one of Branch’s picks is the cult favorite curl cream.
“Miss Jessie’s Pillow Soft Curls is a main staple for myself personally, but it is also a No. 1 fave for our customers, especially for wash-and-go styling,” Branch said. “It truly defines every curl softly, while keeping the volume and with no crunch.”