Natural Hair Starter Kit

The original title of this post was Natural Hair for Dummies, but I decided to go with something more appealing.  I often get asked the same repeat questions by new naturals or those just getting to know their hair.  Where do I get started? What tools should I use? How do I keep my hair from being so dry?  I realize that there are many who have never dealt with our own natural hair so they are at a loss as to what to do.  They often will go to a hair forum and post what they consider to be a new question, rather than searching old threads or post a comment on a hair blog before reading the FAQ ,then summarily get a snappy response or down-right ignored.  In an effort to avoid that, I am making this post its own page so it is easy to find and reference.  Feel free to refer back, comment and share.

Your Natural Hair Starter Kit

Most of these items can be found in your local beauty supply store, grocery store, pharmacy or natural food store.  If you cannot find them around town, do a google search and purchase from Amazon or another reputable online retailer.

 Tools

  • Spray Bottle—Your hair needs moisture and that comes from water.  Whether you get it wet in the shower or use a spray bottle you should water your hair and scalp daily.  Good ol tap will be just fine or you can get fancy and use distilled water.
  • Wide-tooth Comb—Essential to any natural hair detangling regimen.  There are lots of snazzy tools that can also be used but this is a basic, cheap and widely available.  When detangling add conditioner or oil to the hair to provide slip, separate into manageable sections and start combing at the ends working your way toward the roots.
  • Color Applicator Bottle—This simple device will be such a God-send for mixing, containing and applying your hair mixes without causing a lot of mess and allowing you to control how it is applied.  You can find it at any beauty supply store.
  • Elastic Headband—You will want to pull your hair back and the puff is probably the most popular style.  Make sure you get the headbands without the metal clasp so that your hair is not snagged.
  • Satin Pillowcase or Bonnet—While you are sleeping you need to protect your hair from tangles and breakage that can be caused by friction of the cotton pillow case.  Tuck your hair inside a bonnet or pick up a satin pillowcase.
  • Microfiber towel or Old T-shirt—A common complaint of naturally curly hair is frizz.  Frizz is commonly caused by rubbing or friction especially when done with an ordinary body towel is used to dry the hair.  To soak up excess water blot, don’t rub, the hair using a micro fiber towel or an old cotton t-shirt.

 Products

  • Sulfate-Free Shampoo—Sulfates are strong cleansers that can often strip or dry-out natural hair which is already prone to dryness.  Opt for a sulfate free or low sulfate shampoo to minimize the drying effect.
  • Conditioner for Dry or Curly Hair—These products are formulated with additional herbs, extracts and oils to help soothe, moisturize and soften your tresses.   Curly and dry hair both have the same basic issues so don’t fall into a marketing ploy.  A product designed for Caucasian women with curly hair will also work well for African-American women with dry hair.  Your hair will want to drink it up so grab the big family size bottle.
  • Deep Conditioner—Natural hair can be prone to dryness and regular deep conditioning treatments will help revive dry, limp, frizzy and/or lifeless hair.  Look for deep conditioners that do not contain mineral oil or petroleum.  Ingredients like shea, aloe, herbs, natural oils are key things to look for.
  • Moisturizer or Leave-In Conditioner— These moisturizers should be water based (water should be the first ingredient) and should not contain mineral oil or petroleum.  They are used to add additional lasting moisture and softness to your hair after you have gotten it wet by either washing our spritizing water.
  • Aloe Vera Gel—Aloe vera gel is a simple way to add moisture to the hair and help promote curl definition.  I do not endorse any brand however I actually use Fruit of the Earth which you can find at Wal-Mart and Lily of the Desert which is in most health food stores.  You want to look for an aloe gel that is alcohol free, non-medicated and free from dyes.  You can find this in the lotion or sun block section.
  • Oil—Oil is used to lubricate the strands and seal in moisture.  While the great to oil or not to oil the scalp debate goes on without end, choose for yourself what is best.  Make sure you are actually purchasing oil and not silicone.  I know that sounds silly but most products found in the hair care section labeled as oils are actually silicone.  Go to the grocery section and look in the baking aisle.  Choose from Olive, Grapeseed, Safflower which all work well for natural hair and are listed in order of density with Safflower being the lightest.
  • Butter—Not actual butter that you eat, but rather shea butter or coconut oil (which is not a butter but is a solid at temps of 70-75˚F or below).  These are additional sealants in addition to the oil that can be used to keep your hair moisturized, as a styler and also add shine.  Coconut oil can be found at the grocery in the baking aisle.  Shea butter can be found at most BSS, African Grocery Stores, or health stores.
  • Hair Gel—Opt for an alcohol-free hair gel that will help define the curls, minimize frizz, and lock the style in place.  Experiment with different levels of hold and ingredients to find one that is right for you.

The approximate price for this Natural Hair Kit would be $10 tools + $25 for products, just under $40.  You can look into salon or boutique items which will add extra cost but I always suggest you start simple with the basics and get to know your hair first.  I always advise you buy smaller size or sample items of products while you are still trying to find the correct products.  While this is a basic list not all of these products will work on everyone;  shea butter may be too heavy for some while moisturizers may not be enough  for another.  But by starting with these items you are on the right track to getting to know your hair.

That is my Natural Hair Starter Kit.  What would you include?

31 thoughts on “Natural Hair Starter Kit

  1. I would include short how-tos on transitioning styles or styles for those who don’t know what to do with their natural hair when they first start out. Box braids and flat twists can be a noobie nappturals best friend.

    I love that you suggested to buy sample sizes for products. It will save you TONS of money.

  2. Please help! I have a daughter with naturally curly hair and I don’t know how to manage it. I have read this page and know I now what to buy, but I need step by step instructions. (Natural Hair for Dummies would describe me!) Should he hair be washed daily? Do we wash it then do a deep conditioner? Leave in conditioner? When, and in what order, do we use the gel, oil, aloe vera, etc? Please advise!

    • Wash your daughters hair essentially whenever it is dirty. I do not wash my hair more than twice a week. However do rinse her hair with water daily.

      Always follow-up a shampoo with a rinse out conditioner. Deep condition her hair no more than once a week or even every other week.

      Leave in conditioner and moisturizers are the same thing so they should be used daily.

      Apply the products in the order they are stated above. She may not need every product listed for example I do not use both oils and butters normally one or the other. Also if your moisturizer or leave in contains oil or butter you may not need to use it.

      Depending on her hair style you may not need a gel/styler at all. If you are braiding/twisting or plaiting her hair I would simply get it wet, apply the moisturizer or leave in seal it in with a butter or oil then braid. If you want her to wear loose curls with a headband then use a gel styler to define and provide hold.

  3. I have started the natural journey, ive been exactly 1 yr without a relaxer..i didnt do a full chop off but i let the relaxer grow out by wearing sew ins. now when I try to wash my hair it tangles and knotts up really bad where it hurts to comb it..i have used many products and none are heling. can you please help me with this problem so that I can get that soft natural look, thanks.

    • I have hair that tangles something awful and One of the things I make sure to do after co-washing my hair is use my conditioner or my leavein to de-tangle(currently using kinkycurly knot today or wen). This is done with a wide tooth comb or my denman brush(if I remember to bring it to shower lol) after separating my hair in sections I start at Ends(very important for not tearing your hair out) and work down to my roots. If I am doing this with conditioner I make sure that when I rinse (with cool water) I don’t retangle hair, basically just let water run through while l finger comb. hope this helps….

    • sorry for the late reply. You may need to go get a good trim as there may be scab hair or damaged ends. Secondly wash your scalp in sections (shampoo is for the scalp) then just let it rinse through your hair. When conditioning apply a good slippery condish or just add a few Tablespoons of oil to your regular conditioner. Sop it up thoroughly then gently detangle from tip to root a section at a time then braid or twist afterward. Rinse the conditioner while still in braids or twists and go on about styling.

  4. Thanks for the helpful info. I have been natural for over 2yrs but recently put a texturizer on to help manage it because I hate the frizz. I’m just not the “natural” looking girl type but my daughter is 10 & I only hot-comb her hair. Her hair is naturally wavy & extremely thick so I struggle with it. Thanks again

  5. A bottle of Tropic Isle Living’s JBCO to soak into the scalp the night of wash day; LUSH’s Jasmine and Henna Fluff Eaze and/or Lekair or Queen Helene Cholesterol Conditioner for dc treatments; and a Huetiful Hair Steamer…I won’t live without my steamer!

    • Hi, I was reading your post & if you don’t mind could you please tell me what a Huetiful Hair Steamer is? It sounds expensive & hard to use LOL…

  6. Pingback: Going Natural | derby city naturals

  7. Your website is very helpful being that i am 6 months pro relaxer and my hair is borth shedding and breaking at the same time. I used aphogee protein treatment when my hair was healthy thinkin it would make my hair grow faster and was spraying protein spray in my hair after every wash n set biweekly. the hair salon was also using protein ag leave in which i did not know and now my hair is breaking. i have tried everything but my hair wont seem to get its moisture back even after deep conditioners and mixed oil treatments under the dryer. Any suggesttions????

    • also if i use natural oil such as extra virgin olive oil for scalp treatment, do you have to wash them out? or is it okay to leave them in and use every other day? being that most websites suggest they be washed out and used as treatments.

      • no it is not necessary to wash it out it just depends on how it is being used, what is the purpose and how much is used. leaving it in your hair will cause no harm however you if you apply a lot your hair will feel oily/greasy.

    • you are probably suffering from protein overload, your hair does not need that much protein. You are going to see some shedding and breakage as your hair transitions from relaxed back to natural. Slow down to just getting one protein treatment a month and focus on moisturizing your natural hair (new growth) as that is the hair you are going to keep while the relaxer will be eventually cut off.

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