Layering Products 101

A great way to get maximum styling benefit is to layer products.  Layering is a method in which you progressively add products to your hair in order to moisturize, seal, define and finish your hair.  While there is no “right” answer as to how to style your hair other than what works for you this a good place to start.

  1. Start with clean slate.  Wash or co-wash your hair and begin right out of the shower.  You can also stretch your hair by braiding/banding/twisting and allow your hair to dry before starting then spritz lightly with water.
  2. Moisturize. Use a water-based moisturizer or leave-in conditioner (water is the first ingredient) or plant extract like aloe vera gel/juice which is composed mostly of water. It may be found in the form of a spritz or a lotion. Here are a few examples: Aloe Vera Juice (pour in a spray bottle), Oyin Hair Dew, Komaza Care Califia Moisturizing Spray, Pura Body Naturals Sapote Hair Lotion, Shea Moisture Hair Milk and Alaffia Shea & Coconut Hair Lotion, Curls Whipped Cream.
  3. Seal. Sealing is an important step as it helps you retain the moisture you just added to your hair.  Sealants are oil or butter based products that often contain coconut oil, shea butter, olive oil, or mineral oil (though I do not advocate the use of mineral oil). Here are a few examples: Coconut oil, shea butter, Koils by Nature Hair & Body Butter, Komaza Care Moku Hair Butter, Yogachi Signature Buster Hair Butter, Pura Body Natural Cupuacu Hair Butter.
  4. Define.  Next is to define those curls and get them poppin! There are both creams and gels that can accomplish this for you.  Here are a few examples: Kinky Curly Curling Custard, Koils by Nature Herbal Gel, Jane Carter Curl Defining Cream, AfroVeda Pur Whipped Gelly, Kiss My Face Upper Management Gel, Eco Styler Gel, Darcy’s Botanicals Curling Jelly.
  5. Finish.  This is the final step in any style that is often overlooked.  By using a finisher you help set your curls, add a touch of shine and give an overall polished look. While this step is not mandatory it will give you that salon look at home.  Here are a few examples: Oyin Handmade Burnt Sugar Pomade, Kinky Curly Gloss Pomade, Shea Moisture Hold & Shine Hair Mist, Curl Junkie Curls In A Bottle, Jane Carter Solution Nourish and Shine.
It is important to note that some products may serve multiple purposes for example when I use Jane Carter Solution Curl Defining Cream I apply it to wet hair as a moisturizer, sealant and definer as it contains ingredients that sufficiently do all three steps in one.  You may also choose to skip any of these steps as you see what works for your hair.  In this twist-out style below I used only water, aloe vera gel and butter/oil blend and got great results without a definer or a finisher.
Those are my layering tips, have you had any success with layering products? What steps do you use?

17 thoughts on “Layering Products 101

  1. Yes I have learned to do this with trial and error. I used to put oil on first then add other products. Couldnt figure out why my hair was always dry looking. Doing this method keeps it shiny, moisturized and less frizzy. Thanks for posting this :)

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