DIY Products V.S. Store Bought Products

When a natural newbie decides to take the full plunge and do their big chop, she is going to hear “advice” on what products will work for her hair. Some people will swear by store-bought products while others will be shoving natural hair recipes in her face. With all of the choices out there on the shelves plus the amazing recipes being developed everyday, it can be quite difficult for a natural diva to decide which path to take. You may find yourself walking the line between a product junkie and a wanna-be mixtress. You may be thinking that you already know what type of products are good for your hair. This is where the problem arises. Your newly natural hair is nothing like the permed hair that you are used to. You are starting from scratch and getting to know your hair in a way many of us have not seen it since before our teen years. With that being said, your hair may respond to the fabulous store-bought product that every naturalista is raving about or you may just need some shea butter and coconut oil to achieve luscious locks. There is also the option of dabbing a bit in both sections. A healthy mix of store-bought and home-made may be the combination for you. Here are a few of my favorite store-bought products and home-made recipes that have done my hair oh so gooood.

Store Bought: These products can range in price. They fall on the spectrum of all natural and 100% chemicals. The only way to find out is to read the ingredients of course. As a rule of thumb, the first few ingredients that are listed account for most of the product as opposed to the last few ingredients that account for much less.

1. SheaMoisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie– I love this product because it does exactly what the title suggests that it does. It is great for styling and for wash and go’s. It keeps your hair in place while keeping it from looking as if it is frozen in time. It smells ahhhhhmazing! Oh and it’s all natural just like all of their products. It is not perfect however. While i think it is a great product for wet hair or styled hair, it falls short for me when it comes to braid outs and twist outs. I used to use this product all the time for my braid outs and twist outs. The style would end up looking great in the beginning but after an hour or so, it would get big and less defined. I have found that this may be because it is a wet product. When I refer to this product as a wet product, I mean that when you touch it, it feels wet and has a lotion like consistency. Where as shea butter and most other butters are dry meaning that they have a drier and denser feeling when you touch it. For my hair, drier products seem to attach to my hair in a way and lock in the moisture which helps to keep my styles defined for a longer amount of time. So, I do love this product and I continue to use it. However, it does have its limitations.

2. Africa’s Best Ultimate Herbal Oil– I picked up this oil as a spur of the moment purchase while at the drug store. I used it once when I first bought it but I though it was entirely too oily for the summer time considering that it was hot and my hair was still in the TWA phase, therefore I let it get lost in the back of my medicine cabinet until the brisker weather rolled around. I stumbled upon this handy oil and fell in love. This oil is a combination of many natural oils such as soybean oil, safflower oil, jojoba oil, castor oil and much more. When the sun is not beaming down on my head in the summer, I think this is a great choice if you just want an oil mixture to use as a hot oil treatment, hair sheen or daily moisturizer. The only downfall to this oil is the smell. There is a fragrance added that smells like baby powder and it can be a bit overwhelming. However, no product is perfect but I do think this oil is awfully close. It adds great shine, zaps any sign of dryness and does not weigh the hair down. Just that smell…

Home Made: These products are hand-made by you and usually contain ingredients that you can find at your local grocery store.

1. Shea Butter Mixture– A good shea butter mixture is the key, in my opinion, to natural hair success. Shea butter is a dry moisturizer that seals in the moisture like no store-bought product I have ever used. With daily use, Your hair will definitely be soft, shiny, and breakage free. Why is shea butter so amazing? It is packed full of fatty acids that our hair craves. It absorbs into the scalp quickly to prevent excess build up and it repairs dry and damaged hair. Shea butter is simply amazing. In the summer time, I like to make a humectant packed shea butter mixture to protect my hair against the beaming sun. Humectants are a great way to pull in moisture to your hair from the atmosphere. For my summer mixture, follow this link Our winter natural hair needs a different kind of mixture. Due to the drop in temperatures and the fierce winds, our breakage prone hair needs extra protection. So, during the cold months, I use a humectant free shea butter mix with heavier oils such as olive oil. I take the humectants out because they work in reverse when the air is dry. They will take the moisture from your hair and release it into the air. Therefore, to protect your winter hair swap out the grapeseed oil, mango butter, honey and veggie glycerin and simply add olive oil. A dependable shea butter mixture is absolutely necessary. You may be waiting for a down fall to a shea butter mixture. There isn’t one. Some diva’s do not like the earthy smell but I don’t mind.

2. Flax seed Gel– I love flaxseed gel for wash and go’s as well as braid and twist outs. It really keeps the hold and is virtually odorless. This all natural gel is very easy to make. For instructions and exact measurements, follow this link When flax seeds are boiled with water, the seeds release a gel substance that is great for hold and definition in our natural hair. For some extra shine, throw some aloe gel in there and your hair will love you forever. The down fall to my beloved flaxseed gel is that it does not last long. The gel has to be refrigerated and keeps for about a week and a half to 2 weeks at the most. You also have to be sure that you do not over do it with the gel and use too much because, like most gels, you run the risk of flaky white stuff. It is an amazing gel nonetheless. Be sure not to use too much and you are good to go.

Every product, whether store-bought or home-made, has its imperfections (not shea butter of course). I love using my home-made products because I know for sure that they are all natural without any harmful chemicals that can turn on my hair. More importantly, I know that these products work well with my hair. However, store-bought products, depending on the product, can be that one thing that you can’t make at home but gives you exactly what you are looking for. You have to find out what works best for your hair. It may be a little bit of both!

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