Natural Starter Kit

Many people begin their natural journey without the faintest idea of how to proceed, what to use, etc.  I know I did.  I transitioned for 8 months and during that time I pretty much treated my hair as though it was still permed.  I didn't change any products or regimens (I was using KeraCare stuff then) and had my hair straigthened every two weeks for probably the first two months.  Then I started getting my hair braided every month before I finally BC'd.  I say all that to say that I wish that I'd had some guidance in the way of what to do w/my new hair.  Which brings me to:

Natural Basics:
  • a really good leave-in conditioner-I recommend using something from the Herbal Essences line-I like Dangerously Straight and Hello Hydration.  something without silicones, parabens, or sulfates. Some naturals like silicones for slip and smoothing of the hair follicle, but some silicones can mask damage.  I avoid parabens because there is some empirical evidence that links them to various cancers and I avoid sulfates because they can strip natural oils from your hair.  I have stopped using Herbal Essences and Aussie moist because they contain these ingredients and now use either Yes to Cucumbers or Giovanni Moisture Max to co-wash, and Yes to Cucumbers regular conditioner or leave-in as, um, a leave-in.  I love Yes to Cucumbers which I use on my ends or to refresh my hair. 
  • a really good conditioner for conditioning or co-washing (washing your hair using conditioner)-I use V05 Moisture Milks or Tea Therapy-My favorite is Blackberry (my grandad used to grow blackberries to make jam for me as a kid) and Passionfruit.  Conditioner really can clean your hair and scalp as well as shampoo without the drying effects
  • sulfate-free shampoo for occasional or weekly use-I only shampoo once a month, just in case I have product build-up; however, if you wish to shampoo, choose a moisturizing one or at least one without sulfates (salts which strip hair of its natural oils and dry it out).  I shampoo with castile soap diluted with spring water (works well w/my unfinished water bottle habit). 
  • oil(s) and/or butter(s) of your choice for sealing end-I have all of the basic oils including olive oil, almond oil, coconut oil, vitamin E oil, and castor oil.  You can also melt shea butter to make oil.  I also add 1-3 Tbs of oil to my leave-in conditioner.  I LOVE shea butter from head to toe, but I've recently embraced QP Elasta Mango & Olive Oil butter for sealing or adding a litle shine to my hair. 
  • detangling comb or brush-I use a Denman brush, but a lot of people like shower combs (I recommend a seamless comb).  *as of 5/23/11, I own a Ouidad detangling comb, Denman, AND a Tangle Teezer.  Please don't judge me.  I'm seeking treatment for my PJism!*
  • a rat tail comb for parting-I usually use my fingers to do my twists, but I like clean parts for other styles
  • shower caps for deep conditioning
  • old t-shirts and/or microfiber towels (smoother and softer on hair)-tip: don't use fabric softener on towels or whatever you use to dry your hair/body because it makes them less absorbent
bottles or other containers for mixtures and concoctions you might make for your hair
honey for deep conditioning or natural highlights
yogurt for deep conditioning
coconut milk or cream for deep conditioning

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