Let your natural hair set you free

It may have taken me a while to jump on the natural hair trend but with some coaxing and a minimum of five compliments a day, I have finally mustered up the courage to let my tresses touch water and spring into their naturally frizzy state.

I am one of many women who developed insecurities about letting their natural hair flow due to years of ideological teachings which preached that natural hair was “untidy” and straight and flowy was the way to go.

We see it at our schools where pupils have to fight school policies which restrict them from rocking their natural hair and online communities have formed to support those wanting to embrace their “bush”.

So going natural is a daunting task but let me tell you, it’s liberating and shops have finally jumped on board by stocking a range of products specifically designed to care for natural hair.

There is something empowering about rocking your natural kinks, coils and all, not to mention the fun there is in trying out new hairstyles and products to twist your hair into.

To begin with, there are different categories different curly girls can fall into, such as category 2 which is wavy hair ranging from wavy hair 2A to 2C.

This hair typing system created by Andre Walker, hairstylist of Oprah Winfrey, is most widely used to classify hair. Category 3 is curly hair and category 4 is kinky hair. Each category has its very own unique curl care routine allowing optimum bounce for your ounce.

After discovering your hair type, a variety of product options can then be bought to ensure your hair receives the moisture and care it needs without weighing it down or making it sticky.

I’ve gone a little crazy testing all sorts of products to see which would be best for my 3B hair type and I’ve come up with a few winners.

The Aunty Jackie’s curls and coils range is currently my favourite and literally gives you big bang for your buck. Many of the curly hair products on offer have been imported, which means they can be pretty pricey but Aunty Jackie’s is reasonable and the Curl la la curling custard smells as delicious as it sounds.

Unlike regular conditioner, it doesn’t cause your hair to get all hard and flaky and it actually does work by defining my normally limp curls and making them pop. The Curl mane-tenance defining curl whip is another lifesaver. This product has an anti-poofing effect and although I normally love the poof, this gave my hair a completely different look.

The curling custard made my curls bouncier and bigger and the defining whip caused them to be more skinnier, less puffy and more shiny. This gave a different look altogether which was received favourably among onlookers.

Another product I tested is Black Like Me (BLM) Curl wake-up hydrate spray. I used this throughout the day when my locks began to look a little dull and I must say for the price, I was surprised that the spray was able to add shine to my dry bushy bits. One thing I didn’t like about this product was that it left an oily residue on my hands when I touched my hair.

Despite this little set-back, I would like to try the BLM Curl hydrate custard and the Nice and Easy curl activator gel simply because they’re both under the R50 mark. Curl Chemistry products also seem promising and have been receiving good reviews on their Facebook page.

Another curly friend of mine recommended the Shea Moisture Coconut and Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie, for optimum curl definition. The product can be found at Clicks, however, the price had me wondering whether a DIY version would have the same effect.

There are plenty of DIY curling cream recipes online, but the best DIY curling custard I have come across involves a combination of Nice and Easy Curl Activator Gel, Organic Root Stimulator Smooth-* -Hold Pudding, any conditioner and coconut oil. These are all easily accessible products which won’t break the bank.

If, like me, you’re learning to love your natural curls and would like some information or links on hairstyles, hair products or would simply like to share your hair secrets, please do email me at athina.may@inl.co.za and tell me about your hair journey.