The Best Natural Hair Products, According to Stylists and Customer Reviews
Natural hair can be misunderstood. Having naturally curly, coarse, coily, or textured hair is not a disadvantage. In fact, it's the opposite since the versatility of natural strands makes styling fun and the journey of finding the best products for your tresses quite an adventure. (Because, natural hair gals can't grab just any ol' product to nourish and style their manes.)
If you're looking for the scoop on how to care for natural hair (or any hair type for that matter), you should keep in mind that hair care and scalp care are inclusive. "Maintaining a healthy scalp is important for healthy hair," says board-certified dermatologist, Adrianna Browne, M.D. And when scalp concerns aren't addressed, hair loss and breakage can occur. The funny thing is, many people have a 10-step skin-care routine to keep their complexions in tip-top shape, but when it comes to scalp health, it's easily forgotten. But nourishing, hydrating, exfoliating, and cleansing your scalp, is just as important as your face.
To take care of both your scalp and hair, a regiment including quality products is a must. Celebrity stylist, Kiyah Wright, who blesses the manes of Jennifer Hudson, Ciara, and Gabrielle Union, advises every black woman to have a conditioning mask and leave-in conditioner in their hair-care rotation. "This helps to infuse moisture into the hair, leaving the hair feeling healthy and hydrated," she points out. Moisture, moisture, and more moisture are key for natural hair. (Related: 8 Protective Hairstyles That Can Withstand Even the Toughest Workout)
To help you on your natural hair journey or if you're looking to switch up your routine, consult the guide below for the best products that are actually worth the hype and backed by experts and customer reviews. From a suds-free shampoo to a mega-hold gel, keep scrolling for the best natural hair products you'll want to snag, stat.
Best Sulfate-Free Shampoo: DevaCurl No-Poo Decadence Zero Lather Ultra Moisturizing Milk Cleanser
Traditional shampoos are usually super drying and can make already tangle-prone spirals even more knotty (um, no thanks). On top of that, harsh cleansing agents in some shampoo formulas can cause curly hair to be stripped of natural oils, which is a big no-no since curls need all the hydration they can get. That's where this no-poo cleanser comes into play. The ultra-rich formula was created for medium to thick curly hair and works wonders to keep curls hydrated and strong, thanks to the combo of chufa milk and quinoa protein. And even though it doesn't lather, it surely gets your scalp and strands clean. It's Dr. Browne's go-to shampoo since it's free of sulfates and silicones. (Related: The Best Shampoos for Curly Hair, According to Customer Reviews)
Best Co-Wash: Pantene Gold Series Hair Repair Cleansing Conditioner
If Wright claims this is the best co-wash for natural hair out there, you better run to grab a bottle for yourself. "This cleansing conditioner is great for black hair because it's infused with biotin and kukui nut, which are two ingredients that help remove buildup on your scalp and keep the hair moisturized," she says. And even if you're not a regular co-wash user, having a dependable one in your hair-care stash will come in handy. They're creamy, conditioning, and help to reset the hair when curls are out of whack, but it's not quite wash day yet. And since it's less than $10, it's a win-win. (Related: Should You Be Co-Washing Your Hair?)
Best Conditioner: Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Moist Deep Conditioner
Conditioner is non-negotiable when it comes to the best natural hair products. If I travel with one hair-care product, it's a jumbo-sized bottle of conditioner. I can use it to refresh my hair if I need to detangle and start over without a bottle of shampoo and it doubles as a leave-in styling product when I'm in a pinch. And when you're looking for a formula that really packs a punch, this 3-minute miracle worker is a must. The texture is thick and super creamy, which gives you great slip when using it as a detangling aid. And it really softens, defines, and nourishes the hair in just minutes. Simply apply it in the shower, continue the rest of your routine and rinse. There's a reason there are more than 500 five-star ratings of this beloved natural hair product.
Best Detangler: DreamGirls TLC Comb-Out Treatment
No matter how thick or thin your hair is, all curls are prone to tangles. And as you probably know from experience, removing tangles can be painful and, well, down-right annoying. But having a product that helps tangles and knots to slide out pain-free can make a world of difference. This comb-out treatment is infused with peppermint oil and pro vitamin B5 that help to keep hair moisturized and smooth so you can remove tangles without the hair breaking or snapping. For maximum slip, use this treatment alone or dilute it with water.
Best Leave-In Conditioner: It's A 10 Miracle Leave-In Product
Leave-in conditioners are the unsung heroes of a hair-care routine. They are a great staple because they help keep the hair healthy and soft, says Wright. And that's exactly what this fan-favorite spray does. It essentially does everything from adding shine, controlling frizz, protecting color, stopping breakage and so much more. With an impressive 4.8 rating on Amazon, users swear this magical potion is the real deal and leaves strands silky soft. (Related: The Best Leave-In Conditioners — Plus, Why You Should Be Using One)
Best Curl Defining Cream: SheaMoisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie
This tropical-scented curl cream has to be on the list of best natural hair products — it's had a cult following since it first hit shelves. It has the perfect amount of weight — not too light and not too heavy — and has a magical way of smoothing, hydrating, and defining curls no matter how loose or tightly coiled. It's formulated with certified organic shea butter, coconut oil, and neem oil that lock in hydration and keep hair smooth and soft for days. Not to mention, the scent is heavenly, like a tropical vacay. (Related: The Best Curl Creams for Every Curl Type)
Best Gel: Eco Styler Professional Styling Gel
This no-frill gel is a tried-and-true formula that has won over the hearts of those with natural hair for years. It has mega-hold, so even the toughest of humidity won't cause your curls to frizz, and it's super conditioning thanks to the 100 percent pure olive oil infused into the formula. The best part is you won't get any flakes or itching with this product. And if you prefer a softer hold, simply allow the cast to form and scrunch hair until the crunch disappears. With more than 22,000 five-star ratings, Amazon shoppers say it moisturizes and defines curls, keeps frizz at bay, and won't flake or feel itchy. (Related: The Best Black Natural Hair Influencers to Follow for Styling Tips, Tutorials, and More)
Best Edge Control: CURLS Blueberry Bliss Curl Control Paste
A frizzy and unruly hairline can really put a damper on a cute hairstyle. And while the tousled bedhead look is still totally on-trend, there are some styles that require a sleeker approach. That's where this blueberry-infused paste comes to the rescue. It's formulated with blueberry extract, argan oil, and mango and shea butters to smooth down flyaways and frizz while adding a slight sheen. Walmart shoppers say it holds their edges in place for hours, and they love that it doesn't cake up or flake.
Best Oil: African Pride Moisture Miracle Essential 5 Vitamin Oil
Not all curlies use oils, but for those who do, you'll want to find an oil that locks in moisture and adds natural-looking sheen. This natural hair product is a blend of five essential oils and vitamin E that helps to keep hair soft and hydrated without being weighed down. And it even works as a sealant to lock in moisture for those who practice the LOC method (translation: liquid, oil, or cream). Celebrity hairstylist Derick Monroe says this oil is best for coarse hair since it requires more moisture and can be highly porous. (Related: The Best Hair Oil for Your Hair Type)
Best Scalp Reliever: Head & Shoulders Royal Oils Scalp Elixir Treatment
As previously mentioned, scalp health is the first step to maintaining healthy hair of all textures. Yet, it's often overlooked when it comes to building a well-rounded hair-care routine. "This elixir is great for braids and other protective styles, because it protects, cleanses, and soothes itchy, dry scalp," says Wright. "It also smells great and has a cooling effect on the scalp." And since the formula is rinse-free, you can pack this elixir in your purse or workout bag for a quick spritz whenever your scalp is feeling off-balanced or itchy.
Buy It: Head & Shoulders Royal Oils Scalp Elixir Treatment, $9, was $11, amazon.com
Best Deep Conditioner: Bread Beauty Supply Hair Mask Creamy Deep Conditioner
This brand might be new to the natural hair scene, but that doesn't mean it hasn't impressed the community. When you're looking for a deep conditioner, you want a formula that's rich and that really quenches dry and thirsty locks. The formula itself is thick but not heavy, and uses kakadu plum and starflower oil to help restore strength and softness to dry curls. (Related: 11 Black Women Get Real About Natural Hair at Job Interviews)
One Sephora user raved, "I love this product! My hair is very dry and frizzy, but this product made my hair so much more manageable and soft."