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One of the biggest questions that I receive on almost a daily basis is what products I recommend for children with natural hair. The reality is that there is no perfect, “one-size-fits-all” answer that I can give.
Since natural hair comes in so many different textures and porosities, the combination of products that you’ll have to put together for your little one will be just as unique.
There is one universal tip that I tend to give when asked about product selection though, and that is to skip the products whose labels include a long list of unfamiliar chemicals. Either make the majority of your products at home; or opt for products with simple, all natural ingredients listed.
Whether you’re choosing products for your own natural hair, or you just need to find products for your little one, you will very quickly run into problems if you slap just anything onto the hair without giving the product label a quick onceover.
Most hair products with natural ingredients will list the “textbook” name and then the recognizable name after it in parenthesis. For instance, shea butter will be listed as Butyrospermum Parkii with “(Shea Butter)” listed after it.
More good ingredients include things like any sort of extracts, Cetyl Alcohol, which is a natural alcohol derived from plants or vegetables and, of course, water (aqua).
Reading and deciphering labels will take some practice, but once you identify what is what, the payoff will be great.
The following is a list of 10 products that are free of harsh chemicals. You can use any of them and have peace of mind that they will be safe for your little one.
Remember, these are only suggestions. Try a product at your own discretion. If the product doesn’t help your little one to retain moisture or if you don’t see growth over a span of 6 weeks, then move on to something new.
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If your little one has chronically dry hair with a scalp that’s often dry and itchy, this is the perfect shampoo to try. It’s a hydrating shampoo that adds shine. It strengthens and softens hair with all natural oils and added vitamins.
This shampoo does contain a few proteins, so use this shampoo bi-monthly in tandem with a moisturizing shampoo.
This strengthening co-wash is great for kids who need extra moisture due to damage from heat or a chemical treatment. It conditions hair while helping prevent breakage.
This co-wash is sulfate-free and it removes impurities without stripping hair of natural oils which makes it safe enough to use weekly. The Bamboo and Garlic Extract ingredients help to strengthen and thicken the hair while protecting it from breakage.
SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention Shampoo is a sulfate-free shampoo that is perfect to use after you’ve taken down long-term braids or cornrows from your little one’s hair. This shampoo will get the hair and scalp cleansed and will give you the perfect clean slate to apply a favorite conditioner for a deep conditioning treatment.
This moisture retention shampoo contains Sea kelp which is a mineral-rich nutrient that seals and smoothes hair cuticles.
(*Tip: Since the following conditioners are primarily herbal, you can water them down in a spray bottle and use them on you or your little one as a leave-in conditioner.)
This conditioner smells absolutely delicious. It’s has a special blend of natural ingredients that provide amazing slip, which makes it the perfect conditioner to use when your little one’s hair needs a good detangling.
As you can guess from the name, this conditioner contains Coconut Oil which can help increase the hair’s shine and strength. It also contains natural fatty acids which can penetrate the hair shaft to replenish moisture from root to tip. Great for coarser hair types like 4b and 4c.
This Oyin Honey-Hemp Conditioner is light and can easily penetrate the hair strands. This makes it perfect for little ones with looser curl patterns. Type 3’s and 4a’s can benefit a lot from this silky blend of ingredients that include aloe vera gel, hemp oil, honey, and hydrolyzed silk protein. It’s got a nice detangling slip and some serious moisturizing power.
If your little one suffers from dry scalp, this is a great conditioner to have in your arsenal. It’s a salon-quality conditioner at a really great price. It has a blend of certified organic botanicals that include peppermint and tea tree. These ingredients work together to moisturize and clarify your little one’s hair while alleviating dry scalp. This conditioner works best when combined with a good leave-in like Kinky Curly Knot Today (which I’ll cover below). Great for hair types 3c and 4a.
Kinky Curly is a leave-in conditioner and detangler that many naturals with coarser hair textures absolutely swear by. (It’s a leave-in that I personally use on my “straight-from-the-motherland” super thick texture of hair. Not sure what I would do without it.) It’s designed to smooth the cuticle and removes knots, snarls and tangles from kinky-textured hair quickly and easily.
Kinky Curly is quite thick, and at $11 per bottle, a little pricer than your average hair product. The best and most effective way to use it is to water it down in a spray bottle and apply it to wet hair after you’ve properly cleansed it.
Here’s another great product from the Alikay Naturals line. This leave-in is the PERFECT moisture solution for ALL HAIR TYPES. It’s a lightweight leave-in conditioner that’s able to penetrate deep into the hair’s cortex to lock in moisture and soften, strengthen and condition each of your little one’s hair strands. It’s Infused with Essential oils, Aloe Vera and Silk Amino Acids which are able to repair dry damaged hair to promote moisture from inside the cuticle.
Get Slick Hair Smoothie is a hair creme that can provide your little one’s hair with the benefits of organic coconut oil and organic castor oil. Coconut oil is known for its benefits to skin and hair and is the only oil that can penetrate the hair shaft. Castor oil is known for its medicinal properties and can protect the hair and promote hair growth.
Use Get Slick after you’ve applied a leave-in and you’ll be helping your little one to seal in moisture. Great for coarser hair textures.
A little goes a long way with this thick buttery hair creme. It’s not greasy and can infuse new life into your little one’s dehydrated, damaged hair. Regular use can give you or your little one soft and well moisturized hair that bounces with health. The product nourishes the hair with Vitamins A & E for extra moisturizing and effective damage repair.
Apply this after spritzing hair with water or applying a water-based leave-in. Perfect for courser hair textures that may be damaged from a previous chemical process or heat damage. It’s also great to use when installing protective style. Works great at sealing in moisture.