Over the past few weeks I’ve kind of fallen in love with air-drying my hair. It’s not so much that it’s new, it’s just that for most of my life, I’ve always thought that applying heat would be the only way that I could achieve the looks that I wanted. I can’t speak for everyone, but the one thing that inspired me to go that route were the natural hairstyles that were being shown. Please note, I am not a natural girl. I go for long periods without applying a relaxer to my own hair to avoid damaging my hair so I usually rock a “protective style” aka a weave/wig.
Prior to the last two months or so, whenever I bought my extensions I would ask my hairdresser to flat iron the natural waves. What I noticed was that after some time, the hair would become brittle and I would have to shell out a pretty penny to get new extensions. That was not wise. In an effort to spare my pockets and still look fabulous, I decided that it was high time that I try a more “natural” approach to preserving my purchased tresses. After extensive research (and some trial and error) I finally found the five products that really work.
Girl + Hair Under Hair Care Restore – I was first introduced to this product about two years ago while visiting Harlem’s hidden beauty spot Vivrant Beauty. I was intrigued because this was a line dedicated to hair health for women who wear protective styles. My favorite product from the line is Restore. From the practical packaging (the nozzle tip is perfect for getting in between wefts and braids) to the ingredients this is what the protective style community has been waiting for. At first I thought that that it could end up being too oily (kind of like that old-school Wild Growth), but I was wrong. The formula absorbed quickly and keeps my braids moisturized for about a week. It’s important to massage it into the hair and scalp.
IGK Expensive – This is pretty much the holy grail to shine. It’s formulated with with Amla Oil and offers UV protection. Although it’s intended use is primarily for those with color treated hair to prevent damage from heat tools and color fading, it totally can be used on hair that has not been colored. It leaves a shine that is healthy and it will not weigh your hair down or leave a greasy film. What I live most about it is that it softens the hair. For my hair extensions this works great. It restores the original shine the the hair had when I first purchased it.
Bumble and Bumble While You Sleep Overnight Mask, Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Primer & Don’t Blow It Hair Styler – These three products work very well together or alone. For my current look I’ve been using these three products. The night before I got my hair done, I saturated every strand from root to top with While You Sleep. The next day at the salon, I had my hairdresser wash it out and then we washed the extension hair with a sulfate/paraben-free shampoo. I used the IGK Expensive Topcoat as a conditioner. After leaving it in of a few minutes and rinsing it out. I followed up with the Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Primer and Don’t Blow It Hair Styler. With the extensions still wet, my hairdresser installed the extensions and then all I had to do was wait for it to air dry. Let me tell you – I had to be patient. I felt like a little kid asking my hairdresser “Is it dry yet?” every 5 minutes. The key is not to touch it during the air-dry process. It sounds a lot easier than it actually is.
Pantene Gold Series Hydrating Oil – I use this oil every two days or so to maintain the shine. I love it because it’s not heavy at all and you only need one pump. I apply it from the mid-shaft to the ends. Pantene has really been stepping up their game when it comes to styling products. On top of all that it’s infused with Argan oil.
Last but not least are two products that I can’t stop talking about. Natural and non-natural girls alike will love these two products. When Flawless Hair by Gabrielle Union launched, it took me a while before I actually purchase it. I can’t speak for the treatment products, but the styling products are winners. My two favorites are the Edge Control Gel and the Shine Spray. The Edge Control Gel is probably the best edge control gel I’ve ever used and my hairdresser agrees (trust me she’s very hard to impress). It lays those edges down without becoming hard and flaky and there’s absolutely no buildup. The Shine Spray is extremely light and smells great. Your hair (or extension hair will look shiny and but not greasy and it doesn’t weigh the hair down.
While I am reviewing these products as a protective style wearer, many if not all of these products can be used on natural or processed hair. Have you used any of these products? If so, I’d love to hear whether you liked (or disliked) them.