Natural hair loves natural ingredients, pure and simple. Because Black hair has texture and curl, it's more prone to dryness, frizz, and breakage. So, giving it plenty of tender loving care is absolutely essential. One thing Black hair definitely can't get enough of? Moisture. Here are 9 powerful ingredients to look for in hair care products—or to use straight out of the bottle or jar.
This is as basic as it gets, but water goes a long way in restoring hydration to Black hair. By nature, that's what H2O does, after all. If you avoid washing your hair frequently because you believe it's drying, know that water's not the culprit—blame the sulfates in shampoos. Hard water could also be an issue, as it may leave mineral deposits on hair, leading to dryness and brittleness. Though alkaline water isn't scientifically proven to be any more beneficial than tap water, it's an alternative to using hard water. Spritz your tresses with water for a moisture pick-me-up.
Vegetable glycerin is a less obvious ingredient to look for in products, but it's a hero. As a humectant, it attracts and retains moisture; therefore, it works best in humid climates. Add this to water in a spray bottle for instant hydration.
Coconut oil in hair products is usually a good sign that your tresses are in for a treat. But pure, organic coconut oil works wonders straight from the jar, too. Harness it as a leave-in conditioner or as a hair mask. Warm a generous amount between your hands, and work it through from scalp to ends.
For deep conditioning, use extra coconut oil and leave it in for a couple of hours or overnight—the longer, the better. Then style as usual.
Shea butter is another high performer in Black hair products, but you can also use it in its unrefined form. Pure shea butter is usually firm, but it melts easily and absorbs into dry hair well. It should be pale yellow and smooth; if it's gritty, white, dark yellow, or green, it's either too refined or possibly even rotten.
Jojoba oil is prized as a natural ingredient because its composition is similar to that of your scalp's natural oils. It's lightweight and won't weigh your hair down. Use it on its own, or mix a few drops into your conditioner or hair mask.
If you've ever used mashed avocado as a deep conditioning treatment, you're familiar with the moisturizing properties of this clean, green fruit. Rich in fatty acids, avo oil replenishes moisture. Since it's on the heavier side, it's best for hair with coarse, denser textures.
More than a sunburn soother, aloe helps retain moisture. Add aloe vera gel or juice to DIY conditioning treatments. An aloe-based shampoo can cleanse hair and also balance the scalp's pH.
These nourishing ingredients give your locks all the love. After all, healthy hair is good hair.
Gavazzoni Dias MF. Hair cosmetics: an overview. Int J Trichology. 2015;7(1):2-15. doi:10.4103/0974-7753.153450