Taking a product that is intended to do one thing, and repurposing it for another is an all too familiar concept with naturals. Just look at co-washing: we have taken a product that was meant to be used after shampoo, and instead use it to cleanse. In fact, because the no-poo movement is picking up so much momentum, product manufacturers have begun rolling out “cleansing conditioners” in record numbers — just check out Pantene, Shea Moisture, Wen, As I Am, and countless others. Not only can product remixing be good for your hair, it’s good for your wallet too. Nothing beats finding a cheaper way to do something that your hair needs anyway.
Just for starters, here’s a list of some products that work well for their intended purpose, but have stellar alternative uses. It is by no means conclusive, so feel free to add to this list with how you’ve remixed some of your favorites!
Original Purpose: For taking down twists and braids
Remixed Purpose: Detangling and curl sculpting
I first discovered this at Sally Beauty, on clearance for $4. I picked it up because I had been dabbling in the idea of setting my hair in mini-twists soon. But as soon as I began pouring over the ingredients (silicones, polyquats, etc.), I realized that even though it is purposed for removing twists and braids, it would probably make a kick-butt detangler too. Combined with a few spritzes of water, I had a detangler’s dream. I even noticed that hours later, my detangled hair had some great curl definition. I never planned on using it as a styling aid, but hey, why not? To use as a detangler, just spritz hair with water after applying a dime-sized amount of Braid Marinade. As a curl sculptor, apply more or less to each section, depending on the amount of hold you seek.
Original Purpose: Post-wash or styling leave-in
Remixed Purpose: Detangling
On The Mane Objective, I go into plenty of detail about this product, as a leave-in. It performs well, provides moisture, and is a great base to any style or post-washing routine. However, where this stuff truly shines is as a detangler. A quarter-sized amount is enough to tackle a small or moderate section of hair in no time. Check out my review, and give it a whirl!
Original Purpose: Deep conditioner
Remixed Purpose: Styling pomade
I love this stuff as a deep conditioner – it is moisturizing, strengthening, and smells great. I love it equally as a styling aid. One day when I had run out of coconut oil (a natural’s nightmare…haha); I needed something to sit under the EcoStyler gel I was using (at the time). As we all know, EcoStyler is good for giving your hair the crunchies, unless you use a moisturizing product underneath or work the crunchies out. Yucca & Baobab Anti-Breakage Masque stepped in and saved the day. It mixed well with EcoStyler, softened my edges, and imparted great moisture to my beach-esque waves. Even though my hair was out, it retained significant moisture. Click here to find out more about how I used the deep conditioner on my hair.
Original Purpose: Temporarily mending split ends
Remixed Purpose: Detangling
Admittedly, I never cared for this product as a conditioner. It doesn’t moisturize my hair at all, and leaves a void in the softness department. But, that’s not what it’s for. It is specifically designed to temporarily mend split ends – and that is exactly what it does. I test-drove this product’s effectiveness in that capacity here, if you are interested. Even though it works well at mending ends, the super-slippery formulation makes it an even better pre-wash detangler. For maximum detangling, sprits your hair with water in sections, apply a generous amount of conditioner, and get going with your fingers or a wide-toothed comb.
Original Purpose: For styling/holding twists and locks
Remixed Purpose: Styling/holding edges
Generally speaking, this product is formulated for sculpting and styling locks, twists, and other styles. Many naturals also use this product for wash n’gos, twist, and braid-outs. I fall into the latter category, but I also use it rather effectively to slick back my edges for buns and ponytails. To get effective hold without hardness, spritz your edges with water, apply a dime-sized amount of gel, and smooth your edges with a soft bristle brush or your hands.
Original Purpose: Scalp and hair detoxification, treatment of scalp conditions
Remixed Purpose: Wash & go leave-in
If you don’t like the banana‑y smell, this one isn’t for you. If you don’t mind or kind of like the smell of the Purification Masque, then try it as a leave-in for your wash n’ go. I’ve used it several times and gotten great definition and softness (not to mention a nice tropical aroma that followed me around all day) with each use. Just apply a small scoop in medium-sized sections of your hair, work through, and go!
Ladies, what products in your regimen have dual uses?