We’re already 4 months in to 2014, and I’m seriously slacking on what I said I was going to do. Although I promised in my Must-Haves for 2014 that I was simplifying my regimen, I do realize that as someone who is obsessively fascinated with products (okay, I’m a PJ), it can be difficult to stick to that charge. While I do have my ride-or-die products, I love to go out and explore new and new-to-me products. I excitedly investigate ingredient labels while cross-referencing other reviews, and of course, I live for a great bargain. As I mentioned to another blogger before (@RadiantBrownBeauty, I believe), I love the thrill of the chase.
Sometimes, that product junkie chase can burn an hole in your pockets. By no means do I ever advocate for driving yourself into financial ruin trying to find the perfect curl definer. There are plenty of ways to experience new products without your bank account imploding on itself, and one of the best methods (besides ridiculous sales) is to pace your purchases. You’ll especially want to try that with this list, because although they aren’t insanely expensive, these products aren’t necessarily cost effective either. These products are all listed in the spirit of trying something that might be a little out of your price range or a little beyond your purview. Some of them you might not even know existed.
But that’s the fun in being a product junkie, right?
(by the way, these products are listed in no particular order.…except number one!)
Of course, I was going to open this article with a product that I absolutely cannot live without. It’s expensive, the ingredients aren’t all wholesome and natural (hello, polyquats, silicones, and artificial fragrance), and it most certainly wasn’t designed with natural hair in mind. But IT WORKS. Of all the curl definers in the world (and trust me, I’ve tried PLENTY), Curls Rock Amplifier takes the #1 spot (tgin Twist and Define Cream is a close second.…very close). At $18 for 5.07oz of product, it is by no means affordable — it’s just one of those products you simply must splurge on and try at least once. For more information on TIGI Curls Rock Amplifier, check out my review here.
2. Ouidad Superfruit Renewal Clarifying Cream Shampoo
Whenever we think of clarifying shampoos, SLS almost always comes in to play. Although SLS has a bad rep among naturals for being stripping and drying, it is those very properties that make it ideal for cleaning. Ouidad has really shifted the paradigm for what it means to clarify natural hair. Although, at $18, it’s a bit pricey for a shampoo, it will definitely leave the hair and scalp feeling clean without being robbed of moisture and softness. For all the details on Ouidad Superfruit Renewal Clarifying Cream Shampoo, read my full review here.
A while back on Instagram, I posted a PSA/sneak tip for my L.A. naturals. At a specific Target for whatever reason, the three Camille Rose Naturals products they carried (and still do) are being sold at half the regular price. Not on clearance, not on sale, but the regular yellow Target tag is set to half the price. Enticed by the $7.48 price tag, I purchased one bottle of Curl Love Moisture Milk..and fell in love. So much so that I’ve gone back several times to stock up for myself, my mom, and my boyfriend’s mom. Enriched with avocado and rice bran oil (hello omegas and ceramides), this super thick and creamy moisturizer can nourish and soften a wide variety of textures without making the hair feel greasy. In fact, my mom has a short relaxed cut, and she loves this stuff! Even though I’ve been grabbing it for half off, if it ever goes back up to full price I’ll continue to purchase Curl Love Moisture Milk. It’s just that darn good. (P.S. if you’re in L.A. and want to know the specific Target to visit, let me know via Facebook!)
I was so very excited once I saw Oyin Handmade products hit the shelves at Target stores. I knew I had to purchase something to try, and based solely upon the number of rave reviews, it was either going to be Burnt Sugar Pomade or Honey Hemp Conditioner. I told myself the conditioner would probably be of more immediate use, especially since I was interested in a new pre-poo product for these super dry ends of mine. Although $14 for 8.4oz isn’t totally cost effective for a conditioner, the ingredients are stellar and I found a way to not use the entire bottle in one wash (as a pre-poo treatment and/or leave-in). I definitely need to get my hands on the liter bottle!
Sometimes, the best products for natural hair don’t say natural hair on them. Such is the case with this particular deep conditioner that I’m now totally obsessed with. I was prowling around Ulta, looking for a new product to play with. Since I had planned to straighten my hair soon, I was really looking for a new deep conditioner — something with cetrimonium chloride (click here to learn why cetrimonium chloride is important). While scouring the store for products that were buy one, get one 50% off, I came across the Therapy Session Hair Mask. The ingredients were fab, and I loved how smooth and velvety it felt between my fingers (yes I opened the jar in the store). I grabbed two of the 16.9oz jars (regularly priced at $14.99 which is pretty good for a deep conditioner), and haven’t looked back since. After just one use, my hair was super buttery, smooth, soft, and just felt utterly amazing. New staple? Absolutely.
On the heels of grabbing the Eva NYC Therapy Session Hair Mask I also nabbed It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In Plus Keratin spray. It’s a great leave-in, refresher, smoother, moisturizer, strengthener, and more. Seriously, there are 10 different uses for this product listed on the back of the bottle.
7. Long Locks Hair Care Mystique Frizz Control Cream
Sometimes, you absolutely must put product claims to the test and see if they actually rise to the occasion. Mystique Frizz Control Cream most definitely taught me a lesson or two. When I used it on my wet hair as a leave-in, I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered exactly how much of an impact this product could have on improving definition and cutting down on frizz. When it comes to the Mystique, I tend to let this picture speak for itself:
My only wish is that Mystique Frizz Control Cream came in a lifetime supply size. $14 is a bit pricey for 4oz of product, but it performs well and is worth the splurge.
8. Lawrence Ray Concepts Shake & Go
Shake & Go is another one of those products that really speaks for itself. It can be used as a leave-in, detangler, curl refresher, and miracle worker. Enriched with aloe, jojoba, silk aminos, and keratin, it most definitely conditions and nourishes the hair. I absolutely adore Shake & Go, and much in the same vein as the Mystique Frizz Control Cream, I tend to let pictures do the talking. I tried Shake & Go for the first time on a dry, dirty, frizz-prone, tangled, and rough section of my hair. This was my result:
My jaw hit the floor. I couldn’t believe this elixir could have such a profound effect on my old, tired hair. Although this product is sold in the 8oz size for $15, I will gladly shell out the extra dough for the super salon-sized refill.
9. Curls Blueberry Bliss Curl Control Paste
Plenty of ladies love the Curls Passion Fruit Control paste, if for no other reason than the smell. Ever since being introduced to the Blueberry Bliss Curl Control Paste, I haven’t given the orange stuff a second look. I’m obsessed with the tart blueberry fragrance, and I love to apply the paste to my edges when I’m going for a more sleek and polished look. The texture and consistency is spot on with the Passion Fruit version (they have the same 4 base ingredients), but the addition of blueberry extract, hydrolyzed quinoa, silk amino acids, and argan oil make the Blueberry Bliss stand out. For me personally, Blueberry Bliss is a little less tacky and leaves my edges a little softer — both of which are great. Is $10 for a 4oz jar cost effective? Not entirely. But the little jar will last a long time if you use it sparingly!
10. Shea Moisture Superfruit Complex Bath, Body & Massage Oil
I know, nowhere on the label of this product does it say for use in hair. Shea Moisture’s latest addition to their bath and body line is that of the radiant orchid-esque labeled Superfruit Complex. I’m in love with the lotion and the oil, but that’s another post. I also nabbed these at Ulta, as a part of their soon-to-expire BOGO 50% off. I stocked up on the oil in particular, because I’m interested in something I can use from head to toe, that’s rich in the ingredients I love/need, and doesn’t smell like a rancid dumpster (sorry flax oil). At $10 for an 8oz bottle, it is reasonably priced, as all Shea Moisture products tend to be. The oil is an amazing blend of safflower, shea, sweet almond, jojoba, and more, and touts superfruit extracts of acai, raspberry ketone, goji, green coffee, and more. Between the ceramides, vitamins, and anti-oxidants present, this oil is perfect for dry hair, scalp, and skin that is in need of a pick-me-up. I use it for scalp massages, dry ends, and as an after-shower oil. I can’t get enough of this stuff. On top of all that, the essential oil fragrance is fruity, slightly floral, and perfect for spring.
When ApHogee unveiled their Curlific line, I gave them the side eye. Although I absolutely love my Keratin & Green Tea Restructurizer Spray, I couldn’t believe they were hopping on the natural hair bandwagon. Although I think the line is by no means complete (where is the hair lotion?), they definitely have a rockstar in the Texture Treatment. Although the fragrance is a wee bit strong, it more than makes up for that in performance. It’s super thick, goes on easily, and really coats the hair. If you’ve been feeling like your hair is out of whack and in need of some moisture, a little protein (hi there, quinoa!), and whole lot of softness, give Texture Treatment a try. At $10 for an 8oz jar, it isn’t terribly overpriced. Worst case scenario? Keep the receipt and get your money back. Read on for my full review of the Curlific Texture Treatment.
12. Purgasm Shop Wild Cherry Treatment Hair Truffles
There’s a special place in my heart for Wild Cherry Treatment Hair Truffles. I’ve been in love since my first encounter back in August 2013. At that point in my transitioning journey, I had never experienced hair truffles, and moving forward I never want to *not* experience them. Full of wonderful hair magic working ingredients like rhassoul clay, marshmallow root, banana, honey, and cocoa, the Purgasm Shop truffles are an amazing hair conditioning treat by themselves. At $14 for a pack of three, it’s a little expensive but well worth it. Besides, you can always break them in half to make them last longer! I currently get my fix on a monthly basis, using them as a fab add-in for my henna treatments. Get the scoop on why Wild Cherry Treatment Truffles work magic in my henna here.
Spiralicious is a thick gel-esque serum that every natural should try at least once. Although it is marketed as a heavier-hold gel, I found it to be quite lightweight, while still being defining. The gel offer tons of versatility, working well for everything from a wash and go to satin strip braidout. It has tons of slip, gives great shine, and makes for some of the most luxurious-feeling twist and braidouts ever. It leaves super soft and defined, while being free of silicones and the like. $17 for 8oz is a little more expensive than the normal price range for curl definers, but it is definitely worth it and a lot more reasonable than some other products out there. For a more thorough breakdown on Spiralicious, check out my review.
I know, this isn’t a product. It’s a tool — and a mighty good one at that. The Q‑Redew is picking up major steam in 2014 (pun intended, haha!), and I count myself as super lucky because I’ve been enjoying the benefits of this handheld hydrator since May of 2013. The Q‑Redew retails for $70, but creator Heidi is always running promotions for $10 off or more, and free shipping. The Q‑Redew is versatile, and can be used for steaming, detangling, deep conditioning, refreshing, and more. It’s a must-have transitioner tool, and a definite try in 2014 for all naturals. For more on why I love the Q‑Redew and you should give it a try, check out my video review.
What new products will you be trying in 2014?