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15+ Black-Owned Swaps for Your Favorite Natural Hair Products

• Feb 29, 2016

Natural Hair BLACKOUT Challenge

This month, I’ve been all about that #NaturalHairBLACKOUT life. So many of you have left encouraging words, pledged support, or let me know that you already #buyblack. Man, I gotta tell you… this ish is heartwarming. I had a conversation recently with a friend about how Black commerce is developing, and I gotta say — I’m LOVING how Black businesses are investing in developing practical things that we need, like personal care and laundry products.

When I first came up with the idea for the #NaturalHairBlackout, I almost backed out. How was I gonna replace my beloved Eco Styler? How would I get along without random product junkie sprees at Sally’s and Ulta, for products that I’d likely return anyway? On a more serious note, how would I effectively care for my color-treated curls?

Now that February is almost over, I can confidently say that I’ve been able to compile a list of proven, effective swaps. That’s right, I figured out how to abandon holy grail cult favorites for natural hair, and support Black owned business.

And guess what? My curls are thriving.

Let’s dive in.


Photo Dec 28, 9 47 46 AM

Holy Grail: DevaCurl No Poo

Black-Owned Swap(s): Be Kekoa Be Clean Cleansing Conditioner, The Mane Choice Soft As Can Be 3‑in‑1 Revitalize & Refresh Conditioner

The 411: Both Be Clean and Soft As Can Be have three functions — they can be used as co-washes, leave-in conditioners, and detanglers. They both have amazing slip, cleanse phenomenally, and leave the hair soft and hydrated. Read the reviews here:

Be Kekoa Be Clean Cleansing Conditioner 

The Mane Choice Review

Holy Grail: Creme of Nature Moisture & Shine Shampoo

Black Owned Swap(s): Be Kekoa Be Clair Sulfate Free Shampoo, TGIN Moisture Rich Sulfate Free Shampoo, Up North Naturals Clean Curls Cleanser

The 411: The hallmarks of a great shampoo include thorough cleansing power, not stripping the hair dry, and having some sort of slip that doesn’t leave the hair a tangled mess. All three of these shampoos hit the mark! If you’re in the market for a sulfate-free shampoo that clarifies while hitting all the marks, Be Kekoa Be Clair is the way to go. For a gentle, moisturizing cleanse, TGIN Moisture Rich Sulfate Free Shampoo is a clear winner. And if you’re looking to harness the power of African Black Soap, Up North Naturals Clean Curls is the clear winner!

Christina’s Choice 2015 — Best Shampoos & Cleansers

Be Kekoa Wash Day

Deep Conditioning & Treatments

Holy Grail: DevaCurl Heaven in Hair, Eva NYC Therapy Session Hair Mask

Black-Owned Swap(s): Obia Naturals Babassu Deep Conditioner, Shea Moisture Sacha Inchi Oil Omega 3, 6, 9 Rescue & RepairHair Masque

The 411: This was huge for me guys. Eva NYC Therapy Session Hair Mask might not mean much to you, but for me, it was BAE. Super thick and creamy, with slip, protein, and buttery smooth realness, it was hard for me to let the pink jar of awesomeness go for a month. But in it’s place, I discovered that Shea Moisture did not disappoint. I know, I know — we hashed out the Shea Moisture/Bain Capital situation a few months back. But since they still purport to be majority family owned (and Black owned), I gave them a pass. To replace DevaCurl’s Heaven In Hair (a cult favorite among CG followers), I’ve discovered that Obia Naturals is a cost effective swap. It’s pH balanced, botanically enriched, super moisturizing, and of course, Black owned.

Eva NYC Therapy Session Hair Mask Review

Obia Naturals Babassu Oil Deep Conditioner Review

Photo Jan 25, 2 14 40 PM (1)

Holy Grail: ApHogee Keratin 2 Minute Reconstructor

Black-Owned Swap(s): Soultanicals Afrotastic Curl Elastic, Mielle Organics Babassu Oil Mint Deep Conditioner

The 411: if you have color treated hair, or hair that craves protein in general, a strengthening treatment is a must. One of the reasons I wanted to back out of the #NaturalHairBLACKOUT initially was because I needed my ApHogee Keratin 2 Minute Reconstructor. Without it, my curls would go limp. Luckily, I’ve discovered that Soultanicals Afrotastic Curl Elastic and Mielle Organics Babassu Oil Mint Deep Conditioner  both contain the necessary ingredients to strengthen, repair, correct porosity, and restore elasticity in the hair.

Christina’s Choice 2015 — Best Deep Conditioners

Mielle Organics Review


Holy Grail: Giovanni Direct Leave-In Conditioner, Carol’s Daughter Original Hair Milk Leave-In Moisturizer

Black-Owned Swap(s): TGIN Green Tea Super Moist Leave-In Conditioner, Soultanicals Mango Dip Detangling Slip

The 411: Both TGIN Green Tea and Mango Dip provide extreme slip, hydration, and moisture to hair of all types. They help calm frizz and set the foundation for long-lasting, soft styles. Every healthy hair regimen needs a good leave-in conditioner, and these two definitely hit the mark!

TGIN Review

Soultanicals Mango Dip Detangling Slip Demo

Christina’s Choice 2015 — Best Leave-In Conditioners

Holy Grail: Cantu Coconut Curling Cream

Black-Owned Swap(s): Mielle Organics Moisturizing Avocado Hair Milk, Eden BodyWorks Coconut Shea Curl Defining Creme

The 411: Folks love Cantu for three reasons: it’s affordable, readily available, and it works. I absolutely cannot knock that. But in the spirit of supporting Black owned brands, I present Mielle Organics Moisturizing Avocado Hair Milk and Eden BodyWorks Coconut Shea Curl Defining Creme. Mielle Organics is the more expensive of the two, but I love how intensely moisturizing it is. Plus, you can find it at select Sally Beauty stores nationwide (although you might have to fight somebody to get it, lol). Eden’s Coconut Shea Curl Defining Creme is available on an even more widespread basis, and much more affordable. Both provide intense moisture, softness, and medium hold.

Mielle Organics Review

Christina’s Choice 2015 — Best Moisturizers


Holy Grail: Lotta Body Styling Foam/Setting Lotion

Black-Owned Swap(s): CURLS Blueberry Bliss Curl Control Jelly

The 411: For rod sets. Curlformers, and other styles that work best with a styling foam or setting lotion, Lottabody is typically the go-to. It’s lightweight, movable, and doesn’t flake or dry out the hair. The great news here is that my Black owned swap, CURLS Blueberry Bliss Curl Control Jelly does the same, and more. Check out how I used it for a super cute, bouncy Curlformer set here:

CURLS Blueberry Bliss Review

Photo Feb 16, 6 19 42 PM

Holy Grail: Eco Styler Gel

Black-Owned Swap(s): Obia Naturals Curl Enhancing Custard

The 411: The other reason I almost backed out of the #NaturalHairBLACKOUT? EcoStyler. Say what you will, but EcoStyler is bae. I even butchered dedicated a song to it. I wasn’t quite ready to let it go for February, but I did. Guess what? Obia Naturals is the plug! I’ve always loved Curl Enhancing Custard, but it wasn’t until I couldn’t use Eco Styler that I realized how much I actually love and appreciate Curl Enhancing Custard. Multi day curl poppage!!!

Obia Naturals Review — updated review coming soon!

Christina’s Choice 2015 — Best Curl Definers

Holy Grail: Amla Legend Treasured Temple Edge Tamer

Black Owned Swap(s): At this point in 2016, there are a plethora of edge control options out in these #naturalhair streets. Seriously. Eden BodyWorks Coconut Shea Control Edge Glaze (my fav), CURLS Passionfruit OR Blueberry Bliss Curl Control Paste, The Mane Choice Laid Back Effortlessly, and Mielle Organics Honey & Ginger Edge Gel are all viable options!

The 411: With any of the aforementioned edge controls, your baby hairs will be super sleek, laid, and flourishing. Again, Eden BodyWorks makes my fave (CURLS Blueberry Bliss is a close second), but it really comes down to preference. Whichever you choose, you can’t go wrong!

My Favorite Edge Tamers & Tips for Using Them

Last but certainly not least, most of us (if not all of us) love Shea butter in some capacity — as a twisting cream, sealing balm, or softening product for our hair. I definitely recommend Kyra’s Shea Medleys (Strength & Emollient Butter Cream is my love) for butter cream blends tailored to your hair needs. For pure Shea butters, Black Girl with Long Hair and Alaffia provide excellent, high quality and affordable options.

What are some of your favorite Black-owned swaps? Let me know in the comments below! 

About Christina Patrice

Born, raised, and living in Los Angeles, Christina is BGLH's resident transitioning expert and product junkie. In addition to loving all things hair, she is a fitness novice and advocate of wearing sandals year-round. For more information on transitioning, natural hair, and her own hair journey, visit Or, if you like pictures follow Christina on Instagram @maneobjective.

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5 years ago


Are you sure Shea moisture is black owned?

5 years ago
Reply to  Jessie

YES IT IS, !!!! Read the label or OUR STORY” at Or check out A charity her family created

5 years ago
Reply to  Jessie

Sheamoisture isn’t 100% black owned anymore. Bain Capitol is a minority owner now.

Christina J
5 years ago

Yes! Awesome swaps. I love CURLS Blueberry Bliss Line

5 years ago

Great list! The gel is the only one that I struggle with replacing as well. I do the Xtreme Wetline but I am willing to pay more if I find a black owned version that is just as good but so far that hasn’t happened. I tried Uncle Funky’s daughter, Camielle Rose and the Sheamoisure gel soufee stuff and none can compare.

Carol’s Daughter isn’t seen as black owned anymore?

Thanks for putting the list together!

5 years ago

I’m SO glad this list was compiled. I see I have some shopping to do!

I’ve been trying to find a replacement to EcoStyler gel but most haven’t really done the job. Then again, I haven’t really kept up with it long enough to see results but I’m willing to try again.

5 years ago

I like Qhemet Biologics! Thank you for the list and reviews too. …just Google.natural black hair products to find more black owned products. Good article!

britti the dub
britti the dub
5 years ago

Love this list! Thank you thank you thank you!!

5 years ago

KJ Naturals at (shampoo bars, leave-in, deep conditioners, stylers, whipped butters, oils, sealants), Natty Naturals (shampoo, deep conditioner), Green Beauty Products (protein treatment). I absolutely love KJ Naturals. I sing her praises anywhere and everywhere. Her products are amazing and she has wonderful customer service.

4 years ago

Can anyone point me to evidence (like a website/article) that Aphogee is definitely Black-owned? Thanks

4 years ago
Reply to  Confused

Hi there, author of the article here. I didn’t say ApHogee is Black owned — as a matter of fact I know with certainty they are not. I encourage you to re-read the article. I said that ApHogee was/is my HG protein treatment, but that Soultanicals and Mielle Organics are Black owned alternatives/swaps that perform the same functions that ApHogee does.

Thank you!

4 years ago

This website (
lists TCB Aphogee as NOT black-owned. Please investigate and update this list if necessary!

4 years ago
Reply to  Confused

I encourage you to re read the article. The layout presents holy trails — products that many naturals use and love, that are not Black owned (ApHogee, Cantu, Carol’s Daughter, etc), followed by Black owned alternatives that can be used due to similar (or better) performance. I never said, nor would I ever try to claim — that ApHogee is Black owned. Thank you!

Trinka Polite
4 years ago

Thank you for posting this article. Great info for restocking my products!

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