Best Products For My Natural Hair

recommended products for natural hair

Twist out with Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Style Milk

Are you transitioning?  See what products I used here.

Because I get so many questions about what products I use on my hair, I thought I’d create a more up-to-date page for you to reference.

I use many of the same products I used while transitioning, but there are a few changes.

Keep in mind that what works for ME may not work as well for you, as we all have different textures.


1) Kinky Curly Come Clean (Purchase @ Whole Foods or Target)

This is my favorite shampoo right now and I use it almost every time I wash my hair.

It’s a very good clarifying shampoo, but does not strip my hair of its moisture like some brands can.  The key is to use a dime-size amount.  When I first started using it, my hair felt stripped because I was using too much.

Even though the bottle is only 8 oz. I can usually get at least 10 shampoos out of it.

2) Giovanni (Purchase at Walmart, Amazon, etc.)

This was my go-to brand while transitioning.  The Tea Tree Triple Treat is my favorite because the tea tree oil gives my scalp a nice fresh tingle.  It’s great if you have dry scalp and/or suffer from dandruff/itchiness.

I actually use all their shampoos except the ones that say “thickening” or “volumizing.”  Those are typically not for kinky hair.  Our hair comes with its own volume and thickness. :)

Rinse-Out Conditioners

1) Suave Naturals Ocean Breeze (Purchase at most drugstores.)

I use this with olive oil for my pre-poo (the process of moisturizing your hair to prevent stripping before shampooing).  It’s very inexpensive and goes a long way.

2) Herbal Essence Hello Hydration and Totally Twisted (Sold at most drugstores.)

I use this line of conditioners for my pre-poo routine (coat and strengthen your hair with oil and conditioner before shampooing).  I always keep a handful of inexpensive moisturizing conditioners for pre-pooing and this is another one.

3) Giovanni Conditioners

I mostly use this when I’m finger detangling my hair in the shower while it’s wet after shampooing.  The Tea Tree is probably my favorite (like the shampoo) because my scalp loves tea tree oil.

4) Aussie Moist (Sold at most drugstores)

This is my newest favorite and I LOVE using this for co-washing (washing with conditioner only).  It really makes my curls pop….

curly puff natural hair

Puff after co-washing with Aussie Moist.

Here’s a video showing my twist out after using this product…

Leave-In Conditioners

1) Oyin Handmade Honey Hemp (Purchase Online)

I’ve been using this since my transition.  I love it because it has honey in it, and honey is a great humectant — which means it attracts and locks in moisture.

I don’t like using this product full strength because it tends to leave a residue on my hair when it dries.  I usually dilute it by adding a teaspoon or two to about 6 oz of water in a spray bottle.

This is a pretty decent detangler, but because I don’t like to use this product full strength I rarely use it for that.

Be careful with using products containing honey in the winter months.  In the summertime honey draws moisture from the air and into your hair.  In the winter, it can have the opposite effect and dry your hair out.

2) Kinky Curly Knot Today (Purchase at Whole Foods or Target)

Knot Today can be used as a leave-in or a rinse out conditioner.  I typically use it as a leave-in because it’s fabulous for detangling natural and transitioning hair.  The smell is also very marshmellowy, but not in an annoying way.  I really like this stuff!

3) The Great Detangler (Purchase at Target or any Beauty Supply)

This is probably one of the best detanglers I’ve found thus far.  It’s really good for people who have thick hair.

Now that I detangle with my fingers in the shower with a conditioner, I rarely need a thick detangler like this anymore, but it’s a nice product to have on hand.

natural hair t shirts

Twisting Creams and Gels

1) Homemade Flaxseed Gel (Watch me make the gel here.)

I spend a LOT less on twisting products now because I discovered this cost-friendly, homemade recipe.  It’s super simple to make and it takes all of 10 minutes.

This gel will give your hair shine and great hold.  It also makes for a great twist out.

2) Taliah Waajid Lock it Up (Tight Hold) (Purchase at most local beauty supply stores.)

This is another good twisting cream for long-lasting twist outs.  It may leave residue if you use too much.   I like to dilute mine with water and another moisturizer.  Mix the ingredients together in a bowl with a spatula for a whipped consistency.

3) Miss Jessie’s Curly Buttercreme (Purchase at Target or Amazon)

Before I discovered Taliah Waajid, this was my original favorite for twists.  Even though the product is not all natural, it leaves my hair feeling very soft.

This is not a good product if you want to keep the twists in for longer than a few days because it only has a slight hold.  However, if you want luscious, moisturized twists and twist outs, this is the cream for you!

Also, this is NOT a natural product. It has mineral oil and if you are a person who doesn’t like using non-natural products, this will not be the cream for you.

In the beginning of my journey, I tried to avoid non-natural products, but I’ve found that as long as I moisturize my hair underneath, my hair does fine.

I don’t mind mineral oil from time to time.  It doesn’t seem to have a negative effect on my hair as long as it’s truly moisturized with a water-based product.

Most people seem to prefer Miss Jessie’s Baby Buttercreme, but I like a bit of hold with my twisting creams.

4) Original Moxie Oasis Moisture Gel (Purchase Online)

I won’t lie.  This product is quite expensive so I don’t buy it often.  However, it really makes my twists shiny and leaves a nice hold.  You can see the flat twist style I created.

The reason it’s priced higher is it uses a lot of high quality natural ingredients, however there are still many less expensive products out here that do a nice job.

5) Organic Root Stimulator Lock and Twist Gel (Beauty Supply and some Target locations)

This product works very similar to Taliah Waajid’s Lock it Up gel on my hair, but is not as expensive.

Once again, I would recommend diluting with water and another moisturizer.  Many twisting gels leave a white residue because the ingredients that provide some hold tend to dry and flake after a few days.

6) Fruit of The Earth Aloe Vera Gel

Even though this product is for sunburns it works GREAT on natural and transitioning hair.

I use it for setting my rod sets.  It is super, duper moisturizing!!

Below is a style where I two-strand twisted my hair with Aloe Vera Gel while wet.  Then I rolled the twists up on perm rods.


You can find this product at Amazon, and even though Amazon usually has GREAT prices, you can probably get this cheaper at Walmart or another drugstore.

7) Oyin’s Burnt Sugar Pomade

This is a wonderful product to use on a dry twist out (meaning you twist your hair after it’s dry for a stretched look.)  You can get it on Amazon.

Here’s a pic of my stretched twist out that I achieved by twisting my hair every night in 13-16 large twists using water and the Oyin pomade (more water than Oyin).  Then I take them down when I wake up in the morning.

stretched twist out on natural hair

Your hair will continue to stretch each night.  You can even stretch the hair more by making a ponytail overnight.

Deep Conditioning

Organics Olive Oil Replenisher (Purchase at most beauty supply stores or Target)

My deep conditioning list is rather boring because this is the only product I use regularly.  I’ve used it since the start of my transition and found no reason to change.  It helps keep my hair soft, moisturized and it’s reasonably priced.

I apply an ample amount to my hair after shampooing, cover with a plastic cap with a warm cloth inside (instead of sitting under the dryer).

I have also used Deva Curl Heaven in Hair a few times.  This stuff is AMAZING and you can even see your curl pattern pop when you apply it, but because of the price, I don’t buy it often.


Because I don’t use any heat and deep condition my hair regularly, my hair does a pretty good job of retaining moisture.

My favorite right now is the Shea Moisture Leave-In Conditioner.

I believe this is one of the older Shea Moisture products because you can only buy it on and not in stores. After using this for 2-3 days, my hair feels so incredibly moisturized.  I hope they never stop selling this.  I would go nuts!

Even though it is labeled as a “conditioner”, water is the 2nd ingredient and it has Aloe Vera which are two very good moisturizing products.  So this behaves more like a moisturizer on my hair.

To seal in moisture, I use Jane Carter’s Nourish and Shine.

It’s important to note that products that are water-based are moisturizers (water should be the 1st or 2nd ingredient), and oils are sealants that lock in moisture.

Using oil by itself will just sit on your hair and do nothing but give you glistening, dry hair. :) In order to have properly moisturized hair, you need a true moisturizer (check the label and look for water) and then use a natural oil to seal it in.  This is very important if you live in a city where it gets very cold during winter.

Update: February 2013:  I just started using Qhemet Biologics Amla & Olive Heavy Cream.  It’s a very thick, rich product that keeps my hair moisturized.   Oil is actually the first ingredient but water is 3rd, so it can still be considered a moisturizer.

In fact, this could actually be used as a moisturizer and sealant.

Read more tips on the best ways to moisturize your natural hair.

Dry Scalp

Be careful with twisting gels because they can leave flakes behind and make you think your scalp is flaking.

For months, I thought I had a dandruff problem, but when I did not style my hair with a twisting gel, I didn’t have as much of an issue.  So it was the gel that was leaving behind flakes.

However, if you do have dry scalp, try mixing 1-2 drops of tea tree oil in one ounce of jojoba oil and apply it to your scalp as needed.  Jojoba oil is very closely related to the natural sebum our scalp secrets and tea tree has antifungal properties that can prevent dandruff.

I also find that doing hot oil treatments regularly will help keep your scalp more moisturized.

Also check out another great dry scalp remedy here.

The Multi-Product Myth

Unless you just like to experiment and try new hair products, you really don’t need to buy a lot to maintain natural or transitioning hair.  You just have to find out what works for you and yes, that may mean investing more money in the beginning.

People often ask me what products they should use on their hair and I do not really know.  I can tell you what works for me, but it may not work for you and vice versa.  So keep that in mind.

Hair Typing

For those who keep track of hair typing, my hair is mostly 4a and 4b.  My texture is very cottony/fluffy and dries with no curl pattern unless I apply a defining product.Twist Out Natural Hair

When it’s wet, I can get very defined waves/curls with a product like Kinky Curly Custard (Whole Foods or Target) or Eco Styler Gel (beauty supply store), but my hair quickly reverts to its cottony texture after a few days.

My hair also holds rod sets and twist outs very well, which is why they are two of my go-to styles.

Be careful of getting caught up in hair typing. I used to think it would be useful to find out other’s hair types so I could buy the same products.  The problem is many people classify their hair incorrectly according to the chart/definition.

Plus, there are classifications within the subtypes.

For example, I’m a 4b with some 4a near the nape of my neck, but my strands are fairly fine.  Someone else may have the same hair type but have very coarse, thick strands and the same products might work differently on their hair.

That’s why it’s better to just experiment with products until you find what your hair likes.

Save Money on Products

You don’t have to spend a lot to transition or be natural.  Check out this article I wrote with some money-saving tips.


  1. MaMa Scherrie says

    Also Try My Honeychild hair products. There are sample sizes available. I recommend the honey love moisturizer – the shine maker, makes your hair soft and pliable with loads of continual moisture, and my hair is thick and coarse. Little pricey, but worth the bucks. All natural. Just Google My Honeychild hair products. MaMa Scherrie

  2. Rashante Sumner says

    Hey, I was wondering if I use these products would they help my hair go natural or just moisture it on the process of going natural. Is there any products to help my hair grow natural faster, I just recently permed it 2 days ago and THIS IS my LAST perm. I want to go natural, my hair is thing and breaking out. My edges are falling off and eating out. I am not how I use to look. My hair was the fullest it can be. Now since I started perming it is falling out. I am afraid that I have been perming so long that my hair is going to take decades to turn back natural. Because it is very straight. And do you know any products that can actually GROW my hair in the process.

    • aiysha says

      rashante, i had the same issue with relaxers. i was using hairfinity but it is expensive but it is exactly what our hair needs. i say was because it helps but not as fast as i want it to. any hair vitamin will help though. you have damaged your hair so it has to bounce back first from the damage then once its healthy it will grow faster. it aint never as fast as we want lol. i went natural around october/november of last year and it is a struggle. was your hair once a week and deep condition (after the weekly wash or on another day) use natural oils etc and you should see and improvement in your hair, even relaxed hair. good luck

    • kendalyn says

      um it can’t go natural fast it takes time and either you perm hair has to fall all off or use proteins use rod sets and stuff to help you hair prevent breakage and it it on the natural path

  3. almas says

    am from kenya.
    I stop To relaxer my hair since over 2 years.
    But I had many years always weave Extension.
    My hair ist not growing.short kinky and dry.
    I start since 1week to go natural.
    Since w weeks i have natural hair.
    I try the hot oil ttreatment and protein treatment with eggs.
    Which one is the iinportant 1 week to do?
    in few days i want make rasta or pick and drop.
    ist that ok whats shall i care for that?

  4. says

    I use most of these exact same products. I love herbal essences because of it’s affordability. I used to use the lock and twists gel but I switched over to the beeswax and it’s been doing my hair justice. If found that my hair has changed over time and some products don’t work as well as they used to. I also find that twisting cream is necessary for my hair (4a type). I tried to do twists without the cream and they were okay but they didn’t last long and my twist out was wack lol. But it’s nice to see you use some of the same products as me :-)

  5. Sheila J says

    hello my name is Sheila i been natural for a year now and my hair is always dry and hard the do anything with because its no nappy when i do my twist out it looks s dry and not healthy looking at all i use Organix Shampoo and Condition which is sulfate free but my hair still looks the same and it don’t look like its growing. i just want to know if you have any ideas of a product i can use to get my hair to shine to grow and to get soft, also i would like to use a black temporarily color in my hair is that ok

  6. Tammy says

    I have a 2 1/2 yr old mixed daughter who’s hair is out of control! I style it but within an hour there is a poof of small dry little curly hairs everywhere! Is there a product you can recommend to help control her crazy hair??

  7. Resego says

    Hi Lisa,

    I want to transition my hair and it is very thick and coarse do you think the olive oil products will work for me? I bought the organic root stimulator: olive oil replenishing conditioner and the olive oil creamy aloe shampoo.

    • lisa says

      Yes give it a try. Section your hair before you apply to make sure you get good coverage. Sit under the dryer for 30 minutes and it will soften your hair. Always detangle with lots of leave-in/conditioning products on your hair.

  8. Annette says


    I am from Kenya and I checked the Carol Daughter transitioning kit on ebay and it says they don’t ship to Kenya! Any other alternatives?

  9. keline says

    I have a problem. I transitioning to naturals for 7 months now. My problem is, I have no idea what type pf hair I have. I just know its hard and I guess course. How to make transitioning easy because I am close togiving up.

  10. VIKKI says

    hello ms risa…..

    i wanted to know what type of olive oil do u use? is it the all natural olive oil or the hair type olive oil with the ingredients…

  11. Mary says

    I have been natural for two years keeping my hair braided and under a wig. I can not seem to find the right products or the order I need to use the products for a twist out. PLease provide me with the steps and product I should use to accomplish the twist out. I do understand that all products do not work on every hair but to get something to start with would be greatly appreciated.

  12. Cynthia Burton says

    Can you help??? I have alopecia and have been natural for about a year. As some of you readers has stated that they have a curl pattern as long as the hair is wet. Once it dries it becomes a nappy afro. I am using coconut oil for the scalp and Shea Moisture products to shampoo. Is the alopecia causing my hair to dry out and break off?

    • lisa says

      What are you using now? I like Miss Jessie’s creams. They are not all natural and pricey but the Curly buttercreme does leave my hair super soft.

  13. Sherita says

    Hi Lisa,

    I have been transitioning to natural since January 2012 I finally cut off the last inch of relaxer last Friday. This is truly a journey for me and I want to say I have watched too many YouTube videos to number. I know there are different hair types within hair types but I am thankful I have found your videos. Your hair type is soooo similar to mine it’s crazy…. I hope to take some of your suggestions especially the flaxseed gel and attempt the flaxseed gel twist out. Please let me know if you suggest using an oil or leave in prior to using the gel. Your wash and go video had me laughing so hard because I could relate. My hair is so nice and curly in the shower and with conditioner but once it dries it shrinks and the curls become crunchy and cotton like… so thanks again!

    Thanks so much! Sherita

  14. says

    Hi Lisa, i had a shoulder length hair but it kept on breaking off due to lack of regular maintenance so i had to chop it off to natural , i couldn’t live with being natural so i relaxed again now i wanna be natural but dont want the big chop pls i need advice on wat to do

  15. Angie says

    Hi Lisa,
    Could I use the Giovanni conditioner as my leave-in for my moisturizer because water is one of the first ingredients, and then use a sealant behind that. Would that work you think without weighing down my hair? By the way I’m a transitioner.

    • lisa says

      Is this the Giovanni Leave-in or the regular condish? If it’s a leave in that may work but I personally need something a bit more creamier.

  16. Markita Johnson says

    Hello, My name is Markita and I did the chop a week ago. My side are really thin and my hair is dry. I just need some help on this journey. I need to know how do I get my sides to grow back. I have been using coconut oil to keep the moisture in but nothing else.HELP

  17. Janice Wilson says

    Hi Lisa, I’m Janice…I’ve been perm free for almost a year and I was wondering. Whats a good product to use on fine hair? My curls are forming but it seems to dry out throughout the day and get frizzy. I have fine hair as to where the twist will not stay twisted. All the things I try seem to be too heavy and makes my hair feel sticky. What would you suggest I try?

  18. Deborah Love says

    Hi Lisa I have not had a perm on my hair in over four months, at that time I’ve cut out all over the perm. So what I’m rocking now is all natural, my question to you is why does my hair stay dry and knots up one the ends. I have been searching online and by word of mouth about products.

  19. Charisse Smith says

    Hello Ms. Lisa

    Im currently trying to go more natural. My hair has never been relaxed however, I usually get my hair pressed every two weeks. I know that their are parts of my hair that are permanently straight. My hair type is probably 4c. its very kinky and its retains water like crazy. when dry its very hard to comb through and looks like a big puff ball. Im trying to retain moisture to my hair after I wash and condition it…it always feel dry. I would like to know what kind of shampoo and conditioner I can use so my hair does not feel like its breaking off when i comb through it. I currently use herbal essences hello hydration shampoo and conditioner.

    Thank you

    • lisa says

      Try Giovanni. You can get it at Walmart, Target, you name it. It is very moisturizing and I love how it makes my hair feel. I like their Tea Tree and Hydrating / Clarifying kinds. I also get the matching conditioner.

  20. victoria says

    Hi,I have been trying the natural hair for over 3years and I can’t seem to find good products to use on my hair.I have very dry hair,with some damage and some thinning in the front ,its hard to manage other than putting it in a ponytail with my busy ends,I’m in need of emergency hair help.

  21. janae mendi says

    Well written and will defnitely check out those products. you should try nappy hair butter by Jakeala. Makes my curls pop. Oh what is your thoughts on shampoo bars?

    • lisa says

      Funny you should mention. Someone just sent me a sample and I don’t know how I’m hesitant to use it. It just seems awkward to use but I’ve actually heard great things about them. I guess I’ll give it a go eventually.

  22. diane says

    Hi lisa,
    my name is Diane ,i have really thick hair and it very painful and time consuming to maintain it .i have to relax it most of the time but now i would like cut it off and go back to having my natural hair but am afraid that i wouldn’t be able to manage it.which products do you think i should use

  23. velva says

    Hello lisa.
    I was wondering what products should be used when wanting to go natural without doing the big chop. Today I purchased the carols daughter 3 step kit to going natural but am not sure if this would be the right product for me as I am not ready for the big chop. I havent had a relaxer since october of last year so as of now I guess you could say im having the best of both worlds (not really though).

  24. L says

    Hi Lisa,
    I started transitioning my hair for about two to three weeks then I got tried of that so I got micro braids. This was probably not such a good plan. I wore the braids for a while (couple of months) but just recently took them down. I had such uneven hair long and short all over my head so I was done with that so I just chopped off my hair and made it even. This was probably not the best idea either but oh well I guess huh. I have a few problems one – my hair line – edges are super thin, which for the most part have always be en that way any suggestions for this? 2- I hate my hair currently is super short and has no texture no wave pattern no nothing why is this? I watched all these you tube videos and see how nice other people wave patterns are but not hair. 3 – its extremely dry and rough kinda reminds me of a SOS pad lol. I have never been a hair person and pretty much went to a stylist but maybe you can suggest a few products for me in this stage to help my hair out. I really am not digging my hair right now and in some ways regretting I ever did the big chop, so I been wearing wigs etc so no one can see my hair but I would like to give it a shot. Any suggestion would be helpful!

    Thanks so much,


  25. Trishana says

    I need help with my hair. I did a BC last December and its now at jawbone length. Do I have slow growth? Where I live, its hard to find shae butter, castor oil (many other oils at that) and all the other basics for my hair. I currently use coconut oil, tressemme naturals and sometimes I’d do hot oil treatments when I find castor oil or wonder 8 oil. I’m not sure of my hair type. At the back and right side its 4a, in the middle and left side, I have no curls, crinks or coils, also, all over my head I have STRAIGHT STRANDS. Could someone please help me?? My hair feels dry as well how should I care for my hair? I do everything, protective styles, cowash, I use sulphur free shampoo. Help please!

  26. Rachelle B says

    I have been natural for the past two going on three years, and after washing my hair, my hair has the curls i desire, but then when it dries it look the afro from He**. I think my hair is just too dry. But no matter what product that i put in my hair once it dries the style doesnt look right anymore. only style that looked great was my bontu knots but that too time consuming to do ever other day. What do you suggest me to do. I would hate going back to perms and perms. Please help.

    • says

      I think your problem may be due to layering your products . You need a creamy leave in like Eden body works Shea coconut, then a butter to lock moisture , then your styler gel . Hopefully that helps check out for additional help

  27. Y-Lana's Mommy says

    Hello Lisa,

    I love your article and it is definitely a start. However, I am looking for products for my daughter. She is 1 year old and like many other African American women, I was braiding my daughter’s hair but I cannot do this again for awhile because after her doctor’s visit today, I was told that it would be best for her if she wore her hair out. Well, that would be okay if she had easily manageable hair but she doesn’t. Every time my daughter gets her hair done she screams and not a restless scream. More like, a “it hurts” scream. With that said, I have tried to omit using combs, and using brushes that is said to be geared toward detangling but even those seems to not work that well. My daughter has thick hair that is tight at the roots but course at the strands. So, it often tangles with a wash. Not to mention if I leave it out per her doctor’s request it will matte and tangle beyond control which is why this isn’t an option. I figured I would find a product that will make my daughter’s hair manageable enough to be combed and then twist it for a style to get it to look similar to yours so that it will at least have some sort of style and not just be matted to her head. Will these products be a good detangler? Or can you recommend one in particular that I should try. All natural is most preferred given her age, I don’t want to chance anything breaking her scalp out.

    Thank you for your help in advance.

    • says

      Hi Y Lana,
      I have been through the same struggles that you are experiencing with your daughter I have 2 girls and they have a lot of hair and hair time was a nightmare in my home. I since have created a product that helps with the tangles because I just couldn’t find the right one. You may want to check my website for products and how to’s to help you and your precious one on your journey.

  28. more says

    My hair is strongest when it’s dry !! I noticed that when i add water based moisturizer or even just to spritz my hair it begins to break !! This is why i only use oils like JANE CARTER NURISH. My hair likes it even if it’s not A MOISTURIZER like u say

  29. Jessica says

    I am so glad I found you site. You and I have the same hair journey as well as hair texture. I was really hard looking at youtube hairstyles that worked for me bc my hair texture is so complicated. I did a texturizer on my natural hair 1 year ago, and I had the same results instead my hair didtnot get as straight as yours in the front. I find that As I am twist definition cream works great as a gel and twist out look. And shea Moisture Curl Enhancing cream mixed with castor oil and olive oil, and coconut oil is a wonderful moisturizing cream (wet the hair each section at a time before applying and work into each section.) My main problem is frizzies at the front of my head. Will our top ever get as defined as the back? Its 2013 now So Im trying to find updated pictures of you hair now. Thanks for reading.

  30. risa says

    Hello Ms. Lisa, Im Risa and ive been natural for 3 1/2 month now and my hair wont curl I tried about everything and nothing has help, but when I did my BC back in January I put in a texturizer so im not sure if thats the problem or maybe you can give me some tips . Thanks

    • says

      Hi Risa,
      The texturizer is like a relaxer and is a chemical. You natural curls have been suppressed by this you need to wait until your hair grows out of this process. Meaning you need to begin your transition, you can cut the straight ends off as they grow out, your curl pattern will reveal itself day by day.


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