Category Archives: Natural hair care products

Products in Australia for Natural Hair

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Since moving to Australia I have had to say goodbye to Shea Moisture products and access to all the products showcased by of my favorite vloggers and bloggers. Even in the UK there is much more access to American based products online, through sites such as beautybyzara.com. So far in Australia, although there have been attempts to provide this, it has not been successful. Most of the products are available on ebay.com.au, but the shipping costs get you every time. Beware of sellers that offer ‘free shipping’. They usually double the price of the item before they offer it.

However, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t products available to women with naturally curly or kinky hair, here in Oz. If you find products with all natural  ingredients, it is likely to be suitable for your hair type. It may not be marketed towards our specific demographic, but that doesn’t mean it will not work well with your hair.

I have always been a ‘just juices and berries’ kind of girl.  As long as I can order shea butter online, have access to natural oils and can make my own flaxseed (Linseed) gel for styling, I’m pretty much sorted. I also use the Terressential Mud wash for washing my hair, which I purchased in the US. I stocked up on some products  last time I visited the States and I plan on doing the same when I go to the UK. Prices here in Australia are distressing to say the least, so it makes sense to stock up whenever you travel outside the country. However, not everyone has that opportunity.  So over the next few weeks I will be sharing the products I have bought and used, right here in Australia.

Shampoo – Giovanni Brazilian Keratin and Argan Oil

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I decided to try a new wash and go technique (I’m determined to succeed and won’t let this go 😀 ). It stressed the importance of clarifying the hair before attempting to define your curls. The Giovanni Tripple Treat Shampoo was recommended for clarifying. Giovanni products are now available in Australia. Try your local health food store like Healthy Life, which are found in Westfield Shopping Centres. They should have Giovanni products in store. If not they can order any for you. It can take up to two weeks to receive your goods though. They didn’t have this particular brand in store so I chose to use one that was on the shelf. I wasn’t patient enough to wait two weeks.

Instead, I  purchased Giovanni Brazilian Keratin and Argan Oil Ultra -Sleek Shampoo.  This claims to clarify and moisturize as well as: smooth every strand, create shine, and banish frizz.   It also states to contain no phthalates, artificial fragrance, dyes, sulfates, parabens and PEGs.  It is said to be for all hair types.

Here are the ingredients:

 Aqua (purified water), sodium cocomphoacetate, decyl glucoside, sodium lauroyl sarcosinate, cocomidopropyl betaine, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, panthenol (pro-vitamin B5), beta carotene, guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride, argonia spinosa (argon) kernel oil, hydrolyzed poulinia cupana (Brazilian cocoa) keratin extract [phyto-keratin], aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice, aspalathus linearis (rooibos tea) extract, cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, macadamia ternifolia (macadamia) seed extract, butyrospermum parkii (shea butter) extract, sodium benzoate, citric acid, potassium sorbate, polysorbate 20, gylcol distearate, sodium PCA, phenoxyethanol, natural fragrance

Note: sulfate-free shampoos may not contain sodium lauryl or laureth sulfate, but may still contain other surfactants,  for cleansing and forming.  Sodium lauroyl sarcosinate for instance.  These can still have a drying effect on some hair types. But for deep cleansing or clarifying, such detergents are considered necessary.

I have been so use to co-washing and using the mud wash that I had forgotten what it felt like to experience rich lather when washing my hair. It was great, my hair was lathering up a storm. It removed all residue thoroughly. My hair literally felt squeaky clean. Prior to using this shampoo, I would use Apple Cider Vinegar. This shampoo felt stronger than the vinegar for clarifying and I believe it was more through in removing residue.

I was concerned that my hair was going to dry out and I couldn’t wait to put conditioner in it. After conditioning, the balance was restored.   My hair felt both clean but moisturized. Make sure the conditioner to follow is  rich and creamy and doesn’t have any silicones or other harmful ingredients.  Even when using the shampoo, my hair didn’t feel dry. It simply didn’t have any slip because it was so clean. I wouldn’t equate this to drying my hair out.

I personally wouldn’t use this shampoo too frequently unless I was going swimming often. If you regularly use products which contain synthetic ingredients such as silicones, mineral oil or petroleum, perhaps you would need to clarify more often.   I would probably use it once a month or whenever I felt it was necessary.

After using this shampoo, I noticed that my curls were more defined than ever. This was simply because there was no residue to weigh down the strands, at all. This shampoo also contains frizz fighting ingredients such as aloe vera.  The keratin protein will work to strengthen the hair and reinforce it’s natural curl pattern.  Therefore this type of shampoo may work in treating hair that is suffering from heat damage.  It is better to use this in conjunction with products that are moisture based rather than protein based. This will ensure that the hair maintains an appropriate protein to moisture balance.   I have ordered the Triple Treat shampoo, so I look forward to trying this one as well.

Please be aware that results may vary depending on your hair type and hair needs.  This is not a sponsored post just my own opinions :).

Stay tuned for some more product reviews next week.   Have you tried this shampoo or any Giovanni products? If you live in Australia, which shampoos have you tried?

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Just Juices and Berries

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I am not writing this to bash ‘product junkies’. I  like trying out new things and for some people that could be hair care products. However, I am noticing a lot more emphasis being placed on products, in the natural hair community. On forums, blogs, YouTube and social networking sites, I am seeing different women post questions about what products to use to address certain hair ‘problems’.  For example: what product can I use to stretch out my hair? What product can I use to soften my hair? What product can I use to make my hair grow? I am thinking about going natural, what products should I be using?

I can’t help but believe that we are reverting back to the old mindset, that we simply need a magical product to make our hair perfect! This is opposed to simply learning how to manage our hair properly. Isn’t that how relaxers were presented to the black community, for decades? Relaxers, perms and texturizers were supposed to be magical products that would ‘fix’ our hair and take away all our hair problems.

This quick fix mindset is based on an unwillingness to do research and educate ourselves about our hair. It is quite concerning to see some women obsessing about products before they have even gone natural. This makes going natural a lot harder than it needs to be and I can imagine why some women find the concept quite daunting. When I first went natural I was living in the UK and most of the products mentioned on the internet were only available in the US. So I didn’t have access to a great number of products. To be honest the last thing I was thinking about was products because 99% of products in my local beauty supply contained harmful ingredients. I had learned about them through doing my research. I came to realize that most of the products I used when my hair was relaxed had sulphates, petroleum, silicones, alcohol, harsh perfumes parabens and other chemicals that I couldn’t even pronounce. It’s funny to see that those same black hair companies are now jumping on the natural bandwagon and releasing natural product ranges, to cater to the natural hair community. It’s good to see that they are taking notice and shows that we have a powerful voice.

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However, due to the lack of quality hair care products at the time, I was only concerned about the benefits of natural ingredients. I learned about Shea butter, the benefits of plain water, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and aloe vera juice. This made my life a lot simpler and I wasn’t bombarded with the many products that are on the market today. I was able to focus on learning to manage my hair, and to this day I personally haven’t found a product that holds my twist outs as well as pure Shea butter does.  I haven’t found a product that moisturizes my hair as well as water does and I stretch my hair out by simply braiding or twisting it. A product by itself will not make your hair grow any faster or longer. Protective styling, moisturizing and being gentle with your hair will help you to retain length.

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Of course I enjoy trying out new products from time to time and learning about different products can be part of your natural hair journey. However, when all else fails, I go back to my simple usage of water for moisturizing, oil for sealing in the moisture and my Shea butter for styling.  I’m not against products and I’m happy to see many black owned companies becoming successful. However, there is no product out there that will magically ‘fix’ your hair. You simply need to learn how to manage it properly. Some of us need to learn how to manage our hair with simple ‘juices and berries’ instead of looking for a magical product that simply doesn’t exist. We also need to consider being healthy overall; diet, exercise and water consumption can also affect our hair. Products can only enhance your hair, not make it into something it is not. ALL  hair  textures are beautiful, with or without the use of different products. Keep it simple when going natural and learn the important basics that will benefit you well into the future.

What do you think? Is there an obsession with products? Share your thoughts and ideas below.

Ingredients to avoid

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When I did my initial research before going natural, the first piece of advice was to avoid shampoos with Sodium Lauryl Sulfate.   In fact the first video I watched was a vlogger that suggested I avoid shampoo altogether and use baking soda.  Now I did this for a few months after my big chop and it wasn’t too bad apart from the odd occasion when I would put too much baking soda and my hair would cake up! Disastrous! As my hair started to grow I began to miss shampoo, the smell and feel of it in my hair. Then I realized that there were plenty of shampoos out there that are sulfate free. I noticed a popular pharmacy chain had sulfate free shampoo so I purchased it straight away and never went back to baking soda!  If it works for you great but I missed shampoo.

However it wasn’t until after a year or so that I started to learn even more about ingredients to avoid. It wasn’t just sodium Lauryl Sulfate I had to avoid, there were many others. You really have to do your research when learning about natural hair. I have simply learned more as my natural hair journey has progressed.  I have picked up more information along the way. We all learn from experience, trial and error and gradually along the way, whatever our style of learning may be.

I eventually discovered that as well as avoiding sulfates it is important to avoid Silicones in products. These dry your hair over time and are man-made agents that simply coat your hair and prevent it absorbing moisture naturally.  I think they simply create an artificial sheen. Of course in shampoos and moisturisers these ingredients are not referred to as Silicone. That would be too easy. I’m sure there are more but I am aware of one: Dimethone.   I was shocked to discover that a particular brand of shampoo I was using contained these products! So I had to go back to the drawing board and look for a new shampoo. It is all a learning experience. Even my husband who has European hair noticed a big improvement to his hair and scalp when we changed our shampoo. Just one artificial ingredient can be the difference between dry hair, an irritated scalp and soft, moisturised hair and a healthy scalp.

Then there are those oils and moisturisers that are popular in many afro hair shops. I soon discovered that many of them contain mineral oil and Petroleum.  These were products that a male friend of mine told me to avoid. He had been growing an afro for years and I relied on him to get my Shea butter.  He was able to get a massive chuck of it at his local market for one pound!  You learn from many different sources and it’s good to exchange information.  So I stopped using certain products and would check labels constantly. I do the same thing with my food so why not with my products. A lot of products that claim to be natural or organic usually contain many artificial ingredients. They add one percent Shea butter and label their product as Shea butter for example. This is very misleading so you have to read the labels. You can’t go wrong when you stick to natural ingredients that don’t need to be packaged in a glossy and expensive containers.

So I will make a brief list of the ingredients I am aware of below. Please add to the list so we can share this important information with each other.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (used in shampoos to create lather, this dries out your hair)

Dimethone (Silicone which is also drying to the hair)

Mineral Oil (This is not 100% natural. It coats the hair and leads to a build up of grease)

Petroleum (This greases your hair instead of moisturising it, it leads to a build- up of grease)

Specific Alcohols (Too harsh on the hair. Can lead to drying and irritation)

I know there are others I’m not aware of. Please share and spread the knowledge. A helpful website: www.ewg.org/skindeep/. This categorises products according to how safe they are based on their ingredients and production methods.

Deep conditioning with Carrot Oil

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Since moving to America I have been unable to purchase this product. Sally’s use  to stock it apparently. Typical that they should stop when I move here and there is one down the road from me. Next time I go to the UK I will bring back at least ten bottles! I will be purchasing it from Amazon though while I’m here. In the UK it is so cheap to purchase (usually under £2 at Paks ) but it’s price is not a true reflection of how beneficial it is for your hair.  It can also be used on your skin! I find most natural products can be used for both your hair and skin.  I use it to condition my hair after shampooing. It can be heated up in a cup of hot water or you can apply it to your hair cold and sit under a heated cap. I prefer using a heated cap. I section my hair into four and apply it evenly, making sure that the ends are coated well.  You can mix it with your usual conditioner or use it by itself.  Once my hair is saturated in it I cover my head with a plastic cap and sit under my heated cap for 25-30 minutes.  Then I simply rinse my hair.

Some people may prefer to use it before washing as a ‘pre-poo’ conditioning process. This depends on your preference as some may find that it makes their hair too greasy. My hair soaks up moisture like a sponge so I prefer a simple rinse to keep most of it in my hair. If your hair is feeling dry you could just apply it as a moisturiser as well. The benefits I have noticed from using this are: less shedding, reduced number of split ends, it adds shine and moisturises my hair and scalp really well! So I would highly recommend this product. I haven’t tried any other brands but I guess if it’s 100% natural, carrot oil is pretty much the same anywhere. Does anyone else use this or is there another oil you use? Perhaps you use olive oil or coconut oil. If you try this let us know how it worked for you and if you know any stores that sell it in the States please let me know! It’s a shame Walmart doesn’t sell it.