The Best Afro Hair Products
The complete list of products you need for every step in your hair care routine
Photo credit: Leighann Blackwood
Hey guys, we know how hard it is to find products for natural afro hair that actually work. Many of us have been through frustrating times that made us serious consider cutting all of it off. Some of you have actually done it!
We know that hair can be difficult to manage, whether it is short or long. If you're reading this it means, you probably want to learn about the best products for your hair and where to find them. Your goal is to have soft, manageable and beautiful hair that you can be proud of again.
Some of you will have been looking for only a few days, others for months or even years. I know exactly how you feel. We at NAHC have learned so much from friends, family, experts, websites & videos and we want to share the years of experience with you so read to the end to get everything you need to know and hopefully change your life for the better.
Buying afro hair care products is only a part of the puzzle. Here's 14 tips on how to grow afro hair that will help you learn how and when are the best ways to use these products.
We also have interviews with people who have found what works for them already and have grown to love their natural hair. Have a read for some inspiration. Manna, the beautiful model & singer from London and Celai West, the amazing young model, social media influencer and entrepreneur.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you if you decide to purchase something.
The Best Products for Natural Afro Hair
Use our new product selector if you want products specific to your needs!
A lot of these products are on Amazon, that doesn't mean you have to buy them from there. Amazon is great for reading reviews to see what other people thought. Just click the check price under each product, then scroll down to reviews to learn more and see pictures. Compare prices with your local stores and different places online to find the best deal.
We know you guys come from all over the world and you might not use Amazon. Let us know where you shop online so we can make suggestions that help everyone. Some of you are familiar with AliExpress and Alibaba, if not here's some info that we shared on our 14 tips page.
Alibaba - Wholesale marketplace for global trade. Use these guys if you want to buy in bulk, useful if you want to resell or buy with friends.
AliExpress - China’s answer to Amazon. Better for individuals, just look out for unusual pricing on products. Good for raw products like shea butter and essential oils.
Leave in conditioners
Leave in conditioners have a firm place in the home of anyone with natural afro hair. Wash days let us know what our hair is like full of hydration and we all know water alone will not do the job, it evaporates and will leave our hair dry and brittle faster than we can make it back to the bedroom.
The battle to keep moisture in our hair is helped made easier by the use of leave in conditioners. They can be added every few days to top up moisture and can be used with other products. The problem is that they work differently for everyone with all different hair types. It might be the main reason you are here. Here's some that you might not have used before.
Palmer's Coconut Oil Formula
A light-weight conditioner that can be used to detangle hair. You can use the product on towel dried or damp hair and apply throughout the day if needed. It is meant for styling and general maintenance of your hair. There are other products in the range that Palmer’s suggests bring the best results when used together.
It works for all hair types, from straight to curly and some users have dreadlocks. A lot of people comment on how lovely the product smells which is an important part of any hair product.
The disadvantages are that just like every product, it doesn’t work for everyone. For some users with thin hair, it can have the opposite effect of what is intended and actually leave it feeling greasy. A lot of people that have this product run into problems because they are using the product alone. It can work for some but if you find something missing, add this to other products in the range or your care routine for the best results.
A benefit is that because it is a light-weight product, it’s conditions & hydrates without leaving the hair greasy. It is fast acting and you should see benefits of using it within a month, especially if your hair was damaged.
Shea Moisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen Grow and Restore Treatment Masque
A treatment masque that contains Jamaican black castor oil. It is deep conditioning and is designed to restore damaged and brittle hair. The product is designed for people with natural hair that is kinky, wavy or curly. It can also be used to help treat hair that has been straightened or had head applied. Jamaican black castor oil is known to promote healthy hair growth.
The instructions for use are to apply to the hair, ensuring all is covered then cover the hair with a plastic cap and sit under a warm drier for 10-15 minutes. Some people leave it in for two hours. This is not a leave in conditioner so you are supposed to rinse out the product when you are done and continue with your hair care routine.
Some users worry it will be too heavy by the way it looks but actually comment on how light it is once they have used it. As with any product, the guidelines might not suit everyone so you have to experiment and find what works for you. Some users have found that it works really well when added to your existing routine like a boiled rice water rinse then use he product after.
A disadvantage could be that everyone doesn’t agree on the smell. Some users like it and some don’t. The benefit is that once you have finished the treatment and washed it out, you can’t smell it anymore. Especially when you add your own leave in conditioner afterwards.
Benefits are that is uses organic and fair trade shea butter. It also has no sulphates, parabens, mineral oils or synthetic colour. It works with both low and high porosity hair.
African Pride Shea Butter
Leave in conditioner that adds moisture and makes hair easier to manage by acting as a detangler. Recommended for curly, wavy and kinky hair textures. It reduces frizz and improves the look and feel of your hair.
African Pride Shea Butter is meant to be used regularly to help manage hydration of the hair. It could be a bit every day or once every two or three days. It will depend entirely on how your hair holds moisture.
A lot of people with looser curls love this product and a lot of mothers with mixed race children like to use it on their hair. This is because a lot of people can use it as the sole product they use other than a shampoo. That’s not to say it doesn’t work on other hair types.
A disadvantage is that if your hair is very absorbent, it might not be the best solution for you when used alone. You might have to use other products like certain oils to help keep moisture in your hair. Another thing to note is that, the more you apply the product over the days, the better your hair gets. Some products seem to disappear altogether or have negative results but this one gets better over time. If you have a dry scalp, you might need another product dedicated to scalp care to help.
A lot of people like the smell with some saying it smells peachy. This product won’t work for everyone but if it does work for you, it should work really well. The texture is soft and creamy and it applies to the hair really well.
TGIN Green Tea Leave in Conditioner
A lightweight leave in conditioner that is meant for hydration and is designed for all hair types. It contains green tea and argan oil to help improve scalp health and hydrate the roots of your hair. It is supposed to enable better blood flow to the scalp and it’s lightweight nature means there isn’t as much build up as some products. As with most leave in conditioners, this one also act as a detangler. It reduces frizz, dryness and encourages growth.
Leave in conditioners, have similar guidelines. Cover your hair with the product and wait while it adds hydration to you hair. Usually from 10 minutes to more than an hour with a plastic cap so it doesn’t dry. Then wash out thoroughly and continue with your routine.
TGIN green tea conditioner is another product that splits opinion. It is aimed at all hair types and it’s definitely hard to believe that there is a magic product that suits everyone. Some women with 4c hair type say it works really well and recommend it. It’s easy to use and you don’t need a lot of it because it has good slip so it spreads well. It also defines curls and provides long lasting hydration.
Some other women, with 4c hair also, say it leaves their hair dry. Most people agree it smells nice, we all know how important smell is but the product must perform well too. It hard to say if it will work for you, the best thing to do is try it if it stand out to you.
Aunt Jackie's Fix My Hair Conditioning Masque
A rinse out conditioning masque for hydration and damage repair. It is designed to treat hair that is brittle or dry and has been damaged for different reasons. It does so by the infusion of various ingredients such as Flaxseed, shea butter, coconut oil and avocado Once your hair is repaired, the product can be used regularly to help prevent future damage and keep your hair moisturised.
To use fix my hair, you should follow a standard deep conditioning method. Spread evenly over your hair after a wash and rinse out after it has set for at least 10 minutes. Just like other deep conditioners, you can use a plastic or steamer cap to help your hair absorb maximum nutrition.
A few negatives are that the smell is not as nice as some other products, some people use essential oils to help improve it. Other people with very absorbent hair say it didn’t meet their expectations at first but when they stuck with it and gave it time, it did the job really well.
It is designed for people with hair texture that is curly and coily. It should leave your hair softer, stronger and your natural hair texture more defined. The great thing about deep conditioners and this product especially is that it coats your hair with natural oils that are known to have a positive effect on hair health. There is a whole range of Aunt Jackie’s product and they work really well when used together.
Elegantly Soft Bonnet Hood
Hair steamer caps or heat caps are a great low cost alternative to going to the salon to get your hair treated. With all the mention of have conditioners above, we thought it was a good idea to include hair steamer caps too.
If your hair is very absorbent, conditioners can dry out and not get to do their work. That’s why we plastic hair caps to help lock keep the moisture for longer. Hair steamer caps are the next step up, they help deep conditioners do their best work. The heat helps maintain hydration for the whole time the product is working.
You only need to use the heat cap for 10 minutes but for those who have the time, 15 minutes or longer works even better. There are usually high and low settings with many people using the high setting for deeper penetration & conditioning. As with any electrical hair products, please remember to plug it out and store appropriately.
Please note - This is one example I found, it is a bonnet that has a hair dryer attachment and doesn’t come with the hairdryer. There are many at different price ranges and make sure you read the reviews and information before you choose one.
Leave in conditioners are very popular but many of you might never have tried oils. They can be intimidating and the idea of adding oil to your hair might make you think that instead of having dry hair, you might end up with oil dripping onto your clothes throughout the day.
Oil is a great addition to any natural hair care routine. It can be used as a sealer. If your hair doesn't behave well with leave in conditioner alone, applying oil while it is still damp after a wash can make all the difference. Start with a small amount and increase until you are happy. You might need to experiment to find a perfect balance. There are plenty of video tutorials on YouTube to help you out.
Cliganic Pure & Natural Argan oil
Argan oil is comes from the kernels of the argan tree from Morocco. It can be eaten and used for cosmetic purposes. It is rich in fatty acids and consisits mainly of Oleic, Linoleic, Palmitic and Stearic. Argan oil also contains Tocopherol which has vitamin E activity and is known to improve hair growth and support a healthy scalp.
It’s popularity is growing constantly and is currently used in shampoo, moisturisers, soaps and lip gloss. We love it for hair oil.
Argan oil can be applied to hair the day before a wash. Then you can style your hair as you would and apply a small amount when finished to help seal in moisture. It smells earthy so not the sweetest but blends well with your other hair products.
COCO & CO Organic Pure Virgin Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is edible and is extracted from mature coconuts. It is very high in saturated fats and while it is edible, it is advised that we don’t eat it or keep consumption to a very small amount. That’s okay for us because we want to use it on our hair and the good news is that it is known to reduce protein loss in hair.
It is great for hydration. After your wash day and when you want to add some moisture to your hair. You can rub some coconut oil in your hands until it becomes a liquid then apply small amounts towards the ends of your hair. This will help lock in moisture and prevent breakage. you don’t need to apply any to your scalp. If you prefer your natural products to come in glass containers, make sure to ask the vendor or read verified review to make sure.
Sun Essential Oils Ylang Ylang
Ylang Ylang oil is extracted from the flowers of the Canaga tree native to india. It is an essential oil primarily used for aroma therapy. much like other essential oils, it can be used for skin and hair care. The plants are known for having a distinct perfume smell and the oil is very potent so must be diluted before use. So don’t put it directly onto your skin or hair straight out of the bottle, mix it with another lighter oil or add it to your own home made mixture.
When used properly, it is great for improving hair and scalp condition. It leaves hair soft with added shine and hydration. If you haven’t used ylang ylang oil before and want to give it a try, a good idea is to read recipes for what other people have put together and try to replicate them.
Jamaican Black Castor Oil
Castor oil is produced by pressing castor beans, it has various uses such as a food preservative, medicine, lubrication in industry, skin & hair care and much more. It is a very versatile product.
Jamaican black castor oil is different because it the castor beans are roasted before they are pressed which gives the oil its dark colour. Doing this gives it benefits over clear castor oil because the final product retains more nutrients that would have been filtered out. Jamaican black castor oil is known to speed up the hair growth process. It helps repair and strengthen hair, it also nourishes the scalp. It is a very popular product because it does so many things in one.
You should use the product in small amounts and add it as part of your hair routine. Some people rub it in their hands then add it to the hair after conditioning to help seal in moisture. Some use it as part of their deep conditioning process where they wash it out after, then apply a bit more a few days later. Black castor oil is praised for its ability to help hair regrowth and there aren’t many bad things to say about it if used correctly.
Cliganic Pure Jojoba Oil
Jojoba oil comes from the seed of the jojoba plant. The oil has been in use for a long time and is known for its healing and positive cosmetic properties. This means it can be used on the skin, hair and nails to help strengthen and restore. Just like other essential oils, it is edible but you wouldn’t get any health benefits because we it is non-digestible. That doesn’t matter because we are only interested in what is can do for your hair.
Jojoba oil can act as a deep conditioner used in shampoos and hair conditioners. When added to your natural hair routine, it helps add shine to your hair and leave it feeling soft. You can add a few drops the conditioner you already use to get these benefits. Jojoba oil is a great moisturiser and is easily absorbed by our hair and skin, it is also lighter than some of the other oils. It doesn’t block pores and is also an effective scalp conditioner.
There isn't much to be said about shampoos. The two main things are, don't be afraid to use a wash out conditioner and be careful of certain ingredients that will suck the moisture out of your hair, there is plenty of advice of ingredients to avoid online, we will add them to this site in the future.
For more most of my life, I thought wash out conditioners were for people with straight hair. I used to see adverts on tv and never thought to use them, my mother never used conditioner on my hair. I ended up with a bottle somehow and just thought to try it. It actually worked. It gives you almost an extra barrier for holding moisture in your hair and can give it a nice feel. For anyone that hasn't tried one yet, give one a go. Or try a home made deep conditioner.
OGX Nourishing + Coconut Milk Shampoo
A coconut shampoo that is made to nourish, hydrate and strengthen damaged hair. Use the same as any shampoo so massage into the hair and scalp then rinse thoroughly. They also OGX recommends using their conditioner as well for best results. The shampoo can be used for all hair types and is recommended especially for dry hair.
If you have oily hair, this OGX shampoo likely will not help alleviate the problem, OGX has a whole range of products and there are a few others that can help with that. This shampoo has a subtle coconut smell and people who use is talk about how it helped add shine to their hair and help manage a flaky scalp.
Palmer's Coconut Oil Conditioner Co-Wash
Co-washing is the practise of cleansing the hair without stripping away the natural oils that keep our hair strong and healthy. Most people that include co-washing in their routine are able to shampoo their hair much less frequently than those who don’t. It can be a strange sensation to wash your hair without the lather and familiarity a shampoo gives but the experience can be refreshing and one that can be enjoyed one you get used to it.
Some people completely replace their shampoo with co-wash products to ensure the majority of the nutrients in the hair is maintained and they don’t have to rely on conditioning products as much. One way to use the product is to massage it into your wet hair at the start of your shower then rinse out at the end.
These hair products come late in the hair care routine. These are for the times that you want your hair to hold strong. You might be having a protective style done or want to put your hair in a bun.
Styling products give you hair the extra durability to last through the day with less chance of frizz or frayed edges. They can also add extra curl definition if that's what you are going for. Each one does a different job so read the description when you are looking at styling products.
We don't have any standout recommendations for styling right now. We update this page periodically so check back soon or let us know natural afro hair products you use for styling so we can share with the community. We did recommend Cantu shea butter curl activator cream but there are so many negative reviews that we decided to review the product again to bring you guys the best information.
Vitamins and Supplements
Most people get all the vitamins they need from their normal diet. We spoke about this on 14 tips on how to grow your hair 14 tips on how to grow your hair (near the bottom of the page), it is rare to have a deficiency in any vitamin but it can happen.
Vitamins and supplements give us the extra boost and make sure we get what we need, often more than enough. The important thing is to understand what you want to get out of taking them and keep a journal of changes. This will make sure you know if it is actually working or not. Be patient and be safe.
SBR nutrition biotin
Biotin is a supplement that contains a lot of vitamin B12. It is known to help grow and strengthen the hair and nails. Biotin comes in liquid, tablet and chewable form. The liquid bottle has a dropper so you can easily control the dosage. Some products are for oral use and others direct application to the hair so make sure you read the description and comments. The tablets are hard pills that most of us are familiar with. Another form is chewable tablets that sometimes taste better and are easier to consume. Lots of people have a hard time swallowing pills so if this is you, chewable are a great alternative.
Biotin is a controversial product because while most people agree it does work and some people see results very quickly, it does have some side-effects. A lot of users notice acne and the best recorded way to combat this is to drink plenty of water. Follow the advice we wrote for vitamins and supplements if you decide to try these.
The Frustration of Buying Afro Hair Products
I’m sure you know how frustrating it can be when you are trying your best with your hair and nothing seems to work. You wash it, condition it then style it. All with products you read amazing reviews about and thought would be different from the last set.
Then you leave the house and 1 hour later your hair is dry, hard and starting to go frizzy. It’s easy to persist and try again the next day, after all you spent money on these products and it’s probably best not to be wasteful.
Except we try again and again and the result is the same. There are times when something seems to be working then, all of a sudden, your hair disagrees with your routine and starts to misbehave.
3 tips on How Find the best products first time
1. Watch videos on youtube
There are hundreds if not thousands of videos on youtube of people showing themselves using products online. Find someone who has similar hair to you and see how the product behaves in their hair. It's easy to see the results for yourself just by watching the video.
2. Ask your friends and family
Your family and at least a few friends probably look like you and share your hair type. If they are happy with their hair and it looks healthy, ask them what they use and what their process is. It might be just as straight forward as this.
3. Read reviews
There are lots of places to buy ethnic hair products online. Nearly all of the websites have a review section. Read what people are saying about the products. People are usually very helpful in these reviews because and you can get information that you might not find in the product description. Amazon is so popular that there can be 100s of reviews for a single product. Read them and get an idea for the product.
4. Check Out Our list
We made a list of black owned hair products. As you might know, a lot of the popular afro hair products are owned by non-black people. We made a list of products created by people who look just like us and understand the struggle. Most of these companies were created because of the pain in finding products that actually work. Check it out and please share.
I hope you managed to find some new afro hair products that you are going to try next. Remember to be patient and persistent because it can take a while to find what works for you but it will all be worth while in the end. Just remember to pass on what you have learned.
Remember to try our product selector page, it's an automated tool that selects the best products for you, just click a few options and you're ready to go.
We also did a great post in 14 tips on caring for afro hair that I am sure you will find useful, check it out.
If you want to read about some stories from the people we interviewed you should click on the interview section at the top.
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