For curls, coils and kinks
Having reliable products in your haircare armoury is essential, but for Afro and textured hair, that process has historically been a challenge. Despite Black people accounting for £100 billion of UK spending power, the natural hair community has often been underserved by mainstream brands and retailers. Be it lack of choice or unconscious bias leading to textured hair brands having tighter security, it has often lead us to disappointment and without viable options to care for our tresses.
Thankfully, the tides are changing and a plethora of burgeoning brands are ready to aid our coils and curls which has a very different set of needs and requirements than straight hair. We now have access to the best afro hair products.
How to care for afro and natural textured hair
“Afro and textured hair needs adequate moisture to keep it in optimum health,” explains celebrity hairdresser and Cantu Beauty Hair expert, Dionne Smith. “All hair produces a natural sebum but that oil isn’t able to travel down textured hair shaft due to the curl pattern.” It explains why looser textures can often get greasy but textured hair tends not to.
Replacing those oils can be a fun but sometimes arduous task of product testing to find the one – or as any curly-haired person knows, the three or four! Whether worn in twist-outs, a wash-and-go or tucked neatly under a wig, natural hair is surprisingly delicate and craves extra TLC and moisture, as the undisputed queen of Black hair Charlotte Mensah explains. “Afro hair needs to be managed differently as the dryness make it more prone to breakage. Strengthening and protecting the hair requires far more moisture and deep treatments alongside regularly trims every 6-8 weeks.”
From co-washes and curl creams to rich sumptuous butters and weightless oils, here are the best brands to choose from for your natural hair journey.
The undisputed queen of Black hair, Charlotte Mensah’s eponymous line is centred on the highly-emollient and protective Manketti Oil. The surprisingly lightweight Pomade is the true hero. Rich and buttery, melt between palms before applying for weightless nourishment and control.
With legions of loyal fans, award-winning Dizziak dominates despite only having two products. Expertly formulated with quinoa, babassu oil and shea butter, the conditioner delivers optimum hydration in mere minutes but the Hydration Wash shampoo is the showstopper. Infused with scalp-awakening pine and rosemary, it deeply cleanses the hair of product build-up without stripping or irritation.
Having started off selling at local markets, Afrocenchix quickly became the first Afro haircare brand in Whole Foods and Holland and Barrett. Their blend of natural and organic ingredients make it a well-loved match for all textured hair. From Senegalese twists to crochet locs, the Braid Care Set is a curated looks after your hair and scalp when in the protective style.
If you’re looking for targeted solutions for scalp and hair health, Planted is your go-to. Inches and Drizzle are the power couple you need for strengthening the hair, retaining length, thinning and alopecia. Their best-sellers fly out of stock in seconds so be ready for the restock.
It may seem unexpected that a haircare line founded and popularised by the Kardashian’s hairdresser would work for textured hair but Ouai’s new curly range was tested extensively by 150 members of their community for over a year to cement the perfect product. The Thick Hair treatment mask will inject some much-needed moisture and their Curl Crème cleverly comes in a fragranced and fragranced version to avoid scent-clash with other products.
Are there any naturals who haven’t used Cantu’s Leave-In Conditioner? The huge tub helps to hydrate and protect against breakage. For hair that needs some extra oomph, it also plays well with other heavy hitters. A favourite in Afro hair shops for years, the cult classic range caters for the full spectrum of curl patterns.
With their multiple product lines, there is truly something for everybody with Shea Moisture and thanks to being ranged in Boots and Superdrug at an affordable price point are hugely accessible for most. The Jamaican Black Castor Oil range is famed for soothing dry, damaged hair.
A go-to for several curly-haired beauty editors, Boucleme is the plant-based, British brand that leaves textured hair nourished and nurtured. Known for a 3-step cleanse, condition and define system, their best-selling Curl Defining Gel feels like a moisturising serum for lasting hold without any white flakes, crunch or stickiness.
Recently launched in the UK, Bread will quickly become your daily essential. The original Hair Oil is described as lip gloss for your hair. The blend of Australian Kakadu Plum Oil, Safflower Oil and Argan Oil is a treat for all tresses which smells divine.
10. Grow Gorgeous
Specially formulated with Curl Technology, this defining hydrator gives excellent style hold and deeply nourishes strands for manageable, infallible curls.
Vegan, sulphate, paraben and paraben-free the formula is enriched with Wheat Extract and Camellia Oil to enhance and define natural curls by controlling volume and taming frizz whilst Soy Amino Acids (a natural alternative to keratin) smooth strands for shiny and more manageable hair.
A go-to brand for many naturals, KeraCare was one of the first professional textured hair brands on the market. With most products approved for the curly girl method, KeraCare feeds the hair while giving it a salon-worthy finish. The Overnight Moisturising Treatment is the ultimate in lazy-beauty-luxury. Like a night cream for your hair, it soothes and softens dry strands while you sleep.