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The natural hair industry is booming. That’s good news for curly- and kinky-haired women, but it can also be really overwhelming! There are so many brands, and every brand has multiple lines of products for different things. If you feel paralyzed by the sheer number of options, here are a few guidelines to help simplify things.

Learn to decipher the ingredients

This is the most empowering thing that you can do as a consumer of hair products. Don’t just buy products based on what they claim that they’ll do — check out the ingredients on the back. Pay special attention to the first five ingredients, since those are the most highly concentrated.

You don’t have to learn all about hair chemistry to figure out which ingredients to look for. If you have a few products that have worked well for you—or, conversely, products that you hated—you can start there. Which ingredients are in those products? Some specific things to look for include:

  • Does the product contain oil, and if so, what kind?
  • Is there glycerin?
  • Is there protein? Is it one of the main ingredients or further down?

These are just 3 of the most common love/hate ingredients. Figure out what your hair loves and hates, and branch out from there.

Get to know your hair

A lot of women have multiple curl patterns on the same head of hair, but knowing your overall location on the hair type spectrum is helpful. If you have a very loose curl pattern, creams and butters will wreak havoc on your hair. Conversely, if you have tight coils, you can skip any conditioner that comes in a spray bottle—chances are, it simply won’t pack enough oomph.

Aside from how your hair looks, how does it usually feel? Most hair falls into the “high porosity” or “low porosity” camp. Low porosity hair needs tons of moisture, preferably with heat. High porosity hair needs less moisture but with plenty of oil to seal it in.

Does your hair become frizzy a lot? If so, a strong conditioner or gel is your new best friend. Do your strands break off easily or become limp? Then you may actually need less moisture. Instead, go for a product with protein.

Knowing what your hair needs will help you target your search.

Experiment, experiment, experiment!

Still, it’s impossible to know what results you’ll get until you’ve gone through the whole routine. Even the same products can have different results on different days. Curly hair is mysterious if nothing else!

You might be thinking, “I don’t have the money to spend on products I might end up hating!” I feel the same way. A couple tips for experimenting on a budget:

  • Buy travel sizes at your local beauty store.
  • Let other folks experiment for you. Read or watch some online reviews to get a head start.
  • Start exchanging products with friends so you each get to try new things.

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DIY All-in-One Facial Scrub, Moisturizer, and Cleanser

Taking care of your skin can make a huge impact on your appearance. Moisturizers and facial scrubs are useful when trying to keep your skin looking healthy and radiant. However, many of the products found in stores contain harsh chemicals, dyes, and scents that can cause dryness and irritation. This is also an issue with many facial cleansers and washes.

Harsh ingredients have caused many people to seek out products that use natural ingredients. Unfortunately, finding affordable all-natural products can be a difficult task, as they often cost considerably more than their chemical-daden counterparts. Also, despite high demand, the number of all-natural products on the market is still surprisingly low.

It is easier and cheaper to make your own DIY products. Three steps of your skincare regimen can be combined into one by following this recipe to make DIY all-in-one facial scrub, moisturizer, and cleanser:

  • 2 teaspoons of raw sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of natural baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 1 teaspoon of your favorite gentle, natural, liquid facial cleanser
  • 1/4 teaspoon of coconut or olive oil

Combine ingredients in a small resealable container and mix thoroughly. Once combined, the mixture can be kept, sealed, for up to two weeks. This scrub is gentle enough to use every day.

To use, dip two fingers into the mixture and apply it to your face using a circular rubbing motion. Do not rub hard or for excessive lengths of time. Avoid getting the mixture in your eyes. Rinse your face with warm water and pat it dry with a clean towel.

If you have never used a scrub before, you will notice results immediately. Your skin will be softer and smoother. If you are a regular user of scrubs, you will notice how gentle yet effective this one is. Because honey is antibacterial, you may even begin to notice clearer skin after two or more weeks of regular use.


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