It's like magic. I go to bed with the curls tightly contained in a top knot, then...bam. I wake up with some serious hair.
Living an organic, chemical-free lifestyle whilst simultaneously trying to tame an afro can be quite the feat. When I initially parted ways with my chemical filled and fragranced hair products, I physically felt measurably better. But, my toxin-related symptoms were replaced with a fear that I would be forced to resort to walking around with a head of frizz, Hermione Granger style. I heavily doubted my hair's natural ability to hold its curl, especially without a load of salon and drug store product. I was convinced that my hair's natural tendency was to "fluff" rather than spiral.
But after a whole lot of trial and error (heavy on the error), I struck gold and found natural products that not only tamed my hair, but repaired the damage that years of gel, mousse and synthetic shampoo inflicted. The texture of my hair actually changed, and as my hair continued to detox, repair and remoisturize what conventional products had stripped, my curls softened. With my new organic products' help, it became quick and easy to remedy my morning "chia head", something that even with salon product used to feel like battling a beast.
My Top Three Organic Products For (unruly) Curly Hair
Desert Essence Organics Fragrance Free Shampoo and Conditioner
Innersence Organic Curl Control Cream and Finishing Spray
Innersence Organic is an incredible line. I didn't discover it until later in the game, when I found an organic hair dresser who solely uses and sells their products in her salon. Before I was introduced to Innersence Organic, I had resorted to using natural oils in my hair before bed to keep my curls under control. I hadn't found an "organic" mousse, gel or cream that was truly free of fragrance and chemicals. Unfortunately, there isn't set guidelines or aptly enforced and regulated standards for beauty products so we have to take it upon ourselves to be sure that our products that are labeled "organic" and "natural" actually are. You can use Skin Deep's Cosmetic Safety Database to check to see if your products truly are chemical free. Innersence Organic has a flawless, "toxin free" rating on the website, and actually produces great results. To wake up with curls instead of frizz, I wash my hair at night and let it partially dry, and before I wrap it in a bun I scrunch in some "curl control" and spray it with a few squirts of finishing spray. Depending on the weather, I wake up with socially appropriate hair. If climate isn't on my side, it just takes a little more water and finishing spray and my curls are good to go.
Heritage Products Sweet Almond & Grapeseed Oil
Natural and organic beauty products can be pricy, so I like to break things up and preserve my products by occasionally using natural oils from Heritage instead. They double as a moisturizing hair treatment, and help repair damage from the sun, chlorine, hard water, hair dye and chemical-based synthetic products. Before trying sweet almond oil, I used olive oil or coconut oil in my damp hair before bed. Olive oil provided a great moisturizing effect, but I found it to be too heavy and it weighed down my curls. Coconut oil was lighter and smelled great, but after sleeping on it the tropical smell morphed into a strange aroma and it made my curls oddly crunchy. Then, sweet almond oil entered the scene. Its high vitamin e content helps nourish the hair and prevent dryness and breakage, and can also treat a dry scalp. A little bit goes a long way, so if I run a dab of it through my hair at night, I wake up with shinier, more controlled curls in the morning that aren't weighed down by heavy product or oil. Once a month or so, I switch to grapeseed oil, which offers a heavy moisturizing effect and a deeper conditioning treatment, which can be especially useful if you're using heat on your hair.
Be sure to check out the Environmental Working Group's website for more information on organic products and cosmetic safety. Always check your products in EWG's cosmetic safety database before using them. Please also consider signing EWG's petition to reform cosmetic regulations. What's lurking in your shampoo bottle may surprise you- don't allow toxins to hide in your hair.