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  • Writer's pictureAiysha Hall

My Big Product Dump, Part 1: What Goes and What Stays?

I got my first relaxer in 1993. Tired of the traditional press and curl, I begged my mom to let me get one, giving her every reason I could think of as to why she should: (1) all my friends had relaxers; (2) relaxed hair would be much easier to manage; and (3) my relaxed hair would be able to withstand sweat, humidity, and combing while wet. Did I mention that all my friends had relaxers? I guess my argument was good enough because my mom agreed and so began my 11-year relationship with chemical relaxers.

But in December 2004 we broke up. One bad experience (i.e. losing chunks of my hair with the stroke of a brush) was all the reason I needed to cut ties and begin the journey toward getting my hair back healthy and to its natural state. I've spent the past 16 years experimenting with different hair care products trying to find what works for me (and now my two girls). Through much trial and error (not to mention lots of money spent) I've decided which products I'm keeping in the New Year, and which ones I'm giving the boot.

Disclaimer: I'm not a hair care expert and some of my product choices may go against the "natural hair care rules," BUT my decision to continue using certain products is based solely on how my hair has responded. It's healthier than it's been in a long time. So, here we go:

Shampoos & Conditioners - the Keepers

Maui Moisture Heal & Hydrate + Shea Butter Shampoo and Conditioner - I first used this at the recommendation of a friend, and I'm so glad I did. I can literally feel the moisture the shampoo leaves behind. Not only that, but it smells great, and it's free of harsh chemicals that can damage my hair. My only complaint is that I have to use a lot to get a good lather. Other than that, both the shampoo and conditioner are winners in my book.

L'Oreal Paris EverPure Moisture Sulfate-Free Shampoo & Conditioner for Color-Treated Hair - Every now and then I'll color my hair, and when I do, this is my go-to product. It cleanses well and leaves my hair feeling soft and full of moisture, combating the dryness that color can leave behind. I've found that this is the only shampoo and conditioner that gives me wash 'n' go results I'm pleased with.

Queen Helene Cholesterol Hair Conditioning Creme - Me and Cholesterol go way back. My mom used it on me as a kid and I recently added it back to my product list for deep conditioning days. It doesn't have super slip, but it still makes detangling easier and leaves me with extremely soft hair.

Who's getting dumped?

Pantene Pro-V Daily Moisture Renewal 2 in 1 Shampoo & Conditioner - I'll admit, I bought this looking to save myself some time on wash day. Between me and my girls, wash day is easily a 5-hour event or longer, so to have a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner in one sounded like a great idea. It was until I had to come behind this 2 in 1 with yet another conditioner. Pantene doesn't give me the slip I need to make wash day a breeze.

Anais Apothecary Tea Tree Clarifying Shampoo - I picked up a bottle of this shampoo and the accompanying conditioner at TJ Maxx hoping the tea tree oil would bring some relief to my dry, itchy scalp. Wrong. Both the shampoo and conditioner, while they leave my scalp feeling amazing, they leave my hair feeling completely stripped and brittle.

Leave-ins and Detanglers - the Keepers

Aunt Jackie's Knot on My Watch Instant Leave-in Detangling Therapy - I use this primarily for my youngest daughter who is extremely tender headed. With her, the detangling process comes with about as much drama as an episode of The Real Housewives of Atlanta. But thanks to Aunt Jackie's Knot on My Watch, I can detangle in a fraction of the time.

TRESemme Pro Pure Leave-in Conditioner - Before beginning my go-to natural hairstyle (twist outs), I apply this leave-in to lock in moisture and keep my hair feeling soft for days. It also comes in handy when refreshing my twists, which usually turn out looking better than day one.

I have yet to get to the winners and losers of moisturizers and styling products, but I'll save that for Part 2 of my post.

What are your go-to hair products? Have you tried any of the ones I've mentioned? Let me know in the comments and stay tuned for my next post. Until then, keep living intentionally, fully and expectantly.

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