I can’t live without them.
This year marks twelve years since I first went natural. And I say first because it took a couple of tries: I gave up and got a relaxer shortly after my first time attempting to go natural. But soon after that, I big chopped my hair and started my journey once again. For me, my hair is a marker of my road to self-acceptance — a road paved with plenty of 4C hair products to keep my now-natural tresses healthy, of course.
I realize how much more this idea of hair (and self) acceptance resonates as I age. These days, those gray hairs sprouting up — without my permission, mind you — are what I’m working to make peace with. And go back and forth about often.
Like many women, my recently arrived streaks of white have made me question how I want to age. Do I let my grays run free, or do I color them? Well, recently, I decided to color them. However, this color choice was more about allowing myself to experiment with a new hue.
I have been conditioned to believe that Black women can’t wear specific hair colors, especially if they’re vibrant. But Janet Jackson’s gorgeous red curls (think: The Velvet Rope album cover) have long been in my book of beauty inspiration.
So guess what I did? I lightened my hair with the help of my curly stylist, Natarsha, at Capella Salon in Los Angeles. After two lengthy sessions (it took about 12 hours combined), my 4C curls were lighter, with their spring and integrity still intact.
However, my 4C-type hair is prone to dryness, so I knew that lightening my hair could make this concern even more of an issue.
After my appointments, I realized I would need additional products beyond my favorites from Pattern and Bread Beauty Supply (which are still in rotation) to maintain my color from shampoo to styling. So after some research, I settled on a few new additions based on what I know about my tresses.
So, without further ado, here are the 4C hair products replenishing my color-treated strands.
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My hair loves aloe vera, honey, shea butter, and soybean oil (which is particularly great for color-treated hair), which led me to Sisley Paris’s shea, macadamia, babassu, and moringa oil-infused Hair Rituel Restructuring Nourishing Balm. It’s made with damaged, dry, and brittle hair in mind, with the directions stating that you can apply for up to 30 minutes before shampooing. However, I like to leave my pre-poo products on overnight (concentrating on my ends), and it makes a huge difference in the health of my ends.
Also worthy of note: With my hair’s low porosity state (which means my hair cuticle has a tough time taking in moisture), my stylist’s words to live by are, "water is life." So I apply my products to soaking wet hair. Always.
After washing my hair with a color-safe shampoo, I pretreat my freshly washed hair with Naturally Drenched’s Rebalance Pre-Conditioner Treatment.
Developed by Jamila Powell, owner of the texture-focused salon Maggie Rose Salon, this almond oil, bamboo extract, calendula, and papaya-infused treatment not only makes my curls easy to detangle, but it helps restore the hair’s natural pH while strengthening the hair. (And detangling my curls is the key to a short, fuss-free wash day.)
Lastly, I added Oribe’s Masque for Beautiful Color, made for color-treated hair, to my arsenal. I love that just a little of this treatment goes a long way.
Not to mention, it’s formulated with antioxidant-rich bioflavonoids that help keep color from fading (this is very important for redheads) and phytoceramides that help hydrate the hair from the inside out (vital for coily curls).
Remember when I mentioned my hair is low porosity? Well, since my hair is color-treated, I always use steam or heat with conditioning treatments to help open up the hair follicle to let all that hydration really sink in. I love using my facial steamer to steam my hair, and I also enjoy sitting under a hooded dryer with a plastic cap to ensure my treatments penetrate the hair.
I’m sure I’ll be experimenting with different treatments, but less is more in my book. And right now, these are my go-to investment hair products that live up to their hype.
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