A list of some of the best leave-in conditioners for natural black hair. Continually updated, so bookmark this post or Follow by Email using the link to the right. #TeamNatural

Note as of 5/25/2012: I need your help with this list because I'm currently searching for more myself! Please post your suggestions in the comments area.

For the time being this is going to be my go to leave-in conditioner. I have been using Infusium 23 for years and it helped my hair grow to the armpits when it was relaxed, but for some reason it's just not giving me the protection I need with my hair in its natural state.

I've tried Giovanni's leave-in in the past and it worked very well, but for some reason I can't find my bottle! So I'm going to go back to it.

Pros: Very light on the hair and the hair is shiny and strong after blow drying. Contains a lonnnng list of certified organic botanicals including aloe vera leaf juice, sunflower seed oil and soybean seed extract. You can keep using it even after you hair is dried to moisturize and protect the hair. It is also pretty inexpensive and easy to find. 

Cons: Not many, cetyl alcohol listed in ingredients but very low down on the list.

If your natural black hair is damaged with split ends or breakage and in need of repair, one option is this shea butter based leave in conditioner. I haven't tried it personally, but it has received good reviews on Amazon and Drugstore.com.

The ingredients include shea butter, soybean oil, soy protein and corn oil. It also is pretty affordable at about $5 a jar and seems easy to find. Might try this one soon.

Pros: Natural ingredients, inexpensive and should be available at a local drug store or beauty supply.

Cons: Contains alcohol and a few other ingredients that look like chemicals, but nothing that looks too bad (no parabens).

Do you have any suggestions to add to this list of the best leave-in conditioners for natural black hair? Post it in the comment area below. I'd like to give #TeamNatural folks as complete a list as possible.

A list of some of the best shampoos for natural black hair. Continually updated, so bookmark this post or Follow by Email using the link to the right. #TeamNatural

Whether you're transitioning or a veteran naturalista, you're probably constantly on the hunt for an awesome shampoo for natural black hair. A good shampoo moisturizes, leaving your hair feeling soft and easy to manage. It should also have all-natural ingredients and paraben-free whenever possible. Here are a few of my own favorites and some that have good reviews online -- the list will be continually updated as I have more finds.

Everyday Shea Moisturizing Shampoo

This shampoo is paraben-free and made almost entirely of natural ingredients. I've personally tried it and it does do a good job of cleansing my hair while not drying it out.

Pros: Natural ingredients, including shea leaf/butter, coconut oil and spearmint essential oil

Cons: Doesn't smell or look that great, but if you're looking for a natural choice this seems to be a good bet. Also, might be a little hard to find.

Herbal Essences Hydralicious Reconditioning Shampoo

Tried this on a whim after scanning the beauty aisle. It seems that a lot of natural hair aficionados really like Herbal Essences products, and now I see why. It comes in a very interesting bottle, with purple swirls and smells delicious, like apples.

Washing with this shampoo leaves your hair soft and smelling good. Worth a try.

Pros: Smells and looks good -- has a few natural ingredients including shea butter extract and algae extract. Also appears to be paraben-free (still learning about parabens myself). Easy to find in your local beauty shop or pharmacy beauty section.

Cons: Seems to have a lot of chemical ingredients, such as sodium lauryl sulfate and ammonium laureth sulfate and sodium chloride.

Elasta Qp Creme Conditioning Shampoo

Found this one on a discussion board on Black Hair Media. It has some amazing reviews on Amazon. People like this shampoo because it is "sulfate-free" and doesn't strip you hair down like harsher shampoos.

Can't comment on how it works just yet, but feel free to check Amazon reviews.

Pros: Organic, sulfate-free and affordable. People report that it makes your hair feel oh-so soft after shampooing.

Cons: Might have to do some searching to find it, but your local beauty supply shop might have it or of course Amazon.

Do you have any suggestions to add to this list of the best shampoos for natural black hair? Post it in the comment area below. I'd like to give #TeamNatural folks as complete a list as possible.

A list of some of the best conditioners for natural black hair. Continually updated, so bookmark this post or Follow by Email using the link to the right!  #TeamNatural

Whether you're transitioning or a veteran naturalista, you're probably constantly on the hunt for a creamy, effective conditioner for natural black hair. A good conditioner moisturizes, leaving your hair feeling soft, shiny, nourished and detangled. It should also have all-natural ingredients and be paraben-free whenever possible. Here are a few of my personal favorites -- the list will be continually updated as I have more finds.

Aussie Moist Conditioner

This is a favorite among many ladies with natural black hair because it makes your hair very easy to comb through and detangle after washing. I've tried it personally and like the results very much. Natural ingredients include ecklonia radiata extract, jojoba seed oil and aloe leaf juice

Pros: Works nicely -- makes your hair easy to comb through both while it's in your hair and after you wash it out. Smells good. Inexpensive and easy to find at any pharmacy's beauty section.

Cons: Alcohol (stearyl, cetyl, benzyl) as well as a number of other long chemical names listed under the ingredients.

Pantene Relaxed & Natural Conditioner

Some may disagree with me for this choice, but I still like it, it's still hanging on in the bathroom. I used this when my hair was relaxed and it still does the trick for my natural black hair. It gives your hair a nice consistency and shine after washing it out. Pantene Relaxed & Natural conditioner contains coconut oil and jojoba seed extract. It's also fairly inexpensive.

Pros: Inexpensive, easy to find and works OK. Also has some natural ingredients.

Cons: A lot of alcohol and some other chemical ingredients.

Miss Jessie's Creme De La Creme Conditioner

Haven't tried this one yet as of this first posting, but I've had a bottle in my bathroom for some time now. Will try it out and update the list accordingly, but from what I've heard and read it's a very good choice for natural black hair (5 stars on Amazon). Miss Jessie's also has a number of leave-in products to help you manipulate and style your hair, like the curl pudding.

Update: Tried Miss Jessie's Creme De La Creme conditioner for the first time today. It is very effective for detangling -- moments after adding the creme to my wet naturally kinky hair I was able to pull a comb right through from root to tip. Hair was soft and fluffy after air drying. Good stuff.

Pros: Many natural extracts listed. Very good for detangling. Also, a black owned hair care business made and distributed in Brooklyn, NY!

Cons: A bit pricey and a few chemical ingredients/alcohol, but not too many.

Do you have any suggestions for this list of the best conditioners for natural black hair? Post it in the comments below. I'd like to give #TeamNatural as complete a list as possible.

It’s sad how some black women talk about their hair. 

When I first decided to go all the way natural in my first declarative post I said that I wouldn’t become what others call a “natural hair nazi.” And I still stand by that…

But now, as I read certain posts and comments from certain black women regarding hair I’m starting to see why some natural hair divas have been going off all these years.

Some of these chicks who go natural know they need to throw a relaxer up in that head!

On Twitter, paraphrased, but yea this is one comment I read recently. It took everything in me to not go all naturalnazi on this one girl! I know it’s straight up ignorance, but man where did this start and God where will it end?

Who taught these young girls that the kinky curly hair that grows out of their head by way of nature is ugly or need fixing? Why aren’t they ashamed of the fact that they are ashamed of their own God-given hair?

I cringe when I see young girls and women walking around with hair that is relaxed within an inch of its life, looking lifeless, uneven and damaged, because they so want it to be straight. When even one trace of kinkiness grows out their heads they rush to get back to having “good hair.”

Good hair isn’t hair that is bone straight even when you get out of a pool—good hair is healthy, strong and grows long no matter its state.

Good hair is not broken off edges because of wearing lace front wigs and too-tight weaves or heat damaged ends because of going overboard with a flat iron. Good hair is when all of your edges and ends are in place, exactly where they should be.

Good hair is shiny and has great elasticity (doesn’t break easily). Good hair is versatile, meaning you can put it in a wide variety of styles that look great, whether straight, curly, wavy or in a neat updo. Good hair is good without the need for chemicals to change the way it looks. Good hair comes in black, white, yellow and brown.

Alright, I’m off my soapbox. But I just pray for the day that more young black women get this wake up call and see the beauty in natural hair as well as relaxed looks if that's what they choose! Also that they learn how to take care of their relaxed hair more successfully. 

Don’t knock what you don’t understand yet.

In the meantime, I’m happy to hear that natural hair companies owned by blacks are starting to take more market share in the black hair industry as reported at Clutch Magazine this week. 

Remember this lil post I put out a year or so ago? It's ringing more and more true as each day passes. Please people, let’s use this as an opportunity to keep some money in our community for once!  Learn from the past!


Can we start an updated list of black-owned beauty supply shops around the country?

I read a post by a black male blogger lamenting the fact that black people, black women in particular, spend so much of their money on hair supplies sold by Asian store keepers.

I personally lament black men who harp on issues affecting black women while ignoring their own roles in consumerism and negative media images (just where do they think the money they spend on the latest basketball sneakers go? Most likely to Asian-owned enterprises).

However, I must agree that it bothers me to see so many Asian-owned shops in black communities, particularly beauty supply shops. Instead of pointing the finger of shame at black women, I am into solutions.

So one of my goals for the Classy Black Lady Beauty Blog is to develop a directory of black-owned beauty shops around the United States (and beyond). It will start off small and grow as time goes on, but I need your help.

If you know of a black-owned beauty shop in your area, please post the name, address and phone number in the submission box below or the comments area. It will be a part of a compilation to be posted on the Classy Black Lady Beauty blog.

Update #1 of the Classy Black Lady Natural Hair Journey... pics at the end!

I have to apologize for not updating the Classy Black Lady beauty blog with more details of my natural hair journey. I have been working on what seems like thousands of things at once...

But to summarize, my journey has been going great! I'm so glad I finally made that decision. I'm now at about 6 months without a relaxer.

Little Chop
First off, I didn't plan on doing a "big chop," but I was kinda forced into doing a "little chop." My hair grows pretty fast so it got to a point where the natural hair was just overtaking the last bit of relaxed hair on the ends. So I snip snipped to try to even things out.

Hair Products
Second, I've settled on a very basic set of hair care products:

- grapeseed oil (bought a bottle of quality stuff from the supermarket)
- coconut oil (think from BJs or Costco)

I also use flexi rods to get my hair curly. More on that later...

Hair Care Regimen
When I first decided to go natural I tried a few things. I tried flat twists, which worked OK for a wavy look but it is hard to tame. Still getting the hang of that.

I also flat ironed my hair really well to see how straight I could get the roots if I ever decided to wear that style. It came out pretty straight -- you don't need a relaxer for that look.

I finally settled on wearing my hair mostly curly using flexi-rods. It's quick, simple and cute (see pics below). Here is my process:

1) First I wash my hair using my Herbal Essences shampoo and condition it with Aussie Moist. I let it sit for a while and then carefully comb it out using a very large toothed comb.

2) Next I spray my Infusion leave-in-conditioner in my paper-towel dried hair. I'm on the hunt for an even better leave in conditioner -- thinking about trying this one, it has some amazing reviews on Amazon.

3) I mix some grapeseed oil and coconut oil in the palm of my hand (about the size of a dollar coin) and rub it all through my roots to the ends.

4) I use the banding / stretching technique using ouch-free hair bands while the hair is still wet. This is to loosen up the kinks at the roots before flat ironing or styling. Basically just section off my hair and put it into smaller ponytails (see how it's done here).

5) I let the hair air dry for hours, then take the rubber bands out carefully (looking for an alternative to standard black bands because it sometimes causes breaking/snapping -- open to suggestions!)

6) I then spray my hair a bit with my Chi Iron Guard protectant spray (forgot to add it in the pic because I don't use it that much -- I heard grapeseed oil is a sufficient heat protectant) and use a blow dryer to quickly dry and fluff out the hair. This preps it for flat ironing.

7) Section off hair, add a bit of the Silk Elements glossing polish and flat iron.

8) Section off straight hair again and add a little bit of the Organic Root Stimulator Smooth-n-Hold Pudding throughout the hair. Not too much though because it can get too greasy. Sometimes I put some Motions foaming setting lotion, but lately I've found that I don't really need it.

9) Finally, twist in flexi rods (here is a tutorial on how to do that -- love this sister's videos). I use the TRESsemme holding spray when I take the rollers out to keep the curls from falling too quickly.

The Results...
Here are a couple of pics of what my hair looks like after I go through my little regimen with flexi-rods:

Nice and fluffy and curly.

Next Steps
Next I think I'm going to do two large "goddess" cornrowed braids to wear while I'm growing my hair out. I need something with very little maintenance for a while. I'll post pics if and when I do so.

After that I'm seriously considering a Henna treatment. I heard it makes the hair very strong and deepens the color. 

My main goal is just strengthening and lengthening at this point. 

Stay tuned for more of the Classy Black Lady Natural Hair Journey and please feel free to post your own comments, suggestions and links to photos!!

This Classy Black Lady's going au naturale. Yea, AND what?

So ladies, I’ve finally decided to do it. I’m going to transition my hair to au naturale. I’ve been using relaxers on and off for over 15 years.

A lot of people really enjoyed my post from about a year ago on how to grow relaxed hair long, and it does work. Growing black hair, regardless of whether it's relaxed or natural, is all about how you care for it.

Now thanks to my ongoing regimen, and leaving my hair in protective styles for the most part, my hair is finally down my back (a few inches above my bra strap) and I think it’s time I learn how to deal with it in its natural state. I want puffy Diana Ross hair down to my behind dammit!

Now I’ve kinda already been easing into this decision by cutting my relaxers down to twice per year but now I’m serious.

However, don’t expect me to become a natural hair Nazi. I still remember how annoying it was to be berated by women for using the “creamy crack.” LOL Funny, but still annoying.

Women make these decisions on their own, they don’t need anyone making them feel bad about their current choices. Instead, I'll just provide some info as I learn.

I made the final final decision to go natural after watching a few YouTube Videos. I’ll be posting a few of them soon.

So please add your email to the link at the right to follow the Classy Black Lady Beauty and Fashion blog to get updates about my little natural hair transitioning blogging journey. They’ll mostly be short and sweet. Yes, I will include products. Also, I’m a bit shy so I’ll just be posting pics from the back of my hair now and again. Here and there.

I’ll also provide tips I learn along the way to help you transition successfully if you’ve been thinking about how to do this like I was.

I’m planning to go with three main styles:
- Scrunched curls (wet look)
- Twist outs (tight and loose waves -- I really like BIG hair with defined waves)
- Natural flat-ironed hair (straight style)

By the way, I’m pretty sure I'm either a 4B or 4C so you know you’re getting the real deal when it comes to working with kinky natural hair.

Stay tuned!

Love Tabby 

(the beginning, no relaxer for about 4 months -- tried to do the curly crunch first using this YouTube video by ST3PH0890)

Pretty cool. More experimenting needed.