This post has been long requested. And rightly so. Truthfully, the natural hair community is one that grew out of the United States, and for that reason many of the product reviews cater for an American (and Western-based) audience. If you are living in Kenya, it can be difficult to find the right products to nurture your hair. That's what this post is all about - products that I'd use and recommend for the Kenyan girl!!! Yippppeee!! :-)
First things first - Disclaimers!!!
1. Products support hair growth only if properly used. Many factors come into play when it comes to how fast our hair grows or how much length we retain - both subjects for another post all together!
2. These products here are a suggestion based on my own research. None of these suggestions are sponsored. If you have a regimen that works for you, please feel free to stick to it and only tweak it accordingly. The products on this list are what I would definitely use on my hair if I was currently Kenya-based, of which I will be in not too long a while!
These are the products I would use in the order of how I would use them.
Saturating your strands with oil before you wash your hair to reduce chances of hygral fatigue. Hygral fatigue occurs when our strands expand and contract excessively during water intake leading to weakening and breaking. To pre-poo, I would use Coast Farms Coconut Oil. It retails for about 400KES/250ml in most supermarkets.
Shampoos can be naturally drying due to their astringent qualities. However, it is important to shampoo your hair at least once a month to remove product build-up and cleanse the scalp. To shampoo I would use Tresemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture Shampoo. It retails for about 845KES/750ml at Nakumatt.
Conditioners are gentler and less drying than shampoos. They are great for weekly cleansing. To condition my hair weekly, I would use Tresemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner. It retails for about 845KES/750ml at Nakumatt.
4. Deep Conditioner:
Deep conditioning is the process through which we saturate our strands with specially formulated hair treatments. We do this for two reasons. Firstly, to add moisture to our strands. And secondly, to add protein to strengthen our strands. I use a moisturizing deep conditioner three times a month, and a protein conditioner once a month. Click here for my top tips on deep conditioning.
My moisturizing deep conditioner of choice is Shea Moisture Deep Treatment Masque. It is readily available locally and goes for 1590KES. I would add a tblspn of honey and a tblspn of olive oil to make it work better. I also noticed that this product needs lots of heat to get into your strands. (Some naturals don't like this product at all). You can duck into your local salon and sit under the steamer every so often. It's only 70-150KES for a steaming session! That's a steal. Also, notice that ORS and Organics Cholesterol Tea Tree did not make the cut. These products leave my hair feeling icky!
My protein deep conditioner of choice would be Motions Deep Penetrating Treatment. It retails for about 750KES (last I was in Kenya). This one only needs to be on your hair for 3 minutes! Or else you might get a tangled mess. I'd follow through with my moisturizing treatment.
Sealants are oils or butters that keep the moisture in our strands from escaping.
My oils of choice are Extra Virgin Olive Oil which goes for about 400KES/750ml in most supermarkets. 100% Cold Pressed Avocado Oil is another I would use. I bought one from Nakumatt a while back for about 600KES/250ml.
My butter of choice would be Ajani Handmade's Waridi Whipped Hair and Body Butter. It retails for 550KES. This product is highly sought after, so make sure to contact them as soon as possible if you are interested.
6. Other Supporting Hair Products:
Castor Oil - this oil is acclaimed for its growth supporting properties. I would use it sparingly because it sometimes causes flakiness. Also, make sure to mix it with a carrier oil like olive oil. Nakumatt has the Ideal Brand for 200KES/110ml. Check Tricia's Naturals Market Place for Jamaican Black Castor Oil.
Glycerin - this product is known for its ability to attract water. But also to repel water! Yep! Only use this product in high humidity - eg if you live at the coast or lake Victoria region. Found at Our Price/Nakumatt and has the brand name Ideal. Can retail for as little as 120KES.
Bentonite Clay - this is an all-natural clarifier. It can be found at Healthy U for 250KES/50mg satchet.
Apple Cider Vinegar - this is another all natural clarifier that is easily found at most supermarkets and is pocket friendly, depending on size. I have a post on how to incorporate it into your regimen here.
Baking Soda - some people swear by this product. It acts as a great clarifier as well. Before you use it, google some recipes online. Due to its very high ph it can make your hair knotty and brittle, so be careful. It is easily and readily available at pocket-friendly prices.
Distilled water - some naturals use this to replace their tap water. Tap water can be "hard" - that is, mineralized and might leave residue on your hair. If you are intent on it, feel free to replace your tap water with store bought distilled water. Shower filters are another option, but I am not sure if they are readily available yet. Distilled water can be found at Nakumatt or Uchumi for under 200KES depending on size.
Rose water - yet another luxury product. Can be used as a leave-in. I used to use it, but honestly, there's really nothing life-changing about RW in my opinion. Can be found at Nakumatt or Uchumi for under 200KES depending on size.
Aloe Vera Juice - my favorite product of all time! (Don't let its location on this list fool you!). I use Herbal Garden's 100% Aloe Vera Juice. Can be found at Uchumi and Nakumatt for about 750KES/litre.
Henna - I use henna on my hair once a month. It is a wonderful strengthening treatment. Read my recipe here. It can be found at Tricia's Naturals Market Place. Quite frankly, I would also pop into a Muhindi's store in town or at Diamond Plaza and ask them for Body Art Quality Henna.
7. Supporting Tools:
Spray bottles - Great for DIY leave-in's. Easily found at Our Price
Satin Bonnets - I went to Town to a Muhindi's material shop and bought some fabric. I washed it properly and tied it like a kitamba. I bought 1metre x 1 metre for about 60KES.
Wide Tooth Combs - Our Price/Nakumatt. Although I almost never use a comb on my hair.
Showercaps, pins and bows, rollers and shears should all be available at Our Price/Nakumatt.
8. Other Resources For Naturals in Kenya
Facebook groups: Tricia's Naturals, The Kurlly Diaries, Captivating Naturals.
Salons that know a thing or two about natural hair: (I-forget-the-name) ground floor, Barclays Plaza, Amavida Salon on Riverside Drive, Nairobi.
Shopping sites for natural hair products : Tricia's Natural's Market Place
I'M GIVING AWAY THREE PRODUCTS OF CHOICE TO TWO LUCKY WINNERS!!!!!
See pic below for details:
Lastly, now for real.... :-)
Please feel free to share any additional products/prices and resources in the comments section. Or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll add them to this list. Prices and availability of products are subject to change, so please use your own judgement accordingly.
Love, love and love!