I have mixed feelings about all the “natural” hair care lines that are popping up all over the place. On one hand, I am excited that so many brands are catering to the needs of the Black community and coming out with products specifically designed with natural hair in mind. But then on the other hand…I often feel that a feel well placed buzz words and clever marketing causes excitement and splurging on overpriced products that may or may not be much different than what has been available for years. So, with both of these thoughts in mind, I attended a recent webinar by Design Essentials introducing and explaining their Naturals line.
I must say I was pleasantly surprised, the products really do seem to have been created to address the needs of naturals and help solve some of the issues you face. Of course it comes with your standard sulfate-free shampoo and moisturizing conditioner (no natural line is complete without these) but also contains a Twist & Set Setting Lotion, Curl Enhancing Mousse, Daily Moisturizing Lotion, Curl Stretching Cream and Curl Defining Gel.
While I have not examined the full ingredient list of each product, they do appear to live up to their name by containing natural ingredients known to be beneficial for the hair such as oils, glycerin, and wheat protein. However, do not be mislead by the name ‘natural’ as these products are not organic and they do contain synthetic ingredients as well. For me, the most unique items of the line were the Curl Stretching Cream – shrinkage can be a mutha! – and the Twist & Set Setting Lotion. The repeated mantra during the demonstrations was that this setting lotion dries quickly. How many times have you braided or twisted your damp hair at night only to wake up the next morning and it is not completely dry?! [pullquote_right]How many times have you braided or twisted your damp hair at night only to wake up the next morning and it is not completely dry?! [/pullquote_right] I did ask if this product was appropriate for relaxed women who wear twist/braid outs or rodsets and the DE cosmetologists stated it was best for natural hair only and suggested using one of the other setting lotions from the Design Essentials line for relaxed hair. I was a bit disappointed because a quick drying setting lotion seems awesome, so color me jealous! Anywhoo, I digress…not only can this product be used for your twist and braid outs but also it can be used for hold and to prevent frizz for wash n’ gos, and it did an amazing job on the model. The professional cosmetologist stated that the curl stretching cream had enough weight to really stretch out your curls; however we did not see a demonstration of this item. In my mind “weight” equals a thick or heavy cream, perfect for thick or coarse hair but that may not work for finer textures.
As for the other products, they really are something you will probably have to try for yourself. Although I am not natural, I read enough to know that what works wonderfully to define one’s curls may be disastrous on another and simply cause clumping and flaking. The daily moisturizing lotion is mineral oil and petroleum free, so that is a great start, but just like anything else you will have to check and see if it works well to moisturize your hair. The products range from $13-15 for most but the gel and stretching cream retail for a whooping $29.90 and $27.90 respectively. Available online and at professional retail locations.