With rainy days just around the corner, us curly beauts are certainly starting to fret about the cold weather and wild temperaments that autumn brings. Already my tresses are in desperate need for a curl-defining styling agent that will keep my curl pattern lookin' tight! During my relaxed days, I didn't have to worry about frizz at all; my hair was chemically straightened and the oil my scalp produced was enough to keep shine in even the coldest winter. During my shorter, natural style my hair loved a fresh drink of rain water, so I had zero concerns running to the store sans raincoat or umbrella. Now that my tresses are getting longer and thicker? I need something to hold my curls all day long.
Of course, coming from a generation of hairsprays and heavy gels, I'd dreaded even starting to do the usual trial and error of finding an OTC styling agent I like. Fortunately for those who insist on an all-natural beauty regimen, hair butters, soufflés, and gels are plentiful. I've used SheaMoisture's curling gel soufflé which my curls loved, the stickiness was at a minimum and it was heavy enough to keep my curls in check — as the day wore on however, I noticed some serious product build-up and spent most of the day picking little bits of product out of my tresses. I delved into Jane Carter's curl defining cream and my scalp AND hair were looking all types of sexy, but the solution is so light that sadly, that big tub doesn't last me long. For about $18, I need something that's going to hold my hair and my wallet over.
After trying several variations of the same product by different companies, I realized I had to step into my kitchen and get to work on the perfect styling agent. There are several advantages to this: The cost of making your own gel is significantly lower. You can make different variations for days that you are wearing a dry style, those wash-n-go days, and of course, a twist out. You can style your hair while applying nourishing vitamins that your 'fro can drink up all day long... while you drink in those hair compliments!
This fall, try one of these styling agents to keep your curl pattern all day long. No matter what type of texture your curl has, nature has something for everyone.
Aloe & Basil Hairspray
This natural hairspray recipe is awesome for finer curls, but I've also used it on wash-n-go days and loved it. The only issue for coarse curls is that aloe is over 90% water, which can lead to major shrinkage for kinkier hair. Extract the gel from your aloe leaf by pealing back the skin — the gel adds hold and moisture to curls. Add several drops of basil essential oil. Basil is incredible for your scalp and promotes hair growth; if you want to use fresh basil be sure to add a teaspoon of vodka or witch hazel to keep your new hair spray from turning moldy! PS: This mixture works best in a spray bottle.
Mango & Coconut Styling Cream
This recipe will bring back memories of summer to any curl that needs whipping into shape. Mix equal parts of mango butter and coconut oil (you'll want to heat these over a saucepan in order to properly mix them together). Next, add up to a tablespoon of apricot seed oil and a few drops of vitamin E. Mix your concoction in a small jar and allow to cool before using. This styling cream is going to be the jam for coarse, fragile curls that break easily. If you are all about that DIY life, check out ways you can make your own mango butter from scratch!
Lavender Flaxseed Hair Gel
This is an old stand-by gel for DIY curly babes because it 1. seriously works and 2. seriously costs a fraction of most store-bought gels. One pal swears this gel is the only "product" she uses for styling thick hair, but it works great on all hair types. For a thick gel, pour 1/4 cup of flaxseeds and 1 cup of water in a bowl and allow to steep overnight or for about 7 hours. Heat your mixture in a saucepan at medium to high heat and strain the liquid into your bowl, discarding or finding other use for those flaxseeds. Add several drops of lavender to your mixture for a desirable scent and to help slow down the spoiling process. Even with lavender oil, you'll still want to store your homemade gel in the fridge in between styling sessions.
Image: Giphy(2); William Ismael,
Crishna Simmons/Flickr; Kristin Collins Jackson