I can vividly remember a time when I would be hard-pressed to find anything suitable for 4C hair like mine anywhere other than the specialised afro hair shop in the ethnically diverse area of London that I grew up in. I always wanted to be able to buy my haircare along with my skincare and makeup in high street mainstays like Boots or Superdrug.
Luckily, for my fellow naturals and me, the boom of e-commerce means small Instagram businesses are thriving in the black hair market, with amazing brands like Afrocenchix, Afro & Curl, Bouclemeand Dizziak catering specifically for our hair types. Like many others, I turned to these higher end, niche companies to fix my haircare woes. After stepping away from relaxers and harsh chemicals, I wanted to trust the products I used weren’t going to set me back in my haircare journey — and that seemed much more important than the convenience I was longing for on the high street.
But as more of us invested in these small businesses, the high street started to listen up and take note of the pounds rolling in from women willing to shell out for their haircare routine. Initiatives like Superdrug’s Shades of Beauty campaign, for example, have seen an influx of big brand products that cater to afro hair appear in store, and although there is still some way to go, it seems afro hair is being catered for more than ever before.
But is the novelty of shopping for all your toiletries in one place worth swapping out your trusted, highly curated haircare routine? Ahead, myself and three others tried the high street's afro hair offerings — these are the products that actually worked.
OGX Coconut Miracle Oil Conditioner My hair is prone to dryness so it definitely benefited from this enriched range of penetrative products. I tested the Coconut Miracle Oil Shampoo, Coconut Miracle Oil Conditioner and Coconut Miracle Oil Penetrating Oil as a trio of products, and they all complemented each other perfectly. The standout product is Coconut Miracle Oil Shampoo, which provides an ultra rich, nourishing cleanse. Due to my hair being quite thick and parched, shampoos often struggle to penetrate my strands. This, however, lathered really well and effectively eliminated grime and build-up.
As I Am Coil Defining Styling Jelly As someone with quite tightly coiled, natural hair, I often struggle to find products that are able to define my lengths whenever I desire that look. Coil Defining Jelly not only transforms my hair into uniform curls but it manages to do so without drying out my hair or leaving flakes, unlike some other brands.
Palmer’s Natural Fusions Leave-in Conditioner 250ml
Products in the Natural Fusions range consist of 95% sourced natural ingredients and contain hydrating, nourishing and strengthening botanicals – something that’s important to me. A standout product is the Mallow Root Leave-In Conditioner, a lightweight curl refresher that’s formulated with jojoba seed oil, coconut oil, leaf juice extract and mallow root plant. Just a few spritzes instantly hydrates and revitalises my 4C natural coils. This product is an essential for those whose strands are susceptible to dryness and lack of lustre.