What’s the Most Important Product in Your Arsenal?

In the wee hours of the night, as I spent two hours deciding on my Black Friday haul, I realized that I was ordering a LOT of leave-in conditioners, or products that I personally use as a leave-in, even if it’s meant to be something else, like Curl Junkie’s Curl Rehab or Oyin Honey Hemp. Take a look and see for yourself –

  • Curl Junkie Curl Rehab
  • Curl Junkie Smoothing Lotion
  • Curl Junkie Beauticurls Leave-In
  • Oyin Honey Hemp
  • Oyin Hair Dew
  • Darcy’s Botanicals Curl Styling Leave-In Cream

That’s over half of the haul I got (If you wanna be nosy, and see everything I got, I’ll be doing a haul vid when I receive it all, lol)!!

Then, today I used my Shea Moisture Curl and Style Milk with my Pantene Curl Gel (which I don’t really like), and my hair actually feels good. Usually the Pantene dries my hair out a little if my leave-in isn’t moisturizing enough, and it’s also very watery. So I’m thinking that the most important step in my hair styling regimen is my leave-in – it can really make or break my hair day for the most part. My leave-ins have saved me from drying gels/stylers (like AG Re: Coil), frizz bombs, and shrinkage (especially with KCCC). When I have used leave-ins with glycerin in low dew points, I have gotten frizzy, dry hair, even if my gel did not have glycerin. Since that time, I have learned my lesson.

The other day someone asked me if I could have ONE product on a desert island, what would it be…and I replied that it would be Curl Junkie Curl Rehab – DUH, a leave-in/DC/rinse out conditioner. I usually use cheapie cowashes, but my leave-ins are always high quality. When people ask me for a good drugstore leave-in (not cheap, because I know some cheaper LIs, but they are found at select BSS’s or Whole Foods), I’m usually at a loss, unless it’s the Shea Moisture line at Tar-jay.

And so…I have determined that my leave-ins are my babies in my arsenal. What’s yours?

16 thoughts on “What’s the Most Important Product in Your Arsenal?

  1. teachermrw says:

    I would say that a good leave-in is key to the appearance and feel of my hair. When I haven’t used a good-quality leave-in, my hair looks and feels rather busted, i.e. dry, frizzy, dull. Right now, I am using Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Restorative Conditioning Milk. I am able to use it as a leave-in, a rinse-out and a mild deep conditioner.

  2. Danielle says:

    I would say the main thing my hair needs is a moisturizer. My hair loves the Bee Mine Balanced Moisturizer as a leave in/sealant but my pockets don’t love the $18 plus shipping.

    My Black Friday haul was pretty much pudding and cream products as other alternatives. I’ve found butters are far too heavy for me. If Shea Butter is high on the list, my hair is not going to like it. And glycerin in the winter in New Jersey is a no-no, at least for me.

    Your hair reminds me a lot of mine and I did watch your vids before making some of my purchases. (ex. Komaza Pudding. Me love!) But I always keep in mind, we live in two different climates.

    • HB says:

      Oh my goodness…thank you so much for taking climate into account. Some people get confused when a product doesn’t work for them and I love it, but they will live in a much more humid or drier climate than me. When I go to the East Coast (DC), my hair goes CRAZY!

      • Danielle says:

        From what I hear DC can get humid but everytime I visit its much drier than NJ. And New York City, forget it. That’s a completely different thing and I’m only 15 minutes outside the city. You can cut the humidity with a knife in the summer.

        During the summer my hair was “LOVING” Shea Moisture which has glycerin in it. Tried it the past month and my hair was a frizzed out mess. Today’s temp was 44 degrees, with humidity at 68%. Dewpoint 34 degrees. Ugh!!!

        I’m really trying to up my twist out game so I can leave my wash and gos alone till spring.

      • HB says:

        Yea, see…when I went to DC I brought a bunch of products with high glycerin by mistake – and that was horrible! But, glycerin is lower down on the SM list and it worked great! But I don’t think I’m packing it this winter…too risky! I have a ton of products that are glycerin free so I might as well be safe. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. lashawnb says:

    You know I had to come on and post, right? ๐Ÿ™‚

    I agree with the previous poster–I am still trying to figure out what my hair ‘loves’. Now that I’ve done the BC and I’ll be rocking the TWA, I am trying to focus on keeping my hair moisturized so I AM focusing on condish and leave-in. I am a product junkie in the making, so I do like to play around with stylers, too.

    That said, I started with KCKT and I haven’t purchased a different LI since August. Lately, it seems I am buying stylers out the wazoo…so maybe that means I am simply in love with KCKT? ๐Ÿ™‚

    Now that you have me hooked on CJ (can’t wait for my shipment), I hope that LI and the complements will soon be staples for me too. I’ve told you before that I think we are hair twins, so I can’t wait to see.

    Thanks for always keeping it 100…I have a feeling Mimi will heart you, miss ma’am. lol

  4. lifejourneytobenatural says:

    I think I am still on the sailing voyage in the sense I am still trying to see what my hair cannot absolutely do without. And also really loves. It’s tricky for my hair sometimes. I think at this point I would say anything with shea butter as the ingredient. Then I was thinking about conditioners. My hair likes versatile type of products like CJ. Cowashes like Garnier Fructis Triple Hair Nutrition or Desert Organics Coconut Conditioner helps me compared to KCCC Knot Today as a rinse/leave-in. I have the Yes to Tomatoes that I still need to try as a cowash conditioner. I try not to rinse out all conditioner to leave a bit in for added moisture. All this and still not a clear answer. LOL!

  5. nicole says:

    I lurk here from time to time (don’t often visit any hair blogs/YTs), but I had to post to say I agree with you that leave-ins are my most important products, followed closely by high quality deep conditioners. Similar to you, I have dense hair that is medium-textured (from a scale of 1-10, with 1 being baby fine and 10 being very coarse, I would say I range from 4-6).

    I’ve been natural since the mid-90’s and I used to think I couldn’t have perfect defined curls without gel, but now leave-in alone usually does the trick. Gel is only for those days when the dews are low and I’m more prone to frizz.

    I also love and use most of your staple brands like Curl Junkie and Oyin. Since we like so many of the same things, your review of Shea Moisture’s line helped me decide to try it. I got the Curl and Style Milk the other day when I ran out of my last bottle of leave-in and didn’t want to purchase anything online before Black Friday, so I just wanted to say thanks for that.

    P.S. I know you want long hair now, but I just cut mine back to BSL stretched because it just took too much time (I don’t like twists, so I style my hair pretty much everyday) and I was sick of needing to use so much product. I have a feeling you’ll feel the same way.

    • HB says:

      Hey, thanks for stopping by! ๐Ÿ™‚ I agree with you about using a lot of product, but I’m hoping that as my hair gets longer I’ll be able to pineapple at night with one ponytail, and only need to style every three or four days. We’ll see!

    • sarah says:

      hey! my hair falls into the same camp. and, as my hair has gotten longer, i find that gels aren’t needed as much… i’m guessing it’s because the length/weight of my hair better allows the curls to find each other.

      that being said, gels/creams/finishers are my babies. KCCC is my holy grail, with a touch of CD Mimosa Hair Honey on top. i tried out that SheaMoisture Style Milk and no. just, no. it left my hair stringy and then dry. where they do that at?

      so, i’m trying to focus more on leave-ins, but totally twisted has yet to fail me…

  6. atribitt says:

    im still very new to this but all the naturals i know will attest to the same step being the most important. however, im a little confused… so i use KCKT for my detangling leave-in. but then i put another creamy oil containing product on as a sealant. then afterward apply a gel/curl definer. so would the CJCR be my actual leave-in step or my sealer step before the gel?

    • HB says:

      Well it really depends on what your regimen is – for me, using a LI condish, moisturizer, AND gel is too much product. Often times, my LI also contains oils to help seal in moisture, and my wet hair loves water based products. But, if I were going to use a LI and moisturizer, I would use the Rehab as my LI, then use either an oil or moisturizer over it. But let’s look at the ingredients to the Rehab, and see what can be considered a sealant rather than a moisturizer:

      Ingredients: Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Cetearyl Alcohol, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Equisetum Arvense (Horsetail) Leaf Extract, Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Leaf Extract, Melissa Officinalis (Melissa) Leaf Extract, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Leaf Extract, Yucca Leaf Extract, Rosa Mosqueta (Rosehip) Fruit Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Theobroma Grandiflorum (Cupuaรงu) Seed Butter, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Vanilla Planifolia oil, Cananga Odorata oil, Lecithin, Fragrance, Citric Acid.

      I bolded all of the oils and sealants in the product – looking at that list, I figured, why would I have to add another oil or sealant when there are already so many? I will say though, I personally like KCKT when I layer it with an oil before adding gel. Alone it doesn’t do enough for me. Hope that helps!

      • atribitt says:

        Oh ok! It would be so nice to simplify my routine. sounds like a product with water as the first ingredient (leave in) and oils somewhere on the list (for sealant) would make a good product to take care of both steps at once. Cool beans.

  7. Niki says:

    I’ve sworn by Aveda Elixir for years for a leave-in. It’s never steered me wrong so I just stay with that. My holy grail product that I must have no matter what is probably Carol’s Daughter Mimosa Hair Honey. I don’t go anywhere without it. In the event that I forget every hair product I own, it’ll do whatever I need it to with minimal fuss. It’s pricey but I don’t need to use a lot of it and my hair is REALLY thick.

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