I’ve had my hands folding in prayer position since I began using Dark and Lovely‘s new Au Naturale range.
It’s amazing how much length I’ve been able to retain over the past two weeks of using these products, and while standing in the shower, washing, and then conditioning my hair, I kept thinking, “OMG! OMG! My hair has really grown!” Something all naturals with type 3 to 4 hair would celebrate.
Dark and lovely and I go way back. I can’t tell you how many boxes of relaxer I went through as a child. And when I began my transition to natural hair, I swore that a relaxer would never touch my head again. Since then, I hadn’t used any Dark and Lovely products, aside from a Blonde hair colour for ethnic hair because I wanted to go lighter and there’s only one stylist I trust do my hair, and she wasn’t available.
The colouring results worked out well, even though I have so much hair – one box wasn’t enough. I’d managed to DIY an ombre effect but steered away from using any Dark and Lovely product other than that. But now, since Dark and Lovely’s own transition to natural hair care, I was eager to try it out.
But now, since Dark and Lovely’s own transition to natural hair care, I was eager to try it out.
Take a look at my full review of each Au Naturale product below:
Dark and Lovely Au Naturale Moisture Replenishing Shampoo – R34.95 (250ml)
A slim, transparent bottle with a secure, flip lid. The shampoo’s fruity scents of mango oil and bamboo milk become more distinct as the product lathers, making wash day a fragrant experience.
I generally use small amounts of shampoo, parting my hair in four sections before washing and then working through each section separately. A 250 ml bottle/tub of shampoo could last me over two months, even though I always shampoo twice on wash day.
The Moisture Replenishing Shampoo lathered my hair instantly in one use and got quite foamy. I used an almond size amount for each of the four sections and while massaging my scalp, felt that I could have used less product. I decided not to shampoo twice because my scalp felt clarified.
This is not a detangling shampoo so be sure to part your hair before washing, focusing only on your scalp or follow through with the Au Naturale Knot-Out Conditioner.
What’s in it:
Water, cocamidopropyl betaine, sodium laureth sulfate, cocamide mea, sodium chloride, fragrance, phenoxyethanol, polyquaternium-7, polysorbate 20, potassium sorbate, glycol stearate, mangifera indica seed oil/ mango seed oil, caprylic/capric triglyceride, polyquaternium-10, citric acid, sodium PCA, disodium edta, sodium benzoate, benzyl salicylate, linalool, benzyl alcohol, bambusa vulgaris extract, ci 19140/ yellow 5, ci 14700/ red 4, ci 17200/ red 33, ci 42090/ blue 1. f.i.l. d54782/2
Dark and Lovely Au Naturale Knot-out Conditioner – R34.95 (250ml)
Identical to the packaging of the Moisture Replenishing Shampoo, the Knot-out Conditioner comes in a slim, transparent bottle with a secure, flip lid. The consistency is thick and mask-like which works well for detangling naturally thick hair, easily.
I was surprised at how effortlessly I’d managed to detangle my hair using this product. The distinct fragrance of mango oil and bamboo milk perfumed my entire bathroom, which automatically put me in a good mood. Wash day can be pretty exhausting so spending less than 15 minutes detangling all of my hair was miraculous.
This is big and literally no exaggeration.
I stood in the shower, looked at the drain, and shrieked; “is that all?!” Nearly no shedding! I was even a little concerned because my hair was retaining so much length and I thought that maybe the product had loosened my curl pattern. But nothing of the sort.
I used quite a generous amount of product as usual. By the end of my first use (during week one), the bottle was already half empty so I’m hoping that there will be an increase in the bottle size in future. You probably don’t need to use as much conditioner as I do but I’d prefer to coat my hair liberally for finger detangling.
For extra moisture, scrunch your hair from root to tip, leave for about 15 minutes, and then rinse.
What’s in it:
Water, cetearyl alc o h o l , e l a e i s g u i n e e n s i s o i l / p a l m o i l , behentrimonium chloride, parfum / fragrance, glycerin, phenoxyethanol, isopropyl alcohol, stearamidopropyl dimethylamine, mangifera indica s e e d o i l / m a n g o s e e d o i l , c a p ry l i c / c a p r i c , t r i g ly c e r i d e , c i t r i c a c i d , c h l o r h e x i d i n e dihydrochloride, benzyl salicylate, linalool, bambusa vulgaris extract. f.i.l. d158442/3
Dark and Lovely Au Naturale Plaiting Pudding Cream – R69.95 (250ml)
A transparent tub of thick, pinkish pudding with a creamy texture, gel-like hold, and a mild fruity fragrance.
After first use?
Not so great.
I usually style my hair using the LOC method – applying a leave-in conditioner, oil, and then a cream to seal the moisture. This time, while attempting a twist out, and following the Plaiting Pudding Cream instructions, I went straight from rinsing my conditioner, to t-shirt drying, and then applying the pudding.
Because I didn’t apply my usual olive oil seal, my hair became knotty again and the pudding’s gel-like hold worked so quickly that it was difficult for me to slip my fingers through my hair. The result was soft, wavy hair that frizzed after a few hours.
The next day, I’d applied more pudding, retwisted, and left to air dry for the entire day. The result was an oily residue and an undefined, frizzy head of hair.
You win some, you learn some.
Don’t expect great results by applying generic instructions. Let your hair tell you what it needs because your texture is unique.
Once I’d washed again, reverted to my own routine, and then applied the pudding as needed – beautiful!
What’s in it:
Water, glycerine, glycine soja oil / soybean oil, polysorbate 80, peg-40 hydrogenated castor oil, triethanolamine, oleth-5, carbomer, parfum / fragrance, phenoxyethanol, bis-diglyceryl polyacyladipate-2, caprylyl glycol, mangifera indica s e e d o i l / m a n g o s e e d o i l, butylene glycol, benzyl salycylate, linalool, benzyl alcohol, limonene, ci 14700 / red 4, geraniol, bambusa vulgaris sap extract, ci 19140 / yellow 5, citric acid. (f.i.l. d55311/4)
Dark and Lovely Au Naturale Afro Moisturising Butter – R69.95 (250ml)
A transparent tub of creamy, white butter with a refreshing herbal fragrance, centred on honey and Gaurana Root.
*Closing my eyes and stretching my open hands up to the sky.
If you’ve been searching for a hydrating cream to give your hair the moisture and definition it needs, go out and get yourself a tub of this butter.
Parting my hair into 8 sections, after washing, conditioning, and applying about a R5 coin size of olive oil to my hair, I carefully slid the Afro Moisturising Butter onto each section. I start at the ends and then clasp the hair through my hands from root to tip. My curls were so defined. Take a look at what my wash-and-go results looked like below.
Style suggestion: Apply a coat of hair gel if you’d like to wear your wash and go for a few days. I use a Flaxseed gel that I make myself – it takes about 10 mins and you only need 3 ingredients. You can find the recipe, here.
What’s in it:
Water, caprylic /capric triglyceride, cocos nucifera oil / coconut oil, stearyl alcohol, glycerin, dimethicone, butylene glycol, c12-15 alkyl benzoate, stearic acid, palmitic acid, parfum / fragrance, steareth-100, polyacrylamide, phenoxyethanol, sorbic acid, c13-14 isoparaffin, steareth-2, limonene, hexyl cinnamal, hydroxypropyltrimonium honey, laureth-7, mannan, xanthan gum, paullinia cupana seed extract, methylisothiazolinone, citronellol, citral, geraniol, benzyl alcohol, linalool, ci 19140 / yellow 5, ci 15985 / yellow 6, ci 14700 / red 4, ci 17200 / red 33, ci 42090 / blue 1
To view more pics and join a tribe conversation, connect with me on Instagram: @robynruththomas
All products provided by Dark and Lovely South Africa
*Available in major retailers such as Clicks and Dischem Pharmacy from October 2016.
Photos/ Lucienne Haupt