3 great hair gels for natural hair available in South Africa

gel for natural hair robyn ruth thomas

I’m one of those women who doesn’t really like shopping.

I would never go to a store to browse through items if I wasn’t looking for something specific.

I usually walk into a store to collect and pay. Most items would already have been researched, compared on PriceCheck, and tracked for stock in-store via telephone by the time I enter the aisle. It seems dramatic, but it helps me save A LOT  of time and money.

I only REALLY browse through beauty product aisles. LUSH. Oh, my hat. I will never pass a Lush store without walking in to smell the bath bombs and hair products.

They’re amazing.

BUT at Clicks, the amount of heavenly scented hair products placed in one aisle always has me losing track of time. I scan the labels to see if the ingredients are just right; I’ll lift lids – no touching I promise – just stealing a whiff, and usually picking up the products with packaging that looks beautiful – like a lot of thought went into making it.

How do you choose products? I’d love to know. Comment at the end of this page.

One time, I stood in a beauty aisle for so long (with one product in each hand), that a security guard came to ask me if I needed help. “Just having a look, thanks,” I awkwardly replied, putting down the products to avoid looking dodgy.

By this time, I had already read the labels of products on the top shelves and was now squatting to reach the products closest to the ground.

Needless to say the hair gels below have been scanned and compared with a critical eye. There are a few that I’m eager to try and review, especially the retail store aloe vera and flaxseed gels. Let me know if you have any favourites. I’ve also had some seriously bad experiences with gel. Gosh.

Once, I had a photoshoot and I decided to try a new gel the night before to set my wash-and-go. Big mistake. My wash-and-go looked amazing and this was a gel known for not getting crunchy so I was ever confident that the hairstylist would be able to style my hair easily. As soon as the gel had dried and the stylist touched my hair, it began to flake. I was so embarrassed. She was blowing at my scalp, wiping flakes off my shoulders and you know when you over-explain so that you can convince people that you’re telling the truth? I was doing that.

Why use gel for natural hair?

It’s taboo. I know. Naturals with type two to three hair could splash water on their hair and their curls will pop. Mine does that too. But because I have a combination of type three and four hair, my hair tends to shrink quickly and frizz as it dries. I usually rock my frizzed afro but when I’m in the mood for a super defined wash-and-go, gel is really the only product that will hold my hair types.

Here are the three hair gels at the top of my list for when I’m too lazy to cook up a batch of oh-so-good-for-your-hair, homemade flaxseed gel.

Each gel is free from drying alcohols.

Revlon Flex Maxi Styling Gel Extreme Hold 150 ml – R 4295

Flex Maxi Styling Gel Extreme Hold 150ml
Photo/ clicks.co.za

This is one of the first gels that I used while I was transitioning and doing Bantu knots to disguise my limp chemically treated ends. I needed a Hercules hold and this did the job.

It does have a major crunch and by that I mean, your hair will be hard but If you love low maintenance life, a week could go by and your curls will still be defined with this gel. The only disappointment is the baby packaging  – a lot of hair needs a lot of product so hopefully, Revlon will up-size them.

Dis-Chem Hair Styling Gel Firm Hold 1ltr – R 3895

Photo/ Dis-chem.co.za

Products at Dis-chem are just generally more affordable than other retail stores so this 1-litre pot is no surprise. I’m honestly skeptical of cheap products sometimes because I ask myself, why are the ingredients so cheap?

But get this; Dis-chem pharmacy cleverly clones more expensive products and creates generic products that include the same quality ingredients but didn’t require as much effort since the original product creator did most of the work. That’s why generic products are cheaper. When you buy expensive pharmaceutical products that have identical generic products available, you are literally just paying more for the name of the product. Compare labels, hun.

 I’m still trying to find out whether this product is generic but it works really well. It has great hold and no white flaking – hallelujah, but you have to use quite a bit of product as well.

This should have been called edge glue because, honey, it performs. I recently braided by hair and wanted to complete the look with perfectly laid edges.  I was really impressed.

My initial thoughts that edge tamer was a waste of money if you could use gel, have just been squashed.

It’s really only meant for your baby hairs though. The hold of this gel is so intense that it would actually stiffen up the rest of your hair if you used it. I did finger test and it’s like having prestik on your fingers if you tap them together.

It’s rather pricey for a hair gel but it will last a really long time considering the hold and tiny amount of hair that you need to cover.

Let me know if you’ve tried any of these before and/or if you have an interesting hair gel story to tell. I’d love to chat to you.

Feature photo: source

 

Local hair products for naturals in South Africa

Sitting in my lounge with a cup of green tea and my feet up – I’m transported back to the swanky beachfront restaurant in Clifton, where I’d met Catherine Williams.

I remember her as strikingly beautiful and composed; waving hand gestures as she let us (bloggers) in on the hair products that she’s been developing.

“My Natural Hair is the first retail range of its kind in South Africa,” she says… “As a connoisseur of every available product range for Afro, ethnic or curly hair; I couldn’t understand how there were no local ranges for African women to choose from.”

catherine williams, be whole, natural hair products
Catherine Williams introducing the products at her event in Clifton. Photo/ My Natural Hair

More women across the globe are embracing their natural hair and it’s become a movement of selfhood, rather than a fashion trend.

The prices of hair products have increased dramatically and even with a low maintenance routine like mine, finding the right products at an affordable price can be a mission.

Naturals look forward to high-quality hair care that’s not expensive. Many of us tend to go this route because our hair requires a lot of product in one usage. I have thick, dry hair. I finish a 750 ml bottle of conditioner in four uses. What we all need is for a brand to create performing products that don’t break the bank.

Catherine stands firm that My Natural Hair  does just that.

I chatted to her ahead of the product event to find out more about what led to the creation of range.

Here’s what she said, below:

I started transitioning in 2008. I was curious and had also started working-out a year or two before. [Frequently] flat ironing and blow drying my roots straight was becoming a nightmare.

In 2009, I started working as a flight attendant. This made transitioning easy as I wore my hair in protective buns all the time.

I noticed how healthy and thick my hair had become but I hardly wore it curly. My hair was also longer than it had ever been was before.

It was only when I returned to South Africa from Qatar in 2012, that I really became involved and knowledgeable about the natural hair movement. And I fell in love with my curls.

There are too many ranges on our shelves that claim to be natural or good for your hair but actually only offer short term results.

I worked with chemical formulators to get the right formulation that I wanted. I briefed them and then we sat and worked out the details. It had to be free from certain key chemicals and full of goodness. But also within a certain cost range to ensure affordability.

I work with local manufacturers that have good manufacturing processes. It’s a long process but the moment you see that final product, is for me, the prize.

Knowing that what you’ve brought to the market has integrity, a high standard of quality, and is offered at an affordable price range, makes it so worthwhile because it’s not only accessible to a small portion of Africans as many of the international brands tend to be. The integrity of this range is very important to me.

Which hair products to look out for:

Instagram/ @_mynatural_hair

Currently, the base range: the Nourishing Shampoo, Hydrating Conditioner, Strengthening Oil and Moisturizing Butter are geared at type 3 and 4 hair.

Anyone with type 1 – 4 hair can use the shampoo and conditioner. Many women who do Brazilian blowouts on their type 1 hair use our shampoo because it’s sulphate free. But because of the oils, type 1 hair will find that the butter, oil and conditioner could be too rich.

I swear by the Strengthening Oil as part of my LOC method for my wash and go. I have type 3 hair.

The butters work great on type 4 hair as an alternative to hair food on a daily basis.

We’ll be launching a curl cream, a leave-in conditioner and a deep treatment mask with more products to follow in late 2017. These will also be geared towards type 3 and 4 hair types.

My Natural Hair is also available at select Clicks and Jetmart stores – nationwide. Use the promo code, ‘MY NATBEWHOLE’ to get R 100 off your products when you buy for R300 or more via the My Natural Hair website. You can use the code for an unlimited amount of purchases until 31 March 2017.

Do you know of any other affordable natural hair products that the tribe may want to try? Scroll down to the comment section and let me know your thoughts right now 