With multiple texture types, natural hair can be styled in so many ways (braids, twists, knots, locs and more!), but it’s important to have the right hair care product to get the styling right and prevent damaged hair.
To get insight into the best natural hair products for styling and maintaining the health of ever-so-versatile waves, coils, kinks and curls, we tapped the biggest names in Hollywood hair. Here, hairstylists specializing in styling curly textures — from Vernon François, Lupita Nyong’o’s go-to hairstylist, to Tippi Shorter, Alicia Keys’ main hair gal — share the must-have products in their kits.
“For me, natural means hair that has not been altered or processed with heat, chemicals or color, which may be kinky, coily, curly or wavy,” François tells ET. “These stylers are my top three for afro hair that I know many people call natural. They are great for curls and waves too.”
Ahead, discover the best products for natural hair to try, according to celebrity hairstylists.
Vernon Francois certainly knows hair product. The British hairstylist counts stars like Lupita Nyong’o, Serena Williams and Willow Smith as his regulars. François is an educator on all hair types and founder of his eponymous haircare line.
Check out François’ favorite products:
“Mist Nourishing water from my own collection. I use this to hydrate and prime hair before styling all my clients. It’s purest water in a delicate mist spray boosted with amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein — so as well as refreshing hair, it may also help to build strength.”
“The Vernon François Lightweight Styling Serum is another essential that’s always in my kit. It’s not at all sticky, but velvety smooth, gives a light hold and is excellent for defining the pattern of your hair’s true texture.”
“One of my favorite ways to finish is with an all-over spritz of Matrix’s Total Results High Amplify Proforma Hairspray. It helps hair to look vibrant, not dull, which some hairsprays can do. This one is particularly good for enhancing volume because it helps to lift from the roots and resists humidity for up to 24 hours. And it’s silicone-free. I also like Redken’s Cerafill Texture Effect Spray, which absorbs excess oil from the scalp and helps to boost volume too.”
Dr. Kari Williams
A trichologist and hairstylist, Dr. Williams has been styling natural hair for 18 years, coifing the famous tresses of Ava DuVernay, Brandy, Tessa Thompson and Ayesha Curry. Dr. Williams has trained hundreds of women on her skills, such as her patented Goddess Loc technique. She also has her own haircare line, Beauty by Dr. K.
Check out Dr. Williams’ favorite products:
“My first pick is a product combination from my personal line of haircare products, Beauty by Dr. K. The Dr. K Comb Out Creme and Dr. K Daily Spray are my go-to products for all-natural hair types. Before styling natural hair, we have to make sure it is moisturized and well-conditioned. The Dr. K Comb Out Creme gently removes tangles, knots and matted sections of hair. It keeps the hair soft, well-conditioned and enhances the curl during the process of detangling. The Dr. K Daily spray is a blend of water, glycerin and essential oils to keep the hair hydrated and soft. Regular use of the spray prevents dry scalp and helps the hair remain strong and long.”
“My next product pick is Eden Bodyworks Coconut Shea Edge Control Glaze. This product gives a great flexible hold when I’m shaping and molding natural hair into ponytails, braids or need to shape baby hairs around the hairline. This product also gives the hair a nice shine.”
“My last pick is Evolving Textures O-Gel. I use this product on clients who have locs. It conditions the hair, while giving a flexible hold and a great shine to the hair. It doesn’t leave build-up and residue in the locs.”
Who hasn’t Kimble worked with? The in-demand hairstylist and global creative director of Kim Kimble Signature Collection has created gorgeous looks for Beyoncé, Kerry Washington, Zendaya and Angela Bassett.
Check out Kimble’s favorite products:
“I like it for soft curls and it defiantly defines, adds body and the curls are very soft and touchable. This is great for hair that’s softer or waves because it holds body and definition while helping to shape the curls.”
“It really makes the hair touchable and it smells so good. Defines the curl while keeping it moisturized and yet keeps the hold.”
“It’s really hydrating, creates definition, softens the hair. A great way to use this is to go into the steamer once you put on the conditioner and let it soak in the product.”
Alicia Keys, Jennifer Hudson and Yara Shahidi are only some of her high-profile clients. Shorter is the global artistic director of haircare line Mizani and the host of Texture Table Talk — Mizani’s web series on in-depth conversations on representation and diversity in the beauty industry.
Check out Shorter’s favorite products:
“My first favorite product for natural hair is the 25 Miracle Cream from Mizani. It is a luxe, thick, nourishing cream that satiates each curl. It’s perfect for detangling. It’s also great as the wash goes on lower texture types and great as a primer for higher texture types before layering on additional products.”
“My second favorite product is also from Mizani, and it’s part of the 25 Line. The 25 Miracle Oil is a hydrating and intense penetration into the hair strand, but is super lightweight at the same time. You can use it daily without weighing your hair down.”
“My last favorite product for natural hair is the ACV Scalp Scrub by dpHUE. Most girly girls, myself included, love using cleansing conditioners and for our hair. Our scalp, however, needs great attention too and this gently exfoliates the scalp.”
Known as the “Hair Whisperer,” Leatherwood has been in the hair industry for over 26 years, having worked with Issa Rae, Viola Davis and Skai Jackson. The hair pro hosts the Loving Your Hair haircare workshops that take her all over the world from Los Angeles to Jamaica.
Check out Leatherwood’s favorite products:
“Best mask for hydration and slip — Honey Miracle Mask by TGIN. This mask is one of my favorites because it hydrates the hair, halts the shedding of hair and gives you slip to make it easier to detangle your hair.”
“Best gel for wash ‘n’ go styles — Aunt Jackie’s Flaxseed Gel Don’t Shrink! I love how this gel does not dry out your hair, but holds your texture throughout the day. I also love the shine it leaves on the hair and how the flaxseed oil seals the cuticle to protect it from harsh weather.”
“Best vegan line — Sienna Naturals. I love the natural ingredients and the way this product leaves your hair feeling. I also love that it’s a vegan line for my clients that prefer to have more products in their stash that are vegan. Oh, and the smell is amazing!”
Check out more highly rated natural hair products below.
This Shea Moisture Deep Treatment Masque uses raw shea butter, sea kelp and argan oil for deep conditioning textured hair. Used as a hair mask, it can tame frizz for people with curly hair, but it can also be used after you shampoo as a part of your daily hair care routine.
$10 AT AMAZON
Shoppers love this hair oil (it has more than 5,000 five-star reviews on Amazon) to help repair over-processed and dry hair. It’s designed to strengthen each hair strand and it supports natural hair growth. It can also be used to relieve a dry, itchy scalp without any harsh chemicals.
$11 AT AMAZON
This clarifying shampoo gets rid up buildup on people who use a lot of styling products. This hair care product gently strips away residue, but it’s only meant to be used occasionally to maintain healthy hair. It’s also recommended that you follow the treatment with a deep conditioner.
A lot of people with curly hair use tea tree oil to soothe a dry scalp, but some believe it can also stimulate hair growth.