A look into any curly girls bathroom cabinet will reveal any number of motions and potions, all with the promise of smoothing frizz, detangling, and adding shine. Many of these products at best do not deliver on their promises, at worst leave hair in worst condition than before their use.
Many of these products contain silicone. Silicone coats the hair and when light reflects off of it, it makes hair “look” shiny. However silicone can leave hair more damaged after use. As silicone does not allow moisture to penetrate the hair shaft, over use of silicone based products can dry out hair. It can also clog pores in the scalp negatively affecting the follicle.
A great natural alternative to silicone-based products is Olive Oil. It can be used as both a hot oil treatment, and as part of a leave-in conditioner. This may sound like it would make hair feel greasy, but it done correctly it will not. The trick to using it is to always use it on wet hair.
First get a spray bottle that mists (your local dollar store should have them). Next pour the olive oil into the spray bottle, for easy use. After shampooing and conditioning hair, spray the olive oil into your hair from tips up to about 1-2 inches away from the roots of your hair. This is done because the scalp produces oil naturally, but much of that oil never makes it down the shaft of curly hair, as it would with straight hair. DO not dry your hair at all before applying the olive oil. The wetter your hair is the more moisture will be locked in by the olive oil. Also when it is applied to wet hair, when the hair dries it will be more luminous and not have an oily feel to the touch.
Olive oil has virtually no fragrance, but if you would like to add one it can be mixed with lavender oil. To use it as part of a spray on leave-in conditioner just get a spray bottle and mix 1/3 olive oil, 1/3 water, 1/3 hair conditioner (Garnier Fructisse, Aussie Moist, and Infusium work well). This can be used in the morning to refresh those curls, and sprayed on before swimming to protect from salt water and chlorine.
Olive oil is all natural and safe to use on children’s hair. It is inexpensive (a little goes a long way), and it will even leave your hair in better condition than before.