Review of Cantu Natural Hair Shampoo and Conditioner

Cantu shampoo and conditioner

I’d been wanting to try this product line for a while, but my rule is I don’t buy any new products until I run out of the ones I have (unless they’re horrible). Finally, I ran out of both my staple shampoo and conditioner, and was able to try the Cantu Shea Butter for Natural Hair line.

I’d always seen it on the beauty aisle and liked the ingredients and price, but when I saw it was the preferred line of one of my favorite curly girls on Instagram, @naturallytash, I decided to give it a go. Here’s what I thought:

Cantu Sulfate-Free Cleansing Cream Shampoo

Positives

This shampoo is a  great cleanser without over-stripping my hair. It does leave a bit of that squeaky clean feeling, which some like and some don’t; it doesn’t bother me as long as my hair doesn’t feel like straw while wet. It’s thick shampoo, which means a little goes a long way, and it lathers beautifully. My roots tend to get oily, so I like a lathering shampoo. The smell is clean with nutty undertones. Note: it does contain perfume.

Negatives

This shampoo burns my eyes – not terribly, but enough. I wish it didn’t, because I like everything else about it. I do have sensitive, allergy-prone eyes, and sometimes even body perfume will make my eyes water. I cannot pinpoint which ingredient caused the burn, but it could easily be the perfume.

Cantu Sulfate-Free Hydrating Cream Conditioner

Positives

I got excited when I first poured this into my palm. My hair really likes the moisturizing properties of shea butter-based products. This conditioner is THICK and I could definitely feel the shea butter in it. It’s also very moisturizing, even after rinsing completely out. It seems to really smooth the cuticle and cut down the frizz factor (that’s quite a feat in this southern humidity), and pairs beautifully with my favorite leave-in conditioner. The smell is similar to that of the shampoo, which I don’t mind.

Negatives

The slip! It doesn’t have much! At least, not as much as I’m used to with the TRESemmé Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner. I have to say, the very first time I used the Cantu conditioner, I co-washed with it, and I don’t know if it was because my hair was super tangled or because I had gel residue in it, but it took me twice as long to comb out. The second time I used it, I washed with the shampoo first, and while it was much easier to detangle, it still wasn’t super slippery. I have to use a lot of product to be able to pass my comb easily through. HOWEVER, because it is so moisturizing, and has an ingredient my hair loves, I will give it a pass. Overall, it was a good conditioner for me.

Apart from the drawbacks, I enjoy the Cantu line. Both the shampoo and conditioner are free of sulfates, silicons, parabens and mineral oil, they’re safe on colored hair, and you cannot beat the price. At less than $5 a pop, and decent-sized bottles of 13.5 fl oz, someone who runs through product quickly can feel good about purchasing it.

I am also eager to try the Cantu Coconut Curling Cream. As I’ve mentioned previously, my hair is in love with coconut oil, and I’m curious how the whole line with work together. But alas, I need to run out of my current leave-in before buying anything new.

Have you tried Cantu? How did you like it?

 

 

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My Current Curly Hair Staples…and Why

Curly Hair Staples
Sorry some of these bottles look a little funky; I use them all the time!

Let me start by saying that I don’t consider myself a “product junkie.” I’m not even sure what the definition of a product junkie is, but I imagine it to be someone to buys new products before their old ones run out. As more women embrace their natural curls, more cosmetic companies are creating products specially formulated for textured hair, and let’s face it – it’s tempting. But it’s also expensive, so I try very hard to use up what I have before trying new things. There are, however, a few products I’ve grown to love over the last year, and I buy them again and again.

Coconut Oil
If I had to throw out everything in my cabinet except one hair product, this would be the one left standing. There is ALWAYS coconut oil in my hair. There always HAS been coconut oil in my hair. My mother has been using this on my hair since I can remember. Lately, I prefer unrefined virgin coconut oil. It’s pure, lightweight, and has all kinds of nourishing ingredients.  Applied wet or dry, my hair soaks it right up, resulting in moisturized, smooth, shiny locks. I also use it for my hot oil treatments and as a serum to eliminate frizz.

Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Shampoo
I haven’t used a sulfate shampoo in months, except occasionally when I need one to break down heavy silicones or oils in my hair. Shampoo is very important to me. I’ve tried shampoos that strip my hair of so much moisture that it literally feels like straw while wet. I’ve also tried co-washing with an inexpensive conditioner like Suave naturals, but the oils built up and my hair got very heavy. I’ve also used “moisturizing” shampoos that leave a thick coating of something on my hair. Yuck. Shea Moisture’s shampoo is all natural with healthy ingredients like shea butter (obviously), coconut oil, silk protein and neem oil. It lathers on my scalp, which I do like, but it doesn’t strip my hair at all. My hair feels so moisturized after using this shampoo I could almost detangle it.

TRESemmé Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner
As all curly girls know, conditioner is right up there with water in terms of moisturizers we can’t live without. Also as we know, we can run through three bottles of conditioner before we finish one bottle of shampoo. So at about $5 a pop, this conditioner has been my best bet. It’s silicone-free with moisturizing ingredients like aloe vera and avocado, and it has incredible slip for detangling. I’ve noticed TRESemmé changed the formula recently, and I actually prefer the old one (it was a bit thicker), but the new one still works wonderfully.

Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie
The Shea Moisture development team really hit the nail on the head when they made this product. Like all their products, it’s free of parabens, sulfates and mineral oil, it’s thick, super-moisturizing, and a little goes a very long way. I rake this through my hair to coat all the strands and define my curls, it leaves my hair so soft, and it smells amazing. I mainly use this product for my wash-and-gos.

Giovanni Direct Leave-In Weightless Moisture Conditioner
I’d heard so much about this leave-in that I broke my rule and bought it before I ran out of my Curl Enhancing Smoothie. And I’m glad I did! Like the bottle claims, this is a very light-weight conditioner that still delivers moisture with ingredients like aloe vera juice and sunflower seed oil. I’ve been using this product whenever I do my french braid-out, since it dries quickly and doesn’t leave my hair heavy when I take out the braids. I do use a bit of coconut oil over this product to tame the bit of frizz it leaves.

L’Oréal EverStyle Curl Defining Gel
Gel, oh gel. I have such a tenuous relationship with thee. OK, I know that gel makes my hair super defined and frizz free, but I cannot STAND how it feels once it dries. So I don’t buy or use much of it. During one of my 20-minute visits to the hair section at Tar-jay, I saw this and thought I’d give it a try. It’s alcohol-free, but what really convinced me is that it contains orange peel oil, and my hair loves a good, lightweight oil. Lo and behold, it wasn’t bad! I use it very sparingly, just a light coating over the crown of my hair while it’s still wet, and it dries crunch-free and fights the frizz. For a gel, I give it a thumbs-up.

diffused curly hairThis is it – what I use in my hair every time I wash it, and so far they’re doing a great job. Of course, there are a TON of products I want to try, but I guess we’ll have to wait until I run out of something!

~Thaïs

The Finger Coiling Method

finger coiling long curly hairMy hair is temperamental and difficult when it wants to be. I would love to have curls of equal shape, size and texture throughout my head. But I have to work with what I’ve got, which are smooth ringlets around the perimeter of my head and dry, frizzy wave-curls on my crown. Oh, and one or two pieces so dead-straight that I’m like, “Where did YOU come from?” So in an effort to achieve more uniform curls all over, without the use of heat or rollers, I did the finger coiling method.

With my hair still feeling pretty good after last week’s deep conditioning treatment, I didn’t want to shampoo again, so I drenched it in the shower and used gobs of TRESemmé Naturals Nourishing Moisture Conditioner to detangle. I rinsed the conditioner out completely, split my hair into two sections, and applied about a quarter-sized amount of Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie to each.  I always use this product when I want more curl definition. Then I started the 30 (or was it 40?) minute process of finger coiling.

finger coils on long curly hairI started at the back, taking down a small section, and clipping the rest up and away. I took very small sections, about pencil-sized in diameter, and twisted each one tightly from the root to the end, wrapped it around my finger, then let go. I did this all over my head, adding more Shea Moisture to the problem areas on my crown.

I always seem to wash my hair at night (terrible for air drying, since my hair takes HOURS to dry), so I let it dry for about an hour, then draped a large silk scarf over the pillows I sleep on and the area right above it. I did this because if my hair is still wet when I go to sleep, I fan it out over my pillows, but because of the length it ends up on the sheet above the pillow, and I don’t want it to rub and get frizzy. I then try my best not to move during the night; rarely does that work.

But this time it worked! The top photo shows my hair the next morning, at about 90 percent dry. I have to say, I really like how these finger coils turned out. For the most part, my curls were uniform, they were smooth and shiny, and my hair felt so soft. Toward the end of the day, the coils got bigger and  started frizzing, and it gave them a completely different look. I loved it! (I should have taken a picture of them later that day – will next time. Sorry!)

As my hair continues to grow, this may become my go-to styling method. I am typing this with day 3 hair, and my curls are still somewhat intact. All it takes is a little water and Curl Enhancing Smoothie to retwist the problem curls, and I’ve got hair for another day. Not bad!

Let me know what you think. Have you tried finger coiling? I recommend trying it!

~Thaïs