Picture this. You’re 3 years into a natural hair journey after wearing your hair heat straightened with extensions. You’re tired.  Right on the brink of pulling out the flat iron and getting busy. You long for the days of heat trained hair, also known as good ol’ heat damage. If you pictured all those things accurately, then you, my friends, just pictured me in all my natural hair frustration. 

The Joys of Natural Hair 

The path to embracing my natural hair has definitely had its highs and lows. I have thoroughly enjoyed the flexibility of my natural hair especially in the year after the big chop. I appreciated the ability to run into the rain unfazed, swim with no abandon and pull off a quick wash and go. I also felt it was important for me to have a come to Jesus, if you will, with my hair in its natural state.

I’ve worn my hair straightened since middle school. In college I was introduced to and fell in love with Dominican blowouts, hair color and most importantly, hair extensions. During my career in news I experimented with sewn-in and clipped-in tracks. I was a hair swinger, flipper and tripper. I loved having long hair. But after getting married I felt it was time for a new phase. I was ready to confront my hair exactly as it grew out of my scalp. I decided to do the big chop the day after my wedding before jetting off to my honeymoon.

Hair Frustrations 

As my hair has grown out from the big chop, I’ve learned that natural hair is complex, time consuming and, at times, for me, limiting. A short afro comes with a certain amount of ease. Longer natural hair needs tender loving care constantly. As my hair grew, I also realized that I have an extremely tight curl pattern. It’s a fact many stylists notice when first meeting me and my hair. It also makes detangling a nightmare. 

About four months ago, I found myself at a crossroads. I was no longer embracing my natural hair. In fact, I had stopped caring about and for my hair. all together I was blowing it out more and  wearing it in ponytails daily just to give myself a break. I was no longer getting my hair professionally trimmed. Instead I relied on Youtube to walk me through DIY cuts. And I was vocal on social media about not caring about the health of my hair anymore. I told my followers, “as long as it looks decent, it’s whatever.”

Products That Changed The Game

The truth is I was ready to go back to heat straightening my hair with flat irons. That was until, without much research, I picked up a product that has single-handedly eased my wash days. Using it, in conjunction with what I believe is one of the best deep conditioners on the market, has renewed my relationship with my hair. I truly believe these two, 21Ninety approved products have helped me embrace my natural hair.


This product costs more than I would like to pay. Let’s just state that right from the start. Every time I near the end of one of these 6.7 fluid ounce containers I try to convince myself I won’t purchase again. I give in every time.

I have tried many deep conditioners. To give you an idea of my preferences, another favorite is the tgin Honey Miracle Hair Mask Deep Conditioner. Still, Aveda’s Botanical Repair Intensive Strengthening Mask: Rich, reigns supreme. This highly touted conditioner has won countless beauty awards. It intensely restores and strengthens hair. After my very first use, I could feel and see a difference in my hair. It was softer and more manageable. The product works by building bonds for deep repair. It also makes hair easier to detangle. It’s formulated for hair types from medium to thick. It’s free of silicone, parabens, mineral oil and synthetic fragrances. I can attest to the absolutely lovely smell of this product!

Aunt Jackie’s

Aunt Jackie’s Knot On My Watch detangling Therapy is described as providing instant detangling relief. I can attest to that statement. I have purchased and tried countless detangling creams, serums and sprays. The only formula that even comes close to what Aunt Jackie’s does, is Tahlia Waajid’s Shea-Coco Daily Leave-In. That formula was my go to when tackling my tightly coiled locks before finding Aunt Jackie’s. Knot On My Watch is sulfate-free and paraben-free. It also contains no petroleum or mineral oil. It includes shea butter and soybean oil. The product works wonders on my hair and provides slip like no other. You can use it as often as necessary to help tame your curls and coils. 

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