Five years and some change since the "Big Chop", and the ups and downs still continue... I've learned a lot about what products work with my hair and what doesn't, I've learned about essential oils and what ingredients to avoid and my hair has become very happy without the parabens and sulphates that it lived on in my teen years...
A few essentials that I have found useful over the past two years:
Apple cider vinegar - leaves my hair feeling clarified but very soft... only problem is that I remember not to scratch my scalp before a rinse with it, otherwise it's sheer torture!
Avocado oil - heavy enough to seep into my hair cuticle but light enough that my hair doesn't feel weighed down along the way. I keep a spray bottle of a mix of avocado oil with a few drops of rosemary and lavender oil (helps with the itch when it actually gets to my scalp so it does a lot of double duty)
Cleansing conditioners - I find them less harsh than shampoo when I need to wash with something other than apple cider vinegar, and is easier for detangle jobs... my favourites are L'Oreal EverCare Line's Nourishing Cleansing Conditioner and HydraCharge Cleansing Conditioner products.
Chamois towels - perfect for towel drying hair quickly; as trite as it sounds, no muss = no fuss!
Detangling brush - I use it mainly for detangling every few weeks (as I usually finger comb my hair now) I made my own by buying a paddle brush and cutting out every other row of teeth so that there is less pull on my hair; I also avoid pulling by starting the detangling process from the end and working my way up to the roots.
Good natural hair websites - learning from like-minded fellow humans is a good way to share experiences, learning new techniques and meet others along similar journeys... I will list some of my favourite natural hair blog sites on another post.
What about you? What hair products and essential tools can't you live without?