The Top 15 Natural Hair Products Deva Staffers Swear By

If you had peeked inside my shower and bathroom cabinet two years ago, you would have found them both cluttered with a hodgepodge of natural hair products, most of them only half-used. As a longtime beauty writer and editor, I was used to trying whatever PR people sent me, brand loyalty be damned. But my non-committal approach to hair care and lack of a curly hair routine has changed since I started working for DevaCurl. I came onboard knowing and respecting Deva, but I never thought of my hair (a tightly curled afro) as the type of curly that could benefit from the line. I was wrong.

I started using DevaCurl when No-Poo and One Condition Decadence launched in 2015. The line was my gateway drug, if you will. Now? I use DevaCurl exclusively, except for a bit of olive oil here and there. Yes, it helps that I can beg the public relations team for products, and I snag free stuff on the giveaway table whenever I can. But even when the day comes that I’m no longer on the payroll and getting freebies, I’ll still use Deva as part of my regular curly hair routine. The stuff really does work. Like everyone else, I had a learning curve at first. But here’s the thing about working for a hair care brand: you get the best advice, dos and don’ts, how-tos and product recommendations from co-workers who know Deva like the backs of their hands. Rather than keep this valuable intel to ourselves, I asked two of my fellow naturalistas from the Marketing and Education teams to share what they use to maintain and style their natural hair texture. I threw my own picks in, too! Here’s the scoop:

Ashley Siler, Senior Brand Manager*

One Condition Decadence

One Condition is my forever love. I use it as both a detangler and as a leave-in when I’m protective styling for the winter. I always divide into four sections before getting in the shower, and either clip them or twist to keep them separated.  After cleansing each section and thoroughly rinsing, I apply golf ball sized amounts of One Condition Decadence to each section, lightly raking it in with my fingers, and letting it sit on my hair while I shower, exfoliate or whatever. Then I go section by section, add conditioner as needed, and gently separate any knots and glide my fingers through to detangle from bottom to top.

After I’ve finished detangling a section, I twist it and clip it out of the way. I do each of the four sections like this. The last thing I do before leaving the shower is hold my head under the water to let it wash away about half of the conditioner. The rest is my leave-in for my protective style. When my hair is especially dry, I’ll apply One Condition Decadence as a co-wash, making sure to massage my scalp—like I would with No-Poo—while I’m rinsing it out.  I haven’t touched a drop of dandruff shampoo since I started using Decadence – it’s been two years!”

 CurlFormers

“I tell everyone about these things. They look nuts, but they’re easy to apply. I use them to gently stretch my hair before I do a two-strand twist for the week. The secret is to wait until your hair is completely dry before taking them out. They’re also a good way to do a length check without doing a blowout.”

SuperCream

“I use this as my base styler for wash-and-gos and two-strand twists.  It layers well with gels, and I swear it keeps my hair moisturized longer than when I try to go without it.  I also like to use a little water, a bit of SuperCream Coconut Curl Styler, and a hairbrush to smooth down the sides of my hair before I power bun.”

Arc Angel Gel

Arc Angel Gel smells amazing! Plus, it gives great definition for wash-and-gos. I apply a dab to each section before two-strand twisting, too. It keeps my hair from frizzing up, and gives the twists pretty shine.”

Slap Satin-Lined Cap

“It’s like the Darwinian evolution of my satin pillowcase.  I just bought a black Slap baseball cap and I feel like Janet Jackson in Rhythm Nation when I wear it.  This product is genius and reduces my anxiety about covering my hair in bad weather.”

Baze Mpinja, Senior Writer

Heaven in Hair

“I remember when Shari and Molly from the Education department told me I could use Heaven in Hair as a styler and I looked at them like they each had two heads. The trick is knowing how to use it. After I cleanse, condition and detangle, I rake Heaven in Hair through my hair, working in small sections. Then I channel Willow Smith and quickly whip my hair back and forth under the shower—just enough to dilute the conditioner. After that, I blot with my DevaTowel and sit under a hooded dryer until my hair is mostly dry. It’s a time-consuming process, but once I get through it, styling is a breeze the rest of the week.”

Goody Hair Elastics

“To keep my hair from getting stuck to my head while I sleep, I use elastic bands to make mini pineapples all over my head (about five or six). In the morning, I leave the bands on while I take a shower, and slip them off right before styling. Ashley taught me this cool stretching trick, and it was a game-changer for me.”

No-Comb Detangling Spray

“April, a stylist at the Devachan Salon in Soho put me on to No-Comb Detangling Spray. It’s great for refreshing curls. I like to spritz it on before I get in the shower, just to give my curls a bit of moisture before they soak up the steam.”

The Curl Maker (formerly known as Spray Gel)

“I typically wash my hair every five to seven days, so I rely on The Curl Maker to maintain definition during the week. I like that it’s a spray so I don’t have to risk frizz from over-handling my curls. I mist it on after I remove my elastic bands and put my ‘fro back together again.”

Set it Free

Set it Free is a nice finisher. I like the subtle scent and the hint of shine that it adds to my hair.”

Sarrona Clardy, Communications Coordinator

Buildup Buster

“When my hair is feeling dry and refuses to absorb the moisture I’m trying to give it, it’s usually a sign that buildup is becoming a problem. I use Buildup Buster Micellar Water Cleansing Serum for a fresh start. We just launched it, and it’s already become a key part of my routine. I apply Buildup Buster throughout the hair, focusing on the scalp. The nozzle on the bottle helps me really get to my roots. I massage it into the scalp and then start to work it through to my ends. I rinse really well, using the same massaging motion at the scalp to make sure I’ve rinsed thoroughly. I usually follow with One Condition Decadence. I squeeze out excess water from my hair and work the conditioner through my hair, avoiding the scalp and focusing on the ends. Then I cover my hair with a plastic cap, and sit under the dryer for 10 to 15 minutes for deep conditioning. After that, I rinse with slightly cool water to seal the moisture in.”

SuperCream

SuperCream is my favorite mid-week moisturizer. I work it into my dry hair in sections, and seal it by applying jojoba oil on top.”

Jojoba Oil

“I use jojoba oil with SuperCream to lock in the moisture and add more shine.”

Set It Free

“I LOVE Set It Free! I always have a bottle close at hand, and honestly, it does everything except twist my hair for me. I use it on dry hair prior to styling to help prevent breakage. I love it for 2nd-day hair when I’m reshaping my wash-and-go ‘fro. And, it’s my go-to styler when I’m on vacation and want to keep things simple.  The spray-on formula makes it perfect for moisturizing my braided and twisted styles. I typically use the styler the same way in all of these instances. I spray it throughout my hair and work it into the ends. The spray adds moisture to my hair, making it a bit easier to style while hydrating my curls at the same time. For my afro, I spray it throughout, work it into the ends and fluff out my curls. For braided and twisted styles, I just spray and work it into the ends.”

Satin Pillowcase

“A satin pillowcase means you don’t have to worry if you’re too tired to put on a scarf before bed, or if you can’t find your scarf (I’ve been there).  I love that it has all the benefits of a bonnet or scarf—it protects hair from drying sheets—but it won’t slip off.”

*Ashley has changed careers since this story was written, but her hair routine (and our love for her) remains the same.