Hairstylist Lacy Redway is a pro when it comes to caring for natural strands, possessing a head of gorgeous curls herself and styling clients like Lupita Nyong’o and It models Jourdan Dunn and Imaan Hammam. We came to her with a query: what is the best way to care for and style natural hair? Her curly-hair prowess knows no bounds, and we soaked up all she had to say, like thirsty strands to a hair mask. Keep scrolling to find out Redway’s best tips for taking care of natural hair!
When we asked Redway to share her number on tip for her clients with natural hair, she was quick to reply. “Pay attention to the ingredients in your hair products,” she says. “It’s important to know what you’re putting on your hair and what ingredients will cause damage or dry out your hair.” The ingredients you should avoid? Alcohol, because that dries out natural hair, along with mineral oils and petroleum-based grease. “They clog your scalp and only attract more dirt,” she warns. “I try and use natural products as often as possible.”
Redways swears by olive oil, coconut oil, shea butter, jojoba oil, and castor oil, all of which she says are better solutions for moisturizing your strands. And that’s the most important thing for natural-haired girl: moisture. “I always highly recommend keeping your strands moisturized,” she says. “Dry hair does not look as healthy and can lead to split ends.”
Other than natural oils, Redway says there are a few products that she swears by for styling natural hair. Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Damage Repair Hair & Scalp Serum ($7) and Carol’s Daughter Hair Milk Alcohol-Free Styling Gel ($15) are all paraben-, mineral-, artificial color–, and petroleum-free and “help define your curls or aid with setting a style,” according to Redway. For cleansing, she uses Cantu’s Shea Butter for Natural Hair Complete Conditioning Co-Wash ($5). “It cleanses my hair and scalp without stripping my hair of its natural oils,” she says.
Styling natural hair should be fun, Redway says. And don’t be afraid to use a hair tool you already have: “My fingers are my favorite tools for styling natural hair,” she says. If you have shorter hair and you want something more than just a wash-and-go, Redway says to prep you hair the night before with products, twists, or coils to give your hair more versatility. For longer strands, she says the options are endless—look to Pinterest and YouTube for plenty of inspiration.
We asked Redway if there are any hair tools every natural-haired woman should own. Her answer? Flex-Rods ($9), which help you achieve different textures without applying heat to your hair; Gold n Hot Conditioning Heat Caps ($39), which is “great for giving yourself hot oil treatments or deep conditioners at home”; R Session’s Pro Tools Root Control, which she says is a staple in her hair kit and smooths stubborn baby hairs along the hairline; and Ibiza Hair’s Clutch Brush ($2), which is a “tiny enough to carry with you everywhere and great for applying pressure to your hairline when adding products.”
In the end, Redway says you can never go wrong with flat twists, two-strand twists, or braided styles—don’t be afraid to experiment!
Click here for six overnight styling tips for natural hair!