This question comes from longtime reader Tonya of newnaturalista.com

I’m totally in love with my natural hair, but there’s one thing…shine! I can’t get my hair to shine for anything. I think the big issue for me is that once a style is set (two stand twists or wash n go) I’m afraid to mess with it for fear that it will get really frizzy. For a moment this morning I was longing for some sheen spray! (Don’t worry, I no longer have mineral oil products in my house.)

Any advice on maintaining shine without giving up curl definition?

What are your remedies ladies?

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noelliste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop culture and black beauty enthusiast. bell hooks' hair twin...

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36 Comments on "How do you give natural hair sheen?"

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gracie

I agree with the suggestions above, plus rosemary infusion is god for shine. I steep the rosemary in boiling water then when it’s cool i add a cup of cider vinegar and rinse with that.

Tonya
I HAVE FOUND WITH MY 4B HAIR, THAT RINSING WITH COLD ALOE VERA JUICE DOES WONDERS!! I AGREE WITH MARIA AND LUNA; HOWEVER, MY ISSUE FOR “SHEEN” AT THE TIME WAS THAT I KNEW I COULD GIVE IT THE SHINE I’VE SEEN ON OTHER 4B SISTERS, BUT JUST DIDN’T KNOW HOW. I FINALLY STOPPED A SISTER IN THE STORE, AND SINCE STARTING THE ALOE VERA REGIMEN 2 WEEKS AGO, FRIENDS AND COWORKERS HAVE COMMENTED ON THE DIFFERENCE! IT ALSO IMPROVED MY CURL DEFINITION. I MAKE NO QUALMS ABOUT DESIRING CURL DEFINITION– IF THAT IS WHAT MY HAIR NATURALLY DOES, THEN… Read more »
MissGhana
This may seem a bit off topic, so if anyone can point me in the right direction, I’d much appreciate it. When styling ones natural hair, in twists, etc are you supposed to twist it when damp and add an oil to twist it, or twist then add the oil after, and keep adding oil when needed. I think I have 4b/c hair and have struggled with the styling side of things, I.e., not knowing if it’s best to style when damp, and how to maintain it. And if people could suggest any good deep conditioners nd moisturisers that are… Read more »
Enomis

Hello,
you definitely want to make sure your last rinse after conditioning your hair, is with cold water, that has always made my hair shinier.
Good Luck!

Jaycee

Hi Christine, I use honey regularly as a deep conditioner, and it does really soften the hair, it has to be washed out completely though otherwise it will make hair sticky! Give it another go….its totally worth it!

Christine
Thanks for all the info and suggestions as a newly natural since feb of this yr I have been a frustrated because im used to having hair and now its short and im sill getting used to it as some have stated I love the look when its wet but once it dried it was just a frizzy pouf no curl definition I was getting discouraged and starting to regret the decision to go natural I have spent so much money on different products tryng to get shine, definition, moisture, etc and still havent found the right mix I left… Read more »
adilma
I dont agree with the comment that natural hair is not suppose to shine. I have had locks for 6 years and expeierenced build up, build up from using any type of product to maintain your crown. Wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo and or conditioner, once every couple of months. The clarifying shampoo or conditioner will remove all build up from products, pollution, dirt, chlorine from the pool, hard water, oil build up etc. Once you use the clarifying treatment you must put moisture back into your hair, (whatever moisturizing treatment you may use) aphogee moisture balance is… Read more »
BuenaventuraAvenue

When using coconut oil on a fresh (no older than day 2) hairstyle, my 4a hair might have a little sheen…but it never shines. By it’s nature kinky, coily, and curly hair doesn’t shine because the shape of the strands doesn’t allow it to reflect light the same way straight hair does. Most products that I’ve seen that are solely for shine are usually greasy and sticky with no-no ingredients in them.

Tonya NewNaturalista

What I forgot to add was that since asking the question I’ve realized that I was piling on the products which made my hair really lifeless looking – pretty dull. Now I use a little coconute oil and shea butter and my hair is very healthy looking with a sheen to it – not a bounce off the wall sheen but a healthy sheen.

Thanks everyone!

Tonya Mosley
Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I wrote this a while ago and have since found the magic of coconut oil and shea butter! I agree with Maria and Luna others regarding accepting my hair the way it is. I’ve done away with chemicals and I only use natural products. I don’t see anything wrong however with changing up styles, by adding sheen naturally, adding henna, doing two strand twists or braids…the list can go on and one. For me all of these things are part of the grooming and styling process and it doesn’t negate my natural state. Because really,… Read more »
NappyKitchen
Someone has got to explain to me what is meant by curl pattern. I am a 4b and I thought I had tons of curls in my hair. Tons… As far as sheen goes, that really isnt important to me. I have just wanted the softness that I am now achieving with enough moisture. With regard to hair typing, I have noticed about it is hardly ever brought up that our hair is of a different shape than straight hair. Our hair is a flat strand of hair while others is tubular. I believe that is how our hair achieves… Read more »
Ola
props to Luna & Maria, bringing knowledge. I’d agree that coily hair doesn’t *shine*, but if you’re talking about a dull look to the hair then I’d suggest being less heavy-handed with products, especially leave-in conditioners or heavy white conditioners that you use as leave-in, they can leave a dull cast over your hair. I will also say that using Henna & Cassia I notice my hair looking brighter/deeper/richer. Castor Oil also gives hold to my hair and adds a luxurious sheen (and softness) in those hairstyles where the hair is stretched or pulled fairly taut (twists, braids, bantu knots… Read more »
Nicole
I’m interested in the honey in the deep conditioner – doesn’t your hair get sticky? I know honey is good for hair – my grandfather used to raise bees and make honey and he used to put the honey on his scalp – he died with a full head of hair at almost 80 years old! but i digress…and i’m just realizing i never asked *him* about his honey practice! lol. anyway, i would love to know more about that. and while i agree with a lot of the comments about acceptance, i don’t think there’s anything wrong with wanting… Read more »
cassadie

rinse with cold water and put on more oil than you think you should 🙂

Anonymous

An amla paste (made with bhringraj, coconut oil and coconut milk) always gives my hair bling. I also regularly use coconut oil. Shine/sheen is really a reflection of how moist the hair is. Up your moisture and you’ll up your shine.

Kimberly M

I’m a newbie here and am surprised nobody mentioned Henna. I have not used it myself, but I hear that it adds strength and shine.

mynaturalhairrocks

Organic Root Stimulator makes an all natural oil blend, the base being coconunt oil. And that really makes my hair look shiny.

Give it a try!

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thelady
I agree with Luna and Maria. I think there is too much focus in the natural hair community on product. There needs to be more emphasis on technique and acceptance. You say you do twist outs so you seem to have techniques now you just need to accept your hair the way it is. I’m a 4a who has been natural for 2 years now. One of the things I have come to accept about my hair is that I will almost never have smooth edges, my hair will never be frizz free, my hair will always have shrinkage. These… Read more »
DM
when i want sheen i use aveda emollient finishing gloss. it gives sheen no matter your hair type. I think like Maria said, your hair type comes into play and I don’t like to use the typing system so I’ll just say hair with very very kinky curls/low silkiness usually also is low on shine and sheen. many naturals swear off silicones but i put several drops of this finishing gloss (which contains ‘cones)into the oil product I apply to my hair, eithr coconut oil or castor oil and it gives the sheen. the truth is that for kinkier/less silky… Read more »
Stephanie

Technically natural hair is not suppose to shine! Relaxed hair shines because of the chemicals, but shine is not in “our” hairs nature. If you insist on it, try vegetable glycerin and deep conditions on a regular basis, but again, thats not what the hair is suppose to do!

http://www.QueenNaturalBeauty.blogspot.com

Sally

Maria and Luna…THANK YOU!!! Enough said!

LaNeshe

Thank you Luna and Maria for your perspective. That is a good point to make. Can someone link me to a breakdown of the hair types? I’ve been natural for 2 years, but I feel am still behind in my knowledge of taking care of and the different types of natural hair.

Luna
I’m going along with Maria but more tough love. 4b does not shine, it does not sheen if it does it’s a low sheen. Your hair will not glow in the dark or be a beacon of light in the sun no matter how much shine crave glosser/oil sheen or coconut oil you throw up in their. This obsession with curl definition, shine, hanging hair, flow, swing and/or swang needs to stop with type 4s esp 4a/b combo or 4b because it is not the nature of our hair to do any of those things. Those who already naturally possess… Read more »
kurlykolly

Almond Oil brings softness and natural sheen.

Denise

Hi Kurlykolly,

is there any particular kind of almond oil you recommend? Example, someone recommended coconut oil for sealing, but recommended specifics-cold or expellar pressed, oranic, and unrefined(or refined, can’t remember which). So I was wondering about the almond oil……thanks

Maria

I know this subject has been raised before, but a lot of us naturals seem to be obsessed with shine and curl definition – two things that 4b afro hair is not known for. While I think it’s great for us to explore the diversity of our hair with different styles and products, I think it’s also important for us to accept the beauty of our hair ‘in the raw’. We’re the only people on the planet whose follicles do not catch the sun. We’re unique. We should wear it with pride.

Tia

Deep conditioning regularly and coconut or almond oil. Both work equally well for me when I apply then during styling. Even my Hubby’s locs are starting to have some awesome and lasting sheen from the coconut oil. One application lasts about a 1 week without leaving oily residue everywhere.

lina40

i use a small amount of castor oil on my hair for sheen

Shones

+2 for deep conditioning as a contributing factor for shine. But for me the amount of sheen depends on the style. Examples of “shiny” styles for me include twist outs using hair butter (such as Boutique de Fleurtzy’s Hydrating Hair Butter) and shingling with leave-in conditioner + KCCC.

However, I also love the look of exploded, frizzy curls (read: little to no shine). Some days I want frizz on purpose, like a big fluffy cumulus cloud. This versatility is one of the reasons natural hair is so much fun to me.

LaNeshe

I use Tui Hair Oil from Carol’s daughter.

Toi

Tui Hair Oil is the Truth! I Love it, but i’m working on making my own concoction similar to it because it’s so expensive. It’s great for twists, twistouts, rollerset, and when my hair is pressed straight. One of my girlfriend sneaks in my cabinet and sprays it on her weave to detangle and add sheen, lol…

Toi

I meant the sheen spray tui from CD.

L.Michelle

I am glad someone asked this question, because this is an issue that I too struggle with. I am going to look into the honey thing. I also have some coconut oil coming in the mail soon.

Nicole

Natural oils can help (coconut, jojoba, etc) – but usually the hair soaks it up after awhile and you lose the sheen. Deep-conditioning is important too.

I just discovered ***APHOGEE Gloss Therapy Polisher Spray*** – because I’d been wanting more shine too. I love it! It smells great, has panthenol in it, no alcohol, some natural oils. A really great product.

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