I have been growing out a tapered cut for the better part of the last year. I’ve only cut my hair short three times in life, but I seem to learn something new about it each time I grow it out. This time I’ve made a couple of new discoveries about how to style my hair and what products it responds to.
I used to be a product junkie, quite naturally due to the trial-and-error that comes with having natural hair. Last year, I went back to a couple old tried and true product lines – Creme of Nature Argan Oil and Shea Moisture Shea Butter. I liked the results I was getting with these products and combinations of them, but I wasn’t exactly wowed anymore either. Enter Shea Moisture Red Palm Oil & Cocoa Butter w/ Flax Seed Oil. I saw an ad for these products online and a lightbulb went off.
For those that use the hair typing system, I have hair that is unapologetically 4a-b-c. I have a very densely populated “forest” of coffee stirrer-sized curls on my head. Everywhere I go, I see advertisements for natural hair products that promise the world in terms of health and manageability but leave much to be desired for people with my hair type. Most products appear to be marketed to and with type 3 naturals and it’s frustrating. We all know that all products are not made for all naturals, but come on, son. But I digress…
Ironically, Shea Moisture had been the subject of controversy for the exact same reason I just mentioned. As diverse and expansive as their product lines are, I had never quite found a line I felt was really for my hair. So when I saw that they were introducing a line explicitly dedicated to hair like mine – 3-4c (check), curly (check), shrinkage prone (double check), I went to my local Sally Beauty store and took the plunge.
Shea Moisture makes the following claims about this collection:
“Shrinkage is normal for healthy ‘fros and curly-coily hair. When you want to show length and transform shrinkage-prone hair into luxurious, elongated locks use this Coconut Oil and Sulfate free shampoo that cleanses and detangles. Moisturizing Cocoa Butter infused with Red Palm Oil, rich in antioxidants and Vitamins, is blended with Flaxseed Oil to create this anti-shrinkage formula to help show off hair’s length while leaving locks soft, shiny and tangle free. Great for 3-4c hair types.”
In order to adequately and fairly test these products, I used them in the following order weekly for just over a month:
- Wash hair with Detangling Shampoo
- Condition with Leave-In or Rinse-Out Conditioner
- Apply Leave-In or Rinse-Out Conditioner as leave-in
- Twist with Curl Stretch Pudding
- Use Styling Gelee for added hold (optional)
Shea Moisture Red Palm & Cocoa Butter – The Lowdown
This shampoo sets the stage for the rest of the products to come. It smells lovely, lathers well, and cleans without stripping. I find that I detangle better with shampoo in general. I don’t feel like I got as much slip as I do with other shampoos, but it still detangled quite well.
Verdict: Migh-T Fine
Shea Moisture Red Palm Leave-In or Rinse-Out Conditioner
I started to see more detangling and stretching with this product. I saw a significant increase in stretch and pliability after the rinse-out round. For the sake of comparison, here is a photo my freshly washed hair using my old products:
Here are the results from the new products:
Immediately, I noticed less shrinkage.
I have been using a spray leave-in for the last few months, so I was interested to see how my hair would respond to a cream leave-in, and I was pleasantly surprised at the results. The bottle does not specify how much product to use for the leave-in, so I used it pretty sparingly. I found my hair to be soft and manageable and still stretched after application.
Verdict: Migh-T fine
Shea Moisture Red Palm Curl Stretch Pudding
This is by far my favorite product in the line. I generously worked the product into small sections of my hair and brushed it through with my detangling brush. It worked BEAUTIFULLY. The brush glided straight through my curly strands like a knife through butter. The cream created some beautiful consistent curl poppage. I then took the small sections and made individual two-strand twists. Also, the stretching was further supported by the cream. Now, my hair is extremely dense, and I’m still growing out a tapered cut. The thickness of my hair typically restricts me to small twists, but I have found that this pudding stretches my hair enough to do larger sections, which is great for wigs, wraps, and comb-outs. And for the love of time, lol. After the takedown, my curls are extremely well defined, moist, and not flaky.
Verdict: High and Migh-T
Shea Moisture Red Palm Reshaping Shine Butter
This is a finishing butter that is meant to soften and refresh second day* hair. I can say the butter has the texture of raw shea butter (like moist grits). The butter did soften my hair, but I’m not certain about the refreshment claim.
*In fairness, the Curly Pudding worked so well on my hair, I was able to get second, third, and fourth-day hair, so it really didn’t require much refreshing.
Verdict: Nothin’ To Write Home About
Shea Moisure Red Palm Styling Gelee
This is by far my least favorite product so far. This gelee has a very watery consistency. I can say that it does have a property that seems to stretch my curls, but layering it over the Curl Pudding (as suggested on the jar), it seems to work against the pudding. I’ve tried using it throughout and just at the ends, and my twists come out totally undefined and poofy. It does seem to tame my edges a bit without curling, but that doesn’t wow me enough to give it a vote of confidence.
This is a photo of a twist out immediately after takedown. Notice that there is still elongation of the curls, but not nearly as much pop as the twistout shown above.
Verdict: Man Please
The Bottom Line
Overall, I’m extremely satisfied with how my hair has responded to the products. I have found that the Red Palm Oil & Cocoa Butter line delivers consistent, reliable results for my hair. I’m getting definition and softness that I haven’t gotten in a long time. My hairstylist recently remarked that she could feel my hair moisturizing her hands. (Bonus: I have even been able to dry detangle and stretch my hair with ease. Don’t judge me! LOL) My only qualm is that this line doesn’t have a deep conditioner (yet). Otherwise, it was worth every dime, and I fully intend to continue using it.
Are you a 3-4c natural? Shout out your favorite hair product line below!
Have you tried the Shea Moisture Red Palm Oil & Cocoa Butter line? Let me know how it worked out for you!