You may have noticed some posts from our friends at the Strategist on the Cut. They’ll be dropping in every now and again, sharing their expertise on the basics you don’t have time to research and the weird and wonderful things you don’t yet know you need.
Now that we’ve covered oily and flat hair, here is my megalist of the best products for every type of dry hair (from double-processed to curly to tightly coiled), as chosen by friends, strangers, professionals, and amateurs with Holy Grail products they’ve kindly agreed to share. It’s, shall we say, comprehensive — so let’s get right to it.
Dry, Bleached, Double-Processed Hair
“I bleached my hair for two years and am slowly working my way back to my ‘natural’ blonde. First things first, I use Living Proof Restore shampoo and conditioner to combat the inevitable dryness of dyeing. It’s the best I’ve ever tried.” —Bo Hesslegrave, graphic designer
“Lastly, my true Holy Grail hair thing is my Turbie Twist. I wear it backward to keep the hair follicle down rather than twisted upward. While we’re on the subject, here’s a tip for anyone, but especially for those with color-treated hair — high buns or pony’s are not your friend. Sorry. You need to keep the hair follicle flat.” —Hesslegrave
Dry, Single-Processed, Color-Treated Hair
“My favorite conditioner, more than all the fancies, is Aussie 3 Minute Miracle. It’s the only thing that keeps my hair from being dry, and it is so insanely affordable. I learned about it during my high-school swim-team days.” —Cassie Coane, marketing director at Solid and Striped
Dry, Curly Hair
“My hair type is naturally very curly and frizzy and doesn’t take well to humidity. In the summertime, especially in New York, if I don’t use Love my hair is a complete mess. I put Love in when my hair is damp, right out of the shower, and then I scrunch my hair with my hands — it enhances my curls and keeps them in place! It also does a really good job of separating my curls without making them crunchy, which I find a lot of products do.” —Laura Chautin, artist and designer
“I made a great, big list of all my favorite curly products that I use on a daily basis with Rio for the Strategist a few months ago, but if I had to slim the list down and just choose one, I would probably have to say my absolute favorite is my Sachajuan Hair in the Sun treatment. It saves my hair from drying out when I’m sitting out in the sun. And it keeps my curls in place!” —Cristina Viera-Newton, Rio’s mom
“I mix together Oribe Curl Gloss and L’Oreal Mythic Hair Oil and apply it to my hair first thing in the morning every single day. The combination works wonders for my curls. It keeps them shiny, bouncy, and kills the frizz.” —Viera-Newton
Thick, Dry, and Frizzy Hair
“I love this oil. It helps so much with thick frizz. I use it after every time I wash my hair, but my hair is so thick I only really wash it every few days. A little goes a long way!” —Ana Coccioletti, set stylist and art coordinator
“I’m actually incredibly lazy when it comes to my hair (hence the braids), but I do use Jamaican castor oil. It’s super thick and it’s good for keeping your edges healthy and full. It’s especially great for someone like me who is getting their edges constantly pulled by tight braids.” —Briar McQuilkin, TV account manager at ESPN
Dry, Coily Hair
“Like a lot of women of color, I am obsessed with my hair and have been natural all my life. My hair is very fragile and can get dry very quickly. I do a hair mask once a week to keep it soft. My favorite, which I love, love, is the Carol’s Daughter Monoi Repairing Mask.” —Boyce
“When I do my mask, I sit under a hood dryer (that attaches to my blow-dryer) for around 20 minutes. I like this one.” —Boyce
“I discovered OrganiGrowHairCo. through Instagram. Everything the owner Kay makes is vegan and doesn’t contain any chemicals. It’s the only type of hair care that enhances the natural texture of my hair, and helps it grow insanely fast. Her diamond bundle is the best, even though it’s pricey.” —Walela Nehanda, poet and community organizer
“When I got diagnosed with leukemia, my hair wouldn’t grow — as soon as I got out the hospital, I started using this. It made my hair grow super fast. It’s a light curling creme that doesn’t feel cakey, or turn my hair texture to straw — actually, it makes my curls softer.” —Nehanda
Dry, Very Tightly Coiled Hair
“I have 4C hair, which means, basically, that it’s super dry. I love this mask because it restores moisture and makes it feel healthier without the hassle of a hot-oil treatment. I also like that it’s thick without leaving a gross residue (it’s paraben-free), which is necessary since extra gunk can easily get stuck in my super-curly hair. It also smells great!” —Anasha Stevens, digital strategist
“I have been using this every day to lay my edges since the day I randomly decided to order it off Amazon. I will never stop.” —Tara Lawrence, illustrator
“Shea butter is an amazing brand that is super careful about their ingredients — no sulfates or anything sketchy. The main thing about my hair is keeping it moisturized at ALL costs. So my favorite product of theirs is this Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention Shampoo.” —Claudine Elysee, co-director, Franklin Parrasch Gallery
“Whenever I style my hair in any way, I like to use the Eco Style Professional styling gel. It keeps edges laid without making them feel crunchy and flaky. It also keeps my hair really soft because of the argan oil. It’s a great brand that also has no sus ingredients.” —Elysee
Dry Scalp and Dandruff
“Sadly, I have a dry scalp … and dandruff shampoo is a scam and just makes everything worse. I’ve been using New Wash, which is an all-in-one, essential-oil-based shampoo and conditioner replacement. [Note from Rio: An overwhelming amount of people reported that for dry-scalp issues, this is an all-time Holy Grail.] It took about a month for my scalp to adjust to it, but once it did, it made my hair feel like silk and totally cured my dandruff situation.” —Kaitlin Gleason, artist
“I stan Sachajuan so hard … it healed my dry, itchy, painful scalp. Their scalp shampoo sells out occasionally, but when it’s back in stock, I order it in bulk. It smells nice, the bottle is cute, and it doesn’t leave my hair feeling like straw. Truly a life changer.” —Eileen Ceconi, bioanalyst
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