This is not necessarily a food related question, but on challenges in finding hair products in Stavanger as a black chick. I see that there are a lot of good hair products for curly/kinky hair types in the US but there are very limited places to find them in Norway. Is it possible to shop online and ship products to Norway? What is your experience with that? What do you do for your hair care needs?
Looking For But Can’t Find
Dear Looking For But Can’t Find,
My hair is as natural as God made it these days (actually transitioning – I have one more big chop left before I get all of the texturizer off my ends) and I do not chemically straighten my hair at all. From the age of 14 until 24, I wore my hair natural, then went back to a chemical relaxer and wore my hair straight for 2 years. Just before I moved to Norway, I decided to go back to wearing my hair natural again, then was natural for a while. I used a texturizer for 3 years before coming back to my natural hair type ca. 18 months ago. Most of the reason I went back to being natural was because of the weather in Stavanger.
As you know, it rains a lot here and it is quite windy, plus I really enjoy working out 3-4 times a week, so a relaxer wasn’t working for me. And even more so – finding chemical straightening products and a hairdresser was a nightmare! First of all – IF I could find relaxer kits, they were very (very) expensive. Also, I was only able to find 2 hairdressers in Stavanger who would even attempt to cut my hair. They both had their advantages, but in the end I sort of got fed up with being told to “relax” my hair or having to have it straightened before I could get a cut. Back then, I usually just waited until I went to London, NYC or back to Arizona to get a hair cut.
My best option was to go back to my natural hair texture – but find styles which gave me flexibility and allowed me to wear my hair in different styles on different occasions. I’ve never been one for braids, weaves or wigs, so wearing “what God gave me” was my best option. I spent a lot of the last 9 years trying to figure out what worked for me – this was after a long period of being natural. I know that the key for me is finding hair style options and a way to keep my hair stretched out so that managing it day to day is easier (more on that later).
Here is my regime, or basically how I take care of and manage my hair texture and type in the Stavanger weather. I will admit that I am pretty lazy in comparison to some women I know, but I like the simple life.
My Daily and After Workout Hair Routines:
I co-wash my hair with conditioner 1-2x times a week (depending on what my hair needs and how tired I am), or after every work out. After I co-wash with conditioner, I coat my hair in aloe vera gelly them seal the ends with my homemade oil blend. During a normal work week, I usually wear my hair in a protective style. Instead of using the aloe vera gelly, sometimes I switch it up with a leave in conditioner from Kinky Curly which I buy from iHerb (see shopping notes below), Palmers Hair Milk or a Giovanni leave in conditioner.
For hair styles, day to day when going to work, I usually wear my hair in a protective style which is slightly asymmetrical. My goal is to be a bit more experimental with my hair styles, as I don’t experiment with styles like I could, but I’m busy and tend to get lazy! HA HA HA. But seriously, I have been trying out more braid out styles and roller sets – albeit mainly on weekends.
My Weekend Hair Routine:
I wash my hair when it needs it using a paraben and sulfite free shampoo from Diva Curl called No Poo (I bought a huge 32 oz. bottle in LA 2 years ago but you can also buy it online from Strawberry.net). Afterwards, I use one of a range of “every day” conditioners – usually something from Giovanni. If my hair needs it, I’ll use a protein conditioner (see below) or do a deep oil treatment with my oil blend and a plastic shower cap (I bought mine in London, but you can buy these on eBay or Amazon).
After I wash and condition or deep oil treat my hair, I finger comb my hair out with the conditioner in to remove knots, then wash all of the conditioner out. Then I coat my freshly washed and conditioned hair in aloe vera gelly, seal with my oil blend and braid my hair into plaits then put perm rods on the ends for a braid out style or just let it air dry.
Where I Shop For Hair Products
My biggest piece of advice is to shop at iHerb! Find a product that looks interesting and try it out (you have to get the aloe vera gelly though!). Everyone’s hair is different so you have to trail and error a bit, but the products below are natural, paraben free and inexpensive. I’ve bought really expensive stuff and the cheap stuff over the years but this is what works for me. I would say that I almost exclusively buy hair stuff from iHerb now.
About 2 years ago, I got really fed up with trying to find natural hair products in Stavanger. iHerb has changed my life – in a MAJOR way – because it allows me to choose what hair products I want – and not be limited by the low selection here in Stavanger. It’s so sad really – but 100% true! There are a few places to buy “afro” hair products here in Stavanger but prices are SKY high and the products aren’t good for curly/kinky hair (full of petroleum and chemicals). Some people order from Pax in London (but the shipping to Norway is expensive – especially compared to iHerb!).
The key to ordering stuff online, is to find someone who will ship to Norway without charging too much. iHerb is a great solution because you can choose the $4 shipping option (for orders under 4 lbs – just under 2 kgs) for items to get to Norway. I basically order everything I use on my hair from them and I have never had a problem getting hair care items into the country. Also, if one stays within the 200 NOK import limit, your shipment is exempt from toll and taxes.
Kinky curly Products I use the Knot Today leave-in & sometimes the Original Curling Custard for braid and twist out styles.
Palmer’s Coconut Oil Formula Hair Milk Great for day to day styling and conditioning.
Giovanni Nutrafix Hair reconstructor Protein conditioner, use 1-2x a month.
Giovanni products All of their products are AWESOME! I use the Direct Leave in Weightless Moisture Conditioner everyday. I also use the Smooth as Silk Deep Moisture Shampoo & several other products. If you wanted to choose one product line to try out first, I’d try this one. Jason Naturals, Kinky Curly and Aubrey Naturals are also great product lines to try out when you want to set something new.
Aloe Gelly I LIVE on this stuff!!!! LIVE – and I totally love it! I really keeps my hair moisturized, acts as a light hair gel without being sticky AND is really inexpensive. I use this everyday as well as every time I do a roller set, twist out or braid out. This is a must have!
Oil blend – I make my own oil blend using coconut oil, castor oil, sweet almond oil, shea butter and jojoba oil. Iuse the oil blend to “seal” the ends – or trap all the moisture in from the aloe vera gelly.
Shea Butter Shea is a great oil product to use but I’d advise using this sparingly or mix it with other oils to make your own hair butter/oil blend. Shea butter is excellent for sealing in moisture but it can be sticky if you use too much at once. It also traps moisture to your hair – which includes sweat. If you use too much, or work out often, your hair will smell like a gym changing room, so again use it sparingly alone or mixed with other products.
Coconut oil I normally buy the cheap stuff from the “ethnic” stores, but you can also buy this on iHerb for nearly the same price pr kg.but much, much higher quality. Again I use the cheap stuff, but buy from iHerb if you want something higher quality.
Castor oil I buy this from iHerb or Asian stores in Norway when I can find it.
Hope that helps and keep your questions coming!