Our team is dedicated to finding and telling you more about the web’s best products. If you purchase through our links, we may receive a commission. Our editorial team is independent and only endorses products we believe in.
Natural hair is a vast, complex, beautiful world. Transitioning from a relaxer to my natural texture when I was younger was a large part of my personal development. The process of researching and caring for my hair, and the hundreds upon hundreds of hours of my life it has taken, have brought me closer to myself in ways I never dreamed of when I first decided to do it.
That being said, it can be really f*cking annoying. It’s a full-time job, and one I often do not feel like doing on top of the other one I have. The shape of my head doesn’t lend itself to a buzz, and the depth of my wallet doesn’t lend itself to recurring salon trips. And of course, there’s Father Time.
I’ve been diligently on the hunt for a low-maintenance, lazy girl routine that will help me preserve my curl pattern while doing the bare minimum. Luckily, the ever-expansive DTC space is providing more opportunities for just that. Here are 4 DTC brands that have helped me through this process…
For Daily & Weekly Maintenance: Bread Beauty Supply
I’ve been coveting Bread Beauty Supply since the moment it was launched (and immediately advertised to me on Instagram – my algorithm knows me well). Bread’s mission is to provide uncomplicated, fun essentials that make your hair routine not feel like such a chore. My first introduction to Bread was the Wash Day Duo ($48), Bread’s alleged “end/death to the 5-hour wash-day and 10-product wash routine.” I am so accustomed to wash-day being, well, an entire day, that I was skeptical of any process that claims to take less than that.
I was already impressed by the first step: the gentle, milky Hair-Wash ($20) left my hair feeling clean and soft, without any of the usual stripping that comes with shampooing. It’s the perfect middle ground between a shampoo and a co-wash, and you can be confident that your hair is getting the deep-clean it needs without the usual crunchy, weighed-down aftermath. The Hair-Mask ($28) is delightfully thick in texture, adding a rich deep condition that made detangling a breeze. For freshening up my curls throughout the week, I spritz my hair with water then use the Hair-Cream ($28), followed by Bread’s best selling Hair-Oil ($24), a glossy sealant that “smells like strawberry lip smackers.” While I’ve actually been very pleasantly surprised by every Bread product I’ve tried, my hands-down favorite is the Hair Cream. The luxurious, thick-but-not-heavy texture adds a max amount of moisture and hold to my hair that ends up lasting for a couple days beyond the first use.
Post-Shower: Crown Affair
One of the earlier upgrades I made to my natural hair routine was switching to a microfiber towel when drying my hair. The softer material creates less friction and is more absorbent than cotton terry towels, reducing frizz, breakage, and drying time. I recently decided to treat myself to a new one, specifically The Towel ($45) from TQE fave, Crown Affair. The unique patent-pending design is made from a custom waffle microfiber that is incredibly gentle on my hair, and doesn’t wick away too much product. The elastic strap makes it easy to secure on top of the head without pulling too much at my edges –– perfect for galavanting around the house in my favorite robe.
For the In-Between Days: SUNDAY II SUNDAY
Going to the gym has long been an obstacle in my hair routine. I’ve taken multiple routes: exercise less or less rigorously to avoid producing excess sweat and scalp buildup; or go as hard as I want, but wash more frequently to overcompensate and ensure a clear scalp. I’ve most often chosen the latter, at the expense of my hair’s overall moisture and health.
So, I was incredibly excited to stumble upon SUNDAY II SUNDAY, a brand for active people that want to maintain hair and scalp health. In between washes, especially on my sweatier days, I’ve been turning to the Spray & Go bundle, which consists of the REVIVE ME Daily Moisturizing Spray ($31) and the ROOT REFRESH Micellar Rinse ($31). The Root Refresh serves as an alternative to dry shampoo, and the lightweight cleanser is infused with apple cider vinegar and micellar water to refresh your hair and scalp while removing excess oils and product build up. I just spray it directly on my scalp, then follow up with the The Revive Me Spray to wet my hair slightly before applying my Bread oil. It’s a quick, perfect pick-me-up for my hair that helps eliminate gym funk rather than masking it.
BedTime Beauty: Good Side
For any self-proclaimed lazy person, a surefire way to enact lasting change is to start by adding simple, passive substitutes to your routine. Silk pillowcases are a very handy place to begin. The beauty benefits of silk are innumerable: as you toss and turn the hair glides across the fabric without friction, reducing frizz, tangles, and breakage. Unlike more absorbent materials like cotton, sleeping on silk helps retain the moisture in your skin and hair.
Good Side specializes in high-quality silk staples that are aimed at beautifying your hair, skin, and home. Good Side’s collection boasts scrunchies, pillowcases, and sleep masks, in six “bedroom-worthy” colors sure to add to any sexy nighttime selfie. I sprung for The Essentials Set ($139) in Blush, which includes 1 Mask, 1 Pillowcase, and 1 Scrunchie – soft as hell, and cute on my bed. For extra curl security, I personally choose to wear a silk scarf to sleep in addition to all of this. On the days when I might not feel like wrapping my hair, or in the early sleepover stages before I get to the “see me in my bonnet” phase with someone, the Pillowcase, Scrunchie, and a pineapple puff usually suffice for the night and I’m able to pretend like I always wake up like this.
I don’t have to tell y’all that our hair means a lot to us. The hours in salons and beauty supply stores, or on YouTube in my bathroom with a cramp in my bicep, are not hours I’d want to trade for anything. But sometimes, I want to spend my pre and post-work hours differently. These brands have helped me cut back on haircare time by a lot, and not in exchange for lesser hair health. These products have all become staples in my home, providing a solid baseline to fall back on when I don’t feel like doing sh*t. I still have those hour-long tutorials bookmarked, though. For old times’ sake.