The Best Setting Lotions for African-American Hair

Get soft flowing waves, like Kerri Washington's, with setting lotion.

Photo: Henry S. Dziekan III/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

You have a great tool for fabulous hair: setting lotion. This hair product is so versatile that it works for natural hair, relaxed hair or pressed hair. It can keep your roller set fresh. And it can keep your wrap tight. It can even help you create fabulous pin curls or finger waves. The stuff nourishes and conditions as it holds. Sold on setting lotion? Then find out which ones the pros recommend.

How to Use It

Now that you know what it does, here's what it is: a lightweight, leave-in conditioner that provides hold. The flake-free potion is perfect for natural hair, as it promotes shine and definition. Say goodbye to frizzy curls! To use, you simply apply it to dry hair, separate your curls using your fingers, and allow your tresses to air-dry or blow-dry them using a diffuser. If you like, you can also use a setting lotion as a protectant when using blow-dryers and flat irons. The lotion coats hair and protects it from thermal styling. Best of all, setting lotion helps hold the style till your next blow-out.

Take Your Set to Nairobi

Ahsha Murphy, a stylist at Winifred's, a premier African-American hair salon in San Francisco, says she uses Nairobi Wrapp-It Shine Foaming Lotion on her clients. "It is a very versatile product," she says. "I use it for roller sets, molding short hair, wrapping and blow outs. It leaves hair silky and soft with no flaking or product buildup. ... It allows me to create so many different looks for my clients." Nairobi contains vitamins like B5 and E, which nourish hair and protect it from thermal styling.

Ready, Set, Set

Fritz Clay, stylist and owner of Hairplay in San Francisco, has developed a line of setting lotion, Set, for all hair types. According to Clay: "Set setting lotion comes in three holds. Set is weightless, moisturizing, shiny and never flaky. It works on all textures." Clay says he likes that Set works well for blow-drying all hair types. He recommends Set for his clients with natural hair who want definition in their styles. Set contains panthenol, which helps nourish and repair damaged hair.

Setting Lotion for All Styles

Clay suggests using setting lotion as the foundation for almost all styles. He uses Light Set for blow-drying, twisting and natural curls. For a great blow-dry, Clay advises "applying Set foam to clean towel-dried hair and comb through. Blow-dry, hand-dry or use round brush for full body. Use a flat or vented brush for straight silky hair."

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Fritz Clay; Owner/Stylist, Hairplay; San Francisco, California
Ahsha Murphy; Stylist; Winfred's Hair Salon; San Francisco, California

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