Best Setting Lotion For Natural Hair

Best Setting Lotion For Natural Hair In 2020

There's nothing wrong with getting your hair relaxed or permed. However, if you've decided to go natural, then you've decided to ditch chemicals and heat tools to give your beautiful natural hair a break it deserves. To help you make the most of your natural locks, we've chosen the five best setting lotions for natural hair.

​What Is A Setting Lotion?

​When you have African-American or extremely coarse and curly hair, you know that "wash and go" are usually not an option. Since this hair type tends to be pretty rebellious when left to its own devices, you need products that are going to keep your hair in place, even if you're not using heat tools.

​A setting lotion is a thick lotion that is used for two main purposes. First and foremost, it can be used for "scrunch and go" curls, if you want to give your natural hair some added definition.

However, it can also be used for when you style your hair in foam rollers. While many of today's setting lotions are meant to be used as-is, traditionally, African-American women have diluted their setting lotions. By mixing the setting lotion with water, it's easily applied to the entirety of the hair, without causing the hair to become too stiff.

​The actual function of a setting lotion is, well, to set the style. When used on natural curls, it simply boosts the curls' natural texture, giving them more definition. When applied to the hair before using foam rollers, setting lotion ensures that the hair stays in place.

​Many people often wonder what the difference between a setting lotion and a gel is. While gels certainly hold hair in place, they can also cause that "crunchy" look that most women with coarse and ethnic hair types loathe.

The goal of any look, natural or otherwise, should always be to have hair that stays where you want it, but that has natural movement and bounce. A setting lotion locks a style in place without creating that "helmet head," frozen look. It's the best option for any natural curly look.

​How To Use Setting Lotion

​The setting lotion will truly end up being one of the more versatile products that you have in your beauty arsenal. Remember, it can be used not only for heatless curls but for giving definition to your natural curls as well.

If you ever choose to abandon your natural hair and return to relaxing or perming your hair, you'll still be able to use setting lotion for styling your chemically treated hair.

​When using setting lotion to add definition to your natural curls, dilute the setting lotion and rub it between your palms before working it into your hair.

If you have specific areas that could use a touch-up, apply setting lotion and then twist the area around your finger, twisting until it springs into a curl. It's advisable to finish with a glossing serum or coconut oil, as setting lotion on its own is not particularly moisturizing.

​Another excellent use for setting lotion is when doing overnight twists. Twists create a look that is somewhere between what's achieved by scrunching the natural hair and using foam rollers.

The curls look pretty natural but have more definition than most women could hope to achieve by simply scrunching their hair. Here's lifestyle guru West African Baby explaining her twisting method, which utilizes setting lotion to keep the look set in place.

​Of course, there's also the classic, tried and true option of using foam rollers. Foam rollers will create slightly larger curls than twists. While they might look "styled," they still look extremely natural.

The effects of setting lotion and foam rollers can be achieved quickly by sitting under a dryer and allowing the rollers to sit for 20 minutes to an hour. Otherwise, if you want to be a bit gentler on your hair, you can go the heatless route, as demonstrated here by YouTube beauty guru Shlinda.

​Setting lotions aren't just useful for these natural, daily looks. They can also be used for special occasion or night out looks. An application of setting lotion is a great way to prep the hair before using large velcro rollers.

In this tutorial by hair expert JayHairBigga, these big voluminous curls are achieved by putting the hair into large rollers and then sitting under a dryer for an hour and a half. It's certainly a time-consuming hairstyle, but if you want something elegant for that special event, it's completely worth it.

​Now that you understand how setting lotions are used let's look at the five best setting lotions available on the market.

1

Lotta Body Setting Lotion

Lotta Body Setting Lotion

​Lotta Body is the product that your grandmother and her grandmother probably used. It's long been a staple of just about every African-American girl's hair routine. Designed to be diluted, Lotta Body is known for creating styles that last.

However, just because it locks styles in place doesn't mean that it makes the hair look fried or crunchy. Lotta Body instead leaves hair with a shiny finish. Those who swear by this cult classic product say that it does exactly what it says it will do on the bottle, which is to give the hair a lot of body and life instead of weighing it down.

Pros


  • A cult classic product that generations of women swear by
  • Gives a lot of body, volume, and hold
  • Leaves hair with a shiny finish
  • Extremely affordable

Cons


  • Doesn't contain any great moisturizing ingredients like coconut oil or shea butter
  • Has that distinctive "salon" chemical smell, which many find off-putting
  • Some complain that their hair felt sticky after a few days, perhaps thanks to the product's glossing ingredients
  • It's runny formula can make it a bit messy to use, especially when it's mixed with water
2

Nairobi Wrapp-It Shine Foaming Lotion

Nairobi Wrapp-It Shine Foaming Lotion

​Although it's designed specifically for heat styling, the Wrapp-It Shine Foaming Lotion is also a favorite of those natural hair wearers who do overnight twists and heat-free styles.

Its foaming formula makes it a great choice for anyone who either wants a lot of volumes or hates the feeling of runny liquid setting lotions. The Wrapp-It Shine Foaming Lotion is alcohol-free, which means it won't dry the hair out and will allow the hair's natural moisture to remain.

The product also contains a conditioning heat protectant that will guard the hair against split ends and breakage during heat styling.

Pros


  • Easy to work with, thanks to its foaming formula
  • Alcohol-free so it won't dry out the hair
  • Protects the hair against damage from heat styling
  • Creates a lot of volumes

Cons


  • Some claim that the product sets too quickly, drying in place before they've even finished putting the curler in
  • Those who like to dilute their setting lotion might find this difficult to do with a foam product
  • The company doesn't list the ingredients on the bottle, which ingredient-conscious users will find troublesome
3

Dr. Miracles Healing Wrapping & Setting Lotion

Dr. Miracles Healing Wrapping & Setting Lotion

​The Dr. Miracles Healing Wrapping & Setting Lotion is a gorgeously scented spray that doesn't need to be diluted, making application a breeze for those who prefer their hair routines to be a little more streamlined.

The product works not only to hold both wet and dry styles but also detangles and conditions the hair. The finished product is a style that has hold but also looks moisturized and vibrant.

Fans of the product swear that it leaves their hair the softest when compared to other setting lotions on the market. They also love its perfume scent, which to many is preferable to that distinct chemical odor that many setting lotions have.

Pros


  • Has a gorgeous perfume scent
  • Creates a lot of moisture thanks to its conditioning ingredients, leaving the hair quite soft and manageable
  • Comes in a convenient spray and doesn't need to be diluted, making application quite simple

Cons


  • Doesn't have as much hold as other options. For those who want tight curls, this might not be the ideal product
  • Some find the perfume scent overpowering
  • Not the best option for overnight twist styles
4

Mizani Setting Lotion

Mizani Setting Lotion

​The Mizani Setting Lotion is a true lotion formula, which means that it can be used as is or diluted with water for a thinner consistency. This is a salon-quality setting lotion that contains conditioning ceramides, which means that the hair is left silky, shiny and very hydrated.

It's intended for wet set styles, and some might find that the product is a bit greasy when used for dry styles like twists or heatless curls. However, for a wet set style, this is an excellent setting lotion that penetrates the hair and leaves the follicle healthy and conditioned while also holding the style.

Pros


  • A luxurious formula that features conditioning ceramides that moisturize the hair
  • Perfect for wet sets. Helps to create curls that are bouncy but hydrated
  • Can be diluted to personal preference

Cons


  • Not ideal for dry styling
  • Those who prefer a tight hold to their curls might be disappointed by this product.
  • It's more ideal for those who like loose, natural curls and waves
5

Ultra Sheen Super Setting Lotion

Ultra Sheen Super Setting Lotion

​The Ultra Sheen Super Setting Lotion truly lives up to its name: It creates curls that are incredibly shiny and glossy. This is another setting lotion with a delightful perfume scent, making it a perfect choice for those who can't stand that classic setting lotion scent.

This lotion is ideal for those who suffer from split ends, as its high gloss follicle helps to conceal split ends and create the illusion of smoothness. Although the product is quite hydrating, it's light enough to ensure that curls are voluminous and bouncy. The finished product is a style that's shiny and glossy, but also full of body and volume.

Pros


  • Out of all the setting lotions on this list, this product leaves the glossiest finish
  • Consistency is on the thin side, which means that hair is left bouncy and voluminous
  • Has a scent that fans of the lotion have declared "heavenly"

Cons


  • Those who prefer a more natural look might find the glossy finish undesirable
  • Doesn't have a much hold as spray or foam setting lotions
  • Some find the scent a tad overpowering

Conclusion

​All setting lotions do essentially the same thing: They help to hold wet and dry curl sets in place. However, there's some variance between different setting lotions. While some are designed purely for heavy-duty hold, others put more emphasis on conditioning the hair and creating a shiny, glossy finish.

​All of the setting lotions on this list are great choices and will help you to achieve a wide array of styles. But if we had to declare a clear winner, it would be the Lotta Body Setting Lotion.

​Why did we choose this old school, cult classic product over its newer and fresher alternatives? It's pretty simple. The Lotta Body lotion does everything a setting lotion is supposed to do.

It holds both wet and dry styles, it conditions the hair, and it adds bounce and shine. It's easily diluted to fit your personal preference and works for just about every hair setting technique.

​Sometimes newer products fix the issues that older versions of the same beauty product failed to address. Other times, there's no improving on a classic. When it comes to finding the perfect setting lotion, Lotta Body got it right the first time.

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