This Hair Balm Saved My Scalp and Twists During a Southwest Road Trip

This Hair Balm Saved My Scalp and Twists During a Southwest Road Trip
Photo: Allison Kahler/STYLECASTER

Before embarking on a 10-day road trip through the Southwest earlier this month, I vowed to only pack the bare essentials: a few outfits that I could mix and match, plenty of sunscreen, and face masks for post-sun and heat recovery. And although I managed to get everything into one suitcase and a small carry-on, that whole “I’m not bringing a beauty closet with me” idea really didn’t have a chance. I realized this after laying everything out in our first hotel room:

STYLECASTER | Girl and Hair Restoring Balm Review

Courtesy of Nikki Brown

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But while most of my skin and makeup products somehow snuck their way onto an airplane, I was able to avoid the same fate for my bloated hair supply, thanks in part to the Marley twists I had installed shortly before leaving. Since deciding to grow my short hair out, I’ve been wearing protective styles to help lessen the urge for a haircut, and this one is particularly comfortable and easy to maintain. Outside of washing my scalp with Briogeo’s Super Moisture Shampoo, slicking down my edges with Creme of Nature Edge Gel, sporting Grace Eleyae’s satin-lined baseball caps, and sleeping with my trusty satin scarf, the one thing I knew would keep my ’do from falling apart prematurely was a styler that would hydrate my scalp without leaving it flaky and irritated (mine is particularly prone to dryness).

Enter Girl + Hair, a totally underrated brand whose products are made specifically for use under protective styles, such as extensions and wigs. Admittedly, a couple of their products had been sitting under my bathroom sink for quite some time, one of which I am now obsessed with. Here’s why I already need to stock up on more of the Restoring Balm:

The Name: Girl + Hair Restoring Balm

The Price: $18 at Girl + Hair

The Perks: For starters, what I love most about this stuff is the fact that I can actually identify and understand everything in the list of ingredients. For the most part, it’s made up of botanicals that are frequently used in textured-hair-care products. The main ones are castor oil, sunflower seed oil, olive oil, and shea butter. We’ve raved about castor oil before, a vegetable oil derived from the castor bean that contains omega-9 fatty acids, which add sheen and aid in hair growth. Sunflower oil also provides fatty acids, while olive oil is anti-inflammatory and shea butter is moisturizing. Initially, I was worried about rubbing this onto my scalp and dealing with product buildup (on my scalp and hands), but that never happened.

MORE: What to Know About Dry Shampoo If You Have Textured Hair

Although it feels a little sticky at first, it absorbs quickly, thanks in part to the nozzle applicator that wiggled easily around and through my twists. My only caveat is that the nozzle top kept falling off, and if you’re traveling, that’s a potential disaster in the making (one word: spillage). I applied it every morning before driving or exploring, and by the end of the day, my hair looked the same as it had at the start: a little frizzy, but still presentable.

The biggest benefit by far was the fact that it didn’t cause my twists to start unfurling at the root days after getting them done. Honestly, I wish I had packed the matching shampoo as well, but at least I now know for next time. If you’re not already familiar with Girl + Hair, peruse its entire line and snag something before getting a protective style. Your scalp will thank you.