Since the beginning of my healthy natural hair journey I have pretty much stuck with the same things. I keep my hair stretched with twist-outs/twist-n-curls or braid-outs/braid-n-curls most of the time. In the summer or in a pinch I turn to wash-n-gos that I blow-dry on high flow, low heat. I have never really been a protective styler, but I sometimes wear buns or twists. The twists always start out as a set, but I either A) am too lazy to take them out or B) have nowhere in particular to go, so I rock them for a few days.
Here is a quick look at my routine:
- Pre-poo with oils and/or conditioner weekly. (Friday)
- Wash with shampoo weekly. (Friday)
- Deep condition weekly, after my shampoo. (Friday)
- Co-wash as needed. Once or twice a week. (Monday and/or Wednesday)
- Set my hair in either twists or braids, w/ or w/out flexirods. (After each wash)
- Clarify with diluted sulfate shampoo monthly. (First Friday of the month)
- Protein treatment monthly, after I clarify. (First Friday of the month)
- Henna treatments 3 times a year. (Jan., May, Sept.)
- Dusting and Trimming as needed.
Because I like details when I’m reading a regimen, I will lay out everything that I do with my hair weekly, monthly and throughout the year and what products work for me. I hope this helps you build a routine that works for your curls. First, I’ll describe my hair so that you have a reference of what I’m working with.
My hair is medium density, fine, highly porous, cottony and nearly hip-length at its longest point. I have mostly 3C, S-patterned curls that are looser in the front and crown and tighter in the back. My ends form spirals except for the strands that frame my face which maintain the S-pattern. My tresses are prone to dryness, especially the ends and perimeter (edges and nape areas). They only maintain moisture for a day or two before I have to spritz or add more leave-in conditioner and seal. My hair loves jojoba oil year-round, shea butter in the colder months and thrives with silicones (especially amodimethicone). It also appreciates frequent deep conditioning and a good protein treatment monthly.
Now on to my regimen!
I pre-poo once a week before cleansing with shampoo. I split my hair into fours, two sections in the front and two in the back, and generously apply coconut oil and/or Aussie Moist conditioner. I usually twist the sections as I go just to keep the hair out of my way. Then I clip it all up, don a plastic cap and chill out for 15 minutes to whenever I feel like shampooing. J It depends on how my day is going.
I shampoo my hair with L'Oréal Paris EverCrème Intense Nourishing Shampoo once a week. This shampoo smells like vanilla, is typical shampoo consistency, is sulfate-free and does not strip my hair (I’ll do a full review soon). I use a quarter-sized amount and concentrate on cleansing my scalp by scrubbing gently with the pads of my fingers for about a minute. Then I run my head under the shower stream to distribute the shampoo and smoosh the suds down the length. Be gentle with the length of your hair and let the shampoo do its job. I only lather up once and then I proceed to conditioning.
Once a month, I use a sulfate shampoo to clarify. I dilute a quarter-sized amount in a dye applicator bottle with 4 oz. of water. Then I squirt the dilution throughout my scalp and down the length and cleanse gently using the same technique as my weekly wash. Again, I only lather once. Right now I’m using Aussie Moist shampoo which is not a Holy Grail (HG) product for me. It’s a little bit drying, but I am trying to finish the bottle. Do you have any suggestions for a good sulfate shampoo?
I use Aussie Moist to co-wash when I need to detangle, when my scalp has a little build-up or when my hair needs some moisture and spritzing and sealing is just not cutting it. Review my co-washing process HERE.
For a few years now I’ve been conditioning my hair before I shampoo to detangle. It makes the process so much easier and keeps the knots at bay. I split my hair down the middle (one section on the left and one on the right), load up each side with Aussie Moist conditioner and carefully detangle from ends to roots with a wide tooth comb. Then I shampoo. Washing goes so much more smoothly when I do it in this order. Aussie Moist conditioner is an HG product for me…to read my full review click HERE.
After a shampoo, I deep condition with Aussie Moist 3 Minute Miracle which I LOVE! Again, I condition in fours. I smooth a half-dollar dollop through each section, run my paddle brush through to distribute, clip it all up and finish my shower duties. Then I rinse on cool and squeeze out the excess water. I flip my head over and wrap an old tee shirt over my wet strands to draw out the excess moisture. A cotton tee is so much more gentle than a towel. Try not to over-manipulate your hair by ringing it or rubbing. This causes unnecessary friction and can lead to breakage.
I usually set my hair in 8-12 twists or 4-5 braids depending on what style I want. The more twists or braids, the more defined your set will be. Fewer twists or braids yield chunkier sets. Twists give me more of a spiral curl and more shrinkage and braids give me a defined S-pattern that is more stretched. I like both, but I prefer twist-outs. I also use red flexirods on the last few inches of hair, especially in the front, to stretch the ends and create a spiral curl. I always let my sets air-dry.
I like to remove my twists or braids when they are 95% dry. Then I leave it alone to dry completely (about 15 minutes) and separate and fluff to create volume. Sometimes I coat my fingers in a thin layer of oil to do this, sometimes not. Twists, in my hair, encourage shrinkage and removing them before they are 100% dry keeps it looking more natural and also allows me to stretch the hair without blowing out the roots. When I leave them in for a few days and then rock a twist-out, I spritz with water to reintroduce my natural curl pattern. It looks less perfect and more natural.
I do wash-n-gos in warmer months or when I need to do something quick but haven’t set my hair. I use a hair dryer on high flow, medium heat and can dry my head in about 15 minutes.
I do protein treatments after I clarify on the first wash day of the month. I use a gelatin mask that I mix myself. Gelatin is hydrolyzed collagen which can be found in popular protein treatments like Aphogee 2-Step Protein Treatment. This protein mask leaves my hair stronger, heavier and less frizzy.
1 pouch Knox brand gelatin1 oz Aussie Moist conditioner
3 oz warm water
3 oz warm water
I put the gelatin in a clean bowl with warm water and allow it to dissolve. Then I mix it with conditioner in a clean spray bottle and spritz my hair from root to tip until it’s saturated. I bun my hair without any tools to hold it up and leave it uncapped for 10-20 minutes. Start out with 10 minutes your first application and work your way up. Rinse thoroughly and follow up with a protein-free deep conditioner for 30 minutes. Try not to use tools to hold your hair in place or use a processing cap while the mask is in because you'll risk breakage. As the hair dries, it becomes very rigid and a clip or cap may cause damage when you remove it.
I use body art quality (BAQ) henna on my hair three times a year: in January, May and September. The months I henna, I don’t do a protein treatment because henna acts like a protein by binding to keratin within the hair shaft.
300 g of Jamila BAQ henna
300 g of Jamila BAQ henna
Lemon juice (enough to create a yogurt-like consistency)
A few dollops of honey
I combine the henna, lemon juice and honey in a plastic bowl and mix with a rubber spatula. Then I pop the bowl in the microwave for 30 seconds to help develop the dye. You could also pre-mix and leave it covered overnight, but I like to get it all done the same day. Quick and easy!
I apply the henna to small sections in a smoothing motion (never rake this stuff through your hair). Use gloves because henna will stain your hands. Then I saran wrap my head, don a few plastic caps and let it work for 6 hours, then rinse. You could apply a heat source to help move things along, but I don’t.
Always follow with a moisturizing (protein-free) deep conditioner for at least 30 minutes, preferably with heat. Done and done! I do my henna treatments on dry, dirty hair. Afterwards my hair feels stronger, is super shiny and virtually frizz-free. I have a few grays in the front that I like to cover and I love the auburn tint it gives me all over. If you’d like a more in-depth henna routine and its benefits, comment below.
I trim my hair as needed with sheers I only use on my strands. It’s important not to use them to cut anything else because you want them to remain really sharp. Dull sheers cause more damage by creating split ends that lead to breakage.
When my ends are feeling rough I dust them by cutting off a teeny tiny amount. The idea is that the cut hair should look like dust on the floor. I also conduct search and destroys. Hold your hair up to the light, search for split ends and then destroy them by cutting just above the split. J I do this maybe once a month.
|L to R: NOW shea butter, EDEN Crème, Giovanni leave-in, Ampro gel,|
Aussie conditioner, As I Am gel, Marc Anthony lotion & Stretch
These are the products I'm currently using and are subject to change.
- Aussie Moist conditioner (rinse-out conditioner)
- Giovanni Direct Leave-in conditioner
- EDEN BodyWorks Coconut Shea Curl Defining Crème
- Infusium 23 Leave-in Treatment (not pictured)
- Jojoba oil (year round)
- NOW Solutions Shea Butter (fall/winter)
- As I Am Smoothing Gel
- Marc Anthony Stretch
- Marc Anthony Curl Defining Styling Lotion
- Ampro Clear gel
- Tool Structure jumbo rake comb - Detangling
- Rat tail comb - Parting
- Large-jaw clip - Styling
- Satin scrunchie - Pineappling
- MetaGrip premium roller pins - Buns & up-dos
- Salon Care plastic clips - Sectioning
- Scünci metal snap hair clips - Styling
- Scünci no-slip grip hair ties - Ponytails
- Scünci no-slip grip metal barrettes - Styling
- Annie 1/2" (red) flexirods - Stretching ends
- Brush Strokes wooden paddle brush - Detangling
- Annie hair shears - Trimming
- Satin Bonnets - Protection (not pictured)
- Annie 100% boar bristle brush (soft) - Smoothing (not pictured)
So that, my beauties, is that! J God bless you for still reading because this has turned into a monster of a post. I tried to be as thorough as I could be and I hope you found it helpful! The most important thing about maintaining a regimen is consistency. So, find something you can stick with and listening to your hair...do what works for you! Until next time…
Did you find my regimen helpful?
What are some tips or tricks that you use to keep your hair healthy?