Winging It Is fun, but Not When it comes to Your Hair!
Let's talk about the importance of having a natural hair routine. As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been natural my entire life but through the growing pains of my teenage years that were filled with hair dye and hot tools, I never developed a routine that would allow my curls to truly flourish. Don't get me wrong, my mom tried tirelessly to get me to put the flat iron down and pick up some deep conditioner (which I did every once in a blue moon) but I'm a Taurus and if you know anything about us at all, you KNOW we're stubborn!
Over the past 6 months or so I decided to challenge myself to develop a curly hair regimen and (here's the hard part) STICK TO IT. And I must say, ever since adopting a good routine, I've reaped so many awesome benefits. Not only has my hair grown tremendously, but I've also noticed a huge reduction in frizz and breakage and my curls are more defined than ever! You can see the progress for yourself in the images below.
Tach tip #1: If possible, get a trim or a full-on haircut before taking on a healthy hair journey! This alone will greatly reduce the amount of shedding you get and the overall look and feel of your mane, especially if you're transitioning from relaxed to natural.
Here are the 4 crucial steps a good natural hair routine.
1. Cleansing: I wash my hair once a week. I know some naturals with more dense hair are able to stretch it to about two weeks but, sadly, I'm not so fortunate. My fine hair loses definition and becomes dry and difficult to manage if I don't stick to this. I alternate between co-washing and using an actual shampoo based on how my hair is feeling and what I feel it needs. If my scalp hasn't been properly cleaned in a few weeks, I'm reaching for the shampoo. If there isn't any product buildup or dry itchy scalp going on, co-wash it is!
Tach tip #2: Don't bunch your hair on top of your hair to wash! That only creates knots and makes detangling a pain. Instead, focus the shampoo on your scalp and allow the water to rinse it through the length of your hair.
2. Conditioner: I like to finger detangle my hair in the shower immediately after cleansing, this is where the conditioner comes in handy. For this step, I use any slippery conditioner that makes releasing the tangles nice and easy. And yes, finger detangling does take quite a bit longer than using a comb butttttt you'll thank yourself when you finish and have barely any shedding and you've avoided ripping through your hair.
3. Deep Conditioner: This! You guys, thisssssss is the holy grail step! Deep conditioning once a week is so important. This is what will revitalize your mane with tons of moisture and nutrients. As you may know, curly hair tends to run on the drier side because natural oils have a hard time reaching all the way through you (and down) your hair shaft because of all the twists and turns in your strands. I like to alternate between conditioners that are rich in protein (which is good for strengthening hair) and moisturizing conditioners (for added softness) to achieve the perfect balance. You can also make some awesome DIY deep conditioners to cater to whatever your hair needs at the moment. Stay tuned for another post on some of my favorite DIY conditioners!
4. Styling: After you've rinsed out your conditioner comes styling. I like to use lightweight lotions that are still moisturizing, and cream styling products that add moisture, add a soft touchable hold and clump my curls together perfectly. After applying my lotion and cream comes the oil, but I don't add this until AFTER my hair is completely dry. If my hair is ever feeling a little dry throughout the week I'll add a little more oil to fluff and style as needed. There are tons of methods (shingling, LOC, LCO, scrunching, etc.) for applying products to your curls for the best results and I've found that using the right method is instrumental to getting the results that I want.
That's all folks! Pick the day of the week that works best for you and stick to your regimen. Like with most things, consistency is key. Just enjoy the process and your mane will be thanking you before you know it.
'til next time, beauties!