How To Build a Natural Hair Regimen

How To Build a Natural Hair Regimen

When you are new or just starting out on your natural hair journey you may not be so sure how to build your natural hair care regimen. Or perhaps you have been natural for sometime now and have come to the conclusion that its time for a change in how you care for your hair. Whatever the case may be building a regimen doesn’t have to be challenging, all it needs are the basics: Cleansing, Conditioning, Moisturizing, Detangling, and Protective and or Low Manipulation Styles.

Cleansing

This is the one area, where it definitely varies for everyone. Most people opt to wash every week while others wash as infrequently as once a month. There really is not one right or wrong answer when it comes to this area, its more so about what is going to work for you. Factors to consider would be the length of your hair, your lifestyle (are you active?), and your hair’s fragility. A good rule of thumb would be to wash once a week, but if you find that this is not working for you try extending the time between washes. You will know if this working for you based upon how your hair feels when you touch it and sometimes by just looking at it. If you don’t wash your hair as frequently you want to go lighter with your product usage otherwise too much product coating your hair can lead to dryness. Use a sulfate free shampoo that is not drying to the hair or many naturals co-wash (wash with conditioner) to avoid dryness.

Conditioning

Conditioning is one of the most important aspects of a natural hair care routine. It helps restore hair’s strength and it also may contribute to moisture retention. Even if you co-wash your hair, you definitely do not want to skip out on a deep conditioning session. This is especially important for those who color-treat their natural hair or frequently use heat. Everyday just through the manipulation of your hair, your hair looses vital protein that it needs. Conditioner helps to fill in those missing gaps and can aid in alleviating breakage and dryness. Make a habit of deep conditioning at least once a month, and if you wash your hair more frequently fit in more room for deep conditioning sessions your hair will thank you for it!

 Moisturizing

Start with moisturizing your hair once a day and if you find this is too much you can always adjust this to suit your needs. When you moisturize you want to make sure that you cover all areas of your hair, but you will want to pay extra special attention to the ends of your hair. They are the oldest weakest portion of your hair and extra moisture will do it some good. A good way to avoid weighed down hair is to moisturize your hair at night, this way when you wake up in the morning your hair is moist but not weighed down. The steam from morning showers is also a nice refresher, you don’t have to let your hair get wet, the steam alone  is a  fine morning wake me up for your hair.  On freshly washed hair try the LOC method for moisture, use a liquid based moisturizer, an oil, and then a cream to seal.

Detangling

Ah… detangling everyone’s favorite part of natural hair care! This is an area where you really need to be careful because if not you can end up losing a lot of hair. When you detangle you always want to have some sort of moisture in your hair, detangling on hair that is completely dry can be disastrous. Some naturals like to detangle only on wet hair, you don’t have to do this, but make sure you have a product in your hair that will give you some sort of slip. If you have 4b or 4c hair (know your hair type)  that is really fine then you may want to finger comb to detangle rather than use a comb to avoid breakage. Always take your time to detangle and start from the ends of the hair and work your way up to the roots. If you find your hair forms knots rather easily try detangling once a week.

Protective and Low Manipulation Styles

If you are trying to retain length and your texture is easily prone to breakage protective styles in particular are going to become your best friend. With protective styles such as twists, cornrows, or braids you don’t have to style your hair daily which helps to prevent breakage from manipulation of the hair. However, in addition to helping you retain more hair they also make life easier for you. Wearing your natural hair out all the time is a lot of maintenance on your part, while protective styles require little work. If you want something different you can always do a twist out or braid out low manipulation style. Styles such as this keep your hair controlled, styling required is minimal, and it gives you a nice change from protective styles.

What it All Comes Down To

All naturals need cleansing, conditioning, moisturizing, detangling, and protective styling / low manipulation styles included in their regimen. What varies is the frequency of  each aspect of the regimen. This is all unique to you and only you can determine how often you should do each step. For example there are many naturals on the web who wash less frequently and have retained long hair and there are some that wash more often and have grown really long hair as well.  With some experimentation you will find what works best for you, as only you can determine the best approach for your hair.

#1 Why to Go Natural
#2 What You Should Know About Natural Hair
#3 How to go from Relaxed to Natural Hair
#4 Know Your Hair Type
#5 What’s Your Hair Porosity Type
#6 What Products Do I Need?
#7 How to Create a Natural Hair Regimen
#8 Natural Hair FAQ

75 thoughts on “How To Build a Natural Hair Regimen

  1. i have 4C hair and i find difficulty in making my braid outs come out perfect well make it look like how my vloggers have them lool. i would love some tips

    1. I think a big part of that is because if you have high shrinkage hair and you don’t grip your hair tight enough at the root when you do your braid out it may come out too matted. You may want to try pre-stretching your hair out first by either blowing it out with a blow dryer or stretching it out through a braided style or pineappling. They also sell hair clips on that help grip your roots for twist out or braid outs: http://amzn.to/1IFyNe2 Also having the right product that gives you hold and moisture.

      1. I am a newbie…please explain how these clips work for help with gripping the roots of your hair.

          1. Ok. I am not understaning on how to use the clip, do you place the clip at the root and then braid the hair?

  2. Hi there.

    I have been natural now for 3 years and I have a problem with strand knots. Do you perhaps have tips on how to recover from them without having to trim them off?
    Thanks

    1. You should work on prevention techniques: more moisture + low manipulation styles. As far as the knots you already have you can use the search and destroy method (just targeting the problem areas), instead of doing a full trim.

  3. Hello there,

    So far, I’m really enjoying this site on how to maintain your natural hair. My hair is down my back and past my bra-line and I’m about 5’8″. I’m also about 6 1/2 months pregnant. I’m also realizing that hair type is a 3c so my question is that this will be my very first go round of co-washing, moisturizing, etc. Is there a process or order in which can go from start to finish?! Once I co-wash, what are the next steps?! I’d like to go in order as much as possible and I’d also like to get the maximum results for my efforts by going in the “right order.” I’m afraid I’m going to miss a step!!!!! PLEASE HELP!!

    1. Co-washing is great for maintaining moisturized hair, but you may still want to shampoo at least once a month to eliminate product build-up. So basically each week, co-wash your hair, then deep condition for 15-30 minutes using a heated cap or hooded dryer for maximum results. Then you’ll rinse that out and moisturize your hair for styling. You can moisturize your hair one of two ways: you can either just use a leave-in conditioner, which is usually sufficient for looser curl patterns, or you can try the LOC method, in which you would use a liquid, oil, and cream. Using those three ingredients together better ensures that the hair will remain moisturized for a longer period of time, which is important for kinkier hair types that tend to be prone to dryness. Then you would style your hair to your liking. And like I said, once a month you may want to shampoo instead of co-wash to get rid of any product that most conditioners aren’t designed to strip from your hair. Hope this helps!

      1. Thank you very much! I’ll employ these methods and see how they work for me. I’m also nervous about styling. I’m a better twister than I am braider. Are there any styles that I can use for a beginner for twisting that looks like a professional?!

  4. I am new to going natural. I have read so much on this style but have not got much information on hair care and styling for TWA. I’ve had my TWA for a month now. I co-wash about every 3 to 5 days, depending on how long my little twists last, then I use a leave in conditioner, coconut oil, and curling pudding. I let use my fingers in circular motions to twist my hair instead of a brush and let it air dry. How should I maintain it? Is my routine okay?

  5. Ariane will you explain what type of products is used for the “L” in the LOC method? I have seen ” liquid”, (what liquid?) “leave in”(I’d assume a conditioner; cream or liquid?), and liquid/leave in”. This is confusing.

    Also what are stylers?

  6. I have aloepecia which keeps me from wearing my natural hair without some type of weave added, do you have any style suggestions ?

  7. Can I get some help please! I have gone through so many hair products and I cannot find the one that works for me me! I have 3c /4a hair and I have normal porosity I’m unable to find hair products that will give my hair slip it needs. I’ve tried a regimen and being patient and since October my hair seems to be the same exact length which is very frustrating since my hair is very thick and difficult to manage w/o the right products. I eat pretty healthy and drink 3-6 bottles of water a day. I’d appreciate any help because I just feel lost. I do the LOC method, protective styling, wash hair once a week, deep condition once a week.

    1. If you have reached a length plateau and you are doing everything from “the LOC method, protective styling, wash hair once a week, deep condition once a week,” you may need a trim. Try that and see what happens. Proper hair care is less about the products and more about the techniques. Less is always more.

    2. I just did the big chop 1/9/16. I have gone through many products already. However, this past week, at the suggestion of my beautician, I tried Mielle Product. I have 4c low porosity hair. This product is not too heavy and it softens my hair! So far I really like it. I still use my Black Jamaican Castor Oil and Cantu shampoo.
      Hope this helps!
      Queen B

  8. Hi my name is Krystal . I’m literally about to go natural April 1st .. But I need to know after I wash and condition my hair and do a hot treatment oil, I need to know what do I do after tha? I I really don’t know what my hair regime should be like. I’ve always had braids or weaves in my hair for the last 3-4 years . So what should I do?????HELP!!!

  9. Hi everybody , I Am Teron
    I’ve recently began my hair regime , however I really need help on styling my hair , I keep it tied in a hair piece because it is really short now as I have cut it ( above shoulder length ) , I really need some help or a guideline on styling my hair so that it doesn’t break and grows faster.

  10. Hi my name is Marcia and I’ve decided to go natural after 35 years of Perming my hair. I will need some help and motivation to ge through this journey. Can anyone please help on products that would be best for my hair?

    1. Hi Marcia,
      Add me on facebook, I can help you with what I know 🙂 It’s fadasemasa
      Welcome to the freedom!

  11. How do you keeps our natural hair moisturized with wearing protective styles like cornrows and box braids. And how often are you suppose to trim your hair.

  12. Help.. my 4B hair will not grow! What am I doing wrong.. frustrated and ready to go back to the perm world!

    1. Have you been stretching your hair by doing alot of twistouts and braid outs? When i sleep my hair is twisted and covered with a satin head cover. Stretching your hair and oiling it with water is prob. the most important steps. Always put water n first then oil to lock in the moisture. NEVER put water in your hair without oil or you will dry out your hair, leading to more breakage. Google the right oil for 4b hair. I thought it was coconut oil but i have soon learn coconut oil is only good in the beginning. Cocunut oils seems only good for really damaged hair to add protein and shine. After a while, too much oil will begin to damage your hair. Extra virgin oil oil is good for wash days, because it smells otherwise. Try jojoba oil or something. Hope i helped.

  13. Hi, I am currently about 2-3 months post relaxer.I am transitioning. But I have no idea what my hair looks like because it is currently is braids (Marley twist) because I wanted to proctect my hair and also grow it. But question is when should I start treating my hair as if it is natural? When I take my braids out, should I pre-poo and deep condition and all that? Please help me.

    1. yes once you start transitioning you should treat it like its natural because your roots are natural and remember don’t keep your braid for more than a month or else it may start to break . so after you take the braids out you detangle your hair with your fingers or a wide tooth comb then pre poo , shampoo and deep condition then partialy dry your hair and do a twist out or something so that you will give your hair a week or two weeks break from all the weaves and braids
      good luck! i am a fellow transitionee too …you’ll get the hang of it soon

  14. I have Marley twist in right now, it’s not quite time to take them out yet but one of my braids ( the root of my hair) had started to get thin and was pulling so I decided take it out. When I took it out, my hair was all knotted. I went on YouTube to figure out what to do. So then I put some conditioner with distilled water and put it on my hair to try and detangle my hair. FAILED TREMOUNDSLY. I basically lost all my hair. And the renaming that didn’t come out is very very thin. I’m scared then when It is time to really take out my hair, It will be all gone! Please help!!!

    1. that means your marley twist must have been cut kinda tiny or too tight . when doing protective styles you should make them loose (the tracks of the weave or the braids) also dont keep your hair for more than a month. i really advice you take out the whole twist then give your hair break to rest before doing a bigger and loose style or at least loosen the front and make it bigger
      good luck!

    2. Hi in my experience wearing a half wig during transition with a small piece of hair in the front with my real hair controlled down helped me so much! The half wig doesn’t look fake like a full wig

  15. I am in the process of transitioning. My hair is relaxed but i had a short style. I do not want to cut off what is there, and that is one of the reasons why transitioning is difficult for me. I wear braids but i feel they are not good for my edges. What are some other styles I could rock so I do get frustrated a relax my hair.

  16. I have been natural for 5 years now and always were braids with it because I could not figure out how to maintain my hair to look nice. This has been tremendous amount of help. Know I know what is needed to take care of my hair. The only this site didn’t speak on is the frizz. I took that to be that once I start this it will get under control.

  17. I wash once a week. After I detangle my hair with conditioner I used a t-shirt to dry it up a little then I use a leave-in conditioner (Cantu or a Dominican leave-in), a little coconut oil, and some kind of custard or gel for the finishing touch. I want to color my hair but I am scared because last time I did it my hair ended up getting damaged. I just finished cutting off the last of it. What would you recommend for color-treated natural hair? (my texture is some where between 4b and 4c)

  18. Hello, my hair is relaxed currently but I noticed when I loosened my last hair do that the breakage was too much and also have lost most of my front hair. So now am thinking natural hair is the way forward. But to chop off all my hair I don’t think I can do that. The transitioning seems to take a while. My question is can my stopping the use of relaxer and doing other hairstyles enhance the growth of my natural hair?? Thanks for your anticipated response

    1. I had a similar problem. Hair loss and breakage. I stopped relaxing my hair and did protective weave for about 9 months to let the relaxer grow out. I have been natural for almost 2 years and I love it.

  19. This same thing happened to me, leave-out on the left and right parting. I ended up completely refraining from using heat & then slowly cutting off the damaged hair. I had to cut the rest of my hair down so the lengths weren’t as awkward. The best thing is to make sure you don’t use any heat products and moisturise x10! No other way. My hair is growing back and nearly all the same length

  20. You mention do not use products with sulfate. Is that the same as sulfur, like the hair products? If yes, I have been to a dermatologist who say it’s best for me to use products like that because I have issues with my scalps flaring up with itching, dandruff and sores. The worst case was the three symptoms listed above as well as thinning of the hair. And during each occurrence I had a curl first than a perm. Now I’m natural due to perming my hair, my hair started to come out and I had bald spots all over. My beautician said no perms for now, which has been 10 months. But when my staple flares up, medication hair products is the best for me. So what can I used if these types are products too harash for the hair.

    1. The words sulfur and sulfate in hair care products are different things. Shampoos containing sulfur are often called “medicated”. The sulfur is basically a medicine that helps with dandruff and other scalp problems.

      “Sulfates” are the surfactant, or the soap, in shampoos. Sodium lauryl sulfate is the most common surfactant used in shampoos, although there are others.

      A medicated shampoo that contains sulfur could also have a sulfate in it. In fact, they usually will. You can ask your dermatologist if sulfates are a concern, but the benefits of the sulfur medicated shampoo should outweigh the concerns about sulfates in your case.

  21. You have no choice but to cut it away (gradually). Since you are weaving, do a full weave and ask your beautician to incorporate the cut portions in. It will grow back quickly enough. Mine is already the same length as the rest of my hair. I did not do weaves. Instead I did twists in such a way that the healthy portion of hair was mixed with the damaged, but was not noticeable. Good luck

  22. Hello my hair is 4c. Last month after a took of my braids, I did a deep conditioner hair mask with banana and oils. But after I washed the deep conditioner from my hair it dried up. And I used Cantu shampoo. It is because of the shampoo or????

    1. Did you use a leave in conditioner afterwards? I haven’t used Cantu Shampoo before, but whatever shampoo you are using unless you need to clarify make sure you are buying something that says it is a moisturizing shampoo.

  23. So, I just found out I have 4B type of hair with a Low Porosity. Can you help me with suggestions on products to use in my hair and with a nice hair care regimen that’s for my hair specifically? I’m new to everything and it’s been about a year or so that I have gone natural but I’ve just kind of been trying to find my way. I’m lost please help me.

  24. Hello, I have 4c hair and High Porosity. I literally have no moisture at all. I did not always have this problem, until I relocated to NC. My hair was always 4c, but was very healthy and I guess the older I get the drier or brittle it gets. I don’t really have a problem with growth, because it grows fine, I think it could grow more if I could find a proper plan or regimen as you stated. I can barely style and sometimes I have scalp irritation, what can I do about this.
    Thanks in advance!

    1. If you are having scalp irritation, I would look very closely at the products that you are using. As far as moisture goes you must make sure you are using a water based moisturizer and you can then seal that moisture in with an oil or butter. If you are experiencing frizz make sure you are using a good leave in conditioner, leave ins are also good moisturizers.

  25. Hello , I am having trouble with my natural hair journey . I been natural since August 2015 and BC in February 2016. I am having a hard time with finding a regime for my hair. I know that I have 4C hair and not sure about High or Low Porosity . I think it’s low because it takes my hair forever to get wet and to dry and products sit on top of my hair . I need help I feel lost, I feel like my hair hasn’t grown enough as I see other naturalistas. I don’t know how or what to moisturize my hair with . I have so many questions and I feel like people are not open to lending advice for me when I reach out to them . I feel like I am doing everything wrong and would love appreciate any advice from all of you ladies ! Thank you ?

    1. try protective styling to give your hair rest so it can grow. You can also try mane choice growth oil while its in protective styling. In addition you would need to LOC method to keep it moisturize and do deep conditioning treatment every week.

  26. I just recently did the big chop. And I have no idea how often I should wash my hair. I’m in the army so I do PT every morning and I’m laying my head on the ground in dirt at least once during PT. So I was wondering is washing my hair 3 times a week two much?

    1. I rinse my hair daily with water. Shampoo less frequently, because shampoo strips oils more than a co wash will. Conditioners are not all created equal. It is important to read the labels. As a military officer you need a quick and flexible routine. I suggest cowash after your workout. Deep condition more often, and that will balance out the need for moisture. If it is long enough(not sure about military policy on hair) get some braids or a weave.

  27. I just did the big chop and I need help finding a regiment. I believe my hair type is 4c. I am in the Army so I do workout every morning and my hair gets dirt in it every morning also. I need help figuring out how frequently I should wash it.

  28. Hi I have 4c hair and I just took out my braids and my hair is still the same length I feel like my hair is literally not growing and every time I dentagle it or brush it hair falls out I don’t know if this is shedding or breakage ..ughhh I need help

    1. Hey! i would say the first thing that you may want to do is avoid braids, as they clearly do not seem to help you retain any length. Next, remember that your hair is always supposed to be growing, meaning that something is wrong either internally or externally if there is no increase in strand length. I am not sure how long you leave your hair in, how you moisturize, condition, etc., so it is hard to go from there, but if this is a consistent occurrence, then some reevaluation needs to be in order. If you are still around, please post again with some more information about your hair practices.

    1. Do you possibly have 4c hair ? As 4c hair doesn’t have a defined curl pattern without using certain products, and twisting/braiding out.

      ALSO make sure you have definitely cut all of the relaxed ends off, so they don’t weigh down your hair. You could check this by making your hair wet 🙂

  29. OK so up still having trouble developing a regiment between
    Pree poo
    cleansing or CO washing
    bentonite clay
    Henna mask/amla mask
    Deep conditioning
    Hot oil treatments
    Apple cider vinegar rinse
    green tea rinse
    rice water rinse
    Leave in conditioner
    Is this order ok ?

  30. First, you should know your hair type and from the list ingredients that could further help in nourishing hair back to a fuller look. Hair loss is a problem with many solutions you just have to find one that fits well with you and stick to it.

  31. I just started letting my hair grow. For years I had very short to the scalp hair. How should I protect my hair from breakage while sleeping.

  32. I only comb hair while conditioning after shampoo. For my hair I need the slip of conditioner in order to avoid breaking my hair off. I also make sure to seal in moisture no matter what hair style I am rocking that week. I suffer from seborrheic dermatitis and in order to avoid a flare up, in addition to some dietary changes, I opt for shampoos and conditioners that are low on chemicals and contain no synthetic fragrances. This also helps weed out so of your lower quality products. Protecting hair at night is definitely key. No matter what you are doing to achieve a moisture balance, all your efforts will be a waste of time if you are sleeping on a cotton pillowcase which can dry hair, break, or snag at hair strands. If your only concern is moisture, satin polyester is just a good as silk but if you have an issue with getting hot at night or night sweats, silk will be the superior option as it naturally regulates temperature. Not to mention its skin care benefits with anti-aging and breakouts. If your hair is up or you are rocking a pineapple a night, adding a silk scarf around the base will provide extra protection.
    @lovephoebeluna.com

  33. Hello there! First I would like to sincerely thanku for all that you shared in this article. I am FRESHLY NEW as a natural. I cut every bit of perm out of my hair and have no regrets with that. I only wish I had done better research so that I could have planned a bit better. I now know that my hair is 4c. I just am struggling with a daily and nightly regimen like I had for my permed hair. I feel this is a better place for me to start instead of trying to worry about styling and bringing out my curls. I want to know how to maintain my hair when I actually start styling it. I hope I’m on the right track with this. If I’m not, plz correct me bcz I want to listen and learn. Thanku again for sharing this info with me 🙂 may you and your luved ones stay safe and well.

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