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.
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 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!
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.
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