Hello. Do you sometimes get overwhelmed by the process of caring for your natural hair? I'm not going to lie and say I absolutely love doing my hair. I am a hairstylist after all and I am bombarded with thick heads of curly, kinky hair all day long. So, I'll tell you, by the time I finally make to my own head of kinky hair I'm not quite...what's the word I'm looking for? Oh that's right, MOTIVATED!
However, I have created a way that works for me and my 4b-4c hair type and I find it a little less overwhelming. Also, I've noticed more length retention an less breakage because of it.
Perhaps you might be able to add 1 or a few of these steps to your routine and see if it make a difference in your wash day.
Gently Take Down Any Protective Style
First things first...make sure you are not in a hurry and not rushing to be somewhere. Natural hair does require a gentle hand and a bit of patience. So the more time you have the easier it will go.
Step 1- Remove any protective style keeping focus on not creating knots due to partially taken down braids or cornrows.
After all the braids are removed, separate your hair and take out any tangles that may have formed using your fingers to minimize breakage.
Finger detangling works well because you can feel a knot before your comb or brush can and can pick it apart instead or breaking or ripping out with your brush or comb.
Once thoroughly separated, section your hair in to a few sections. Use as many as you may need for your hair length and density. I usually do 4.
Apply a Pre Poo
A pre poo is used before you start shampooing the hair. It adds moisture to the hair that has now gotten dry since your last conditioning treatment. Also, it adds slip to the hair to make a more thorough detangling easier which will reduce breakage and unnecessary shedding.
I usually use something decent but not to expensive being as I'm using it to detangle my hair.
I add about 2tbsp apple cider vinegar
closes down cuticle
aids in detangling
has antibacterial properties
helps remove build up
Some conditioner - I used Tresemme' Naturals,Tresemme Botanicals ,some Coconut and Monoi deep conditioning mask and about a tablespoon of Jamaican Black Castor Oil.
Jamaican Black Castor oil benefits:
Antifungal and antibacterial properties
I mix up all the ingredients and apply it to my hair each section at a time making sure to focus on the mid-strand and the ends.
Once each section has been applied thoroughly by hand, by the time I make it back to the 1st section it has softened up and I can used my detangling brush to remove the rest of the loose hair , re-twisting each section after detangling.
Now that all my hair has been detangled I put on a plastic cap and allow my hair to sit for about 30 mins before moving on to the next step. Now I can get a snack, rest my shoulders, just take a little break.
Time To Cleanse
Now time for the fun part, 😂. This is my cleansing step.
I find it difficult to wash my hair in the shower because it takes a while, a lot of water is being wasted in the shower and all the hair that's left to clean up, yada, yada, yada...
So I use a towel and a tint bottle to wash my hair. The tint bottle works for me because I find I use less shampoo and it directs all the cleanser towards my roots and scalp which is where I really want the product to go. When I use shampoo directly out of the bottle its difficult for me to work it down to my roots and remove buildup. So, my mixture is a moisturizing sulfate shampoo, a little Jamaican black castor oil, apple cider vinegar, essential oils, and water.
Focus on scrubbing the scalp remove build up and oils. You don't want to rub the hair, that will cause matting and tangling.
Once each section has be thoroughly cleansed, its time to rinse. I usually rinse my head in the sink or bath tub and make sure to open each twist and wash out all of the pre poo and cleanser.
Re-twist each section and now its time to condition.
Now that I've finished rinsing my hair, I apply conditioner with my fingers to each twisted section. Using my detangle brush, starting from the ends, I distribute the conditioner to make sure each strand is coated and re twist each section after brushing.
Apply plastic cap and let sit for 30 mins.
Once finished processing, I hop in the shower and rinse my hair. Now that I don't have as much shedding in the shower nor am I wasting as much water. I untwist each section and allow the water to rinse all the conditioner. I try not to use water that's too hot.
All the work that was to used add moisture, I want to lock it in. The good thing about a detachable shower head is that you can use it to rinse your head only after you've finished bathing. This way you can use cool water to rinse your hair and scalp without the shock of cold water hitting your body. Although using cold water to rinse the body is actually proven to reduce inflammation. Also, using hot water to bathe is bad for your skin, scalp and hair as it dries them out.
Apply Leave-in Conditioner
Now I apply my leave-in conditioner and serums to damp hair not wet hair. I apply it the same way I apply my rinse out conditioner. I apply it to each twisted section of hair, distribute it through and return it to the twists so the hair has a chance to absorb the conditioner while the twists allow the hair to stay damp and not dry out before I've had a chance to get to it.
Tension Blow Dry
I like to tension blow dry kinky hair as least for a while before I apply a paddle brush. I helps me reduce the amount of pulling and tugging that would come from brushing while the hair was wet. I dry my hair one section at a time and plat it up to keep it stretched when I am ready to move on to the next step. Really this is the only heat I use on my hair and this isn't even every time I wash. Sometimes I let it air dry more times than not but in the colder months I blow dry. I feel like my scalp retains more moisture when I air dry also.
It can seem tedious to keep twisting and re-twisting but it actually save me time because everything is in its own neat package and it prevents it from coiling up and tangling up with the rest of the hair and reduces the amount of manipulation I have to do.
Oil And Moisturize
Now after everything has been dried and platted, I moisturize my hair and scalp and do a little scalp massage. I try and spread the oil thorough each section as I unbraid the sections of hair.
Now I am ready to style my hair. Today I just did two simple French braids. I'll tuck the ends under and I'm ready to go.
That concludes my wash day routine. Natural and curly hair is delicate that requires a little patience and time. I've had a lot of learning experience on my hair and I've had opportunity to learn what works and what doesn't.
Hopefully, it was helpful and offered some insight into what you can do to improve your routine if you don't already have one.
Leave a comment if you have a different technique or if you feel like this helped you in any way. I'd love to hear from you!