My Current Natural Hair Routine
Its that time again… you know, when we talk about my current natural hair routine. And what better way to begin my Journey to Longer Natural Hair than to get a good routine going for the summer!
Okay, so I will admit, it has been about a year since I posted my current natural hair routine. Why so long? Well, I guess because my routine hasn’t really changed since then. I was rocking my wash and go’s and basically using the same products. And then wedding planning happened, and most everything having to do with hair flew out the window because all my focus was on the wedding.
So I’s married now, and getting back in the blogging saddle. I am also beginning my journey to longer natural hair. So what better way to begin this journey than by planning out my course with a routine I can stick to.
Summer of Protective Styling
For my newest routine, I have decided to leave my hair alone. Well, kinda basically. What I’m really doing is keeping my hair in protective styles so that I am not constantly in it. I have this bad habit of always being in my hair, and I think this is one of the reasons for my hair-growth plateau. BUT, having your hair in protective styling does not necessarily mean ‘leave it alone’; while natural hair is in a protective style, it should still be cleansed, conditioned, and moisturized. Deep conditioning is also an absolute must; and the occasional protein treatment can’t hurt. So when I say leave it alone, I actually mean do my routine, put in my protective style, and then add some oil to my scalp and hair while it is in the protective style, as well as watch out for buildup so I know when I should cleanse it. So, yeah, “leave it alone” and all. lol
So I wash and deep condition really well, let it sit, and add more conditioner by the way of a leave-in. Then I put my hair in a protective style and leave it alone. Of course, I oil my scalp and watch for buildup so I’m not neglecting my hair care; but for the most part, my hair is being left to catch itself and grow without my interference or manipulation.
Marley / Havana Twists
This is my current and third protective style. Well, technically my second for this season, but who’s counting?
I put them in myself using the twist method that I read about and watched on YouTube. This method is far more complicated than just braiding them in and I’m not sure which method is better (I have had to redo a few the first week); but so far so lovin’ these big juicy twists!
Here is my pre-install routine:
*I always let me hair breathe for at least 2 days before putting it back up in braids or twists.
Apple Cider Vinegar in my scalp. Massage. Rinse. Ready to wash
I am the Queen of the CoWash! lol However, when my hair has been up for a few weeks and I finally take it down, I like to cleanse with shampoo. Most of the time its sulfate-free, but to be completely honest, sometimes it isn’t.
I section my hair into four sections and really concentrate on scrubbing my scalp with my fingertips. I let the shampoo sit for a minute while I scrub the other three sections. Then I add a bit more and make sure I get the hair around my perimeter. I massage my scalp and strands before rinsing it out really well. I don’t usually need to repeat since my pre-wash takes care of any buildup.
Before I condition, I will slather my Aphogee 2-Minute Reconstructing Protein Treatment on each section. I do not comb or detangle. I just make sure I rub the treatment through really well. Then I put on a plastic cap (or bag) and leave it in for 15-30 minutes. Afterwards, I wash it out – no comb or brush.
This is the first condition. I use a regular conditioner to detangle so I don’t leave it in that long. I always follow a protein treatment with a nice moisturizing deep conditioner; however, I like for my hair to be completely detangled first. So I use a regular conditioner (or my Aussie Moist deeeeep 2 minute conditioner if I need a quick burst of slippage) for detangling.
I have always detangled with my wide-tooth comb in the shower under running water or with my head in the sink under the running water. Never without running water. But as part of my journey to longer natural hair, I’ve decided to try out (or retry) finger detangling. Honestly, I have never been a fan. I really hate the feeling of loose hair between my fingers, and I never know what to do with that hair, especially when I’m in the shower. I get impatient, and either rip my strands or just don’t finish correctly detangling my hair. I just prefer the cleaner detangling of the wide-tooth comb. At least the hair will stay in the comb when I use my wide tooth comb; but I have heard that using my fingers will be far more beneficial to the growth of my hair in the long run, so I will give it a try and do some more comparison research.
Either way, during this part of my routine, I detangle my hair.
This does not mean using one of my regular conditioners and leaving it in for several minutes. I actually have separate conditioners for my co-washes, regular conditioners, deep conditioners, and leave in conditioners.
I love a good masque. My favorites are from Shea Moisture, Organix, and Pantene (yes…). I like to slather a nice amount on my detangled sectioned hair and let it sit under a plastic cap for an hour or more. Masque’s are generally not used for detangling. That is what a good moisturizing conditioner is for. Your masque may leave your hair super-moisturized, bu it was not made to allow your comb to slip through your hair. Now I don’t always have time for a several hour hair routine, but most times I like to make sure the deep conditioner is in there a long time. Especially since I plan on wearing a protective style.
This is where I like to follow the LOC method. I will start with a good leave-in; my favorite is Aloe Vera Juice straight out of the fridge. I also like Infusium’s leave in conditioners – they are liquid and make my hair feel great. In fact, I tend to gravitate towards a more liquid leave in, especially since I will be using a cream to close.
Coconut. Castor. Take your pick. I rub oil into my hands and slide them into each section, making sure to reach as much of my hair as possible. I always make sure that I part the section and distribute the oil throughout.
I do not use heat to dry my hair. Period. I’ve found that I do not need to do so in order to have my hair stretched for braiding or twisting. I put each section in several plaits (Americans call all of it braids – plaits are single braids that are not connected to the scalp like cornrows) per section. This helps my very thick hair to dry and stretch naturally at the same time. I will often put on my satin cap and go to bed; or sleep on my satin pillowcase without the cap for faster drying overnight.
I haven’t forgotten about the last part of the LOC Method. I always wait to add a cream to my hair before installing a protective style. So as I am sectioning my hair and getting it ready for… Marley Twists, for example… I will slather a nice amount of creamy moisturizer (like the awesome goodness of Shea Moisture conditioners in the pump) on the section before adding the Marley hair and twisting.
And then I twist. It takes a bit of time, but I make sure I do them tight enough to last, but not so tight that I damage my hair underneath.
I don’t really leave my hair alone while it is in protective styles. I keep castor oil, or other oils, around with an eyedropper so I can oil my sectioned scalp while it is up. My favorite thing to do is to apply oil directly to my scalp and massage lightly. Then I pull my hair up into a bun (if at night, I fling it up into a messy bun on top of my head; if in the morning, I style my hair in the bun for the day), hop into the shower, and let the steam do its thing.
I also look for any buildup and, if I notice any, will take a bit of warm water and apple cider vinegar and put a little on my sectioned scalp and gently rub buildup away. Then I commence with the oil and moisture.
Every girl loves to smell good (I hope to GOD this applies to ALL women!); and one of my favorite moisturizing sprays also works as a hair perfume. THANK YOU Oyin Handmade for your awesome Greg Juice! My nappies love this stuff.
My favorite Marley twist style is my high bun. I wear this most days of the week and find it easier to pull up as I get more practice. Those extra long hairpins from the beauty supply store are a lifesaver!
So there you have it! My protective styling routine from beginning to end.
Questions? Comments? Leave them in the comment section below.