I often get asked what my haircare regimen is and initially I didn’t really know what to tell people. It’s not that I don’t know how to care for my hair, it’s that I never viewed it as a strict “regimen.” I’m very flexible with my hair and always eager to try a new product to share with my friends. Instead of considering the following my regimen, consider it my haircare “habits.” (NOTE: This post is meant to be suggestive, and not a set of rules for you to follow! It’s important to remember that what works for my hair, may not necessarily work for yours so do not view this as some sort of Holy Grail for hair.)
1. Co-washing. I tend to co-wash my hair every 5-7 days depending on how it’s styled. If I’m doing a wash and go, then I will co-wash every other day. If my hair is straight, I will go 7 days. When I have a braid out or twist out, I tend to go 5 days. I rotate conditioners A LOT, but my favorites are Organics Coconut Milk Conditioner, Aussie Moist, Avon Advance Techniques 360 Nourish Moroccan Argan Oil Conditioner, Nexxus Pro Mend Conditioner and Eden’s Cleansing Co-Wash. I leave the conditioner in for 10 minutes and rinse 90-95% of it out. I like to leave some conditioner in my hair (not a visible amount) because it reduces frizz, helps maintain moisture and it reduces the amount of leave-in conditioner I need to use. I co-wash somewhat frequently because I like for my scalp to feel clean and I don’t really have a long drawn out wash day like I’ve read about for others with natural hair.
2. Shampoo. I only shampoo my hair about once a month and/or to rinse out henna. I use Nexxus Pro Mend Shampoo or Dove’s Moisture Shampoo. I try to apply the shampoo more to my scalp than to my hair and I don’t “scrub” the shampoo into my strands. I only focus on actively cleansing my scalp! The suds will rinse over the strands to clean them anyway. Do you use a suds-free shampoo, how do you like it compared to traditional shampoos?
3. Henna. After months of research and hesitation, I took the plunge and began hennaing my hair last fall. AND I love it. For the first three applications, I hennaed every month, and now I do it about every 6-8 weeks. I learned a lot from my hair crush Hairscapades and I follow her henna recipe. Henna is a lonnnnnnng process. You have to mix it, wait several hours for the dye to release (time varies by henna type), apply it to your hair, leave it in for 4-12 hours and then rinse, and rinse, and rinse. I usually mix the henna in the morning, apply it at night, and rinse it in the morning. I will post this weekend in detail about my henna method. Since I began using henna, my individual strands feel thicker and stronger, I have less breakage, and my previously dyed deep auburn hair is a burgundy/red. Here’s a pic of my henna mix (Jamila Henna, brewed green tea and a tablespoon of honey):
4. Deep conditioning. I deep condition at least once a month for 20-30 minutes, sometimes more often depending on how my hair feels. I love Nunaat’s Brazilian Keratin Intensive Hair Mask and Garnier Fructis Fortifying Deep Conditioner. I honestly haven’t tried a lot of deep conditioners. These two have never steered me wrong so I’ve stuck with them. Last month, I tried a “banana smoothie” homemade deep conditioner which was great. Here’s the recipe: 5 tablespoons of olive oil, 3 tablespoons of honey, 1 mashed banana, 1 egg and 3 tablespoons of milk. (NOTE: I highly recommend using a blender to mix everything because washing out the “mashed” banana took forever! The next time I use this deep conditioner, I will double the recipe. I wound up using some conditioner to double it. Also, your hair will smell like bananas, which I liked, but if bananas aren’t your thing, then don’t try this deep conditioner.)
5. Protein Treatments and Deep Conditioning. I do protein treatments once every 4-6 weeks with Aphogee 2-min Reconstructor followed by a deep conditioning treatment with one of the aforementioned deep conditioners (not the banana smoothie deep conditioner though). I use Aubrey’s GPB Conditioner for 3-5 minutes every 2 weeks to maintain a proper protein-moisture balance in my hair. (I hope all these conditioners aren’t confusing you!) I use a regular conditioner for 10 minutes after I use the Aubrey’s GPB Conditioner.
6. Trimming. I try to trim my ends when they’re split, not on a set time monthly time limit. Since I began using the Nexxus Pro Mend Shampoo and Conditioner, my split ends have been reduced I’ve only trimmed my hair twice since last March when I began using it. My last trim in October was more to even out my hair and get rid of layers than to trim split ends.
7. Styling. You can check out my favorite styling products here in a prior post. Since I co-wash my hair fairly frequently and don’t like to constantly manipulate my hair, I tend to only style it while it’s wet. I do not re-braid or re-twist my hair at night and my braid outs and twist outs last several days fine. I know everyone’s hair is different, so if your braid outs/twist outs do not last without you redoing them at night, then you should redo them. I just recommend that you do so gently to minimize shedding. You can also try braid out/twist out styles that allow you to keep the braids/twists in for a couple of days or more to make sure they last longer when you take them out. French braids are one of my go-to protective styles because I wear them for 3 days and then wear my hair out for a couple of days after with a wave pattern like this:
I’ll post Pt. 2 of my “regimen” next week with a focus on my styling techniques (detangling, retaining moisture, upkeep, etc). Do you have a strict regimen that you follow for your hair? Share your staples in the comments below!
Until next time, stay warm and keep loving those tresses!