My 2015 Natural Hair Regimen & Product Guide


Craig... Craig, can I borrow your product guide?

 Hola Chicas,

It's been a disrespectfully long time since I've updated my natural hair care regimen.  So long, that when I began compiling the deets, ish got outta hand and a couple of paragraphs turned into a whole, entire dissertation.


Read On!>>>

My Fall/Winter 2013 Natural Hair Regimen

#ChunkyFlatTwistnIt #BobbinIt
Keeping that shape tight with flexis!  I do my own cuts now with these joints
Hola Chicas!

So, my Fall/Winter 2013 routine is a 2011 throwback.  It's pretty much identical, save for a few new products and techniques.

The theme for this season... Functional Protection. Mainly because of time, but also because there's the issue of the second head I'm responsible for and I'm just damn tired!

Read On!>>>

My Fall 2012 Routine- The WDTM&G


The last few months have been all about the Wash, Do The Most & Go (WDTM&G) and the forecast for the foreseeable is much of the same, 'cause I'm feeling myself *brushes shoulder off*.

Here's a quick look at the routine-
  • Re-style (wash or co-wash) two or three times a week.  I shampoo on the weekend. Generally, unless I have a rough night, I only style on Sundays and Wednesdays.
  • Out styles 99% of the time (down or puff)
  • Henna once a month (at least, alternating between just roots and full head treatments)
  • Light oil every day, especially on ends 
  • Pre-'poo religiously 
  • Daily multi vitamin + daily Biotin + half my body weight in ounces of water
  • Sleep with my hair out on a satin pillow case, well, 'cause I don't know what else to do!  Pineappling isn't working and bonnets smash the curls and I hate re-wetting daily.  
For those that want the nitty gritty, know that I follow one of three WDTM&G techniques depending upon the mood I'm in- The Tracee, The Pippi or The Unicorn.  I only do The Tracee once a week (because it incorporates the use of a modified Denman), and The Pippi and Unicorn get used interchangeably... whatevs.  All three aim to yield clumpier, more consistent, defined results on my naturally very piece-y, skinny curls, and most have similar steps.  The night before wash day, I do a pre-poo with coconut oil and then the morning of, I apply yogurt on top of that. So without further ado, check out the deets-


The Tracee (Ellis Ross, that is. This routine incorporates several of Tracee's curl defining tips)

  • An hour before I shower, I apply a deep conditioner/yogurt treatment to my dry hair and don a plastic cap.  To generate heat, sometimes I'll wear a beanie or my heat cap w/out microwaving it.
  • Hop in the shower and rinse.
  • Thoroughly saturate hair with water and divide into two (left and right).
  • Cleanse hair with co-wash or mild shampoo (it depends upon the state of my hair but I generally use a mild shampoo once a week, on Sunday, and use a co-wash the other wash session)-- one side at a time. Rinse thoroughly.
  • Generously apply a slippery conditioner, usually Aussie Moist or Tresemme Naturals, to both sides in a smooshing motion.
  • Pass my head back under the water stream for a second, for better distribution and added slip.
  • Add even more conditioner
  • Clip the hair up and out of the way to complete shower rituals.
  • Take down the right side and section out the back piece near my neck. Pin up the rest.  I finger detangle thoroughly and then, using the Denman, brush through once or twice for smoothing and curl clumpage.   The Denman creates what looks like finger waves on my conditioner laden curls.  Next, I section out another piece, and follow the same routine- finger detangle then brush once or twice.  Sometimes,  I create a hair sandwich where I'll use one hand to hold the brush and the other hand to smooth the hair as I pull the brush through.  I end up with about 6-8 sections per side.   
  •  Once all the hair on each side has been finger detangled and smoothed and clumped with the Denman, I rinse the right side.  I hold the clumped curls in the palm of my hand and stand under the shower stream, allowing the water to gently rinse away the conditioner.  I do the same on the left.  I rinse 100% of the conditioner. 
  • I then use the praying hands method to wring away some of the excess water and get out of the shower.
  •  Finally, I apply my cream styler of choice in a smooshing motion (not raking, as I don't want to disturb the curls I just created with the Denman) to the right side, then the left.  I finger twirl any frizzy bits and smooth product down the length of any curls that didn't clump, using my fingers like a flat iron. 
I usually sit under the dryer for 15 minutes to get things going and air dry the rest of the way.  Sometimes, I'll hit the roots with the blow dryer for extra hangage :)

Pros
  • Massive curl clumps- That Denman is a beast!
  • Even definition 
  • Thorough detangling 
  • Decent drying time if you use a quick drying curl cream 
Cons
  • The Denman, (aka Shredder) and I have a long and sordid history... a love/hate relationship if you will.  I'm pretty sure it caused split ends in the past, but I was also using it differently.  I was using it to define my curls later in the styling routine... like on hair that was just damp with a little leave-in on it.  I found that it had more drag and pulled more hair out, as well as left my roots very puffy.  I've also used it as my sole detangling tool with disastrous results. Using it after finger detangling to clump my curls in the shower, protected by a thick layer of conditioner, may be the way to go.  I'll pay attention to my ends and keep y'all posted.  
  •  The Denman leaves me shrinkier, even when wet, so you know what it is, lol.  My hair dries much shorter than usual, which is actually not a con for me because it exaggerates the shape of my cut. 

Fall 2011 Natural Hair Regimen and Products



My fall routine is pretty much identical to the summer one. Only I'm retiring the magnetic rollers 'cause I ain't got the patience, the blow fryer 'cause my ends ain't got the strength, and the tools 'cause I ain't got the bulk to lose. The theme for this season... Functional Protection. Mainly because of time, but also because occasionally you just need a break from your hair. I'm there... we need some time apart!

Here's a quick look at my Fall regimen--

  • Wash once or twice a month
  • Curlformers to stretch
  • No combs or brushes... fingers only... for everything
  • Rock twists 99% of the time
  • Henna once a month (at least)
  • Oil every day
  • Moisturize every 3 days
  • Protective styling
  • Satin bonnet scarf, every night, no exceptions
For those that want the nitty gritty--

Every 2-4 weeks, I remove my twists, and-

  • Apply a deep conditioner and/or oil to my dry hair, apply a plastic cap and heat cap for 15 mins.
  • Hop in the shower and rinse.
  • Thoroughly saturate hair with water and divide into two (left and right).
  • Cleanse hair with shampoo-- one side at a time. Rinse thoroughly.
  • Apply a slippery conditioner, usually Aussie Moist, to both sides in a smooshing motion.
  • Pass my head back under the water stream for a second, for better distribution and added slip.
  • Clip the hair up and out of the way to complete shower rituals.
  • Take down the right side and finger detangle a bit -- detangling the rest under the water stream with fingers only. Follow up with the left side. If the conditioner is washed away and tangles are left, I add more conditioner, and repeat. The power of the water stream and the slip of the conditioner should make detangling a breeze! *Since my hair was previously detangled and in twists, this step takes no where near as long as it used to!*
  • Hop out of the shower and allow hair to dry for 15-30 minutes... blot excess moisture. Apply Lacio Lacio leave-in and oil.
  • Stretch the hair with Curlformers.
  • Allow to set overnight until dry.
  • Remove the rollers and finger comb through the curls with oil. Wear hair in two big flat twists, or one high bantu knot, or a bun, or, most often, chunky twists.
  • For chunky twists, I do 10-11 twists total, 5 on each side (two in the back, one above my ear, one framing my face, and one immediately behind that one), and one at the crown.
  • Start with the back- left side. Finger detangle with a little oil to smooth and twist. After the twists are complete, I apply Qhemet's Cocoa Ghee or the Lacio Lacio to the length of each twist, focusing on the ends. I don't use much... just enough to lightly dampen and moisturize. This also helps the twists to set.
  • Once all the twists are complete and slightly damp (from the moisturizer), I tie on a satin scarf, leaving the twists dangling, but the crown secure to control the frizzies. I then tie on my satin bonnet scarf. This is how I sleep.
  • I leave my hair in twists 99% of the time, rocking them under hats, or pulled back. Nothing fancy.

twists are moisturized, oiled and pinned up

tucked away for safe keeping under my satin bonnet scarf

Made less frumpy with a slouchy beanie

To maintain the twists-
  • Re-moisturize at least twice a week, re-twisting frizzy twists whenever necessary.
  • Oil EVERY.SINGLE. DAY. It keeps my hair soft and pliable. I usually do this at night before going to bed.
  • Heated moisture/oil treatment at least once a week
For when I wanna get 'cute' (once a week)-
  • Add moisturizer to the ends, and roll the last few inches of each twist on a skinny flexi rod. Or pin curl the end with a bobby pin.
  • Allow to fully dry.
  • Remove the rollers, and release the twists.
  • Fluff and go!
  • Later that evening or the next day, I re-twist using the steps above.

PRODUCTS:

Shampoos-

-KeraCare Natural Textures Cleansing Cream
-Elucence Moisture Benefits Shampoo

Deep Conditioners-
-Jessicurl TooShea
-Curl Junkie Rehab Moisturizing Hair Treatment

Detangling Conditioner-
Aussie Moist

Leave-in-
Lacio Lacio

Moisturizer-

- Qhemet Biologics Cocoa Tree Detangling Ghee

Oils-

-Treasured Lock's African Argan Oil Elixir
-Castor and Moringa Softening Serum

Tools/Accessories-
-CurlFormers

-Hair Therapy Wrap
-Slouchy Beanie
-Satin Bonnet Scarf

Henna-
-Mehandi.com


*NOTES:


-I believe this routine works for me because (1) I only work out 2-3 times a week, and (2) I don't have a true 9-5... my chunky (and in my case, scalpy, lol) twists are worn around town, in the house, and to my appointments with clients. If I had to be 'in public' more, I'd feel the need to change up my look and professionalize it a bit.

- I've learned that applying the wet product to my loose, dry hair, can sometimes cause tangles and matting, but applying it to the twists prevents the drama. Thus, I often apply the moisturizer AFTER I twist.

-If you noticed, I apply my leave-in to damp (not wet) hair that has been gently blotted. This prevents the excess water from diluting the effects of the conditioner/moisturizer.

-I've reincorporated henna and apply it to my dirty, dry hair prior to my bi-monthly washing.

-If you're a stretcher, get some CurlFormers. It's the most effective method I've used to date.


What does your fall routine look like?

2011 Summer Regimen- Natural Hair Routine


Long overdue? Sorry. But I've been super busy, super tired, and also wanted to make sure I genuinely liked the routine before posting! In sum, I 'do' my hair once a month, bi-weekly at most. I'm in twists 90% of the time, and add rollers to the ends to rock a (dry set) Twist-n-Curl every now and again. My hair is almost never out. Moisturizing and daily oiling are key components of my regimen. I must say, I'm pretty happy. I originally arrived here because I love the volume and chunkiness of a dry twist-out... my laziness to re-style resulted in long stints in twists. It's been an amazing time saver now that 'momming' is my top priority, and I like that it's totally functional, allowing me to 'get cute' at will. So here goes;


Every third Saturday of the month, I remove my twists, and-

  • Apply a deep conditioner and/or oil to my dry hair, apply plastic cap and heat cap for 15 mins.
  • Hop in the shower and rinse thoroughly.
  • Thoroughly saturate hair with water in the shower, and divide into two (left and right).
  • Cleanse hair with shampoo-- one side at a time.
  • Apply a slippery conditioner to both sides in a smooshing motion (usually Aussie).
  • Pass my head back under the shower stream for a second, for better distribution and added slip.
  • Clip the hair up and out of the way while I complete shower rituals.
  • Take down the right side and finger detangle a bit -- detangling the rest under the water stream with Ouidad Double Detangler after the big knots are out. Follow up with the left side. If the conditioner is washed away and tangles are left, I add more conditioner, and repeat. The power of the water stream and the slip of the conditioner should make detangling a breeze! *Since my hair was previously detangled and in twists, this step takes no where near as long as it used to!*
  • Hop out of the shower and allow hair to dry for 15-30 minutes... blot with microfiber towel. Apply a leave-in moisturizer and oil.
  • Stretch the hair. Depending on time and mood, I will either (1) make 8-10 chunky twists or braids- 4 or 5 on each side, (2) roller-set, or (3) blow dry hair in sections on warm, concentrating on the roots, and skipping the ends. **This step is to stretch the hair for the 'real' style**. You could also pull the hair into a bun, do cornrows, or band. I like to roller-set... and it's usually a piss poor set because I'm rushing.
  • Allow to set until dry. If you blew it out (and didn't wet set to stretch), proceed to the next step!
  • Take down the twists (or braids or rollers) and finger detangle if necessary. Divide hair into two. I now prepare to twist my dry hair.
  • I do 10-11 twists total, 5 on each side (two in the back, one above my ear, one framing my face, and one immediately behind that one), and one at the crown.
  • Start with the back- left side. Finger detangle to smooth, apply a pea sized amount of your chosen moisturizer, and twist. Move on to the next one. I've learned that using a water based product gets the job done just fine... for me, adding water results in frizzier twists and a frizzier set.
  • Complete all twists in the same manner-- adding your moisturizer of choice along the way.
  • Once all the twists are complete and slightly damp (from the moisturizer), I tie on a satin scarf, leaving the twists dangling, but the crown secure to control the frizzies. I then tie on my satin bonnet.
  • I leave my hair in twists 90% of the time, rocking them under my summer hats, or pulled back. Nothing fancy.

To maintain the twists-

  • Re-moisturize at least twice a week, re-twisting frizzy twists whenever necessary
  • Oil EVERY.SINGLE. DAY. It keeps my hair soft and pliable.
  • Heated moisture/oil treatment at least once a week

For when I wanna get 'cute' (once a week usually)-

  • Add moisturizer to the ends, and roll the last few inches of each twist on a skinny flexi rod.
  • Allow to fully dry
  • Remove the rollers, and release the twists
  • Apply a pea sized amount of Aveda Anti- Humectant Pomade
  • Fluff and go!
  • Later that evening or the next day, I re-twist using the steps above

PRODUCTS:

Shampoos I'm using-


-CURLS Curlicious Curls Cleansing Cream
-KeraCare Natural Textures Cleansing Cream
-Elucence Moisture Benefits Shampoo***

Deep Conditioners I'm using-

-Jessicurl TooShea
-Curl Junkie Rehab Moisturizing Hair Treatment

Leave-in I'm using-

Salerm 21

Moisturizers I'm Using-


- Qhemet Biologics Cocoa Tree Detangling Ghee***
-CURLS Curl Souffle

Oils I'm Using
-

-Treasured Lock's African Argan Oil Elixir (unscented... I like that it's non-oily, but has more of a serum consistency which helps with frizz, hold, and truly locks in moisture. I'm talking seriously SMOOTH and soft hair.)
-Burts Bees Nourishing Baby Oil (full of porosity reducing ceramides)

Serums/Anti-Humectants I'm Using-

-Sabino Lok and Blok
-Aveda Anti-Humectant Pomade***

Tools I'm Using-

-Ouidad Double Detangler (in the shower)
-
Fingers ONLY, throughout the month
-Flexi-rods for dry Twist-n-Curl (I use the smallest size... turquoise... $2 for 6 at local BSS)
-Jumbo Magnetic rollers (if I roller-set to stretch)
-Andis Blow Dryer (if I blow-out to stretch)

Heat Cap
-

I own the 'micro heat cap' which has been discontinued in most places. But a very similar product can be purchased HERE... I now have one and like it better than the old one!


***absolute favorites!

NOTES:

-A note on stretching- Remember, the blow dryer is our frenemy and should be used minimally... once a month at the most. The look of a twist-out on blown out hair is unmatched... very Joan Clayton. BUT, I would reserve it for special occasions. If you don't have time to do a wet set (rollers or twists) to stretch your hair in preparation for your dry set, you can blow dry your hair on warm, concentrating on the roots, and skipping the ends. Remember to use a heat protectant, Sabino is a great one!

-I believe this routine works for me because (1) I no longer workout (scold me later!), and (2) I don't have a true 9-5... my chunky (and in my case, scalpy, lol) twists are worn around town, in the house, and to my appointments with clients that I've worked with for years. If I had to be 'in public' more, I'd feel the need to change up my look.

- I've learned that applying the wet product to my loose, dry hair, can sometimes cause tangles and matting, but applying it to the twists prevents the drama. Thus, I often apply the moisturizer AFTER I twist.

-If you noticed, I apply my deep conditioner and leave-in to damp (not wet) hair that has been gently blotted. This prevents the excess water from diluting the effects of the conditioner.

-If I'm feeling fancy, the night before my monthly washing, I'll henna. I missed last month, but have plans for a June henna session!

My Grow-Out Challenge Routine



Hola Chicas!

Like Kim Coles, for me, the Grow-Out Challenge will encompass more than just hair. During this 6 month journey, I will challenge myself to:

(1) Compartmentalize my life and learn to be present
(2) Eat healthier, minimally processed foods, and resume my regular work out routine
(3) Achieve the BIGGEST hair I can- keeping more strands and retaining length

break, break down:

(1) The blog has grown to monumental proportions, and while I greatly enjoy keeping you dolls abreast on all things curly, sometimes I find myself a bit distracted from real life. That, plus my psychotherapy career, managing a household, and living with a man who is currently dissertating (sweet baby Jesus give me strength)... let's just say the plate is full. Did I mention we'll probably be relocating this year? Oh, and I still have to fulfill the renewal requirements for my therapy license. So yeah. Dayum.

I notice that even when I put the computer down and turn off my cell (which I HAVE to do or else I compulsively check it every 5 minutes), my mind is still on work. I can be out with Gene and Gia, or enjoying a stolen moment alone, and find myself stressing over that interview I haven't transcribed yet, or worried if Ms. X really was suicidal yesterday. I'm juggling a lot, but I know that there must be some schedule, some routine that I can develop that will allow me to be successful at what I do, while enjoying the present. Still figuring it out...

(2) For the first time in my life, I'm truly thankful for my petite stature... my chicken legs. Thankful that I was predisposed to lose that baby weight, which I think was mostly water. However, according to the results of my last 2 physicals, my cholesterol is a teeny bit high. What can I say? I love bacon... it's good for me.

While pregnant (out of fear of gaining excessively), I walked 3 miles daily, and ate rather healthy... save for the occasional strawberry pancakes. I gained 40 pounds, and now, at 5 months post-partum, have lost 42 pounds. YAY! Now that I'm back down and feeling like Nikki, many of my old habits have returned. When I say old habits, I don't mean habits from 2001. Long before I became preggers I had changed my lifestyle... eating whole grains, avoiding fried foods, sodas, sugary sweets, and drinking lots and lots of water. My problem is, I'll go hard and jump on the wagon for 2 weeks, only to fall off head first.

My weakness- - fried things with cheese. oh, and cakes, cookies, and pies.

When I was pregnant I felt guilty for eating fatty, sugary things and could convince myself to opt for something healthier but still filling. Now that it's just me, I find myself in line at Popeye's, Mayflower, and our local soul food establishment multiple times weekly. mmmm... fried okra. I eat a lot of fast food because I can't fry things myself out of fear of being popped by grease.

I'm also a fair weather exerciser- I only walk in the spring and fall because I hate the heat, hate the cold, and hate the treadmill.

All of that to say, during these 6 months, I'm off the stuff. Fried stuff... except for once a week. Other than that, it's the Trader Joe's freezer section for me. I'm eating oatmeal and fruit smoothies for breakfast, packing lunch, and cooking dinner. And starting today, I'm walking again :-)

(3) I'm still losing hair by the fist-fulls. The strands that have managed to hang on are dry and at times, crunchy. I'm trimming tomorrow and officially starting my GOC routine. My goal is not for longer hair (I'm comfortable at my current length), but for greater volume. A chin to shoulder length bob is my ideal length and frames my face well.

Every two weeks:
  • Detangle dry hair in sections with fingers first, following up with the Ouidad Double Detangler. Twist each section as I go to keep hair from re-tangling.
  • Wash in twists with Elucence Moisture Benefits Shampoo
  • Deep condition (in twists) with Myhoneychild Olive You, Jessicurl Weekly Deep Conditioner, or Curl Junkie Rehab Moisturizing Hair Treatment and my micro heat cap for 30 minutes
  • Rinse (hair still in twists) and air dry for 15-20 minutes
  • Divide bigger twists into smaller twists using KeraCare Leave-in or CURLS Milkshake. This step stretches my natural curl to prevent fairy knots.
  • Seal the ends with shea butter
  • Air dry over night
  • Free form curly bun (using a Goody Ouchless band) until Friday
  • On weekends, I'll dry Twist-n-Curl if I have plans (detangling with my fingers and the Ouidad Double Detangler, using CURLS Curl Souffle to set), wear it out for 2-3 days, and then bun again.
  • I'll repeat the bun/Twist-n-Curl routine twice before re-washing. My hair will be bunned 90% of the time.
Nightly:
  • When bunning- I will either (1) loosen the bun, apply shea to edges, and tie with a scarf, or (2) remove the bun, moisturize, re-bun, apply shea to my edges, and tie down with a scarf.
  • When wearing it out- pineapple and sleep on satin
Daily:
  • Drink at least 64 oz of water (I add a little cranberry juice)
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet
  • Take Rainbow Light Prenatal One, Slow Release Iron, Sublingual Liquid B Complex, and my birth control ;)
Monthly:
  • HENNA GLOSS

In the words of my late English teacher, this note is starting to get verbose, and I've had more than a few glasses of wine. I'll check in soon!

Later Gators,
Nik

Besides healthy hair, what else will you be working on during the #KimColesGOC?

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