Everything Ain’t for Everybody!


by Toia B of LuvToBnatural

…in my effort to get the point across, you will excuse the poor grammar in the title. LOL!

I really could just stop at the title, but I feel the need to expound just a bit.

Read On!>>>

The Importance of a Consistent Hair Regimen


by Toia B of Luvtobnatural.com

We can spend a load on the latest thing to get THE perfect hair, but guess what? All those products, pills and hair potions can mean nothing if you lack consistency!



Yep. Finding the right products for your hair is only half the battle. Once you’ve got that together, it’s a good idea to figure out a regular schedule of washing, conditioning and moisturizing that works best for you, otherwise known as a regimen. YOU. Not your BFF or your favorite YouTuber. You! There’s no one strict rule for every natural as to the frequency of their regimen. 

Natural Girls Be Like... #WashDay





This #WashDay meme spread like wildfire in the natural hair community, and while utterly hilarious (ranch dressing and a Bible though?), this fun-poking photo does hold a grain of truth.

I've come to realize that many naturals and transitioners simply do entirely too much on wash day.

As hilarious as this meme is (I get the giggles all over again just looking at each item individually) it'd be nice if wash day wasn't a joke.

Here are three key ways to make wash day a little more manageable, and a little less, well, see above.

Life, Love and Pursuit of Protective Styling


Pic1: my natural hair  Pic2: my weave


by Tammy Goodson of CurlyChic

Protective styling is not something I’ve been too successful at in the past but I respect it. I know that it has its place in the natural hair universe so I acknowledge its existence. I’ve always embraced the idea of it – I mean it makes sense. It is in line with all things sacred as it pertains to healthy hair and length retention:

• Protect the ends
• Low manipulation

Read On!>>>

Should I Change My Hair Care Regimen for the Winter?


READER QUESTION: Do I really need to change my hair care regimen as the weather cools? If so, what do you recommend?

CURLYNIKKI's RESPONSE: Regimen tweaks are truly something to consider as the seasons change. Your curls, which are already prone to dryness, crave even more moisture the cooler and drier it gets. It is advised that we avoid humectants in the winter. Common humectants include honey, glycerin, panthenol, hydrolized wheat protein, and propylene glycol. These ingredients are great summer staples because they draw moisture from the humid air into our thirsty strands. But during the winter, they can have the opposite effect, potentially drawing out the moisture from our strands into the drier atmosphere. For this reason, I shelve many of my favorite conditioners and stylers until summer rolls back around. I don't, however, avoid humectants in products that I rinse out, such as my instant conditioners and deep treatments.

Read On!>>>

Caring for Natural Hair in College



Hey College Curlies! Feeling a little lost when it comes to caring for your hair now that you’ve moved out? Here are some simple tips you can try to find your curly way amongst your new world away from home. With these tips, you’ll be well on your way to being the campus Curly Ambassador.

1. Pick a Wash Day
Depending on your school schedule, pick a day you don’t have much to do. Going longer than a week to wash your hair is a no-no. You don’t want to cause tangles and breakage or even matting (locing) by avoiding your wash day. Managing your time to care for yourself is crucial to your health and beauty! If you have classes everyday of the week, pick Saturday as your wash day and use Sunday to style your hair.

Read On!>>>

LOC Method: The Hair Routine Every Curly Should Know!



If your curls absorb more water than a Sham Wow towel yet they’re forever crying out for more moisture, then it may just be time to try out the LOC method.

The LOC method has been abuzz on the natural hair forums for its ability to let curlies go days without having to remoisturize their curls. LOC is an abbreviation for leave in conditioner, oil and cream. The name itself signifies the products a curly should apply as well as the order in which to apply them, making it an easy-to-remember curly routine.

Read More>>>

A Heat Styling Regimen for Natural Hair

*With cooler months approaching, I thought I'd repost for those that want to switch things up!*


by Alicia James of MsAliciaJames.com

When I found Youtube I decided that I would NEVER use heat on my natural hair. I developed this big fear of damage and a whole lot of other things. Once I became a little more comfortable with my hair and started to develop my own personal regimen, my opinion regarding the use of heat on my natural hair changed.

I did not start using heat in my natural hair journey until I turned two years natural. When I turned two years I did my first blow out. After blow drying my hair for the first time I found that I really enjoyed the stretch and the benefits I got from the stretched hair.

Read More>>>

A Bunning Routine for Natural Hair Length Retention


Pamela writes:

I only wash my hair once a month and in between styling sessions, I keep it bunned. I hear the same question from everyone-- how do you keep your hair looking so shiny and clean?

Read On>>>

Easy Braid-out for Natural Hair



by Shelli of Hairscapades

I was going through my phone to delete some pics (I’m too embarrassed to admit how many pics I have and how many are selfies … but, let’s just say, too many ), and came across this braid-out that I never shared. The things that make this braid out notable for me are that I achieved it with minimal products and styling!

Natural Hair Routines- What to Do When You Don’t Have the Time


By Susan Walker of Earthtones Naturals 

It’s been a challenge lately to make time for myself to take care of my hair. Maybe you can relate. I have two young children, I work full-time and my weekends are jam packed with activities and events. Somewhere in there I need to wash, deep condition, style my hair, wait for it to dry properly in order for me to go about my business. While I typically have a routine in place it’s been completely disrupted recently due to weekend events.

Read On>>>

Natural Hair Regimen- 6 Time Savers



Summer is over, and school is back in session. That means busy moms, kids, college curlies, and working naturals are once again squeezed for time with densely packed calendars and schedules. While some naturals have the luxury of spending hours upon hours managing their manes, there are some of us who can barely carve out time to go to the restroom, let alone give our hair the TLC it needs. Here are six ways to cut back on time spent on your hair without sacrificing taking great care of it.

A Few Birds, One Stone
One of the easiest ways to save time (and money) in your regimen is to make your products work a little bit harder for you and do double duty. Simply put, find products that are able to accomplish more than one thing. For example, I rarely ever spend time pre-pooing before wash day anymore. That’s because I can accomplish a pre-poo and detangle in one step, with one product (Trader Joe’s Tea Tingle Conditioner). Even if I decide to skip the pre-poo all together, I can still detangle and cleanse in one step with my new favorite, Obia Natural Haircare Coconut Shea Shampoo Bar. See what areas in your regimen can benefit from a streamlining of products and purpose, and go for it!

Read On>>>

Long Lasting Natural Hair Styles- A Routine for the Time Challenged



by Jamila of CollegeCurlies

Hey y'all! I was talking to my sister the other day, and I asked her what she thought folks would be interested in reading about on a hair blog. One of her biggest challenges with natural hair is finding styles that will last multiple days-- she's got a super busy schedule and can't be bothered with daily co-washing and styling. She finds that her twist-outs don't last more than a day, and that she ends up with flat smooshy hair after one night.

Read On and Weigh in!>>>

Building a Natural Hair Regimen: Keep it Simple!


Briana of The Mane Source

We live in a world that is full of information about hair care. Natural hair blogs and YouTube channels put all of this information at our finger tips. With all this information seemingly in our face, sometimes deciding on a hair care regimen can be down right overwhelming. We can feel pressured to do everything that we’ve seen and read so that we can achieve the “hair of our dreams”. While tedious regimens can work wonders for the hair, simple ones can too!

Read On>>>

How to Create a Healthy Hair Regimen

http://www.essence.com/2012/08/29/reader-qa-curlynikki-shares-how-create-healthy-hair-regimen

Hola Chicas,

It's Thursday which means we've officially taken over Essence for the day!

¡Viva la Revolución!

Check out my latest installment, where I give advice on creating your very own healthy hair regimen! Go over there, check it out, 'like it', share it and comment! Also, leave questions of your own for the next article!

Thanks divas!

Later Gators,
Nik

New Naturals: Creating a Regimen


I have been asked many times, "what makes the perfect regimen?" In my opinion is all depends on your hair type and needs. Many people say knowing your hair type is irrelevant, I disagree. If I didn't find out what my hair type was I would have been lost when it came to trying products and finding what worked best for me and my kinky, coily, curly hair. I think a lot of people use hair typing in a negative way though, which can cause tension and discouragement in the natural hair community but that's another story. When it comes to being newly natural having a regimen can be very beneficial especially if you are consistent with your process. Dedicating 1 or 2 days a week on caring and catering to your hair does not have to be a challenging task. Many of you have said that you're in need of a regime that is quick, simple and to the point so I created one for you. In the "Good Hair" regimen below you will see how simple it is to have and create a quick routine, I will give your basic steps that helped me but feel free to change the regimen around to fit your personal hair needs. I will also give your direct links on where to find products that are affordable and good for your hair! You don't have to settle for cheap products that may be causing your hair to be dry and brittle. There are a lot of natural, organic and inexpensive items on the market that will do your hair a lot of good.

The Good Hair Regimen
Hair Days: Sunday 2x a month
(Fell free to substitute your own days. These are the ways I cater to my hair)

Pre-Poo (Pre Shampoo Treatment)-
Step 1: Section the hair in 4 to 6 sections and secure with clips
Step 2: Detangle each section of hair carefully from tip to root with a wide tooth comb
Step 3: Spritz sections with warm water
Step 4: Apply Vatika Oil from root to tip and massage the scalp
Step 5: Cover with plastic cap for 5 minutes

Co-Wash (Conditioner washing)-
Step 1: Apply Yes to Cucumber Conditioner on your pre-poo'd hair in sections (do not rinse the pre-poo our first).
Step 2: Detangle the sections with a wide tooth comb
Step 3: Rinse.
Step 4: Apply a leave in conditioner to your hair. My Good Hair Goop recipe will work great for hair that needs an extra kick of moisture.
**Some of us rather not use shampoo on a regular basis. Co-washing is great alternative for shampooing if you are deciding to stay away from shampoo. However, at least once a month I recommend that you clarify your hair in some way to remove excess gunk and build up that co-washing may miss**

Shampooing-
Step 1: Wash with a shampoo bar or castille soap
Step 2.Massage and clean scalp.Hair is dead and can only be preserved so be sure you are paying special attention to your scalp first. In order to grow healthy hair you need healthy and clean scalp. There is no need to shampoo your whole head. Start that the scalp and the soap will run down on to your hair. It will get just as clean.
Step 3: Rinse with cool or cold water to seal the cuticle.
**Castille soap is a great product to use will clarifying. Adding a few drops of castor oil and a tablespoon of glycerin can prevent your hair from feeling stripped after the wash. Be sure to replace your hairs moisture with a good conditioner once you are done washing**
Conditioning (this step can be skipped if you co-washed)-
Step 1: Section hair in 2 or 3 parts
Step 2: Apply Hello Hydration Conditioner and smooth it on your hair from root to tip.
Step 3: Rinse after 5 minutes
Step 4: Towel Dry

Style as normal! Make sure you are using products that will keep your hair moisturized if it's prone to being dry. Below are some of my favorite styling products:

2. Shea Moisture's Restorative Conditioner (can be used as a leave in)

I hope the above regimen will help some of you! Remember tweak it to fit your needs if you need to. The steps, products and order are completely up to you. I just wanted to set a foundation for those who were at a loss for what to do.

For Alex's winter regimen tweaks, see HERE.

How often do you style? What does your routine look like?

Essential Hair Tips- Natural Hair

by Lisa Michelle via NaturallyCurly.com

Your natural hair is beautiful, versatile and stylish, but it can take a bit of effort and lots of love to achieve your best curls. If I had to pick some of the most important tips for type 4 hair to help retain length, maintain styles beyond the first day and foster all-around healthy curls, these would be them. I have no doubt that you will adopt your own top tips along your natural hair journey too!

Natural Hair Regimen

This is one of the words you hear frequently discussed within the natural hair community. A good regimen is a vital part of maintaining your lovely coils. The beauty in developing a regimen is that it can be customized to fit every natural, no matter your hair texture or length. The primary components within a regimen are cleansing, conditioning, moisturizing/sealing and the fun part, styling! There are as many variations within each element as there are regimen options, so do what works best for you and your hair.

  1. Cleansing: Choose between clarifying, co-washing or sulfate-free shampooing.
  2. Conditioning: Try rinse-outs, leave-ins or deep conditioning treatments.
  3. Moisture: You can use natural oils, butters or creams to seal the moisture in.
Detangling

Easier said than done, right? As a natural you may not find this the most exciting task, but it is definitely important. Proper detangling of your hair will not only aid in the styling process, but it will help you eliminate tangles and retain length in the process. Just like your regimen, there are many ways you can detangle your hair. The general consensus with the detangling process is that it’s best done starting from your ends up to your roots and while the hair is wet and full of conditioner.

  1. Using your fingers, a detangling comb or brush in conjunction with conditioner will help make tangles and knots easier to separate, thus making the detangling process easier. I’ve been using this method for quite a while, but sometimes you may need an extra bit of help. If this is the case, try detangling your dry hair using oil to tackle pesky snares. For me, this actually doubles as a pre-poo; I add a generous amount of oil to my hair, and detangle in small sections.
  2. Once detangled, I put my hair in about 4-6 plaits, cover with a plastic cap and then put on my Hair Therapy Thermal Wrap for about 30 minutes. By the time I get ready to wash my hair already has slip from the oils and washing is now a breeze.
Bedtime Routine

There’s nothing worse than having a fabulous hair day ruined by a good night sleep. Practicing good bedtime habits will make preserving your hairstyle a breeze and showcase your hard work. Building a nighttime routine can involve several factors, but primarily how you prepare your hair before bed and what you’re sleeping on.

Many girls with type 4 hair choose to pineapple their coils; that involves pulling your hair up into a high, loose ponytail and securing with a satin scrunchy or ponytail holder. This works to keep the hair in a stretched state overnight and also prevent your curls from being squished while sleeping. When you wake in the morning, just take the ponytail holder down, fluff, spritz with a leave in and you’re ready for the day. Pineappling works great when your curls are fairly fresh, but sometimes you may need to reset your style for the next day. You may want to twist your hair in several chunky twists to keep the shape, or tighter twists if you want added definition.

What you sleep on is just as important as how you prepare your hair for bed. Your best options are satin or silk fabrics because they allow your hair to glide over the material and won’t snag the cuticle. You can use a scarf, bonnet or even a satin pillowcase. These are extremely convenient especially if you’ve had a long night or don’t feel like tying your hair up at night. And they make great gifts to your natural friends, too!

Special Handling

Gentle handling and low manipulation are always important when you’re dealing with type 4 hair. Your hair is delicate and those coils need to be handled carefully. Each bend in your hair is an opportunity for breakage, so take your time when you wash, condition, detangle and style.

You’ll want to opt for styles that don’t place too much tension on the hairline, which is usually more fragile. Keep the base of your braids and twists a bit more relaxed around the edges, same with your poufs and ponytails. Also, when you’re detangling, comb gently through your ends first, and work your way towards your roots. The task is often easier to tackle when your work in smaller sections, too. This can be the difference in actually seeing your hair grow versus seeing pieces of your hair in the sink, on your clothes or in your comb.

Final Thoughts

There’s not enough space on this page for all of the tips, hints, and tricks you’ll learn as a natural! Throughout your journey, you’re bound to pick up new tricks from other naturals and I’m sure you’ll share a few of your own as well. If I could give you one final tip, it would be to learn to appreciate your own hair. After all, no one should know your hair better than you!

Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day & Neither Is a Regimen

by Shelli of HairScapades

Last week, I received this question on my YouTube Channel wall:
Hi, I love your hair and the fact that it’s very similar to my hair texture. I’ve been trying to nail down a hair routine, but it’s just so overwhelming viewing all the natural hair blogs and tubes. I have a few questions for you and hopefully you can help! How often do you trim your ends? How often do you blow dry your hair? What do you think is the best practice in growing out the ultimate hair length? I have read several blogs and everyone has various opinions. I’m curious as to what your thoughts are?
I answered the question as best and briefly as I could (if you know me, that’s not too briefly;). But, it got me to thinking about my current regimen and I how I got here. You see, what I do now, I wasn’t doing a year ago. And what I was doing six months ago, I’m not doing now. Well, not exactly. I think the same would probably be said by almost everyone with hair regimens. The thing is, just like we (hopefully) grow and evolve through life experiences, trial and error, successes and mistakes, so too does a hair regimen. Not to be too grandiose, but neither maturity nor a hair regimen happen overnight. As many of you already know, I’ve been natural for 11 years, but only discovered CurlyNikki and this online natural hair community a little over a year and a half ago. Prior to April 2010, I probably co-washed weekly, used a No Poo when I felt like my hair needed more cleansing, detangled in the shower with lots of conditioner and a wide-toothed comb, tried to deep condition once a month and styled in WnGs with a mix of gel and a moisturizer. I also got a professional trim twice a year, usually on straightened hair. And that was my regimen (though I didn’t think of it as one at the time!). And, my hair did fine. It was healthy and grew long.

But, I got bored, had layers that I didn’t like and went through a bad break up (y’all know how we do). So, after reaching BSL (or maybe even a little longer), I chopped my hair to ear length … straight. Then, I started all over again.

Sep. 2008: About a year after the short cut
By February 2010, my hair was back to the length it was prior to the cut. But, I was bored again and annoyed by an ongoing problem. Mushroom/mullet hair. My nape hair is the straightest on my head and my crown is the curliest … and never the twain shall meet. A Ouidad cut in the past had worked to address this, but it also removed the volume that I love and resulted in a shorter layer underneath my longest length. I was also experiencing significant breakage at my crown, specifically down my center part.
It was at this time that I discovered CurlyNikki and I began to learn more about my own hair. A new regimen began to evolve. First, I learned about protein sensitivity that can cause brittle and dry hair. I had suspected that the breakage I’d experienced was due to a new gel I was using for my WnGs (going outside with wet hair in the middle of Winter probably didn’t help either). I even told a friend who complimented my hair when I used this gel, “It looks good, but it doesn’t feel good.” So, I stopped using it, but not after the damage was done. Well, sure enough, the gel had protein in it! I had finally diagnosed the root cause of my hair’s reaction to certain products, so that I could avoid the issue in the future.
Next, after about two months of reading just about everything on CurlyNikki and Mehandi.com about henna, I purchased my first “stash” of Jamila henna. After my second application, I tried my first TnC with ho-hum results. A week or so after my third henna, I tried an ACV rinse to restore bounce. It worked, but my hair felt overly dry, so I discontinued that. Next, I tracked down a local Indian grocer (wooh hooh!) and purchased some amla to add to my henna treatments in order to preserve/restore my loosening curl. I eliminated the amla a couple of months later after experiencing a constantly itching scalp and excessive shedding. Sometime in the midst of all of this, I tried shea butter, then virgin coconut oil and by July 2010, discovered my Holy Grail, Jamaican black castor oil (JBCO) for sealing.
In October, I tried the Kimmaytube leave-in recipe for the first time and decided that was a keeper. In November, I discovered that the coconut oil that I didn’t like for sealing, was great when added to my DCs and as a pre-poo! Vatika oil turned out to be a cheaper and even better alternative. In January, I started doing roots only applications of henna and added black tea rinses to my regimen to combat excessive shedding. In February, after not noticing any appreciable reduction in my hair fall and reading an article on CurlyNikki that indicated too much caffeine could cause the reverse effect, I discontinued the rinses. Since then, I’ve become a regular protective styler, finger detangle exclusively, modified my Kimmaytube leave-in as too much oil weighs down my fine hair, added Biotin to my supplements, then MSM, and discovered zizyphus (an ayuverdic herb) as an alternative to amla for rejuvenating curl. I could go on, but I suspect that you are all sensing a pattern here and want me to get to the point;).
The point is, a regimen isn’t built overnight. It isn’t built in a day or a week or even a month. It is a living thing and requires experimentation and observation. I don’t believe that there is a “one size fits all” regimen. Each one must be customized for you, your lifestyle, your hair and your goals. And, even those things can change for an individual, so there isn’t even a “one size fits all” for each person! We have to be prepared to adapt as life happens. However, there are five steps that I think that one should take in order to build a regimen that works for you.
These steps are as follows:
  • Assess the current state of your hair. Is it excessively dry or well-moisturized? Smooth or frizz prone? Shiny or dull? Are your strands strong or breaking? Riddled with single strand knots or splits? Is your hair difficult to detangle or relatively easy? Evaluate every aspect of your hair that you can.
  • Identify and document your current regimen. What are you doing and using now? How are the techniques and products impacting the state of your hair? How do they make your hair feel and look? Do you see any commonalities (i.e. ingredients) in the products or techniques that work and don’t? If you do, this will help to inform your future handling practices and product choices as you’ll know which techniques/ingredients to seek out and which to avoid. If you don’t, try searching for reviews on products that do and don’t work for you to see if others have similar results. Someone else may have done the job of diagnosing the holy grail and/or “offending” ingredient(s) for you!
  • Introduce new techniques and/or products no more than one or two at a time so that you can determine what specifically is working and what is not. If you try to revamp your entire routine in one shot, you’ll never know if it was that oil, pre-pooing or those additional deep conditioning sessions that gave you those wonderful or horrible results!
  • Listen to your scalp and hair! Now that you are introducing these new products and techniques, pay attention to how your hair responds to them. Never give more credence to the rave reviews of others than to your own hair. If something isn’t working for you, stop using/doing it! You may want to give products and techniques a couple of tries and use them in different ways in order to fully assess the results prior to discarding them entirely. However, that being said, if all of your hair starts falling out or your scalp catches on fire, it’s safe to say that those products don’t get a second chance.
  • Adapt your regimen, as needed, to suit the current needs of your hair and lifestyle.
Finally, there are a few things that I would recommend that everyone try:
  • Deep conditioning: Though this has become a controversial topic, I think that everyone should try deep conditioning to determine if it is of benefit to their hair. How often is up to the individual.
  • Sleep with a satin bonnet/scarf and/or on a satin/silk pillowcase.
  • Use a leave-in conditioner.
So that’s that. Until it’s not. I’ve achieved my longest hair in the last few months and have perfected my TnC. But, I’m sure that within the week, I’ll learn about some new science or old product or clever technique that will alter my current regimen in some way despite its success. And, I’m fine with that. Because, a regimen, like Rome, isn’t built in a day.

How did you build your regimen? Has it evolved over time? How and why?

The Tightly Curly Method

Kim L. Kirsch via Naturallycurly.com

Been looking for a hairstyle routine that has the potential to keep your curls tight and bouncy up to four to five days? Look no further! Curlies everywhere have been utilizing what is called the tightly curly method, invented by Teri LaFlesh, author of “Curly Like Me,” in order to achieve just that.

The method is based mainly on using any type of conditioner as a leave-in conditioner. While it may seem a little odd to leave a rinse-out conditioner in your hair, the method has many curly-haired women raving about the results.

So join the bandwagon, find out how to use the tightly curly method properly and become one of the raving fans.

Shampooing

Since curly hair is so different than straight hair, extreme care must be taken when cleansing. This means that you should be washing your hair gently, focusing more on the scalp area.

Most curlies only need to shampoo once—aka, no rinse and repeat—and when finished, rinse the shampoo out. Once this is completed, you can use a light low-cost conditioner. Apply a generous amount to your scalp and squeeze it down to your ends. A lightweight conditioner will make the hair slippery, allowing for dirt to cling to it. This way, when you rinse it out, you will rinse out more dirt, leaving you with cleaner hair without over shampooing.

Some curlies, however, may not even need to shampoo. The no shampoo method works well with the tightly curly method as well. Keep in mind, however, that if you have recently worked out, you should wash your hair in order to rid it of sweat and dirt, despite you individual hair type.

Applying the Conditioner

You need to use a lot of conditioner in order to make the tightly curly method work. Pour out a big handful and apply it to half of your hair, concentrating on areas other than the scalp. In order to allow the scalp to breathe, apply conditioner about two inches away from the roots.

As you are applying, you should be able to feel the conditioner gushing around your fingers. If this is not happening, you need more conditioner. Once you are done with one half, do the same for the other half.

Settling and Definition

Use a large toothed brush that has a lot of give, as curly locks often can be damaged by finer toothed combs.

While brushing, you will notice that the conditioner is producing a lot of foam, but by the time you are done, this foam will disappear as the conditioner settles on the hair. Keep in mind that your hair needs to be soaking wet while you are brushing.

Wrap strands of hair around your fingers in order to define curls.

Let it Dry

Avoid blow drying as this can cause damage and frizz. Instead, let the hair dry naturally. If you’re feeling impatient, you can speed up the drying process with a little help. Once it is dry, don’t brush or comb it. Rather, separate it gently with your fingers.

Maintenance

If you want to refresh the look between shampoos, simply wet the hair and apply more conditioner. In order to help maintain the look, sleep in braids. This will help to hold the curl pattern and style in place. Also, if you haven’t yet invested in a satin pillowcase, you definitely should! Cotton pillowcases pull at your hair and can cause frizz, split ends, uneven curling, and more. You don’t want to spend all of this time on the tightly curly method just to have everything unravel while you sleep.

Have you tried the Tightly Curly method? How did it work for you? Share your experiences!

How to Wash and Condition Natural Hair

by Nicole Hollis of Hair Liberty

African American hair can be dry and fragile. A difficult combination, especially if you're a busy woman. Treat your wash day like a pampering spa appointment for your hair. Follow these steps and you'll get soft, moisturized hair that's ready for a variety of styles.

Key Tips
  • Start by rinsing your hair with lukewarm water for about 3 minutes.
  • Comb your hair out from ends to roots before you rinse out the conditioner.
  • Always apply a leave-in conditioner before you proceed with styling.

Pre-Shampoo Oil Treatment
Step 1: Using your fingers, divide your hair into 4-6 sections.
Step 2: Apply approximately 1 tablespoons of pure coconut, olive, or avocado oil throughout each section. Make sure to put oil on every layer of your hair - you will use 4 to 6 tablespoons. Try Nutiva Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, $13.54 for a pack of 2 ($11.99 each MSRP).
Step 3: Cover your hair with a plastic cap to keep the oil from dripping down your face and neck.
Step 4: Leave the oil on your hair for 1 hour or more.

Wash
Step 1: Detangle your oil-soaked hair with your fingers. Gently pull apart tangles and knots so that your hair will be easier to wash.
Step 2: Once in the shower, rinse your hair with lukewarm water for 3-5 minutes. This long rinse will loosen up and rinse away product build up from the week.
Step 3: Apply a nickel to quarter-sized amount of a gentle, conditioning shampoo to your scalp and hair. Pass your hair back under the water to create a good lather. Try Kenra Moisturizing Shampoo, $24 for a pack of 2 ($12 each MSRP)
Step 4: Gently rub your scalp with the shampoo lather.
Step 5: Gently and quickly, work shampoo through the length of your hair - don't separate the hair into sections or try to detangle it.
Step 6: Rinse thoroughly.

Condition

Step 1: Apply a generous amount of a thick, rich conditioner throughout your hair. The amount you will use depends on your hair length and thickness. For natural hair, try Shikai Color Reflect Intensive Repair Conditioner, $28.97 for a pack of 3 ($9.99 each MSRP). For distressed hair, try Joico K-Pak Moisture Intense Hydrator, $17.96. If your hair is very thick or very curly, you may use a palm full of conditioner or more.
Step 2: Work the conditioner through your hair from root to tip.
Step 3: Pass your head back under the water to help you distribute the conditioner. Make sure every strand of hair is saturated. Leave the conditioner in your hair for the amount of time specified in the instructions on the container.

Step 4: Before you rinse out the conditioner, detangle your hair with a wide tooth comb. Remember to start combing at the ends and work your way to the root.
Step 5: Rinse thoroughly.
Step 6: Once out of the shower, apply a creamy leave-in conditioner to your hair. Leave-in conditioners make African American hair easier to comb, which helps prevent breakage. Try Neutrogena Silk Touch Leave-In Cream, $15.99 for a pack of 3 ($6.99 each MSRP).
Step 7: Remember to air dry your hair whenever possible.

Any tips or tricks to share for an awesome wash day?

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