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Curly Nikki

My Routine: Winter 2009- Spring 2010

By January 27th, 202120 Comments

My hair in the KPLR interview, as well as other recent pics have been the result of the routine below 🙂

My Routine: Winter 2009- Spring 2010
Current Product Rotation:

*I now henna once a month (if I remember), and DT twice a month.*

Hair Styles (listed in order of how often it is worn):

  • Braid-n-Curl (see below)
  • High Bun– The same basic steps found in THIS VIDEO, but done on dry, previously twisted hair.
  • I haven’t done a Bantu Knot-Out in a while due to the amount of time it takes to dry. I love the look, but hate sitting under the dryer!

To see pictures of my hair in the various styles, browse through My Hair.

Current Routine:

Every other Saturday (yes, twice a month) afternoon I do the following:

  • Thoroughly saturate hair with water in the shower, and divide into two (left and right).
  • Cleanse hair with poo bar– one side at a time.
  • Apply conditioner of the day to both sides in a smooshing motion (usually Herbal Essence).
  • 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 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!
  • Once all the tangles are melted away, and the Herbal Essence is rinsed clean, I apply a generous amount of Jessicurl Weekly Deep Treatment or Aubrey HSR. I get out of the shower, don a plastic cap and let it sit for 30 minutes with heat (the bonnet or my micro heat cap).
  • Get back in the shower and rinse thoroughly. Apply leave-in of choice– usually Desert Essence or Giovanni Direct Leave-in.
  • Make 8-10 twists- 4 or 5 on each side. **This step is to stretch the hair for the ‘real’ hairstyle**. You could also pull the hair into a bun, do cornrows, a roller-set, chunky plaits, or band.
  • Seal the ends with shea or Oyin Burnt Sugar.
  • Allow to airdry overnight, using a bonnet dryer if you’re in a rush.
  • The next morning (Sunday), take down the twists and finger detangle if necessary. Divide hair into two. I now prepare to braid my dry hair for a wavy effect.
  • I do 9 plaits total, 4 on each side (one in the back, one above my ear, one framing my face, and one immediately behind that one), and one at the crown, braided toward my face.
  • Start with the back- left side. Brush the hair out (this is optional… I use a goody paddle, but a wide tooth comb or fingers should suffice), apply a teeny bit of Burnt Sugar pomade, and make a braid/plait. I braid until I reach the last 2 inches and then I twist.
  • Complete all braids/plaits in the same manner– adding Burnt Sugar Pomade along the way, and twisting the last two inches (makes for an easier take down).
  • Now, gather hair rollers and find your spritz (in a 2 dollar spray bottle from Sally’s, I combine 1 part water, 1 part Desert Essence Green Apple Conditioner).
  • Spritz each braid, making it damp, not dripping wet. This step sets the hair. To make sure the braid gets thoroughly saturated I cradle the braid in one hand and spritz directly, in close range, with the other. Finally, I squish the mix through by squeezing the braid gently. Set the end on a rod roller, and move on to the next one.
  • Once all the braids are damp and the ends are rolled, I tie on a satin scarf, leaving the braids dangling, but the crown secure to control the frizzies.
  • On Monday morning, I carefully take down each braid and fluff.

My Routine: Winter 2009- Spring 2010
Preserving the Style:

  • I re-braid every other night. Since the hair is somewhat straightened and already detangled, your fingers and a wide tooth comb should get the job done.
  • On nights that I don’t re-braid, I pineapple (gather the hair at the crown and secure with a loose, satin scrunchy, and tie on a scarf), and sleep on a satin pillow case.

I’ve been experimenting with this routine for a little over a month now. I like that I don’t have to wet my hair as often, and that it yields fluffy, HUGE hair on day one. I’ve received tons of compliments and people that know me, keep asking if my hair has grown! It makes my hair look thick, healthy, and full of life.

-Moisturize once daily or every other day
-Stretched Hair (prevents breakage, splits, tangling)
-Makes fine hair appear voluminous
-Only have to re-style (wet, detangle, etc.) once a week, or bi-weekly. yay!!!

-Excessive manipulation (especially if you’re brushing daily). If you try this routine, only use the brush on day 1.
-If you work out regularly, you’ll have to water rinse more often than twice a month.

As I stated in previous posts, I got the inspiration from Amel… plus, this was the routine my mom followed when I was a little girl (only it stayed in plaits 80% of the time). Since my hair is stretched, I’m experiencing fewer knots and tangles. I hope to see excellent length retention with this routine!
My Routine: Winter 2009- Spring 2010

**I plan to do a Braid-n-Curl tutorial in the very near future!


  • Anonymous says:

    curlynikki I love your site, I visit almost everyday…your site has inspired me to stop using the flat iron and to try wearing it in its natural state….so far I'm not thrilled by my results, I'm currently in the process of purchasing new products…waiting for them to arrive and I hope it works out when I wash and style next time. Thanks for all of your advice and help!

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Nikki,

    I'm so glad that you were on the Tyra Banks show…that was my first time ever hearing about you and so far it's a pleasure. I'm a licensed cosmetologist but don't specialized in natural hair…I don't commit my time to doing hair full time since I'm a career women as well.

    Currently, I relax my hair and am tired of it. Recently, I noticed a bald spot in the back of my head…dermatologist told me its alopecia which; is a damaged follicle of the scalp due to hair products or abuse. My is shoulder length and somewhat healthy (thick), but can tell it's getting thinner.

    Anyway, I love your hair and seen how it have grown longer and thicker so nicely since college. I see that you have tried different products, but what advice can you give me going natural and to grow my hair? Also, I read that Henna dyes your hair to an auburn or red color, but notice your hair is not. How do you keep your hair from being discolored?

    You have inspired me so much…I really, really, really appreciate your feedback. Thank you for website.

  • Afrolicious says:

    BTW Thanks Nikki for all your hard work. It's truly appreciated.

  • Afrolicious says:

    I see you use the Dessert Essence Apple conditioner. Have you tried the Grape conditioner? It's the one for colour treated or damaged hair. Also I'm wondering about the Almond protein in these conditioners for those that are protein sensitive if this may be a negative. Soy Protein and me do not agree, not sure if Almond protein reacts the same. Any feed back?

  • NewbieNubian says:

    Hello Nikki, I have recently gone natural, doing my big chop about four months ago. I am enjoying it THOROUGHLY!. I have reached the stage where my hair can begin to be braided or twisted up. this site was recommended to me by a friend who is also natural. I must say Thank you to both you and your readers as it has given me new insight into caring for these New ringlets sprouting from my head. With all that being said i would just like it if you would clarify something for me. Above in stating how to maintain the style after washing, the following day you sprayed a diluted mixture of Desert Essence Green Apple Conditioner. My question is; Is that a leave in conditioner? and if not, if it is a regular conditioner is it recommended that i could use any other brand of conditioner and dilute it to be used in the same way, or would it have to be that specific brand. What do you suggest. Oh Im from the beautiful island of Jamaica, and while people assume that most people are natural from Jamaica or the Caribbean it is quiet the opposite. I see more weaves and straight hair than anything. And to have natural hair, you stick out! I care for my hair because not many stylists can so im trying to learn everyday. So please HELP!:) thanksies!

  • Oh La La Chic says:

    I dig this. It worked well for me. I just can't seem to preserve the curls well though… I think I have to rebraid and wet almost every night. But all worth it.

  • Anonymous says:

    Good night. What happened to the Lottabody experiments? Did they not work out in the end? I see that you did not mention using Lottabody in your new routine at all.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Nikki
    In response to your questions. . .
    I place my braids with 2 on each side in the front and then 4 in the back (2 on top and 2 on bottom- like a quadrant). My hair is able to hold with just a little coconut oil on the rebraiding nights. I don't add water or anything really wet after my initial styling process because I've found that it enhances my frizz factor. I use all 4 fingers (I guess without the thumb invovled too much) to finger detangle by raking through, starting in the front undersurface and working through towards the sides and back. Once its sufficiently detangled to separate into my usual sections, I apply coconut oil or spray on body oil then go ahead and braid each of the individual 6 areas. Sometimes I really get the urge to just comb it all out, but I am usually able to resist because of the severe poofiness it causes.
    Have you ever tried WEN (by Chaz Dean) cleansing conditioner system? A friend gave me some samples for Xmas and I tried the Fig scented one last night. It has GREAT slip!

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Nikki. I do a version of this myself and I'm in love with the long-lasting results. I also think it's better for my hair. Like someone mentioned above, I also find that I don't need to re-wet or saturate the braids or plaits and I still get great hold when I take them down. I use medium tension, too. I don't curl the ends with rods or curlers. I just put little bands on the ends, leaving about an inch free and curl with my finger using shea butter. It's just a different look to the end curl. I've also done two braids/plaits (one on each side) for a bigger wave pattern and no frizz. I can also keep the two braids in and wear outside with the right accessories.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Nikki, thank you for sharing this!
    I find that if I deep condition before shampooing I can skip the detangling conditioner and I can add coconut oil which will be washed out without leaving the hair oily. I don't konw if it's correct but use this trick for convenience and I don't see a difference in the level of moisture.

    Also, when I'm feeling lazy, I twist only the top layer of my hair: my hair dries faster and its general shape is still the same.

    Just a couple of tricks I've been using to save money and time and to try to avoid silicones, you and Curlynikki's readers may find it useful.


  • Anonymous says:

    Hey nikki. I was wondering, do you ever go back to using Hello Hydration or Giovanni 50/50? If no, why not?

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks for sharing. I've been natural for three years now. I finally found products that works on my hair. It is good to read about others routine and what products used together that works.
    Now I'm confident that my hair will grow full and healthy.

  • CURLYNIKKI says:

    thanks ladies! lawsmd, let me know how it works with the setting lotion!

    @anon 2:02, I do medium tension as well. What is your finger detangling routine? I get so frustrated, lol, that I always fine myself reaching for a brush or comb. Do you just rake through, or do you have some other technique? Also, where do you place your 6 twists? You find that it holds without spritzing it with anything?

  • Unknown says:

    Thanks so much for sharing. I find so many knots and tangles in my fine strand hair way too much. This is a much better alternative than heat which I haven't a year!! Wow, I can't believe it's been that long. 🙂 Thanks Nikki! I also want to say it's great to see you have a spot on Tyra's webpage! I've been gone for a min. lol! It's inspiring to see others make their way towards their goals. Congrats!!!

  • ChrLvsBks says:

    Thanks for sharing this with us. I like less volume so will try setting with more of a water-conditioner mix and fewer braids. I am hoping it works.

  • Unknown says:

    Thanks for sharing…your hair looks beautiful. 🙂 Ingrid

  • Anonymous says:

    Nikki, my hair is the same texture as yours but mine is less thick and approximately shoulder length (unstretched). I found that to stretch my curls and get good volume and wave definition, I nned to braid my hair in six braids on dry hair with a little coconut oil OR a small amount of dry oil body spray (yeah, I know, sounds strange, but works beautifully- and some of them smell soo good), putting a roller on the ends (I braid down to 1 inch and simply twist the end around the roller after sealing). I usually repeat this every evening and wrap my head with a satin scarf- it is relaxing to me and only takes a few minutes. I do not brush or comb my hair , but use my fingers to gently separate the hair. I stretch my hair on day one, by putting it in a bun and braiding the ponytail in 3-4 different sections with rollers on the end and sit under the hairdryer for about 30-45 min. I get a smooter, softer set with the hairdryer and I don't like walking around or sleeping with wet hair. I may wear it in a loose, curly bun on that first day, then do my dry braid n curl-out on the second night. I also braid my hair with medium tension- not too tight and not too loose. Hope that helps. I'd love to hear what others have to say about dry styling techniques. How tight do you make your braids/twists?

  • Anonymous says:

    This method works great. I've been doing this for years, only I skip rewetting my hair the second day. I usually just rebraid in the morning. This works great if you're trying to have less shrinkage and you want that hang. Try it ladies 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    SIMPLICITY! Thanks Nikki!

  • Beads, Braids & Beyond says:

    You went into full detail, love it! Thanks for sharing!

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