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Curly Nikki

Natural Hair Routine- Before the Forums…

By January 27th, 202140 Comments

Natural Hair Routine- Before the Forums...

Lori K. writes:

What did you hair routine look like before you stumbled upon the hair blogs, forums, and YouTube?

CN Responds: Mousse… I was using an alcohol laden mousse (ThermaSilk) to finger style my afro puffs! It was a rare day when I used a leave-in conditioner and an even rarer day when I thought to deep condition. Brown protein gel, Pink Oil Moisturizer, Isoplus Oil Sheen spray, spritz, and a fine tooth comb were all in my arsenal!


  • Dee says:

    i spent a lot of money trying new products out n nothing ever seemed to work. my old routine was to deep condition every day as it was the only way for me to detangle my hair n style it. i then splashed some leave in conditioner in it (sunsilk yellow, filled with crap), tied it up in a wet bun and tried to smooth everything down with cheap gel. this routine led to several unwanted haircuts. occasionally i'd braid my hair tightly, which pulled my hair out. fantastic…

    now i know better thanks to blogs like this and youtube. am so grateful coz now i'm finally rocking long curly hair!!

  • BuenaventuraAvenue says:

    I found the hair boards when I was still relaxed. Pre-internet-intervention, I bought my products from the BSS or Ethnic Products aisle of Walmart. I chose based on whose product description sounded the most effective/attractive. My regimen was to shampoo twice, condition (for 3 to 5 minutes like the bottle said), deep condition occasionally, apply leave-in, comb, and style.

    The most important thing I learned from the internet was the difference between moisture and protein, how to tell which your hair needs, and which products to choose. Instead of choosing products for stupid reasons (like packaging or targeted for Black people), I selected with purpose and my hair benefited. It still serves me well to this day (3 yrs later) even though I've been natural for some time now.

  • Anonymous says:

    This site, and many others relating directly to black natural haircare, is a God Sent. Before I found these sites, I would shampoo & cond with whatever was on sale. Either flat iron or blow dry my hair on HIGH HEAT and used Pink Lotion to moisturize. I'm surprised I was able to keep any hair on my head but it was indeed a DRY, HOT MESS!!
    Allnatural1 (Michelle in TX)

  • Anonymous says:

    Thank God for all the info i have now!

    Before forums etc:

    *I didn't wash my hair often once every 2 – 3 months!(the odd deep conditioning here and there)
    *didn't trim (until i started going hairdressers)
    *Lotsa gel and grease
    *Dry Combing
    *Home relaxing(by my sister or Mum)

    When i started to go to the salon my hair health improved but in between treatments when i couldn' afford it i messed up my hair by home relaxing(by a friend) and flat ironing my hair to death that it fell out several times at the front!

    I used to get my info form Black hair magazines and European ones too but some of the tips didn't work!

    I am soooo grateful for all the info now and my hair is thanking me plus iam transtioning now!

  • Anonymous says:

    My routine wasn't too bad but finding blogs such as this one has helped me to really love my hair and show care in my haircare routine. Before I washed my hair with shampoo and conditioner twice a week (b/c I workout a lot)I did detangle with shampoo but did not realize the benefits, it just was easier plus it was how my mom did it when I was little 🙂 After the shampoo and conditioner I would apply daily moisturizer and then leave in conditioner so my coils would really show. Days I did not wash I would reapply daily moisturizer and saturate my hair with leave in conditioner and let it air dry. Gel, ouchless headbands, scarves, a wide tooth comb and a brish to slick down the front were part of my styling arsenal.
    I am so much wiser now. Thanks to all the curlies that share on the internet, I would still be missing out in the variety that my hair has.

  • Curly Hair Setting says:

    Nice post.Thanks for sharing this post.

  • Anonymous says:

    I am a new transitioner. Before the blog I went by "name" mainly. I heard miss Jessie was good then I learned about what to look for in products. I was like pink lotion is a popular brand must be good… once again I learned about ingredients. Now I condition wash weekly with he hello hydration deep condition on Sundays. I use a leave in daily followed by a light seal. I wash with a sulfate free shampoo when I have build up bc of workouts. I know so much more because of blobs and I am still learning.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have been natural my whole life but before I found natural forums and website I was making a lot of mistakes when it came to products. I was using petroleum, sulfate, silicone, alcohol, and paraben filled hair products. With my sensitive scalp those ingredients did me no favors. My hair routine overall however is exactly the same I just do it with more organic products.

  • Anonymous says:

    Ooh I forgot to add that before the CD Hair Milk I used the same thing I used on my relaxed hair–some kind of African Pride hair cream in a jar. I can't even remember now.

  • Anonymous says:

    I was always on blogs, but they were nascent and hard to find at the time. My routine was:
    -Wash & barely condition with drugstore (Pantene, Aussie, etc.) daily shampoo and conditioner that smelled good and was marketed for dry hair. [My hair is EVEN DRIER on silicones and requires DEEP conditioners]
    -Twist with watered down Infusium 23 Leave-in [too sticky], Carol's Daughter Hair Milk [shea butter products were limited back then], and CitreShine hard hold gel [I still have some]. Detangling all through twisting process
    -Spray with oil sheen when I wanted some pop.

    I think my first internet revelation was detangling hair while it's wet with conditioner.

  • sarjo says:

    my hair was a hot mess haha i used pink lotion, a sulfate loaded shampoo (which i used EVERY DAY ofcurse) and straightend it all the time!i never really liked my hair cause it was just a frizzy mess and i always wanted straight hair like my mom!but now that i know how to take care of my hair i absolutly LOVE it 🙂
    (sorry for my english i am german 🙂 )

  • Bitty Boss says:

    LOL @ brianna "…the Essence tips never worked."


    Before the forums I would use a LOT grease and didn't know a damn thing about moisture. I would dc 1x a week with any Cholesterol and blow dry the heck out of it.

  • Brianna C. says:

    @Tracekilla…I agree that most of my styling tips come from non black magazines. I would read Essence's hair section but their tips never worked.

    For me, Seventeen had the best hair section. They recommended cheap conditioners that worked for "curly" hair, taught me to use a paddle brush or wide tooth comb for detangling my hair, and to use heat protectants.

  • RHOyalRevolution says:

    I've been natural my WHOLE life and I always used any product I could find. No wonder y things never worked! I was using products that women use with relaxers. All types of greases, sprays, gels–all that.
    Now with the The Natural Revolution (I'd like to call it) there are sooo many products specifically for natural hair and it shows an immense difference!

    When I did twist/braids outs, I used setting lotion/foam and a hair dryer.
    I would cornrows it with setting lotion and take it out when it was dry.
    Ewwhhh, it was slimy, crunchy, stick and dry!
    I mean it wasnt that bad, I'm just comparing it to now how my HOLY GRAIL products have altered my life! lol 🙂

  • embracingmycurls says:

    I think I tried everything and anything that was labeled for CURLY HAIR. I didn't know what ingredient reading was, I just tried it because.

  • Anonymous says:

    Ummm…wow! I don't even want to remember my hair before (and its wasn’t but a few weeks before I discovered this website). Still trying to find my way but basically I would wash or co-wash and then put it in a ponytail. I only detangled once a week because I dreaded it so much (lol) and always ended up with tears and a heaping handful of hair. I would only apply a moisturizer I got from Aveda. Luckily I have pretty darn resilient hair and it sprung back to life after I further educated myself…Thanks Nikki

  • Anonymous says:

    I did a lot of wash 'n gos, before I found out about blogs. I knew better than to comb my hair when dry from reading a book on proper hair care for curly hair and YT. On occasion I would use hair gel, but I never was too crazy about gel. My routine was relatively simple and easy. I would shampoo 1x a week and co-wash in between shampoos. My hair grew like crazy from this low maintenance routine. Sometimes simple is better! -RB

  • AusetAbena says:

    No deep treatment, sulfate shampoos, conditioner only once in a while. Thank God for natural hair care forums. One thing I will say, is that my routine was a lot simpler before the forums. Maybe not better, but definitely simpler.

  • kimmie0810 says:

    Shampooing every day. Using Sebastion Wet until my hair was a crunch hard helmet–but my curls were hella defined! Moisture Max was my CRACK b/c I thought it was doing something.

    I always did WNGs even when I had a relaxer b/c my hair would still curl. I cut all the relaxer out of it twice-once it was super short & I relaxed when it got longer. The 2nd time it was longer but I swear I looked like Oon-fu-fu the bushwoman! I got mad & figured I only had curls b/c of my relaxer & put the relaxer back in.

    This time going natural, I still have my ringlets & my hair is soft & I can get great definition b/c of what I've learned on these forums & from a curly hair expert in DC.

  • modest-goddess says:

    during my transition and the first few months post BC:
    Creme of Nature Shampoo (the old formula)
    Suave Coconut Conditioner
    Paul Mitchell Foaming Pomade

    not that bad actually

  • Anonymous says:

    I was a MESS I used shampoo almost every three days, greased my scalp with blue majic only or used a mousse that had a ton of alcohol in it. No wonder my hair was so damn crunchy! Thanks Nikki for this site!

  • Unknown says:

    When I first bc'd I only used the products created by my stylist. I never used heat. I washed my hair nearly every day, used her foam and glaze and that was it. It was only when I found CN (I don't read any other forums to this day…) that I started to venture out and realized I didn't have to spend so much on 2 products. Now I spend lots on many products. LOL!

  • Anonymous says:

    My hair was a frizzy, tangled, dry, unshapely mess for the first year of being natural before I discovered Anita grant products and curly message boards. I was using mineral oil, sulfates and glycerin in the dead of winter and shea butter. I was truly a hot mess for that first year.

  • Anonymous says:

    Paul Mitchell Foaming Pomade and Paul Mitchell Mousse – mineral oil and alcohol what a combination for tight coily hair. I think the only thing that possibly saved my hair was the hot oil treatments with the coconut oil.

  • StaceyMarie says:

    Before the forums, I used some kind of olive oil moisturizer lotion my mom recommended (full of mineral oils and very little olive oil), water, a pick, and a twist up pomade stick to slick my edges. I did learn by firsthand experience not to handle my hair dry (after causing an "afro seed" shower while picking my hair and actually hearing my hair rip!!). I washed my hair with the same stuff I used while relaxed, KeraCare. I blew my hair out 2-3 times before I learned about heat damage. Oh, what a difference the internet makes!

  • Anonymous says:

    boy o boy
    where do I begin as well, lol, I have been natural for eight years but consistently getting my hair flat ironed, once I started hot yoga this year, I have tried sew in's which I cut a part of my hair by accident, flat ironing, burnt part of my hair, braids that has pulled my hair out in the front, my daughter well that is a whole separate post, now finally I am going to rock a fro and be happy, i just bought my pick over the weekend and I am going to visit a natural hair salon and hopefully they can help me out and tell me which products are the best for my hair type, thank you for this website, you r saving hair by the millions, keep up the good work!!!!!!!

  • Southernbellebronxtale says:

    I did not use anything natural at all. shampoos and conditioners were whatever I could get my hands on I treated my hair as if it was relaxed

  • kitka82 says:

    Let me clarify– there's nothing wrong with inexpensive products. The problem for me was mostly how I used the products, not how much they cost.

  • kitka82 says:

    In general, I've never really had a clue as to how to care for my hair, relaxed or natural. When I was natural 10 years ago, I used cheap shampoos and conditioners, washing 1x a week. I combed my hair wet and dry, and used lots of gel and oils. I dyed my hair all different colors and used heat to dry my hair.

    I'm so thankful for the many resources available (especially I just BC'ed in September, but my hair has grown a lot, and I'm still experimenting with different products and techniques.

  • Jeannette says:

    Great question! I only cared about how straight my hair was and permed it at least every three to four weeks or when I saw a kink appear LOL. Then I used a hard shampoo and oiled my scalp when it looked dry. I am SOOOO happy those days are over. I was horrible taking care of my hair. And oh yeah, I spends 1/3 of my time and LOTS of money at the hair salon getting it done.

  • Anonymous says:

    Before the forums I washed my hair, detangled without conditioner, I would deep condition everytime though then blow-dry on medium heat after applying either pink oil as a moisturizer or some other hair pomade. I had tried so many hair oils to combat the dryness! I combed the hair daily to style it.

    The major changes I have made are detangling with a conditioner. It makes things so much easier. I now allow my hair to air dry instead of blowdrying. It's strange that previously I did not associate the dryness with the heat I was applying. I also make sure to spray the hair with some water if dry then seal with an oil. I have reduced daily combing to a minimum, I try to be gentle when handling the hair. And I have learned that regular trims reduce tangling at the ends.

  • TraceKilla says:

    Funny enough, before natural hair forums, videos, etc. my routine was actually very close to a lot of the advice that is being given out these days. I went natural back when I was a freshman in high school (last perm in 1999). A lot of what I did to care for my hair, I learned from the "non-black" magazines for teens – YM, Seventeen, etc. They talked about hair in general terms a lot of the time, and it was so rare to see them give advice or tips for black, natural hair. I followed some of the "curly" tips and the things that stood out to me were Condition, Condition, Condition; and keep heat to a minimum. The curlies they showed were nothing like my hair type at all (I'm 3c/4a I guess, the models were usually 3a/b). They even talked about cowashing between actual shampoo washing, but they just didn't use that particular term. It probably wasn't even around at the time, lol. The only thing that I lacked at the time was styling skills. I learned how to take care of my hair, but just didn't know how to give it flair. I either had it in a puff or out and crazy. That's it. lol

    My routine was very low maintenance. Here's what I did:
    – wash with shampoo once a week with a clairifying shampoo
    – refresh hair every 2 – 3 days with a cowash
    – deep condition maybe once a month
    – if rockin the curls in a puff I slicked back using any gel that didn't have a too harsh of a hold
    – if just a wash n go, I'd just slick the front part back or behind my ears with gel
    – straightened hair once a month for a break

    Back then there wasn't a lot of talk at all about parabens, mineral oil and the like so I did't pay much attention to all that, and I still don't really care. But I like to experiment, lol. My hair did just fine back then. Then I went through a period of only styling my hair straight, so when I went back to wearing my hair curly again (about 2.5 years ago) I was able to recall the tips I learned from the magazines. Luckily by then all sorts of sources sprung up for me to refer to about my hair, so my routine now is modified but almost the same as before.

  • Anonymous says:

    Pre-forum mentality – Routine … what's that? I used whatever was on sale at the "beauty supply store."

  • Unknown says:

    I transitioned with braids, so I mostly used braid spray to keep my hair moistured. I usually use Parnevu tea tree spray. Before I found Curly Nikki, I talked to a "natural" friend who recommended Miss Jessie products. Shortly after, I found Curly Nikki's site and my life is so much easier. I'm a bantu knot out queen for life.

    I realized that I now take better care of my hair than when I had a relaxer. Thanks Nikki

  • Dani says:

    I BC'd, and went straight to the barber shop, let them "shape" me, and then washed my hair like I did while I was permed. Pink oil, and brown gel was my friend, and I didn't know how to style. Dried with direct HIGH blow dryer heat. My hair would break, and not grow past a certain point, and I could NOT understand why. Thank GOD for these blogs and youtube. My hair has done a complete 180.

  • Cupcake415 says:

    OMG, lol…

    Where do I begin…

    I always went to the shop regularly, but it seemed as if they would always be cutting my hair off, instead of triming… Not the normal half inch trim, I'm talking like cutting 2 inches everytime. I said to myself "How is my hair suppose to grow at this rate…

    I decided to get the short at the top, and long in the back look… The lady of course didn't do it right… So I decide to do braids…

    Every time I took my braids down, I DID a good wash and Deep Condition… Blow-dried, then re-braided the next day… I sprayed my hair every-night with Sulfer 8 braid spray… Now, this kept my hair growing and healthy, Until I decided to perm (since I assumed my hair was so long) Only shoulder length after permed which upset me, thought it would have been longer. A stylist gave me samples of RedsKin Shampoo. Tangled my hair soooo bad, that I had to chop it off to TWA… I cried becuz it wasn't by choice.

    By this time… I became a product junkie. I bought anything and everything that said "Will help Hair Grow Super fast"… At the first or 2nd use, I would toss it because I felt as if it wasn't fast enough…. I spent so much money and was so unpatient, that I went back to braids, lol

    All of a sudden after high school, college, up until now in my Mid-twenties… I have found curlunikki, studied people routine to get an idea. Then I studied my hair, remembered what didn't work from a while back… And Now I see my true curls, and have a good routine. Still learning what is best for my hair, but I have it pretty much down packed!

  • Anonymous says:

    I have been natural all of my life but wore a ponytail or bun nearly every day until I was out of graduate school. I used typical drugstore sulfate shampoos and drugstore conditioners that smelled nice. I dabbled with products that were pretty much scented mineral oil (blue magic, hot six oil, always pomade etc.) I was never terribly happy with my hair and started to look at hair forums a few years ago. I too, experimented with a number of things including conditioner washing only, only handling hair when wet, sealing etc. Also tried many of the popular natural products like shea butter, coconut oil, aloe vera gel, jojoba oil, etc. Im not sure how I exactly figured out what did and did not work for me but I finally settled into a routine that works very well for me and I now have more softness, shine, and length than ever.
    The most important things I learned from the forums were.
    1-No ponytail holders, period. Id been wearing them for most of my life, every day, and they were causing breakage. Since letting them go my hair finally became longer shoulder length.
    2-Moisture with water, every day. I use and like oils, but they alone don't help my hair stay moisturized. I now use leave in product with oils that has made a big improvement.
    3-Detangle and separate the hair. Wearing puffs and buns all of the time kept my hair coiling onto itself and ultimately breaking. Braiding my hair into big sections to loosen and separate the hair has made a great difference.
    4-Manipulate less and more gently.. I've abandoned brushes and style primarily with my hands. This is now possible since I stretch my hair and don't submit it into a bun or ponytail.
    5-Silk scarf overnight. Before the boards, I had no idea…

    Overall, the hair boards have been a great resource. I know just read them because its all interesting to me, like art or fashion. I am relieved to finally have my own hair down pat.

  • Anonymous says:

    No deep treatments EVER, trims once a year, and gelling my hair back with a bristle brush and Ampro Prostyle Clear-ice Gel. Thank God I discovered the benefits of homemade natural products. :^)

  • curlya says:

    Sadly I used a lot of mineral based products in an effort to TRY and keep it moisturized. I shampooed daily and conditioned. I only DC'd when I remembered to do it.I picked my hair – often and blowdryed it on high to try and manage it. I also used brown gel and wrap lotion (with alcohol) to smooth the edges and make my hair curly.

    When it got to long to manage; I went to my son's barber and had him cut it short again. 🙁

    Since finding the forums I have been on a HHJ and my hair is happy. I'm actually understanding what it wants and needs. It's the best feeling ever!

  • MissCurly says:

    lol, my hair looked a hot mess before I discovered all the natural hair boards, videos,blogs, ect.

    Anything that was labeled for "curly" hair I tried. No matter what was in it, I figured I could use it on my curly hair. Which resulted in dry, frizzy, crazyness.

    I had no knowledge on deep treatments like CN said or what protective styles were. Thank God for all this natural hair education now.

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