Shampoo and Condition
-Start each wash by rinsing your hair for 2-3 minutes. The long rinse will loosen up product residue so you can use less shampoo.
– Comb the conditioner through your hair before rinsing it out. Your hair experiences the least damage when it’s covered in conditioner.
– Be sure to apply leave-in conditioner and/or a curl styler within 5 minutes after your wash. It’s always best to seal in moisture immediately.
Moisturize or Co-Wash
– If co-washing works for you, feel free to wash your hair daily or every other day. Saturating your hair with water is the only way to fully re-moisturize it.
– If co-washing leaves you with scalp problems, you can still partially moisturize your hair between washes. The best moisturizing products have water and an oil or butter at the top of the ingredients list.
Mid-Week or more often
– Those with oily scalps or a frequent exercise schedule will need to shampoo mid-week. Don’t be afraid to wash your hair. When you choose a shampoo based on the recommendations in this guide, you don’t have to worry about shampoo damage or stripping your hair color. Always follow shampoo with conditioner.
1 to 4 times per month
– Co-washing does not cleanse your scalp enough to keep it healthy. Shampoo your hair at least twice a month.
– Deep Condition your hair as often as possible. Always saturate every inch of hair with your deep treatment and leave it in for the full recommended time.
– Don’t comb or brush your hair after you’ve rinsed the conditioner out or your natural curls will frizz out and seem to disappear.
– The best way to seal in maximum moisture and define your coils is to apply your products to wet hair before you get out of the shower. After you’ve distributed product throughout your hair you can gently towel blot it (so it’s no longer dripping wet). Be sure to try this method if you’re new to wearing your natural hair.
– Natural hair looks best when it’s dried with minimal heat and minimal touching. Dry your hair with a bonnet dryer or a blow dryer and diffuser on the Low or Medium setting. Air dry your hair whenever you have the extra time.
– Deep Conditioner
– Curl Styler and/or Leave-In Conditioner
– Wide Tooth Comb
– Blow Dryer and Diffuser
– Natural hair looks best when it’s dried with minimal heat and minimal touching. Dry your hair with a bonnet dryer or a blow dryer and diffuser on the Low or Medium setting. Air dry your hair whenever you have the extra time."
I always air dry, but leaving my strange combination of hair types to curl on its own leaves it looking … funny. Super curly in the back and too loose in the front, I have a fine strand, so I style with flat twists and curl it with pipe cleaners to give it extra fullness. And I TOTALLY deep condition with EVERY wash (I find I HAVE to wash because co-washing did not work for my scalp).
Love the site. Still trying to find what works best for my high porosity hair (the hair strand in the glass of water sank straight to the bottom). Peace and love.
Daily moisturizing. I spritz twice a day, once in the morning and once before bed with half water and half aloe vera juice then I seal with a butter or oil.
washing my hair
@ Coco W-henna can be extremely drying so it's best to mix it with oil, and to deep condition AND condition when using it.
My regimen's so simple I don't think I could skip any. I spritz w/water, detangle, apply dc, steam w/dc, wash/cond, detangle, twist w/hair butter and apply my black castor oil blend to the scalp.
CocoW. – I just made 50 last month and sometimes I would like to see women in my age group in an interview or tips on styling. As for henna I use it myself at least once a month (overnight – I find that the color takes better and lasts much longer). Afterwards I always dc – also after every wash. My hair feels dry afterward but dcing under a heat cap is the business.
@Caramelcurls- I love that coconut oil rinse idea! I'm gonna start doing that. Thanks!
i like to shower without a scarf/shower cap on on days that i dont plan to wash or cowash so that i get added moisture to my hair from the showers steam. I also like to apply tea tree oil/olive oil/castor oil to my scalp and i like to finger detangle.
How do I co-wash?
I can't skip my Kimmaytube Leave-In conditioner. The pH of the aloe vera helps to close my cuticle and helps soften my hair.
I can't skip a step in my regimen at all and I can't go more than 10 days without doing every step or my scalp is itch and flake city. I have also committed to doing the green house effect for at least 30 days, hope to see a change.
Thanks for sharing these tips.
I must say I had to change up a bit with my routine. I poo twice a week, because I was drying my hair out. It started to feel brittle.
But I do co – wash every week and my hair is very moisturized.
My first step is a prepoo treatment or DC. I either use Aubrey Organics on dry hair or Burt's Bees Avocado Butter Treatment on wet hair. I have not skipped this step in more than 18 months.
moisturize, seal and bandu knots the night before wash day is a must and makes my weekly wash day a breeze. no excessive shedding, ssks or tangles when i use this process. when i think about how many steps and products i used to have i just smh. i could have saved myself so much pain, time & money if i had just kept it simple.
i agree with most of this except the blow dryer. i dont believe in blow dryers lol
Love these tips. Many of these articles have helped me to symplify my process and made this natural journey less daunting! Thanks for the info.
I gotta henna! Monthly. I experience wayyy less shedding, breaking, and it really adds to my overall hair health.
Coco W – make sure you deep condition after your henna. I also add coconut milk to my henna mix, it is the truth!
Good tips! I REALLY wanted to like co-washing, but my hair just feels kinda gross afterwards. Am I the only one? I don't use a lot a product on my hair everyday. After wash day, I just spritz my hair with my spray bottle containing ~70% water + coconut oil + curl and style milk, then seal my ends. I HAVE to wash my hair with an organic, sulfate free shampoo (Shea Moisture-with the gold/yellow label) every 5 days. Everything else is Bible! lol
Hi Nikki, always a pleasure reading your blog even though I do not have the same tex as you and most of your fans, your advice and suggestions are very,very informative. But please can you interview a 4C blogger (in her 40s -50s would be the BEST!) to impart her tried and successful methods to grow a healthy head of hair. Sadly we all get the years on and come to certain realization about our physical appearance one of them being a black woman and her hairstory.
All of that being said, can you please explain why it is that my hair after 3 henna treatments feels dry? Granted the first two apps powder are a bit sketchy to me as I don't believe they were BAQ no matter what they told me at the salon!!! So please tell me why can't seem to soften my hair even though I moisturize everyday! My last henna treatment was 2 Saturdays ago and I'd bought that from mehend pretty costly the shipping etc. And I can't tell you how much I'm flaking!! Please help, I'm going nuts here in NYC. I love being natural but the braying hairline and now the itchy flaking dryness is bringing me down. It's enough that I have to water moisturize AND twist every night! now I'm itching as if I have fleas! Help!
One thing I can never skip is cleansing. My scalp gets product build up easily, and is very sensitive to dyes, fragrances, etc. I usually cleanse once a week, but I'm thinking of increasing it to two times weekly.
Oh yes definitely must haves! I've learned to be light on the oily products because it leaves my hair gunky and yucky! I also think shampooing less and co-washing more leaves my hair looking fabulous and very defined. To each its own!
I would never skip sealing in the moisture. I have learned through trial and error that I definitely need to seal. I cowash daily or every few days, shampoo and deep condition once a week and moisturize, seal and style everyday for my wash and goes. I haven't used heat or a comb on my hair since a bc'd two years ago.
Elaine D – I agree, moisture is everything and washing is the best way to replenish it. Thank you for posting!
Katrina A – Sounds like you're on the right track 🙂 Thanks for commenting!
Anon 4:43 – Thanks for sharing what works for you. 🙂
Kiesh – Sounds great! Did you catch the deep conditioning post last week? http://curlynikki.com/2012/04/find-your-perfect-deep-conditioner.html There are some really effective deep conditioners that work in 10 minutes.
Moisturizing is key! But when all else fails and I just can't handle the dryness…my AOHR does the job through a co-wash….
I'm still trying to figure out how often my hair likes to be washed, but I currently Co wash daily and have been shampooing at least once a week. I couldn't do without conditioning and deep conditioning.
I typically wash/condish and style my hair once a week. Sometimes I cowash mid week but most times I don't. I typically detangle in the shower with conditioner in my hair during wash day. I moisturize daily. I deep condish once a month but I may do away with that because my hair seems to feel the same whether I condish for 10 mins or 40. That's about it.
jly – Thanks for posting!
Caramelcurls – Thanks for sharing your routine!
Another tip, as seen on some styling videos, use a small flexi rod or perming rod to the ends of the hair to make it curl. Some curl patterns return a bit when you twist the ends after braiding or twisting. There are many tricks and its just about learning your own hair and making your own regimen.
Its all about what works for you and your hair type. I disagree that you must shampoo your hair as often as she suggests.
I shampoo about once per month, co-wash once per week and I don't wet my hair every day. I us a daily moisturizer, and oil every night on my hair before I go to bed to seal the ends and add back lost moisture.
I do agree with combing the hair does disturb the curl pattern, but it really depends on how you are styling. If you are doing a wash out, then you may want to finger detangle, apply our product and air dry.
But, If you are doing twists or braids then it doesn't matter if you use a comb. If you are doing an Out style (twist, braid, bantu, etc) then you should always detangle and comb through your hair 1) helps with defining because the hair is separated well before you twist, braid, etc. and easy to take "out" and style.
2) Also helps detangle hair you may have missed washing. My trick is if you are worried about losing your curl pattern, then spray the ends of your hair with oil/water combo, take a denman brush and lightly brush your ends which will curl up.
You will see some hair in the brush (from natural shedding), but minimal maybe a quarter size or smaller. Just My humble opinion, but everyone should do what works for them.
Weekly/Bi-weekly routine: honey/oil prepoo, wash, oil rinse w/coconut oil, condition and steam, detangle and style. Daily Routine: moisturize with water and whipped shea butter and twist at night.
I try to keep my routine simple–I would never skip oil rinsing with coconut oil because it makes detangling a breeze and leaves my hair healthy and shiny. I would also never skip moisturizing my hair. With natural hair, moisture is everything.
What I do skip is blow drying and flat ironing. I am 7 months natural and have only blow dried twice–I prefer to sit under a dryer for about an hour on wash day. It's less manipulation and no direct heat.
With natural hair, less is more!
LM – Yup, gotta seal in that moisture ASAP! Don't worry about washing in twists if it's causing you to manipulate your hair more, it's not worth it. You definitely need to make sure you've rinsed all the shampoo out or the residue may react with your conditioner and cause more tangles. Thanks for commenting 🙂
Me Me Mel that rinse sounds interesting, I just started doing the Ayurvedic regimen and I may have to add that step.
i'm still working on my wash routine. One thing i will never skip is to moisturize and seal. If by some crazy phenomenon i do not put a leave-in in my hair, I at least seal in the moisture from the water i acquired during my wash with shea butter..one thing that I would like to do to keep my hair detangled during the wash is to wash in twists, but my twists always unravel under the water pressure. flat twisting helped a little, but do you have to unravel the hair to make sure all of the shampoo has been washed out?
Jeannette – That's a great "step" 🙂 Definitely something that shouldn't be skipped!
Mangomadness – I'm glad you found a routine that works for you. Thanks for commenting!
Thanks for commenting, Anon 2:02 and 2:06 🙂
Sounds interesting, Me Me Mel! Thanks for sharing!
I would never skip detangling my hair with conditioner prior to shampooing and shampooing in twists. These steps make wash-style day a breeze.
The step that I never skip is that I never stress over doing my hair. I have fun with it and if I miss something, I will get it the next time. I have fun doing my hair, that is the step I never skip and it works for me 🙂
i would never skip my tea and coffee mixture rinse its so refeahing. and it smells really good.
That is suppose to say 15 minutes or less, sorry.
It's not that much work at all. You are just doing it in the shower and it only adds maybe 1minutes or less to your regimen.
This sounds like a whole lot a work!