When I first went natural, it was all I thought about. I spent so much time in my first three or four years of natural hair, figuring it out. Creating a natural hair regimen can seem daunting at first. The products your hair responded to when it was relaxed, won’t have the same effects anymore. Your hair needs totally change. There are a million and one blogs, message boards, photos and YouTube video tutorials to check out, to try to answer your hair questions. But what it truly boils down to is trial and error.

I think it took me maybe 4 years to FINALLY come to peace with my natural hair. It took me that long to make sense of my curl pattern, to know how often I needed to shampoo, what kind of conditioner I needed and what ingredients my hair responded to the most. And then when I moved to Chicago there was even more figuring out to figure out. Now I was contending with FOUR seasons and my hair was dramatically different for each one. Winter left my hair depleted of all life. Summer brought the frizz. And Spring and Fall made my hair curl to perfection – my hair loves those seasons! Somewhere along the way, I more or less figured it out. I could understand my hair and what it needed, and how it looked best. I realized I didn’t care about stretching my hair or trying to achieve a certain length – I wanted it to just do its thing and be happy and healthy, and because my face is round I like a certain shape of hair and I need some upward volume to make my face not look TOO round.

Afrobella hair

I like it like this.

I figured out a wash and go style that more or less works for me, 365 days of the year. And then I stopped thinking about it as much. Lately I’ve had quite a few people ask me about my hair routine or hair regimen, and I realized I didn’t necessarily have one. Not one that I’d spent time thinking about lately, at any rate.

Don’t get me wrong, I still get super excited about new products and I’m always down to review a new styling cream/pudding/soufflé, or a new leave in conditioner or hair oil, deep conditioning treatment or cleansing cream. I prefer not to try any and every shampoo, having had a bad experience with some homemade shampoo by an indie brand not too long ago. There are some hair treatments I may have tried in the past but don’t feel comfortable doing myself anymore, like color. I used to see myself as something of a hair guinea pig for the people, and there was a point when I’d try almost anything. But now I really gravitate towards products that I think will work well for my texture based on ingredients and experience. The products you see reviewed here on Afrobella have been tried and tested, they are determined to be of quality and are worth your hard earned money. The products that don’t work for me, you don’t hear me talk about ‘em.

So what IS my hair regimen right now? I don’t really have a set routine that I stick to. This is pretty much it:

– I wash my hair using shampoo every 7 to 10 days, depending on my activity level. When I wash my hair with shampoo, I really focus on the scalp and use the pads of my fingertips (no more scratching with fingernails for this girl). Shampoo makes my scalp feel fresh and clean and helps to get rid of the product buildup.

– I conditioner wash more often, usually every 3 days, just to keep my situation moisturized and detangled. I try to work out several days a week, so after working out I either rinse my hair with clean, fresh water and then style for the next day, or I conditioner wash and detangle my hair as needed.

— I try to deep condition my hair once a week, and I’ll get fancy with it and use a hair oil, or intensive treatment. I might use the steamer once a month. Maybe. Tops. I used to use it more often but my apartment is small and I’m lazy.

— When my hair is freshly washed and still wet, I slather on hair product. It really depends on where I’m going and what I’m doing, but my hair responds best to creamy, moisturizing hair products. My hair also adores coconut oil, jojoba oil, and aloe vera based products. Pure, heavy shea butter products weigh my hair down a lot so I usually use those in the winter only.

— After I wash my hair I use a wide tooth, rat tail comb by Umberto Beverly Hills (available at Target stores and in Umberto’s salons, not online alas) to give my hair lift at the roots, so it doesn’t dry all flat on my scalp. I wish I had more talented fingers for cool styles and up-dos and twists…but I don’t. I have stubby incapable fingers.

That’s pretty much it.

I don’t do hair product challenges because I lack the discipline required. I will forget by day 2. I don’t have the skill or patience for elaborate styles. I take my hair day by day and don’t think about it a whole lot all the time. It is a reflection of me and my personality but the days of letting it be an obsession are in my past. I’m not at all bored with my hair, I love it as much as I ever did! I just don’t worry about it as much as I used to. And that’s funny, coming from the girl who used to switch up her hair color on a monthly basis back in her relaxed days. When did this nonchalance happen?

I want to hear from you – are you a long-term natural who’s still got an intense hair regimen? Or are you at the “it is what it is” point in your natural hair life, too?


milaxx says:
May 21, 2013, 7:45 pm
This post came just at the right time. I am a long term natural. I gave up perms sometime in the late 90's and lov'd 4 years ago. I am active on a loc community on facebook and these folks are just too complicated for me. I was probably once a month and then retwist with mango & lime gel then add a bit of oil to moisturize. I typically set it in some sort of way. currently I;m doing pipe cleaner sets. In between I will either rinse my hair or use an astringent like seabreeze if my scalp feels yucky. In the winter when my hair can get a little dry, I may spritz it at night before tying it up with Oyin Handmade juice n' berries. That's it. I have a cat so when I come home I put my scarf on, at night I add the satin bonnet on top. I'm not adding oils because I'm washing once a month. I don't want build up. It stays soft because I tie it up faithfully. I read about these people adding complicated oil mixtures daily or retwisting weekly and I can't imagine being that involved in my hair. I loc'd to make my life easier.
Jarima says:
May 21, 2013, 7:46 pm
You look so so beautiful and I love your hair. I realized a while ago that I don't have a set regimen either. I do what works best for me! Great post!
pets says:
May 21, 2013, 8:54 pm
Deep condition - haven't done that in a while - will try to do at least monthly so thanks for that. Your hair is very lively and I love it!
BlackBetty says:
May 21, 2013, 9:55 pm
Thanks Bella. I do have a regimen, but it's just based on what my hair needs. When my hair was longer, Sundays were for washing and styling, Wednesday nights for restyling/cowashing. Now that my hair is super short again, I still wash on Sundays, with either shampoo or cleansing cream, slap some conditioner on and call it a day. My scalp lets me know when it's time to wash. I don't have time nor am I interested in spending 10 hours washing and finger detangling my hair. I have products that are staples that I rarely venture from. Hair Rules Cleansing Cream, Hello Hydration conditioner or Organix Moroccan Argan Oil and Hair Rules Kinky Curly Cream to style. That's it. I will color my own hair but have a colorist at the Hair Rules salon who's fabulous, so even that's rare now. A lot of what I read about in the natural hair movement is exhausting. For me and other long time or always natural beauties, keeping it simple works, so why stray from it?
Pat says:
May 21, 2013, 11:49 pm
My regime is simple now after spending money on natural/organic products that left my hair dull and looking like a ball. I have fine hair so small amounts are key for me but I went back to using grease with water on damp hair just like my grandma used on my natural untreated hair back in the day. I also may combine some Cantu hair lotion(since I had some from the product junkie days) with it in the palm of my hands, works great with stellar results. I always wear my hair out since twists and the such are loose/unravel on me. I usually put products on at night and just spray with water in the mornings. I will never pay huge sums of money again on my hair. I also like the Dove shampoos.
Chrystal says:
May 22, 2013, 8:09 am
I'm much like you, Bella. I don't have a huge regimen, and I've been natural for over 10 years. My curls are dense, porous, and very much like pen springs, so thick shea butter products work well for my hair. When I went natural, there was nothing out there really other than products for just curly hair (I was and I'm still a big fan of Aveda's brilliant products) but the cost was a bit much, so I started experimenting with my own products, including shea, natural oils, and glycerin (a humectant). I've My hair likes the water, so I dampen it daily, but wash only every two weeks. I try a variety of different products for different styles, but the main thing I try to do with my hair is to leave it alone.
Tacola says:
May 22, 2013, 12:44 pm
GIRL I'm with you! I got into this natural hair thing so I didn't have to spend an hour and a half washing, blow drying, flat ironing, and fixing my hair! I'm a wash and go girl through and through. I love the texture of my hair as it comes out of my head after a shower, and it pretty much stays that way. I don't twist, braid, bun, or knot my hair in any way. I don't have the patience or the upper body strength to keep my arms above my head for that long.
Sabrina R Perkins says:
May 22, 2013, 12:48 pm
I am all over the CGM but other than that i'm a lazy Natural and don't do special styles. I am more concerned with the health but the most you will get out of me is banding (two barrettes, ain't got time or energy for more) and when partly dry I remove them. That's mostly to keep my hair behind my ears. I cowash a few times a week and cleanse with a cleansing conditioning every week and a half. No more trying several styles. I've been Natural for over 7 years and OVER all that. Great post and right on time.
NolaGirl says:
May 22, 2013, 3:08 pm
I had a routine back in 1996, before the plethora of resources online, and books, and magazines! Its too much now by 2000 I knew what worked for me, by 2004 I stopped with the different braided looks every 4-7 days. I still love a new product, I just don't try everything I see now. I try to remember back in 96 being new so I don't dampen the spirits of the newly natural, but it just doesn't take all that.
Cicely says:
May 22, 2013, 5:04 pm
I love your blog post! I have worn locs for 9 years and don't really believe in complicated hair care routines. I shampoo with regular shampoo, use regular conditioner, and use regular extra virgin olive oil. Some may think where's the sprays, elixirs, and juices but, like you prove you really don't need them. It's a bunch of "natural" brain wash and sorry to say wallet washing to me. Big ups on telling it like it is and saving many the trouble and cash of to much product!
Ang says:
May 22, 2013, 7:37 pm
I am entering my third year of being a naturalista. My only focus now is to try different hairstyles. I pretty much only wash my hair whenever my scalp says it's time- maybe every 8-10 days, that includes conditioning and twisting. I keep it simple.
Pat says:
May 22, 2013, 7:41 pm
You are so right, I learned too that lots of it with the products are wallet washing. I like that term!!
Pat says:
May 22, 2013, 7:41 pm
You are so right, I learned too that lots of it with the products are wallet washing. I like that term!!
Lisa says:
May 23, 2013, 2:07 pm
I've been natural for about...wait, what year is this? Wow! Since Oct 2005. In the early years, I was all about conditioners and sprays and soooooooooo many hair accessories...I went through this epic head band phase. cowash twice a week, blow dry once if needed, flat iron for special occasions...And then i was tired. I'm actually happy I did get tired because I was doing too much. After that, I was co wash, put hair in a couple of buns, and go. My hair is going to do it's hair thing. I need to just keep it moisturized and healthy and leave it in peace.
London says:
May 23, 2013, 3:44 pm
I have been natural for about 5 months now. I don't have a strict regimen yet, because I'm still in the trial and error phase. I don't anticipate having a regimen in the future, because I usually go with what works for me at the time. I do have to say I am a fan of Taliah Waajid's detangler. It really brings out my natural curl pattern, leaving my hair feeling light and soft.
Cosmolude says:
May 24, 2013, 6:34 pm
I don't have much of a regimen anymore. When I first went natural, I was doing the most: writing down recipes for homemade hair products, buying accessories, trying out ( and searching) a bunch of products, writing down regimens and watching youtube videos and tutorials; I spent two years trying to get it right. I wanted to have "long" hair and couldn't wait until I got to a certain length. Now I just don't really care. I started to wear my hair "out" more and I just do whatever feels right. I've gotten a little lazy so I think I should be a bit more diligent, but I'm glad I'm not as crazy as I used to be. I'm still trying to get rid of products (from two years ago) that didn't work for me.
Erica says:
May 25, 2013, 7:13 pm
I've been natural since 2000. I wash my hair weekly in the summer/fall and every 2 weeks in winter/early spring. Co wash during the week depending upon how sweaty my workout gets. I deep condition after every shampoo and keep my hair moisturized regularly. That's it. No fancy or elaborate styles. I generally keep my hair off my face in a big ole bun or updo. In the summer, I wear my hair out in a curly fro or big puff off my face. 13 years of naturalness - pre YouTube, Twitter, FB, regimen foolishness. I love my hair.
Cristine says:
May 25, 2013, 8:06 pm
I used to have a regimen ... I used to try everything and do everything and then one day, I got tired of it. So now I just do what my hair tells me. Sooner or later, you fall into an easy routine that's not so strict and has too many steps. I love it.
Debo says:
May 27, 2013, 9:25 pm
I too have no regular hair regime. I've worn my hair natural since the early 90's but in 2008 I had it shaved to the scalp and kept that style until last year, so this is really the first time in a long time I've had hair on my head. Well, hair that's long enough to be plaited. Because I swim four times most weeks and I don't wear a swimming cap I have to frequently shampoo my hair so my main focus is keeping it conditioned. I've tried many products but nothing makes my hair feel good better than L'oreal's Advanced Hair care shampoos and conditioners and Redken's shampoo and conditioner. I'd like to try a twist out but I don't have the arm strength or length to do it. Great post Bella!
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NV says:
May 31, 2013, 6:38 pm
I am newly natural - two years June. When I first decided to try going natural, I did my research...And decided then I would be a lazy natural. LOL! I don't put anything on my hair I can't get from Target and keep it simple with twists. I think being lazy has helped my hair grow like crazy. I let her be and she rewards me with being strong, healthy and long. People do a lot. I see it as pampering, but with two kids, a job and other things I like doing, I just can't with a complicated regimen. I love my hair and all her wiry, curly craziness.
bookbutterfly says:
June 1, 2013, 7:55 pm
I've been natural since the early 90s. And all I know is, the less you fuss with your hair the more it will grow. Still, about two years ago, I was bored and googled natural hair and found a wealth of knowledge and youtubers. I made my self miserable running around trying to find products that I could get shipped to Europe. Now, I know more about hairstyles, products, techniques and I'm back to that first basic truth: the less you fuss, the better your hair will be.
sandy says:
June 7, 2013, 7:32 pm
Thank you for being candid. I have no set routine and don't have time for doing all these styles. I have one or two basic styles: twist or wash n go. Hair health is my focus also.
Nic says:
June 9, 2013, 12:42 pm
It's nice to hear from someone who keeps it simple. A lot of people want to insist that you need to follow so many rules and I don't follow any. I had natural hair until I was 18, had a relaxer for many years as an adult, and wound up natural again by accident, so there wasn't any mystery other than figuring out what my adult style would be (b/c like you, I cannot braid or cornrow and don't have the patience to learn). I tried a lot of products b/c I'm a beauty/toiletry junkie overall, but out of everything I tried, only 2 things became staples for me and I'd say that like you, it's the consistency and ingredients that mean more than anything (and I don't mean in a sense of everything being natural). I use a moisturizing shampoo every week (the same one I've used most of my life and so is NOT sulfate-free. I tried them and my hair always felt dry and crappy), I deep condition with a heavy, moisturizing conditioner (there are many that work), and I occasionally do a protein treatment in between the shampoo and the conditioning. No pre-pooing (I'm still not sure what that is) or conditioner washes (my hair takes so long to dry that I really can only shampoo or wet it once a week). I use some kind of creamy product as a leave-in and add some oil (and the ones I've used have ranged from jojoba to avocado to coconut...any of them work, so its just a matter of what I have left). In general, my hair has always loved being greasy. It's really thick and afro-textured (so another reason why real shampoo is a necessity for me)...so during the week I alternate between products that are oils or butters and creams that are slightly water based. And I sometimes use old school hair grease b/c there are times when it is the perfect thing for me. I like that my regimen involves things I can buy at drugstores. salons, and grocery stores. I had a few products I liked and they were too hard to get so I was happy to find replacements at Target and Walgreens. They are cheaper too. And despite not following all of the supposed rules, I get asked about my hair all of the time...
TraceyHP says:
June 28, 2013, 5:08 pm
OMG, I just asked this very question to my Natural Hair Sorority Sisters. The response were all over the place, which in turn made me even more frustrated with trying to finally create a routine/regimen for myself. My last relaxer was August 2008. I never did a big chop, I chose to transition gradually. I've been learning my hair every since. I've finally found a styling product that I absolutely love on my hair. I don't have a routine/regimen for my hair I just do whatever it feels like is needed to my hair. The one thing that I've just started doing this year is deep conditioning. I try to do it every week. I shampoo only when I feel the need which is usually once may be twice a month. I make sure I seal my ends and massage my scalp with some type of oil, usally coconut oil or avocado on the ends. I've just started using Emu Oil and I love it too. I tend to co-wash my hair more often because I work out at least 5 days a week and sweat like crazy in my hair. Twist out's are my go to hair style. It used to be a pony tail until I finally mastered my two strand twist outs. Anyway thanks for this great post. I now don't feel so bad about not really stressing over my hair.
MORE says:
July 1, 2013, 12:10 pm
i agree a month ago i stopped OUT OF FRUSTRATION! all these tips and tricks i learned online did nothing for my hair. Instead i opted to shampoo with a sulfate shampoo and deep condition and oil my hair shaft SIMPLE and now my hair growing! No more pre poo or sulfate free shampoos for me. Imma keep it simple !
Orela says:
July 4, 2013, 11:48 am
Hi there, I did my big chop and most of my new hair growing in is grey!! I would love to color it, can you please recommend a hair coloring for natural hair? Many Thanks, Orela Maidstone United Kingdom.
Dani j says:
July 10, 2013, 4:42 pm
Luved this post and luv ur hair Bella!! U r truly an inspiration! In August I will be finishing up my 2nd year being natural... I've given up on being a product and accessory junkie... I've learned to just let my hair do it's thing and try my best to keep it conditioned and moisturized... I don't really have a regimen either: shampoo once a week, co-wash maybe twice a week and moisturize as normal... My hair does not define me and I've wasted to many years trying to convince myself it did!!! ;)
LaTonya-Mavercoils says:
July 14, 2013, 4:00 pm
Bella, you look great, your hair is lovely. I am two years natural as of June 2013 and I must say that one of the reasons that I became natural was to save money and not have to worry about styling my hair often and thus I have been successful for the most part. I do not have a regimen, I am a wild child so I wash every week just started doing protein and hot oil treatments because of shedding but simple is my first name. Never got into being a product junkie, but Youtube and websites like afrobella have definitely guided me on a path of learning and understanding my tresses. Thank you for this post, I appreciate your candid discussion!
Hair Care Regimen says:
August 20, 2013, 11:32 pm
You do have a hair care regimen! I think so many of us naturals think if we don't have this complicated regimen (co-wash 3 times a week, henna once a month, protein every 6 weeks) that something is missing. Regimens vary from head to head, as they should. The key is that you've found something that works for your hair's needs and your schedule! Kudos!
Saundra says:
September 10, 2013, 10:38 am
I went natural a little over a year ago but have wanted to do it since 1996. What stopped me time and time again was all of the complicated regiments that naturals had. I wanted hair that would keep up with my active lifestyle, not take more time than the relaxer did. So I finally did the big chop because I was just tired of it all and ready to be my own self. With a TWA, a wash and go was my only option. Now I have length but still don't have the time for complicated routines and a bathroom full of products. I have figured out what works and will be sticking with it. Everything else is just not necessesary for me.
Christina says:
November 26, 2013, 12:16 pm
Your hair will be beautiful and healthy if you combine hair care products with right nutrition. Most nutrients for hair are received from blood, not from outside. That is why your food should be reach in vitamins. In addition, vitamins could be taken separately. I am taking special dietary supplement for hair - Hair Gain Formula by Military Grade. It contains natural compounds which enhance hair growth. My hair becomes more shiny and thick. I really like how this product works for my hair!
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dj na wesel wroc?aw says:
December 20, 2014, 4:55 pm
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Hazel says:
December 30, 2014, 3:00 am
Great post. I myself really don't follow strict regimen. Because I'd love to try other ways on how to keep my better every now and then. Thanks for this great idea. Have a nice day!
Mary says:
January 5, 2015, 4:31 am
Nice post. Informative. Sometimes, because hair regimen is so time consuming, I am not sticking to it anymore. One thing I won't forget applying to my hair though is moisturizer. :)
Sass says:
July 11, 2015, 12:26 pm
Wash and go is for me. I'm busy, I work out and I have no interest in spending obscene amounts of time and money in black salons that are gouging their natural hair customers ($115 for a 2 strand twist?? I can do that at home.) That is, until an inexperienced "stylist" chopped off a years worth of growth because she way underestimated the shrinkage factor. So now I'm back to twists becuase bald doesn't look good on me. Hoping I can speed growth somehow. We as natural girls need to realize that salons, even black salons, want us weaved or relaxed becuase 1) it's more profitable and 2) few stylists even black ones are very experienced with natural hair. I've learned my lesson. And I can and will take care of my own hair from now on!