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.
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?