So as the days get shorter, the nights longer and everything in between colder I have started to think of what my regimen will be for winter.
My tentative winter Regimen,
A regimen is not a complicated task. It is basically a plan or schedule for the maintenance of your hair. If you are transitioning or trying out new products, it will benefit to write down your steps, products and frequency of use.
Just to give an example of how easy this is….I’ll give you my basic regimen:
1. Finger detangle, section hair in 6-8 chunky 2-strand twists,
2. Co-wash (wash with conditioner only) every weekend or every other weekend…but usually every weekend,
3. Cleanse (sulphate free only shampoo or ACV) maybe once a month or when I can feel build-up on my hair (I only cleanse using this method twice a month at most),
4. After wash, either deep condition for a few hours or just condition in shower and rinse after 5-10 minutes. I always deep condition every other week. As I wash out the conditioner-I detangle with a wide-tooth comb.
5. After shower, air-dry about 80% in a cotton t-shirt (not towel), apply leave-in conditioner, add Shea butter to each section, braid or twist sections (approx 12-16…I split each original section in 2)
6. Styling-I either pin up the braids or twist into an up-do or take them down for a braid/twist-out.
7. If I wear my hair out, I apply a small amount of Shea to my ends at night, re-twist in about 4-5 chunky sections, sleep with a satin scarf. If I wear an up-do for the work week, I may re-apply Shea once within those 5 days and sleep with a satin scarf.
So that is basically it. Nothing too complicated and I haven’t really strayed from that. I have used different products or tried to style in different ways-but the basics are there.
For Winter 2011,
I would like to try and challenge myself this winter. I’m not too sure on what my regimen will be exactly…I think I may add some products to my routine for a more long-term and/or regular basis. The products that I would love to try are Hemp Butter and Cassia. I know that I plan on wearing my hair in a protective style 6 out of 7 days of the week. I hope to have some braided extensions put in soon. I would like to regularly pre-poo with Jasmine or Vatika coconut oil. I would like to Henna monthly. I am also hoping to not use heat on my hair.
I will come up with something soon and share by this weekend. I’ve been tweaking my regimen a bit.
I also plan on dedicating a post to Henna very soon!
I have always had length as my hair’s goal. It actually still is, but since gaining some unexpected length in my first year being natural I had put my goal to achieve length on the back-burner. What I now focus on is my hair’s health.
If length is your goal for your hair, or if you feel going natural won’t produce any length for you-Please use me as an example. I am not the be-all-end-all when it comes to hair or length BUT I do believe that I would not have achieved this length if I was a minimalist with chemically treated hair! If my hair was still permed I probably would have a pixie cut by now because a regimen was not in my vocabulary-it may have been in my stylists vocab-but since I was dependant on someone else’s expertise I thought “why do anything extra?”! In my opinion, it is easier to be independently care-free (minimalist) with your true self than it is otherwise. The up-keep is much easier.
Another lesson learned from my research while transitioning is to focus on keeping the hair on my head rather than making it grow more. There is a lot of emphasis placed on making hair grow faster and/or longer. Whether you have Natural hair or not length seems to be a goal for most people. When I grasped the concept of retaining hair, my worries about length disappeared.
In order for my hair to be longer-I have to keep the hair on my head longer. If I keep the “older” portion of hair and do not allow them to break, when the “newer” portions of hair grow out of my scalp-my hair will appear longer because the “older” hairs are still attached at the ends/as the ends.
So I switched my frame of mind, stopped focussing on making my hair grow (it always grows-as long as I am a living organism it will grow) and started to focus on what to do to protect and keep the “older” hairs for a longer period of time.
Protective Styling and Regimen building can help with protecting and keeping my hair on my scalp longer.
Protective Styling can include the products you use.
For example Shea Butter protects my hair from the cold wind, as well as olive oil.
Protective styling can also be the way in which you style your hair.
If your hair is left “out” or loose, there is a higher chance of cold wind, hot sun, dry air affecting it. Therefore tucking and hiding your hair helps avoid the affects of the environment.
A simple protective style if your hair has length is bunning. Placing your hair in a bun allows only a small amount of hair to come into direct contact with the environment. You can add Shea Butter to your hair, place in a bun and your hair remains protected.
Weaves, braided extensions, corn-row styles, individual plaits are also great ways to protect your hair. These styling methods give your hair a break/rest. You literally leave your hair alone for extended periods of time which will allow your hair to grow and avoid breakage due to daily maintenance and/or styling. Be sure to maintain moisture in your hair even though you are protecting it. These protective styles still allow for washing, deep conditioning and oil treatments.
Best Practises for retaining length,
Patience is truly a virtue! Patience is needed when doing your hair. It is fragile, naturally dry and naturally tangled. If you are in a rush or impatient-add in some extensions or put your hair in a puff and come back to it when you are more patient and have time.
Your fingers are GREAT for detangling. Sometimes they are all that is needed. I always try to finger-detangle prior to washing my hair.
SIDE NOTE-a comb is not necessary…I’m sure I’ve mentioned this previously…..but its not necessary. It is actually a tool that can cause breakage if not used with care. Also NEVA use a small tooth comb- WIDE tooth combs please!
Wide-tooth combs preferred. Our hair is voluminous….so we need a tool to handle it….the wider the better in my opinion.
Treat your hair like cashmere. It is not silk, may never feel like silk and that’s all right. Cashmere is a fabric that is delicate, so is the fibre growing out of our scalp. Treat it just as you would treat cashmere. On a good day that is exactly how my hair feels….so I try my best to handle it that way.
When in doubt, moisturize your hair. If my hair feels dry, flat, boring, crunchy or dull I just get in the shower, wet my hair, add some cheapie conditioner and let that sit in my hair and watch a movie. Moisture is always welcome (unless I just flat ironed) and it also helps the hairs elasticity. If my hair is moisturized it is more pliable and easier to bend and/or curl therefore reducing breakage.