Since going natural in July 2009, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with my hair. Well, that’s not exactly true. I don’t hate my hair; I was frustrated by learning what worked best for it. Despite my hair growing into a thick, beautiful mass of curls, it remained at the same length for a couple of years. After trying what felt like a million different products, I have finally narrowed down a routine that works for me: one that keeps my strands moisturized and my ends split-free.
Naturally, the first step to healthy natural hair is to make sure you’re eating well and staying hydrated. I drink, on average, 80 ounces of water a day and I eat a balanced diet that includes proteins, fresh veggies, and fruit. I also take a daily multi-vitamin and biotin. After taking biotin, my hair has grown considerably thicker (which is a feat considering I have 4b/4c hair). Finding ways to reduce stress and getting 7-9 hours of sleep every night will also help to get you on the path to crowning glory.
You Gotta Maintain
Moisture retention is one of the most critical aspects of maintaining healthy curls. After washing and conditioning my hair, I use a t-shirt towel to dry it. A t-shirt towel’s surface is soft and smooth which reduces the likelihood of breakage, unlike a terrycloth or microfiber towel. Also, a t-shirt towel will keep your hair moist for far longer. I’ve delayed styling my hair for up to an hour while having my hair wrapped in a t-shirt towel, and my hair was still damp. T-shirt towels also reduce frizz, and I find myself spend less time detangling because the fabric doesn’t disrupt the hair cuticle. On Amazon, you can find several towels made out of t-shirt material or repurpose an old t-shirt for a DIY option.
Protection Is The Priority
Protective styles are my go-to. Whether it’s twists, braids or a big afro puff, my hair is usually in one. The goal of these styles is to protect the ends from splitting, which impede length retention. After deep conditioning my hair, I spray a detangler like Creme of Nature’s Straight from Eden Plant Derived Detangling Leave-in Conditioner. If it’s a mid-week touch-up, I use a leave-in conditioner from Shea Moisture’s Jamaican Black Castor Oil line. I then part my hair into four sections and comb the product through to my ends. Working one at a time, I split the section into three equal parts. From there, I divide each piece into two for a twist or three for a braid. Making sure I keep as close to the roots, I twist or braid that section tight, looping the end around my finger to ensure it doesn’t unravel. I also sleep on a silk pillowcase to reduce friction, the number one cause of breakage.
The Thirst Is Real
Nothing is worse than dry, curly hair. It’s dull, lifeless and unattractive. Dealing with Atlanta’s infamous humidity, I struggled to find ways to keep my hair healthy and hydrated until I found a regimen that worked for me. Once a week, I deep condition with a hair masque like Shea Moisture’s Jamaican Black Castor Oil Intensive Strengthening Masque then I twist or braid my hair for curl definition. Afterward, I apply argan oil to the twists to seal in moisture. When wearing my hair in a big puff or ponytail, I use a daily moisturizer like Silk Elements’ Pure Oils Leave-In Moisturizer. A daily moisturizer will give your curls a soft definition and a slight sheen. A twist out will typically last around four days. After that, I wear my hair in a large puff until it’s time to rewash it, which is usually every two weeks.
Now that I’ve shown you the way that I achieve, big, beautiful natural hair, go forth and prosper! #hairgoals!