Creating a regimen is one of the hardest things to do when going natural. It isn’t easy and doesn’t happen overnight, but making a structured routine for your hair is one of the best ways you can take care of it. For the first year of my accidental transition to natural hair, I didn’t do any extra stuff to my hair that I wasn’t already doing when it was straightened - and it didn’t break off. So don’t worry about devising a regimen as soon as you start going natural. You’ll need to try a few things out before you can definitely decide that’s what you want to be doing. Also remember that your regimen doesn’t have to be rigid, it will change when you cut off your straight ends, as the length of your hair increases and according to the season. I recommend when going from relaxed to natural just stick to what you’re already doing, see if it’s beneficial or not and tweak it.
Ask yourself these preliminary questions:
How much time do I want to spend on my hair? (AKA How lazy am I?)
This is very important, I quite like doing my hair (It’s quite relaxing, plus I can catch up on Scandal and Love & Hip Hop while I detangle), but some people find it incredibly infuriating/boring. If you’re one of the latter then you’ll want to do things as quick as possible and limit the wash-day process to one to two times a month.
|Dammit! It's wash day again! NOOOOOO!!!!!|
The same thing applies to styling too. Because I accidently transitioned I didn’t take too much notice of styling or taking care of my hair. I would pretty much put conditioner in my hair in the morning, have a bath, wash it out and then tie my satin headscarf around my head and go to uni. It still grew (and pretty fast!) so I guess that proves that you don’t have to spend hours on your hair everyday for it to grow.
How much money do I want to spend on my hair? (or How much of a cheapskate am I?)
I won’t spend more then £10 on any hair product (I say that whilst coveting the Macadamia Natural Oil products). That being said you do get what you pay for, you need to use more of cheaper hair products and they tend not to be as amazing quality (like the Superdrug Naturals line. It’s awful! You can’t even use it to shave your legs because there’s NO slip) as more expensive ones. The products I don’t mind paying a little more for are deep and leave-in conditioners.
How kinky/curly is my hair?
If your hair is comprised of very tight coils or kinks, you’ll also want to limit wash-days and styling sessions. The more you handle your hair the more it may break potentially limiting length retention. This also will determine if you want to wash your hair loose or in twists to avoid tangles, and how long you can keep your hair in various styles.
When will I trim?
Just choose a time period and stick with it. I trim my hair every six months and only cut a teeny bit off (like 5mm). But it depends on how often you get split ends.
Do I want to use heat?
You can still straighten your hair, just decide how often you will do it. For a heat junkie like me I decided not to straighten my hair for a year once I decided to go properly natural (I broke that rule btw, but I didn’t straighten it properly so I don’t count it :P). I still use blowdryers and I have a hood dryer for days when I need to dry my hair quickly and go!
What products will I use?
At first, just stick to what you know. If you shampoo your hair or use a particular brand of conditioner just continue, don’t worry about things like sulphates and silicones just yet (I still don’t worry about ingredients and stuff, I just use what works for me). As your natural hair begins to grow, try and take note of how it reacts to the products. If it seems dry or weak then make a change (but give it a couple of tries first).
Secondly a lot of people jump on the natural bandwagon once they go natural as in ‘I only use totally natural products that were handcrafted by Buddhist monks and given Al Gore’s environmentally friendly blessing!’ – maybe not that extreme, but you get what I’m trying to say. Some people disregard a product just by looking at the ingredient list rather than trying it. Just because something has natural or organic on the bottle, it doesn’t mean that it will be fantastic for your hair. Once you know your hair doesn’t like certain ingredients then you can avoid them, but when starting out just try stuff and see how your hair likes it.
|'We don't have hair... but buy our products anyway! I need a new watch!'|
Lastly, do you have the time and patience to make your own products? I make my own hair butter and oils, but stopped short of things like gel (I tried to make my own flaxseed gel but t came out looking like phlegm and I tossed it out in disgust!) and deep conditioner (eggs and mayonnaise are only for eating in my book). I also made my own clay wash once, but decided the hassle wasn’t worth it. If you’re not a mixtress, don’t lie to yourself!
In the next post I will discuss more about creating a wash-day routine :D.