As my first post, I thought it would be fitting to share with you all my current regimen. I've been fully natural now for over 3 years (Big Chop: July 2009 - my how the time has flown) and my regimen is constantly changing as I find what techniques and products work best for my hair in each stage of it's journey. Before I delve in, I will admit that I have MANY favorite products that I like to rotate between, but what matters most in my regimen is HOW I use the products and of course the styling techniques that go along with them. So here we go...THE WASH DAY I'll be honest...I used to DREAD when it came time to wash my hair. It wasn't until I started looking at "wash day" as a time to take a break from my busy week that I really began to enjoy the process and truly learned what worked best for my hair.Right now, I like washing my hair with shampoo bars. I'm currently using shampoo bars from a company called "Bobeam" (their Cocoa & Rhassoul Clay Bar smells AH-MAZING!) . I wash my hair in the shower, and start by letting the water run through my hair and then separating it into 4 sections with my fingers. I then secure the 4 sections with clamps. Taking the shampoo bar, I lather it near my scalp on the perimeter of the section. I then work the lather with my fingertips throughout the base of the section and then smooth my hair from the base to the ends between my palms. This helps to detangle my hair and I continue detangling with my fingers working from ends to the roots, all while under the running water. Having the water beat down on my hair while finger detangling really helps speed up the process! After detangling, I thoroughly rinse the section and then two -strand twist it. I then repeat this process with the rest of the 3 sections.CONDITIONING aka SEALING IN THE MOISTURESo this next step is CRUCIAL to how my hair behaves for the rest of the week, and that is the conditioning step. No matter the season, I've found that my hair needs a water-rich heavy cream to seal the moisture in my hair after the cleansing process. Most times I will treat my conditioning step as my styling step as well, and use a moisture-rich product to directly twist or braid my hair after cleansing. I've found that this really cuts down on my total washing/styling time but is still good to my hair : ) The products I've been rotating between lately have been Camille Rose Naturals Almond Jai Twisting Butter, CURLS Curl Soufflé - Curl Cream and OBI Natural Haircare Curl Moisture Cream. The reason why I default to twists or braids for styling is because I've found that they are the best for keeping my hair stretched for a week and really helps to prevent severe tangling throughout the course of the week. Although I loved wash n' go's when my hair was shorter, I've almost had to steer completely clear of them as my hair has gotten longer because my hair gets horribly tangled just over the course of a couple days! Now THAT makes wash day absolutely dreadful. I once spent over an hour trying to detangle my hair BEFORE washing because it was just...that...bad. I have now learned the errors of my ways and twists and braids it is for this head of mine!However, there are times when my hair is really begging for more moisture, and that's when I'll do a steam conditioning treatment with my Huetiful steamer and a conditioner (2 of my faves: Karen's Body Beautiful Luscious Locks Hair Mask & Eden Body Works Jojoba Monoi Deep Conditioner). What I do is use the conditioner to twist my hair (i'm very heavy-handed with applying the conditioner) and then sit under the steamer for around 30 minutes. I then rinse the conditioner out of my hair (while my hair is still in twists) and proceed with styling, which usually ends up being two-strand twists or braids.MAINTENANCEAfter twisting or braiding my hair, I typically let it dry overnight. The longer I let my hair dry before taking down my twists/braids, the more defined my twist-out/braid-out style is. There are times though when I do want a more "fluffy fro" look, and I'll take down my hair while it's slightly damp. The one thing I make sure to do in both cases though is to use a light oil/butter on my fingertips when taking down my twists/braids. My favorites right now are Earth's Nectar Hair Care Monoi Hair Milk , CURLS Champagne & Caviar Curl Elixir and Koils by Nature Nourishing Hair & Body Butter. This helps to decrease frizz when separating my hair to create a more fuller, but defined look and also adds a nice sheen.Now if I have a busy week ahead, I rarely twist or braid my hair back up when it's time to go to bed. I do sleep on a satin pillowcase though to prevent breakage due to friction. Occasionally I will re-twist or re-braid my hair at night, and when I do so, it's important for me to add more moisture back to my hair so there is actually some amount of moisture to seal in when I use my styling creams. Sometimes it will be as simple as dampening my hair with a spray bottle filled with water and oils (sweet almond, extra virgin olive oil) or using a light leave in conditioner or moisture milk (Current faves: OBI Curl Hydration Spray, Camille Rose Naturals Curl Love Moisture Milk, Karen's Body Beautiful Sweet Ambrosia, Karen's Body Beautiful Hair Blossom Moisture Mist, CURLS Cashmere Curls Leave-In Conditioner and Koils by Nature Moisturizing Shealoe Leave-In Conditioner ).Now this is what works for me, but hopefully it can give you some ideas on where to start if you're trying to work out your own hair care regimen this year, just remember to have patience and don't be afraid to switch up your techniques and/or styling products!
As always, feel free to let me know if you have any questions about my current regimen, and I'll try my best to respond to as many questions via the comment section below : )