For as long as you have been rocking your curls, the hype has been the "regimen." This is how you maintain your hair daily, weekly, monthly, etc. We always ask our curly friends:
"How often do you wash your hair?"
"What do you use?"
"How do you do this or that...?"
Typically, the answer is either it's complicated or they know exactly how often, how much and what they use. We are going to walk you through exactly how you can be one of the ones that knows your regimen. Creating your hair regimen comes down to breaking it down into a couple of key areas. I will give you a summary in the beginning if you do not feel you want to read through all of it broken down at the bottom. The biggest message here is that the bullet points are what you need to incorporate into your regimen, but it is up to your trial and error to solidify what method or timing is right for you to do each item in the list:
1. Wash Day
- Cleanse - Will you use a co-wash or shampoo? Will you incorporate a pre-poo into your regimen?
- Condition - There are two different conditioning treatments you can do during your wash day- deep and the conditioning after your shampoo. Will you do both or just one? Then you will need to know what type of deep condition you will do: protein, cholesterol, hot oil, etc.
- Detangling - Will you detangle during your pre-poo or will you detangle during your conditioning treatment? Expert tip: If you have hair that shrinks a lot, try detangling during your pre-poo and washing your hair in braids or twists.
2. Maintenance & Timing
- Clipping your ends - Clip your ends at minimum 2x per year, but make sure to monitor your ends in between. You might need to clip them more or less.
- Night time routine - Sleep with a satin/silk bonnet or scarf. Hydrate your hair nightly with water and seal your ends with oil or cream.
- Next wash day - Based on how dry your hair gets or dirty, you will need to wash your hair more or less. Try washing weekly and waiting longer from there. What you will need to decide from there is if you need a refresher, but do not want to use shampoo, try a co-wash. Expert tip: A lot of naturals co-wash for 3 weeks and use regular shampoo once per month.
Now- I will break it down:
WASH DAY - This is the day when you cleanse, condition, thoroughly detangle your hair and style it. We have listed wash day first because you need to know essentially how your wash and condition will affect the timing of a number of different things you will need to do to your hair and maintaining your tresses. So, first you need to try a few different methods of washing your hair. Will you use the co-wash method or a shampoo? Try both. During this phase, you need to try a few different things to see what works. Also, try doing a pre-poo. Does the pre-poo help your retain more moisture during a wash? It might, but you have to try it to know. Okay. Once you figure out your washing method and if you'd like to add a pre-poo before your shampoo, you are ready to move onto conditioning and detangling. You can do a regular condition, rinse it out, and then do a deep condition or hot oil treatment. Again, this is where you need to test out what works best for your hair. If you have hair that experiences lots of shrinkage, you should consider detangling before you shampoo.
MAINTENANCE - Maintaining your hair means clipping your ends, night time routine, and refreshing the style you set during wash day, and timing of those things. One of the biggest questions in the curly hair community is how often should I clip my ends? It totally depends on your hair and how you treat it. The more often you use heat or bother your hair, the sooner you probably will need to get a clipping. A good rule of thumb is to get your ends clipped at least twice a year, but always make sure to monitor your split ends. If you see your end splitting, go ahead and go for the trim. Your night time routine is critical in the health of your hair. At minimum, the hair should be covered with a silk/satin scarf or you should go to bed on a satin pillowcase. Depending upon the hair style you set during wash day, you will either bantu knot it, braid it up, twist it up, pineapple it, etc. However, every night, you will want to put moisture back in your hair with water and oil/cream to seal your ends.
Let's talk more about timing. After you have washed your hair and conditioned it, styled it, and maintained it nightly, you will need to determine when its time for you to have another wash day and how you will approach that wash day. Do you experience extremely dry hair and do not feel the need to use a harsh shampoo, try co-washing for a couple of weeks and then give your hair a wash with a regular shampoo. Remember- this is all trial and error but are all basics of building a regimen.
What is you hair regimen? Let us know in the comments below!