Yes, the year is in the title just in case I end up changing my hair care routine... again. I talk about smaller updates enough on my blog!
Okay, so for my first post I will be going with a slightly earlier hair care routine that gave me some pretty good results. This isn't exactly one that I would recommend unless you have money to throw around, but I think it was at least a bit eye-opening for me at the time. At the end, I'll talk a bit about my current routine and some extra tools I use to manage my hair.
Now, important to note these things about me: I have low porosity 3b hair. My hair is curly, not coily, and theoretically since I'm mixed I might have multiple hair patterns. All I know is that my hair is extremely difficult to manage without frizzing it up. Low porosity means that it doesn't absorb water well. There are tests to tell if you're low or high porosity, but I can tell pretty easily by the fact that all the water just seems to bounce off my head when I get in the shower. This will inform my product choices... Keep that in mind.
All products used:
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Organic cold-pressed coconut oil
- 100% pure avocado oil
- Organic apple cider vinegar
- Tea tree oil
- Rosemary oil
- Pattern medium conditioner
- SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil leave-in conditioner
- MopTop curly hair custard
- ECO styler olive oil gel
- Sunny Isles Extra Dark Jamaican Black Castor Oil
- Two cotton t-shirts
- Scalp messaging brush
- Spray bottle filled with water
- A squeeze bottle (with a precision tip for your scalp)
- Hair bonnet
Step 1 - Pre-poo treatment
First you sorta wanna prep your hair. This is called pre-pooing. I actually wouldn't recommend this if you've got naturally oily or greasy hair, but mine is just distressingly dry so I don't mind doing this step at all. This is where the olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil come in. These are penetrating oils and will help open up the hair shaft and strengthen your hair.
- Olive oil and coconut oil are good for generally strengthening and protecting your hair starting at the scalp. Coconut oil is great for promoting hair health.
- Avocado oil contains lots of good vitamins and nutrients that both help with retaining moisture and promoting hair growth.
Basically, what I do for this step is to take my spray bottle and work on one half of my head at a time. I'll spray one side 'til it's dripping wet, and gradually start laying on the oils in the order I listed them, starting from the scalp and working my way down to the ends. I usually just rub it on, as opposed to combing it in. Then I repeat that process on the other side. Obviously I respray my hair as needed because it gets dry pretty fast. Then I'll wait about 30 minutes to an hour to just let it sink in.
The biggest benefit of this process is that it (somewhat) stimulates my scalp and makes it easier to keep my hair hydrated when I start going through with the rest of my routine. Lack of hydration is the #1 reason your hair frizzes up, so this step is pretty crucial. If you don't feel like emptying out your entire pantry for this step, I would recommend just using coconut oil since it's famously pretty great when it comes to hydration.
Step 2 - Prepare your "shampoo"
It's actually more of a rinse, than anything else. It's probably best to do this while you're waiting for the oils to penetrate your hair shaft, if you haven't done it already. You'll be needing your apple cider vinegar and some water (tap is fine, distilled is better) for this step. The rosemary and tea tree oils are optional.
Apple cider vinegar is one of those miracle cure things for everything, and it also works pretty well for your hair. It is good for:
- Removing product buildup
- Stimulating hair growth
- Preventing split ends
- Removing bacteria
- Easing the detangling process
Wow, that's a lot of stuff huh! I would recommend you do this maybe a couple times a month, but I actually do it every single time I wash my hair (which is multiple times a month). I think you get the maximum benefits from doing this way, at least because I notice a difference when I space out my use of this solution.
Anyways, to make it, you just fill up maybe 40% of your squeeze bottle with apple cider vinegar and the rest with water. Shake it up and you're done. Me, I like to add a few drops of rosemary oil and tea tree oil. Rosemary oil is good for promoting hair growth (shocking good at it, actually) and tea tree oil is good for fighting dandruff and itchiness.
Step 3 - Shampoo and condition your hair
This step is pretty self explanatory. When you get in the shower, all you have to do is rub the rinse you just made into your scalp like a regular shampoo. This is where a precision tip on your squeeze bottle comes in handy, but obviously you can do it without one. Rubbing it throughout your hair is also good, but I tend to focus on my scalp mostly. You'll probably feel a sort of cool tingling sensation on your scalp, like you can actively feel it cleaning out all the gunk and making it more healthy. I also use a basic, drug store scalp massaging brush to stimulate the nerves and whatnot for hair growth and because I have an itchy scalp in general.
Then you can condition your hair... I personally have not had the best luck finding conditioners, but my current one is the Pattern medium conditioner. I find it works pretty well, better than others I've tried, but I think this one is worth A LOT of experimentation honestly.
After you wash all that out, I recommend putting on your leave-in conditioner while you're still in the shower for maximum moisture retention. You can maybe put your stylers on in the shower, but I have had less luck with that. Plus I have a shower caddy and it can't fit all that stuff on there. Either way, rake the leave-in conditioner through your hair or use a wide-toothed comb to ensure even distribution.
Step 4 - Styling your hair
And here comes the fun part! Sorta? The easy part at least. You should have your hair parted into however many sections is good for you- I usually go with one part down the middle. First, take a dime-sized amount, rub it in your hands, and kinda smooth the product over your hair with a praying hands motion. Do NOT rake the product in your hair, otherwise you'll disrupt your curls. You wanna keep them clumped together.
After that, take an even smaller amount of the ECO gel and smooth it onto your hair. I dunno why, but adding the gel on top gives me like.. another day without having to wash it. I have to really emphasize you don't wanna put a whole lot on there, or else your hair is just gonna be hard and heavy and crunchy. You can always uncrunch it but I hate doing that.
The last product you wanna put on is the Jamaican Black Castor Oil, similarly not very much. I start at the ends because those tend to get pretty dry and I want to avoid split ends, then just work my way up. I don't really rub it into my scalp because it kinda makes my scalp feel gunky.
Step 5 - Drying your hair + extra care
So one thing I didn't mention - I do my hair at night. This is mainly due to the fact that I enjoy showering in the dark. Therefore, I end up letting my hair dry overnight. What I do is wrap my hair in two t-shirts and then put a cheap bonnet over it and jsut sleep on it. In the morning, the thing usually just falls off my head and I try to avoid touching my hair until it's completely dry. All done!
Going forward, I do something a bit different to try to keep my curls intact. Throughout the day, I usually have my hair either in a silk bonnet or I put it in a pineapple bun. That's also how I go to bed. If your hair doesn't fit in a bonnet, I would recommend getting a longer one off of Miiriya or something.
There are pros and cons to either decision, however... When I wear a bonnet, my roots tend to flatten out and my hair starts turning up in weird directions and sorta all clumping together. I'm sure there's a fix for this, but I dunno what it is. For the pineapple, it's easier for my hair to frizz up since it's exposed to the elements. Plus, my roots start to straighten out if I leave the bun in too long. Either way, it's up to you to decide which of these outcomes you'd rather deal with.
ALSO - some people like to use refreshing sprays/techniques. I do not. Historically, I have never had a curl refresher ever refresh my curls. Exposing my hair to water at ALL without applying more product just makes it frizz up and makes my curls even less defined. If you've got any recommendations, I'm all ears, but I honestly just try to stretch things for as long as they'll last. Occasionally, I'll cover my hands in some JBCO and fluff up my hair or whatever, but that's about it (because even that can cause some frizz, esp when your curls are still fresh).
Within ~5 days, depending on how active I've been, I usually need to do my hair again. Sometimes I will skip a few of the stylers or use a clarifying shampoo if I feel like my hair is getting too heavy or there's a lot of buildup on my scalp. It's a pain, but them's the breaks I guess.
My current hair routine...
Water, the ACV rinse, the leave-in, and JBCO. That's about it.
Well, that's a bit of a stretch. I do work in some of that MopTop custard sometimes, but that usually takes me maybe a month of no styler to do that. I would like to use a regular conditioner alongside the leave-in, but I haven't been leaving the house much and haven't bothered to buy a new one yet.
I mention "water" specifically because sometimes I will just do the rinse and leave it at that. I still do extraneous stuff ilke wrap my hair, scrub my scalp with the massaging brush. I DID actually buy a Tangle Teezer for detangling my hair and it's awesome. Since I only have the one conditioner now, I will usually use the brush for detangling and distributing the product throughout my hair, which really helps it all clump together.
This routine takes significantly less time than my usual one, which is good if you don't have too much hot water to work with. I certainly don't. It's not great for keeping curls long term, but it definitely works if you don't mind extremely loose curls. I would definitely recommend throwing in a styler if you've got something important going on tomorrow, though.
Anyways, that's the first hair routine I'll be posting! I'm sure these will be shorter going forward, since I just kinda felt like giving a SLIGHT insight into the structure of a curly hair routine. Hopefully you learned something new, and hopefully I will learn something new in the coming years...
If you've got any advice or protips, I am all ears. Seriously. This has been a battle, and now that my hair is healed from wearing it straight, I need to learn how to master it in its natural form.