Welp--I've been natural for FIVE YEARS. I hate saying where did the time go but wow. That's a really long time. I kind of regret cutting my hair last year because I wonder how long it would have been by now. Mermaid status perhaps?
That's my goal for 2014. Mermaid hair stretched. Mermaid hair curly is going to take a few more years, but 6 inches in one year seems pretty reasonable. Mermaid hair has a few definitions, but I define it as hair long enough to cover your boobs. And with my hair past my shoulders stretched, this should be completely doable. If I can keep myself away from the color and the scissors of course. Which is going to be much harder than it sounds since I want to go much lighter this spring. Much much lighter.
As for changes in 2013, there were quite a few. Much more than I expected. And 90% of it was to cut down my wash & style time. Why? Because I work full time (in addition to running this corner of the internet) and I'm a part time student. As a result, really don't have the time for an all day hair care regimen. The biggest time saver for me was quitting the Denman brush + wide toothed comb detangling combo I've used since I started this whole natural hair thing. Instead, I use a paddle brush to detangling my hair in the shower AND while styling. Added perk? I've noticed significantly less breakage/shedding.
I pre-poo and finger detangle my hair before washing regularly as well. Again--major time savor especially since I can slap and oil, go to bed, and proceed with washing my hair as usual in the morning. I'm not sure if it's a direct result of this, but I've stopped deep conditioning my hair once a week as well--just haven't needed too. Now I only use a DT once a month and I usually opt for a protein conditioner to beef up my fine strands.
Finally, I replaced my go to twist out with a braid out. Partly because I love how stretched my hair is (down with the awkward length!) and I've noticed less tangling at the root come wash day. Downside of this switch--braids are not as cute as twists when it comes to wearing them out of the house. I've started getting more serious about mastering French braids/Dutch braids/ Cornrows as a possible option for cute looks while prepping for braid outs. It's an uphill battle but I will conquer these styles!
Onto my actual regimen! The entire process, which seems long written out, actually takes me about two hours total (not counting an over night pre-poo. I'm not really doing anything during the 8 hours I sleep).
Wash & Condition
- I usually do my pre-poo and finger detangling before bed the night before wash day. When I'm done, I twist my hair in 4-6 sections and head to bed.
- The next morning I jump out of bed and head to the shower. Shampoo my hair in sections loose. I do not wash my hair in twists because it tends to cause more knots and tangles.
- After shampooing, I apply conditioner and detangle each section with a paddle brush. Once my hair is completely dentangled, I re-twist my hair and secure it in a Bantu knot with a butterfly clamp. Repeat steps 2 and 3 with all sections.
- Slap on a shower cap and do general body cleaning and maintenance.
- Rinse out the conditioner in sections and retwist my hair securing in a Bantu knot and butterfly clamp.
- One a month or so: Apply deep conditioner in sections and gently finger comb to make sure all strands are coated. After it's applied, each section gets retwisted and secured in a Bantu knot with a butterfly clamp. The whole shebang then gets covered with a shower cap and I go about my day up for the next 20 minutes to an hour. Rinse in sections making sure to retwist and secure after each rinses clean
- After exiting the shower, I wrap my clean hair with a cotton t-shirt to prevent dripping and get dressed.
- Starting from the back, I take down a section of hair and apply my leave in conditioner, butter/sealer, and styler. I tend detangle my hair with all three products using a paddle brush before braiding.
- Depending on the size of each section: I may do one or two braids per section. If I washed my hair in 4 sections, I usually do two braids stacked on top of each other for a total of 8 braids.
- Repeat step 2 until all my hair is braided.
- After keeping the braids in for a few days, I take them down using a light oil separating and fluffing as needed.
- To maintain the style: I usually do 4-6 loose braids. I don't want to manipulate the my hair too much because I'm quite fond of the texture I get on days 1 and 2.
Favorite Products of 2013
- Shampoo: Lush Cosmetics' Cynthia Sylvia Stout (review coming soon)
- Conditioner:Aussie Moist (review here) & Herbal Essence Hello Hydration (review here)
- Leave in Conditioner: Giovanni Direct Leave in (review here)
- Deep Conditioner: n/a
- Pre-Poo Treatment: Coconut oil, BB Oil It Up 10 in One
- Styler: Ecostyler Clear Gel (review here)
- Sealer: Oyin Handmade Burnt Sugar Pomade, SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter Reconstructive Finishing Elixir (review here)
- Refresher: Water + lavender oil+ peppermint oil + aloe vera juice