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4 Steps to Build a Natural Hair Regimen

• May 18, 2012

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By Geniece of Beautifully Made

Congratulations! After months (or years) of transitioning you have completed your journey to wearing your hair naturally. Now what? Although you learned a great deal about products that work for your curly hair during your transition, you realize that being completely natural introduces a whole host of interesting questions that you didn’t consider as a transitioner. The biggest question is: How do I build a regimen for my curly hair? Through trial and error I have learned a few simple and helpful ways to go about building a regimen that will leave you neither broke nor frustrated.

I am a firm believer that products are NOT the most important part of a hair regimen. For this reason I hesitate to provide a list of specific brands in this post. However, I know that for many new naturals finding the right set of products is a goal set shortly after going natural. For this reason I will spend the majority of this post on product categories rather than specific products.

Step #1 Find a water based moisturizer

Many products use the word “moisturizer” in the title of the product but upon closer inspection they don’t seem to provide much moisture. A good place to start is the ingredient list. If the first or second product isn’t water then you might want to move on. I will say that products that list water and aloe vera within the first line of the ingredient list tend to be pretty moisturizing. When it comes to a moisturizer I tend to prefer natural or mostly natural product lines. This is the only staple product that I tend to seek out natural lines because, in my experience, my hair is usually moisturized better than drug store product lines.

Recommended Water Based Moisturizers:
Giovanni Direct Leave In
Giovanni Smooth as Silk
Oyin Hair Dew
Oyin Juices and Berries
Taliah Waajid Protective Mist Bodifier

Step #2: Find a conditioner and shampoo

In general, shampoos that do not contain sulfates or harsh detergents will be more moisturizing. There are quite a few drug store brands and natural lines that fit this criteria that are also wallet friendly. I always say it’s best to experiment with less expensive products because you may find that a product like Trader Joe’s Nourish Spa, which is less than four bucks works well. When it comes to conditioners, you want to get a product that has slip. Slip basically refers to the quality of a conditioner (or a detangling leave in) that makes the hair slippery and thus easier to detangle. I like to get products that specify “dry and damaged” hair on the packaging. While my hair isn’t damaged my line of thinking is that if it works for damaged hair then it’ll work for me. I apply this logic when selecting deep conditioners which you should consider investing in and using twice a month.

Recommended Conditioners:
Aussie Moist Conditioner
Herbal Essences Hello Hydration
Trader Joe’s Nourish Spa
Tresemme Naturals Conditioner

Recommended Shampoos:
Chagrin Valley Soap Bar
Creme of Nature Argan Oil Shampoo
Shea Moisture Shea Butter Moisture Retention Shampoo
Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Shampoo

Step #3. Find a leave-in and styling product

I am a fan of light leave ins as opposed to heavy and thick products on wash day because I want a product that won’t add unnecessary build up. My hair is usually in need of moisture 2 days after wash day and requires moisturize approximately every two days. Using a light leave in on wash day insures that my hair won’t feel weighed down and greasy. This is particularly important for me because I wash my hair every two weeks. In terms of the specific qualities I look for in an after wash leave in, I prefer aloe vera and water based leave ins. My hair can tend to feel dry and crunchy after wash day and I find that aloe vera smooths the cuticles of my hair allowing it to feel moisturized longer. You can use pure aloe vera gel, add a few tea spoons to a leave in product or use a leave in that lists it high on the ingredient list. When it comes to styling products, I actually recommend water based products. I have the best braid out when using water or aloe vera and a light leave in. If you are planning to wear a wash and go, you will need to use a gel like product that won’t lead to super crunchy hair. By using your leave in under the gel product you can retain hold while also keeping the hair soft.

Recommended Leave Ins
Cantu Shea Butter Leave In
Giovanni Direct Leave In
Kinky Curly Knot Today
Oyin Hair Dew

Recommended Styling Products
Kinky Curly Curling Custard
Eco Styler Gel
Miss Jessie’s Curly Buttercreme
Shea Butter

Step #4 Develop a styling regimen

I have gone into detail about my styling regimen in this post in which I emphasized the importance of taking into consideration your lifestyle when styling your hair weekly. If you did the big chop and have less than five inches of hair you will find that wash and gos or twist outs each week may work well. As your hair grows longer you will want to play around with protective styles such as twists, braids and updos if they save you time during the week or you find that your hair becomes more easily tangled with added length. Once you find a style you like, stick with it. What works for others doesn’t have to work for you. Just as what works for you may not work for others. Your hair is beautiful and a weekly styling regimen that shows off your fabulous tresses without taking a million hours is what you will likely want to stick to.

As I mentioned with products, there is likely not one styling tool that will give you “dream hair”. A wide tooth comb (preferably seamless), bobby pins and hair-friendly hair elastics are the basic tools you will need. Even with the right tools you will need to manage your hair carefully. Doing so, will make you hair journey infinitely easier. Believe me!

Ladies, how did you build your regimen after your big chop or transition?

For more of Geniece’s thoughts on 4b/4c haircare, check out her YouTube channel: Beautifully Made.

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20 Comments on "4 Steps to Build a Natural Hair Regimen"

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I Still don’t have one set regimen 🙁 I’ve had natural hair for about three years and I’m still learning about my hair

Thick Nigerian Hair

I don’t either. I do whatever I feel is necessary for my time and hair.


much, much, much easier said than done…the journey is one of a kind though…

Christina Garrett

I think I started where I left off with relaxed hair…lol.…my hair is somewhat curly, so I said screw the hair typing and just went with what it liked. AND I started cheap!! I use the Tresemme-Dollar General brand of condish to cowash/prepoo, coconut oil to seal and moisturize my twists and I use Garnier Fructis Leave-In ($2.80 at Target). If I had to buy it all over again, it’d be less than $20.…and it WORKS. My hair is always bouncy, soft, moving, and its growing too!

I have been natural for a year this month. I think that its really easy and considering that I’m in the military, it works out perfect! I use “Creme of Nature Professional” hydrating shampoo and conditioner with argan oil. After I shampoo and condition, I use a hydrating mask with argan oil by “One and Only” and I also use a hot oil treatment with the mask, then I sit under the hair dryer for about 15 minutes and wash it out. Sometimes got to bed with a shower cap and just wash it out in the morning. To detangle,… Read more »

I guess my picture didn’t upload with my comment…sorry

Annie L.

That style looks GORGEOUS on you!


Thanks Annie 🙂


[…] the original post: 4 Steps to Building a Natural Hair Regimen | Black Girl with Long Hair ← Hair Care 101: Everything You Need to Know | What Is […]


I’d say it took me about 10 months to get into a natural hair regime. I found once I had located products my hair liked it became easy to set up a regime. Getting used to your hair and knowing what suits you in terms of styles is also important in building a regime.


Thanks for this article. It’s clear and simple and comprehensive and I agree with the advice 100%.


I use water, water-based leave-in conditioner, seal coconut oil and EVOO and then use Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie to style my fade. I co-wash daily with Suave Conditioner, shampoo weekly with Shea Moisture Curl and Shine shampoo and DC weekly with Organic Root Stimulator Hair Mayo.


I did my chop about 3 weeks ago an know it look like a mini afo now what i dont know what to do with it i need help bad it very depressing.….

Andrea Pierce
Hi Geniece of Beautifully Made. Loved your article! I BC’d on Jan. 8, 2013 after transitioning for about 9 months. Although this is not my 1st go at embracing my natural hair. I had been natural for 10 yrs but sadly I was not educated on hair to care for my hair, and decided to depart to the land of the ‘Creamy Crack’. However, this go round I’m ready. I knew what what to expect from and out of my natural hair (no blind sides for me), but this time I’m prepared. I’ve been doing a ton of reading, and… Read more »

I still don’t have a regimen after 12yrs. I wash when I feel like it and I go to the salon when I feel like it. The only thing I’m consistent with is the type of products I use. Having and caring for natural hair takes LOTS of dedication. I am happy to say I’ve never had any breakage of damage so I guess I’m doing something right 🙂

Barbara Thornton
So happy that you are a step by step guide! Your just what I’ve been looking for, I’ve been natural now for over 10- 15 yrs. It’s just about shoulder length now, it was longer but, a hairdresser broke it off! I’m not blaming her.. I didn’t knw to tell her abt all the med’s that I take, in my ignorance I didn’t think it would take that type of effect on my hair!! After the dryer(for almost 30–45’mins or longer, it just broke off! Now I’m scared to go back.. my hair is growing very nice, with vaseline and… Read more »

Aside from a shampoo and conditioner, I only use water and raw shea butter in my hair (and any effective moisturizer to moisturize my scalp — currently coconut oil). Hair still looks good, is healthy and grows.


[…] 4 Steps to Building a Natural Hair Regimen | Black Girl with Long Hair May 18, 2012 … Ladies, how did you build your regimen after your big chop or transition? For more of Geniece’s thoughts on 4b/4c haircare, check out her … […]


So I just decided to finally follow through with going natural about 3 months ago and I’m still actually transitioning due to me still having to chop inches at a time from my relaxed hair! I still don’t know what to do I just keep trying stuff with what products I do have at the moment to see what works best! What products are best to use to train my hair to be flexible and curly?


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