There is a common misconception that in order to have beautiful natural hair, you have to do a lot. But the natural gurus on our writing staff know better than that. Over the next several days we will share how our writers maintain incredible natural hair on very simple and basic regimens. Next up is Elle. You can read Tori’s regimen here.
Over the years, I admit, I’ve gotten a bit lazy with my natural hair. I used to deep condition every week without fail, often steaming or doing overnight deep conditions. Also, I wet my hair way more — probably conditioning and styling every other day. Now, I spend much less time obsessing over my hair.
Cleanse hair once a week and rinse/condition once a week
Currently, I cleanse my hair once a week, then rinse/condition/style it once more. When I cleanse, I use a cleansing conditioner or shampoo and lather once, condition (or use a deep conditioner and leave it in for a few minutes) and detangle, apply my leave-in, then style my hair. The entire process takes about 45 minutes. Rinse/condition days are a bit easier: All I do is wet and condition my hair, then go straight to my wash and go routine.
Wash and go’s and buns during the week
I mainly wear my hair in a wash and go, or a bun if I don’t want to wear my hair out or my wng gets a little too wild (the pic above is four day hair and when I’m about to wash it) but I don’t feel like wetting my hair again. I prefer letting my hair air dry, but that takes more than a day, so if I’m in a hurry, I may break out the diffuser or my hooded dryer for 20 minutes to an hour, at least until my hair isn’t dripping anymore. The hour under the dryer is RARE, but I can deal with it if I’m watching a movie or catching up on a favorite show. Throughout the week, I don’t spend anymore than a few minutes on my hair. If I’m wearing it out, I fluff it out with some moisturizer or oil, and go about my day. If I’m putting it in a bun, I slick it with gel, which takes about two minutes (no strong slicking or brushes here), before I get in the shower and let it set while I’m getting dressed. Easy peasy. If I want to dress up my bun, I add a bun pin.
Fancier styling in the fall and winter months
But sometimes, I like to actually try to do something with my hair! It’s not really feasible during the summer months, but during fall and winter, my go to “fancy” style usually involves something with my hair blown out — either a bantu knot out, braid out, or wand curls. I used to go the entire mile and straighten my hair a few times a year, but that takes 4+ hours and right now I’m minimizing the heat I use.
Longer natural hair is more work, so an easier regimen is better
Like I said, I wasn’t always like this, and I think the biggest thing that changed is my work schedule. I used to live on the West Coast and work remotely on East Coast time, so I was done everyday at 2 pm, and could easily do my hair in the morning and let it dry while I worked. Also, well…my hair grew a lot! I began my natural hair journey with an inch of hair, and at that time, I had no issue styling my wash and go everyday. I could go out with soaking wet hair that was barely noticeable. Now, my hair sits on my shoulders and back while it dries, as well as looking like a cat sometimes, so I prefer to wait until my hair is about 70% dry before I go outside.
I can’t lie, sometimes I want to cut my hair so I can give it more attention. Longer hair can be lower maintenance, but I did pampering my hair more. And not having a sticky back when my gel is all over my back.
Ladies, what are your thoughts on my regimen? How is it similar to or different from yours?