When I first went natural, I had all the time in the world. I was unmarried and had no children. I was finished with school. I worked a “9 to 5” job, which meant my weekday evenings and weekends were typically free. Thus, spending a full day or two – or three – on my hair was very realistic and doable. I could experiment – literally – with mini twists today then change my mind and try a completely different style tomorrow.
Fast forward to today, and every minute – no, every second – counts. I work in a challenging, fast-paced career (that I love). I am also a mom to a newborn who depends on my husband and me – but mostly me – to eat, sleep, and overall, to live. Additionally, I’m completing my dissertation so that I don’t stay in the A.B.D. (code for, “all but dissertation”) category any longer. That all being said: “What time for hair?”
Somehow, someway I manage to keep my natural hair from looking a natural mess and suffering from little care. Moreover, believe it or not, it requires little effort from me on a daily basis. At the bare minimum, I spend less than an hour on my hair once every three to four weeks. But this juggling of natural hair care and life did not happen overnight. It has been a few years in the making.
1: Wash every 3 to 4 weeks – with no shampoo and no deep conditioner though?
If I could get away with never washing my hair, I would, but it has got to get done. So I merge my washing and conditioning into one session to save on time. In the past, I have tried co-washing but that just results in residue buildup and leaves my scalp itchy over time. I have also tried shampoos that contain conditioners but they leave my hair drier than I’d like. So, what has worked for me has been a moisturizing but cleansing product like As I Am Cleansing Pudding. (Read my honest, unsponsored thoughts on As I Am Cleansing Pudding.) All in all, the washing process takes under an hour and there is no need to follow up with a deep conditioner. This partially has to do with the product and partially with how I maintain my hair throughout the month.
2: Twist my hair into 8 sections and 2 flat twists, then call it a style
Enough said? Once my hair has been washed, I allow it to airdry up to 70% dry in a few twists under a scarf. Then I moisturize and seal my hair with Camille Rose Naturals Almond Jai Twisting Butter and a homemade whipped butter, respectively. This is followed by styling my hair into eight jumbo twists (sometimes, less) with two flat twists in the front and wrapping it in a scarf for the day. From that moment until my next wash day, I wear the twists pinned up with Ficcare clips I bought years ago. (I don’t sleep with my hair pinned. I pin it up every morning in under a minute. Every night, I wrap a scarf around my twists to minimize frizz and dryness. Once a week, I re-touch the two flat twists in the front.)
3: Switch it up every couple of months – got to keep it fresh
Every now and then, I need to switch up my hair style (temporarily) for my own sanity. However, even my switchups are kept low maintenance. One alternative I like to do is a twist out bang. The style will start with smaller twists in the front that are worn for a week or two followed by a week of twist outs in the front.
Another style I like to do, though not too often because of time, is flat-ironed double buns. The time-consuming part is the blow drying and flat ironing. However, once that is done, I just maintain the style by wrapping my hair nightly until the next wash day. I have literally taken off the wrap and gone into work without having to comb my hair.