My natural hair care routine
Hello everyone! The most requested article is finally here. A lot of you asked me several questions regarding my hair routine. You made me understand that you want to know everything in detail, so I’ll do my best not to miss anything in this post.
However, before going through the whole article, if the notion of “hair care routine” is still unclear for you, I’ll recommend you get back to my old article about “how to start a hair journey”. It will help you understand why I use some products or why I treat my hair a certain way.
I can already tell you that the article will be long because I wanted to make sure that this post answers all your questions. So, make yourself comfortable and don’t hesitate to take note if needed.
I also would like to remind you that I’m not a hair specialist nor a scientist. All the information I share in this article are the results of my own researches and my own experience. Therefore, don’t forget that each experience is different.
My hair routine
As explained in one of my previous articles, you can’t build a full hair routine in one day. It took me time to figure out which are the products and gestures that work for my hair. However, my routine remains practically the same as I followed throughout my hair journey. So, this routine can suit everybody with relaxed and Afro hair.
The basis of a good hair routine is moisturising. Some people need to moisturise their every two to three days, some people moisturise their hair twice a week but it really depends on your hair. I personally moisturise my hair two to three times per week, and it’s enough for my hair; otherwise, it becomes too oily.
I always moisturise my hair for the first time after washing my hair. When I moisturise my hair, I start by applying my hair lotion or my leave-in conditioner. Then I seal the moisture in my hair with two to three drops of any oil of my choice. I usually opt for coco oil. It’s important to seal the moisture in because this is what makes your hair moisturising last. Once these steps have been completed, I massage my scalp for three to five minutes in order to stimulate my hair growth.
When you moisturise your hair, please remember that you need to insist on your scalp and the ends of your hair. If your scalp is too dry, it will become very itchy, and it will cause the appearance of dandruff. Regarding the ends of your hair, you need to insist on the moisturising because they are the “oldest part” of your hair.
Our hair requires special attention; therefore, it’s essential to make hair treatments regularly. There are numerous hair treatments, but there are three types of hair treatments that I usually apply on my hair:
- Protein hair treatments
As its name implies, a protein hair treatment is a treatment base on proteins. It helps strengthen your hair structure. At the beginning of my hair journey, I use to simply buy a protein mask “hair mayonnaise” in store. Now, I prefer making my own protein treatment because it’s easy to make and the ingredients are natural. There are many recipes available on internet/YouTube, but I will still share the one I make the most.
My recipe is simply made of half of an avocado, two generous tablespoons of mayonnaise, one egg, two generous tablespoons of nonfat or greek yogourt and one teaspoon of any oil I have. There are many other sources of protein that you can add in your mask like low-fat yoghurts, bananas, or soya.
The frequency of protein hair treatment depends on the condition of your hair. If your hair is weak or damaged, if you often use heat on your hair or if you have a high porosity hair, you might need to make more protein hair masks than others. When I used to relax my hair, I used to make protein treatments per month. Now that I have natural hair and let my hair air dry, I only make one protein mask every four to six weeks. You need to be careful not to abuse hair protein treatments; otherwise, you will notice a weird sensation in your hair, and it will be more difficult to manipulate.
By the way, I only do protein hair treatment before shampoo and keep it for a minimum of one hour. However, you can definitely do it after washing your hair. It is up to you.
- Hot oil treatments for hair
Those who know me know that I love hot oil treatments for hair. Natural plant oils have several benefits for our hair, and they played a big part in my hair growth.
I apply an oil treatment on my hair every week except when I do a protein treatment. I mix four to five oils maximum in a plastic bowl and apply the mixture on my hair. Then I put a plastic bonnet on my head (you can put a plastic bag or cling film if you don’t have a bonnet) in order to create a natural heat. Basically, the heat helps the oil to penetrate your hair better because she opens the hair cuticle.
I bought a heating cap on Amazon that I put it on my head for 20 – 30 minutes after applying my pre-poo (= any hair treatments that you apply before washing your hair). At the beginning of my hair journey, I used to simply warm my oil mixture in the microwave for 15 – 20 seconds, not more! The goal is to slightly warm the mixture not to boil it. Be careful not to burn yourself! If the oils are too hot, let it cool!
I always make an oil hair treatment during wash day. I do a pre-poo with the oil mixture I made, and I keep the treatment for two hours on average. It is recommended to keep it for a minimum of one hour. It happens sometimes that I apply the treatment the day before wash day and keep it the entire night, but this is up to you.
Please note that you don’t need to exaggerate with the oils when you apply them in your hair. Your hair won’t grow faster if you put more than needed. Simply apply a reasonable quantity and make sure to apply it properly in your hair.
I have a dozen of oils within my hair products collection: castor, coco, olive, sweet almond, grapeseed, carrot, peppermint, aloe vera, avocado, vitamin E, jojoba, mustard, and black castor oil. I only buy 100% natural oils, and most of my oils are products of the brands “Yari” and “KTC.”
- Moisturising masks
A moisturising mask is a mask based on water and has the function of moisturising and nourishing your hair. I apply a moisturising mask only after rinsing my conditioner (not deep conditioner). I keep it for 30 – 45 minutes, then I rinse my hair. I buy all my moisturising masks in store.
Wash day is a day set aside for washing your hair and all the weekly hair treatments. Contrary to what many may think, hair must not be washed every day, especially Afro hair. It’s not good for your hair. The good frequency is one to two times per week maximum. I personally wash my hair once a week and usually every Sunday.
- How does it work?
I always start with a pre-poo treatment (= hair treatment you apply before shampooing), which is usually a protein mask or an oil hair treatment. I keep it for one to two hours, then I wash it with my shampoo. After that, I apply my conditioner that I keep 5 – 10 minutes with my plastic bonnet. Then I rinse everything and apply a moisturising mask for 30 minutes with my plastic cap as well. I rinse my hair for the last time and let my hair air dry before moisturising it. I only comb my hair on wash days after moisturising my hair, and then I finish with a protective style. I usually opt for Bantu knots, twists, or African hair threading.
Shampoo is what most of us use to wash our hair; however, it must not be abused. Shampoo remain an aggressive product for our hair, and this is the reason why it is recommended to be used only once a week and apply your conditioner afterwards.
There are two types of shampoos: regular shampoo and clarifying shampoo. Regular shampoo is the “normal” shampoo that you will use weekly to clean your hair. Clarifying shampoo is the shampoo that you will use once a month to deep cleanse your hair. It helps you remove the excess dirt/oil from your scalp, and it also helps you cleanse the scalp build-up. When you use a clarifying shampoo, keep in mind that you always need to apply a deep conditioner afterwards because this shampoo does make your hair dry. The deep conditioner will help to deeply moisturise your hair.
Please note that most of the shampoos do contain sulphate, which is a harmful chemical component for hair. This component is so harmful that it made me lose my hair in the past. This is the reason why I only use shampoo without sulphate, paraben, and mineral oil.
- Conditioner and deep conditioner
Conditioner is the product that you will use after using your shampoo. Deep conditioner is also used after your shampoo; however, it will provide deep moisturising. It needs to be applied once every other week and every time you used a product or mask during the wash day that makes your hair dry. Because you need to use your deep conditioner once every other week, it means that it will be the same frequency for your conditioner. There is no need to use both conditioners simultaneously. If you use your conditioner, simply apply a moisturising mask afterwards. If you use your deep conditioner, there is no need for a mask after that because it will become a waste of products.
Massaging your scalp for 3 – 5 minutes favours blood circulation and, therefore, stimulates hair growth. I massage my hair two to three times per week after I moisturised my hair. I absolutely can confirm that I can see a real difference with my hair growth at the end of the month when I regularly massage my scalp.
My hair routine when I have protective styles
It’s not because you have a protective style that you can stop taking care of your own hair. I personally only rock bow braids or cornrows as protective styles. When I have box braids, I simply use a spray on my hair. It can be homemade spray with water and a few drops of any oil of your choice, or it can be a spray that you buy in a store. I use both types of spray, depending on my mood. I apply the spray every day, and I apply a bit of oil three times per week on my scalp and my hair before massaging my scalp. If I have cornrows, I just apply my homemade spray.
Please remember that if you prefer buying your spray, remember to choose a spray that smells good!
A few last tips
I couldn’t finish the articles without sharing a few pieces of advice that will certainly help you. Here are they:
Sleeping with a satin or silk scarf
This point might seem useless to you, but please know that if you don’t protect your hair at night, all the efforts you put to take care of your hair will become useless. You must make a habit of sleeping with satin or silk scarf/bonnet covering your hair. Fabrics like cotton or polyester will make your hair dry and, therefore, weak. Silk and satin are two fabrics that retain the moisture of your hair. If you really have an issue sleeping with a bonnet or a scarf, you can opt for satin pillowcases. However, don’t forget that you will need to wash them more often and don’t forget to make a quick protective style before sleeping.
Drink a lot of water
I cannot repeat too often that you have to drink a lot of water. It’s good for your hair and also for your health. I can promise that if you make an effort to drink at least 1L per day, you will notice a big difference regarding your hair. Try also to eat healthily, and you won’t regret it, trust me!
Avoid combing your hair every day
You really don’t need to comb your hair every day. At the beginning of my hair journey, I couldn’t make a day without combing my hair. It really was unnecessary. Now, I have a headache just thinking about it. I only comb my hair on wash days, which means once a week. I do it at the end after moisturising my hair, and I always do my best not to comb my hair when it is dry. It’s not because you don’t comb your hair that it means it is tangled. If you have that bad habit to always comb your hair, please try to reduce the frequency progressively.
Take regular pictures of your hair
In order to closely evaluate the progress of your hair, the best is to take pictures of your hair every month or two months. It will allow you to see if you are on the right path to achieve your hair goals. Pictures will help you understand the progress that you have a hard time to see by yourself; whether it’s for the volume, the length, or the health of your hair.
Stretch your relaxer time
Even though I cringe while writing this paragraph, I was relaxing my hair when I started my hair journey, so I can’t include this part in the article.
If you relax your hair, you have to stretch your relaxer time to a minimum of four months. Under this period of time, it becomes damaging for your hair. Relaxers are harmful products, and this is the reason why I used to relax my hair twice a year. Please also note that when you relax your hair, you only need to relax your new hair growth. Try to always apply a protein treatment a week before relaxing your hair.
Be patient and consistent
I will finish this article with this last advice. Keys to success for beautiful, healthy long hair are patience and consistency. You need to be patient and not put yourself under pressure to get long hair fast within an unrealistic short period of time. There is no structural magic to get long hair. The most important thing is to have healthy hair, and the rest will follow.
List of my products
Here is the last part of the article. I know that a lot of you have been waiting for the list of my hair products. I would like to specify that all the products I use can be found in any cosmetics shop for Afro hair, but I will add a link for some products.
Olive Oil & Mango Butter Moisturizer Elasta QP
- Leave-in Conditioner:
Cantu Shea Butter Leave-in Conditioning Repair Cream
Creme of Nature Argan Oil Moisture & Shine Shampoo (Sulphate free)
- Clarifying shampoo
Soft ‘n Free GroHealthy Nothing But Clarify Shampoo
Garnier Ultimate Blends Strength Restorer Conditioner
- Deep conditioner
Organics Olive Oil Deep Conditioner (I always buy the big container, but for a first try, I’ll recommend you to use the smaller version)
- Moisturising masks
Garnier Mask For Dry Hair Ultra Sweet Avocado And Shea Butter
- Protein treatments
Garnier Ultimate Blends Honey Strengthening Hair Mask
Creme of Nature Argan Oil Strengthening Milk Masque
Creme of Nature Professional Nourishing & Strengthening Treatment
- Moisturising spray
African Pride Olive Miracle Braid Sheen Spray
- Detangling spray
Creme Of Nature Straight From Eden Detangling Leave-In Conditioner
- Natural oils
As mentioned above, the brands that I use for my oils are “Yari” and “KTC.” However, this is not important. You can buy any brand you want as long as the oils are 100% natural.
- Hair Steamer Cap
I bought it on Amazon and you can order it here.
This is the end of the article. I hope you liked it and I hope it will help you. Don’t hesitate to comment if you have any questions and don’t forget to share the article.
See you soon!