By Geniece of Beautifully Made
It’s the first of the month. Your hair is dry and ready for a wash. Your next few weeks will be jam packed and the last thing you need is to spend a lot of time doing your hair. Still, you want to stick to your goals for healthy hair and length retention. What, oh what is a girl to do? Here, is how I care and protect my hair over the course of a month. For those of you with coily kinks like me I hope this regimen will assist you in some area of your hair care journey. I tweak this regimen from month to month depending on the weather, my schedule or mood but in general this is how I care for my type 4 kinks and coils.
When it comes to styling I make the decision based upon how much time I have for maintenance during the week. In colder months I will style my hair in protective styles for at least 4 consecutive weeks. Now that the weather is warmer and my hair can stand to be a bit more exposed I may follow a styling regimen as follows:
I currently wash my hair every 2 weeks but I think for most of us once a week is the norm. Most of my time is spent detangling. This is one part of my monthly regimen I don’t want to overlook or rush through. Dividing the hair in about 10 large twisted sections, I coat each section with oil and conditioner then detangle. First I detangle with a wide tooth seamless comb, then with a wide tooth detangling comb with interlocking teeth. I retwist each section after detangling. Leaving the hair in the twisted sections I wash the hair using diluted non-sulfate shampoo. I find using a bottle with a nozzle (like a color applicator bottle) to be really helpful in getting shampoo on the roots. After each section is cleansed I will apply my Trader Joe’s Nourish Spa conditioner only to the length of the large twists. I’ll rinse most of the conditioner out but intentionally leave a bit in to assist in styling later on.
After washing, divide each of the 10 twisted sections I used to wash the hair in half and re-twist. I will have 20 twists when all done. This size is large enough so that it won’t take all night to twist (only about an hour including adding a leave in and light butter) but small enough that it’ll allow me to create a cute twisted up do.
After washing I’m super tired and need to be up early. I decide to gently separate each of the 10 twisted sections and re-twist (separating and re-twisting helps to limit tangles…trust me). So I still have the 10 twists which took 20 or so minutes to undo and re-twist. In the morning my hair will be slightly damp. I untwist all the large twists and style into a chignon, bun, banded ponytail or other updo. This is a protective style with loose hair (untwisted) so for those with finer hair who feel their twists are “scalpy” this is a good alternative. I will spritz the hair the following night and immediately tie it down with a satin scarf so that it will be fresh the next morning.
Examples of Protective Styles with Loose Hair
I will likely return to my Week 1 hair regimen. I usually don’t wear protective styles with loose hair two weeks in a row.
I’m in the mood to see my hair “out”. After washing I will braid my hair into approximately 15 braids. I will go under my soft bonnet dryer for about 40 minutes otherwise my hair will not be fully dry in the morning. In the morning I will unbraid and separate and fluff until desired fullness is achieved. To maintain this style I will place the hair in about eight banded ponytails at night. Prior to banding I will lightly apply a moisturizing butter to tame any frizz accumulated over the day and keep my ends moisturized. I find banding preferable over re-braiding because it’s a lot quicker and it involves less manipulation than re-braiding.
That’s it ladies. That’s a month with me and my hair. I only comb the hair on wash day and moisturize at least every 2 days. I was natural for 5 years when I started this kind of regimen in November of 2009 and had hair 6-9 inches long. Now my hair is 14.5-18 inches long. No potions or tricks just low manipulation, gentle handling and protective hair styling.
Ladies, what does your month-long 4b/4c regimen look like?
For more of Geniece’s thoughts on 4b/4c haircare, check out her YouTube channel: Beautifully Made.