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.