Latoya // 4B Styling

How would you describe your texture?
I have highly textured, kinky hair. My hair is very dense, has low porosity, with medium to thick strands, and has about 75% shrinkage. My textured tresses can be a challenge at times, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Describe your styling regimen over the course of the month.
Because, I have an 11 month old and I’m pregnant again I don’t have the time to spend countless hours on my hair. I generally do a Bentonite/ACV treatment every two weeks; I pre-poo with coconut oil and deep condition. In between washes , I ACV rinse my scalp and/or co-wash, or cleansing co-wash based upon my hair needs. (I really need to buy a clay wash for when I’m too lazy to mix and let the bentonite sit.) I do protein treatments every 4-6 weeks, as needed. I tend to vary my styles, mostly due to sheer boredom. I rotate rod sets, wet twist/braid outs/ dry twist/braid outs, twists, and straight styles.

What does wash day look like for you?
Before I switched to a clay routine, I pre-pooed with Coconut oil and water, washed, and conditioned. I now do bentonite/ACV treatments to wash my hair since I only use clay to clean my hair. ( I plan on purchasing Terresentials for my lazy wash days.) I first co-wash my hair with VO5 Conditioner. Then I mix up Bentonite Clay and ACV to a yogurt consistency using plastic utensils. I leave on the Bentonite treatment for about 25 minutes. (Make sure that it does not harden on your hair!) I then deep condition with or without a dryer for 20-30 minutes with a conditioner like Yes to Cucumbers.

Before I wash all the conditioner out of my hair, I detangle my hair in sections under running water. If I need more slip, I use V05 conditioner. I rinse with cold water to seal and add a leave-in like Giovanni Direct leave-in and proceed to styling. When I co-wash I often use V05 Conditioner or Aussie Moist. For a cleansing conditioner, I use Shea Moisture Purification Masque. To add some cleansing power and to help with detangling, I do an ACV rinse (1 part ACV, three parts water) prior to my wash routine.

Describe your favorite go-to hairstyle for days when you don’t have a lot of time to style?
When I don’t have enough time to style my hair, I do a wash ‘n go puff or updo. I just co-wash, leave some V05 conditioner and and oil like avocado oil, style and go. I also do a “modified” wash ‘n go, where I will spritz my hair to dampen and add a leave-in like Shea Moisture Replenishing Conditioner and add an oil. (I’ve tried different conditioners and leave-ins, and certain conditioners work better depending on how I am styling my hair.) You just have to be careful with wash ‘n gos, because they result in more single strand knots.

How do you combat shrinkage?
The best thing I’ve done to combat shrinkage, is switching to a clay routine. Since the beginning of my journey, I’ve done bentonite/ACV treatments once a month. The other weeks, I used a sulfate-free shampoo. But as my hair grew, the shrinkage became more of a problem. I tried every trick, including washing in braids. ( I hated it because, I felt like I was manipulating my hair too much and my hair would always unravel while washing.) One week I was washing with sulfate-free shampoo, and remembered how much of a breeze my washing routine was with bentonite. That was the last time I used sulfate-free shampoo. I haven’t looked back since. Have I mentioned that curls are popping, less tangles, and more stretch?

My other means to combat shrinkage include: mini-pineapples, banding, culformers, braidouts, and blowdrying my hair. (I know…heat.. gasp. My hair has no issues with heat and curls back with a drop of water.)

What are some of your problem areas (if any) that require extra care and attention?
The top of my hair is finer than the rest of my hair and has a much looser curl pattern. So I have to be careful when manipulating or placing heat in that area.

What are 2 do’s for your texture?
1. Do limit unnecessary manipulation of the hair. I don’t personally do a lot of protective styles, but even without protective styling I limit manipulation of my hair.

2. Do try to keep your hair stretched. Because I’m pregnant and have an 11 month old, I’ll admit that I’ve been pretty lazy with my hair. Ideally, I should stretch my hair with curlformers, blow dry on low or cool, or do braidouts, but I do wash ‘n go puffs. But even when I do that, I try to keep my hair stretched while drying via mini-pineapples or banding. I’ve also mastered detangling following the wash ‘n go. Despite that, I recognize that I will get more single strand knots and will have to clip my ends more frequently.

What are 2 don’ts for your texture?
1. Don’t blindly follow bandwagons. Take the time to do your research. You should also base your decisions upon what has and hasn’t worked on your hair.

2. Don’t detangle your hair if you don’t feel like it or are in a rush. (Unless you want tons of breakage.) If I don’t feel like doing my hair, I don’t. I usually do a quick fix and tackle the beast when I am in the mood. Also, from trial and error, I’ve learned what is best for detangling. ACV rinses (3 parts water, one part apple cider vinegar) make a major difference in detangling. I also detangle in sections under running water. Since I don’t wash my hair in braids, I’ve adopted a wash method that limits shrinkage. I stick to clay washes. I used to do bentonite treatments once a month and it was a breeze. Then I noticed that when I washed with sulfate-free shampoo, it was a nightmare. So I stopped washing with regular shampoo and haven’t looked back since.

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Black Girl With Long Hair

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop culture and black beauty enthusiast.

  • Von

    I have dry hair and after tree braids it began tangled (horrible hand fulls of hair shed and tangled). I water and oil at least 5 times a week.

    Question do you think the clay is too drying? Do you know the PH of clay mixture? I really need lengthen and detangle sounds like this is the best of both worlds.

    Problem – washed hair to ear plat to should stretched too bra length. Suggestions. Thanks

  • Lena

    This is absolutely perfect for me. I’m newly natural & I have all the products that you use. I want to start a good regime early in the game so my hair can grow in healthier. =D