Style Icon Toni

By Geniece of Beau­ti­ful­ly Made

Con­grat­u­la­tions! After months (or years) of tran­si­tion­ing you have com­plet­ed your jour­ney to wear­ing your hair nat­u­ral­ly. Now what? Although you learned a great deal about prod­ucts that work for your curly hair dur­ing your tran­si­tion, you real­ize that being com­plete­ly nat­u­ral intro­duces a whole host of inter­est­ing ques­tions that you didn’t con­sid­er as a tran­si­tion­er. The biggest ques­tion is: How do I build a reg­i­men for my curly hair? Through tri­al and error I have learned a few sim­ple and help­ful ways to go about build­ing a reg­i­men that will leave you nei­ther broke nor frus­trat­ed.

I am a firm believ­er that prod­ucts are NOT the most impor­tant part of a hair reg­i­men. For this rea­son I hes­i­tate to provide a list of speci­fic brands in this post. How­ev­er, I know that for many new nat­u­rals find­ing the right set of prod­ucts is a goal set short­ly after going nat­u­ral. For this rea­son I will spend the major­i­ty of this post on pro­duct cat­e­gories rather than speci­fic prod­ucts.

Step #1 Find a water based moisturizer

Many prod­ucts use the word “mois­tur­iz­er” in the title of the pro­duct but upon closer inspec­tion they don’t seem to provide much mois­ture. A good place to start is the ingre­di­ent list. If the first or sec­ond pro­duct isn’t water then you might want to move on. I will say that prod­ucts that list water and aloe vera with­in the first line of the ingre­di­ent list tend to be pret­ty mois­tur­iz­ing. When it comes to a mois­tur­iz­er I tend to prefer nat­u­ral or most­ly nat­u­ral pro­duct lines. This is the only sta­ple pro­duct that I tend to seek out nat­u­ral lines because, in my expe­ri­ence, my hair is usu­al­ly mois­tur­ized bet­ter than drug store pro­duct lines.

Rec­om­mend­ed Water Based Mois­tur­iz­ers:
Gio­van­ni Direct Leave In
Gio­van­ni Smooth as Silk
Oyin Hair Dew
Oyin Juices and Berries
Tal­i­ah Waa­jid Pro­tec­tive Mist Bod­i­fier

Step #2: Find a conditioner and shampoo

In gen­er­al, sham­poos that do not con­tain sul­fates or harsh deter­gents will be more mois­tur­iz­ing. There are quite a few drug store brands and nat­u­ral lines that fit this cri­te­ria that are also wal­let friend­ly. I always say it’s best to exper­i­ment with less expen­sive prod­ucts because you may find that a pro­duct like Trader Joe’s Nour­ish Spa, which is less than four bucks works well. When it comes to con­di­tion­ers, you want to get a pro­duct that has slip. Slip basi­cal­ly refers to the qual­i­ty of a con­di­tion­er (or a detan­gling leave in) that makes the hair slip­pery and thus eas­ier to detan­gle. I like to get prod­ucts that spec­i­fy “dry and dam­aged” hair on the pack­ag­ing. While my hair isn’t dam­aged my line of think­ing is that if it works for dam­aged hair then it’ll work for me. I apply this log­ic when select­ing deep con­di­tion­ers which you should con­sid­er invest­ing in and using twice a mon­th.

Rec­om­mend­ed Con­di­tion­ers:
Aussie Moist Con­di­tion­er
Herbal Essences Hel­lo Hydra­tion
Trader Joe’s Nour­ish Spa
Tre­sem­me Nat­u­rals Con­di­tion­er

Rec­om­mend­ed Sham­poos:
Cha­grin Val­ley Soap Bar
Cre­me of Nature Argan Oil Sham­poo
Shea Mois­ture Shea But­ter Mois­ture Reten­tion Sham­poo
Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tin­gle Sham­poo

Step #3. Find a leave-in and styling product

I am a fan of light leave ins as opposed to heavy and thick prod­ucts on wash day because I want a pro­duct that won’t add unnec­es­sary build up. My hair is usu­al­ly in need of mois­ture 2 days after wash day and requires mois­tur­ize approx­i­mate­ly every two days. Using a light leave in on wash day insures that my hair won’t feel weighed down and greasy. This is par­tic­u­lar­ly impor­tant for me because I wash my hair every two weeks. In terms of the speci­fic qual­i­ties I look for in an after wash leave in, I prefer aloe vera and water based leave ins. My hair can tend to feel dry and crunchy after wash day and I find that aloe vera smooths the cuti­cles of my hair allow­ing it to feel mois­tur­ized longer. You can use pure aloe vera gel, add a few tea spoons to a leave in pro­duct or use a leave in that lists it high on the ingre­di­ent list. When it comes to styling prod­ucts, I actu­al­ly rec­om­mend water based prod­ucts. I have the best braid out when using water or aloe vera and a light leave in. If you are plan­ning to wear a wash and go, you will need to use a gel like pro­duct that won’t lead to super crunchy hair. By using your leave in under the gel pro­duct you can retain hold while also keep­ing the hair soft.

Rec­om­mend­ed Leave Ins
Can­tu Shea But­ter Leave In
Gio­van­ni Direct Leave In
Kinky Curly Knot Today
Oyin Hair Dew

Rec­om­mend­ed Styling Prod­ucts
Kinky Curly Curling Cus­tard
Eco Styler Gel
Miss Jessie’s Curly But­ter­cre­me
Shea But­ter

Step #4 Develop a styling regimen

I have gone into detail about my styling reg­i­men in this post in which I empha­sized the impor­tance of tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion your lifestyle when styling your hair week­ly. If you did the big chop and have less than five inch­es of hair you will find that wash and gos or twist outs each week may work well. As your hair grows longer you will want to play around with pro­tec­tive styles such as twists, braids and updos if they save you time dur­ing the week or you find that your hair becomes more eas­i­ly tan­gled with added length. Once you find a style you like, stick with it. What works for oth­ers doesn’t have to work for you. Just as what works for you may not work for oth­ers. Your hair is beau­ti­ful and a week­ly styling reg­i­men that shows off your fab­u­lous tress­es with­out tak­ing a mil­lion hours is what you will like­ly want to stick to.

As I men­tioned with prod­ucts, there is like­ly not one styling tool that will give you “dream hair”. A wide tooth comb (prefer­ably seam­less), bob­by pins and hair-friend­ly hair elas­tics are the basic tools you will need. Even with the right tools you will need to man­age your hair care­ful­ly. Doing so, will make you hair jour­ney infinite­ly eas­ier. Believe me!

Ladies, how did you build your reg­i­men after your big chop or tran­si­tion?

For more of Geniece’s thoughts on 4b/4c hair­care, check out her YouTube chan­nel: Beau­ti­ful­ly Made.

Gen

Island girl raised in the most roy­al of NYC’s bor­oughs. Proud nerd, social sci­en­tist, edu­ca­tor and recov­er­ing awk­ward black girl. When not lis­ten­ing to NPR, try­ing to grow spir­i­tu­al­ly, or detan­gling my fro, I’m search­ing for the best shrimp and grits in the Queen City.

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20 Comments on "4 Steps to Build a Natural Hair Regimen"

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[…] Black Girl Long Hair […]

Nikita

So I just decid­ed to final­ly fol­low through with going nat­u­ral about 3 months ago and I’m still actu­al­ly tran­si­tion­ing due to me still hav­ing to chop inch­es at a time from my relaxed hair! I still don’t know what to do I just keep try­ing stuff with what prod­ucts I do have at the moment to see what works best! What prod­ucts are best to use to train my hair to be flex­i­ble and curly?
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[…] 4 Steps to Build­ing a Nat­u­ral Hair Reg­i­men | Black Girl with Long Hair http://blackgirllonghair.com/2012/05/4-steps-to-building-a-natural-hair-regimen/ May 18, 2012 … Ladies, how did you build your reg­i­men after your big chop or tran­si­tion? For more of Geniece’s thoughts on 4b/4c hair­care, check out her … […]

shespeaks

Aside from a sham­poo and con­di­tion­er, I only use water and raw shea but­ter in my hair (and any effec­tive mois­tur­iz­er to mois­tur­ize my scalp — cur­rent­ly coconut oil). Hair still looks good, is healthy and grows.

Barbara Thornton
So hap­py that you are a step by step guide! Your just what I’ve been look­ing for, I’ve been nat­u­ral now for over 10- 15 yrs. It’s just about shoul­der length now, it was longer but, a hair­dresser broke it off! I’m not blam­ing her.. I didn’t knw to tell her abt all the med’s that I take, in my igno­rance I didn’t think it would take that type of effect on my hair!! After the dryer(for almost 30–45’mins or longer, it just broke off! Now I’m scared to go back.. my hair is grow­ing very nice, with vase­line and… Read more »
Camille

I still don’t have a reg­i­men after 12yrs. I wash when I feel like it and I go to the salon when I feel like it. The only thing I’m con­sis­tent with is the type of prod­ucts I use. Hav­ing and car­ing for nat­u­ral hair takes LOTS of ded­i­ca­tion. I am hap­py to say I’ve nev­er had any break­age of dam­age so I guess I’m doing some­thing right :-)

Andrea Pierce
Hi Geniece of Beau­ti­ful­ly Made. Loved your arti­cle! I BC’d on Jan. 8, 2013 after tran­si­tion­ing for about 9 months. Although this is not my 1st go at embrac­ing my nat­u­ral hair. I had been nat­u­ral for 10 yrs but sad­ly I was not edu­cat­ed on hair to care for my hair, and decid­ed to depart to the land of the ‘Creamy Crack’. How­ev­er, this go round I’m ready. I knew what what to expect from and out of my nat­u­ral hair (no blind sides for me), but this time I’m pre­pared. I’ve been doing a ton of read­ing, and… Read more »
meka

I did my chop about 3 weeks ago an know it look like a mini afo now what i dont know what to do with it i need help bad it very depress­ing.….
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Nikki

I use water, water-based leave-in con­di­tion­er, seal coconut oil and EVOO and then use Shea Mois­ture Curl Enhanc­ing Smooth­ie to style my fade. I co-wash dai­ly with Suave Con­di­tion­er, sham­poo week­ly with Shea Mois­ture Curl and Shine sham­poo and DC week­ly with Organ­ic Root Stim­u­la­tor Hair Mayo.

gracie

Thanks for this arti­cle. It’s clear and sim­ple and com­pre­hen­sive and I agree with the advice 100%.

Natalie

I’d say it took me about 10 months to get into a nat­u­ral hair regime. I found once I had locat­ed prod­ucts my hair liked it became easy to set up a regime. Get­ting used to your hair and know­ing what suits you in terms of styles is also impor­tant in build­ing a regime.

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[…] the orig­i­nal post: 4 Steps to Build­ing a Nat­u­ral Hair Reg­i­men | Black Girl with Long Hair ← Hair Care 101: Every­thing You Need to Know | What Is […]

LaShawne

I guess my pic­ture didn’t upload with my comment…sorry
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Annie L.

That style looks GORGEOUS on you!

LaShawne

Thanks Annie :)

LaShawne
I have been nat­u­ral for a year this mon­th. I think that its real­ly easy and con­sid­er­ing that I’m in the mil­i­tary, it works out per­fect! I use “Cre­me of Nature Pro­fes­sion­al” hydrat­ing sham­poo and con­di­tion­er with argan oil. After I sham­poo and con­di­tion, I use a hydrat­ing mask with argan oil by “One and Only” and I also use a hot oil treat­ment with the mask, then I sit under the hair dry­er for about 15 min­utes and wash it out. Some­times got to bed with a show­er cap and just wash it out in the morn­ing. To detan­gle,… Read more »
Christina Garrett

I think I start­ed where I left off with relaxed hair…lol.…my hair is some­what curly, so I said screw the hair typ­ing and just went with what it liked. AND I start­ed cheap!! I use the Tre­sem­me-Dol­lar Gen­er­al brand of condish to cowash/prepoo, coconut oil to seal and mois­tur­ize my twists and I use Gar­nier Fruc­tis Leave-In ($2.80 at Tar­get). If I had to buy it all over again, it’d be less than $20.…and it WORKS. My hair is always boun­cy, soft, mov­ing, and its grow­ing too!

df

much, much, much eas­ier said than done…the jour­ney is one of a kind though…

Hadassah

I Still don’t have one set reg­i­men :( I’ve had nat­u­ral hair for about three years and I’m still learn­ing about my hair

Thick Nigerian Hair

I don’t either. I do what­ev­er I feel is nec­es­sary for my time and hair.

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