As January of this year, I’ve been growing my natural hair for 2 years! I spent over a year of that time transitioning (MORE ON THAT HERE), but I found that I could only really get to know my natural hair once I cut off all the damaged ends. I did my big chop over 8 months ago, so I’m starting to see my hair’s tendencies - what it likes, what it dislikes, what it resists, and what it soaks right up.
Here is my current hair routine, along with the products I’ve been using. I’m linking the sites of the actual product producers, but you can find many if not all of these at your local CVS, Target, local convince store, or beauty supply store (often for cheaper).
Shampoo: Shea Moisture Anti-Breakage Strengthening Shampoo.
The Shea Moisture brand comes highly recommended, so when I realized I wanted a shampoo free of sulfates, this is the first thing I tried. The description says it’s for frizzy, split, and breaking hair, and I bought it when I was transitioning to hopefully preserve the brittle ends. I got 2 bottles towards the beginning of 2015 and I’m still working on the second one. I really don’t use much shampoo when I’m washing, just enough to get the scalp clean. I usually wash my hair once a week, sometimes every other week (but that’s pushing it).
Conditioner: Herbal Essence Hello Hydration
This product was recommended by several YouTube “beauty gurus” so I tried it out and have liked it so far. Coconut is supposed to be really great for your hair, and this is “coconut infused” (although I doubt there’s much coconut in it, really). What I really love about this product is that it has lots of slip. Once I work it through my hair in the shower, it’s so easy to run my wide-tooth comb through my nappy locks.
When I get in the shower I shampoo first, then condition and comb out my hair, then I wash the rest of my body while I let the conditioner sit. After finishing and rinsing out, as I’m drying off I’ll wrap my hair in a t-shirt to dry. When my hair is damp, but no longer soaking wet, I’ll start applying products.
Scalp Oil: African Pride Magical Gro - Rejuvenating Oil Formula
This is simply the hair product that my mom used on me. I might try and mix it up soon, just to experiment. I use a heavy oil on my scalp since I just shampoo’d and striped the natural oils away. This helps prevent my scalp from completely drying out.
Detangler: Kinky Curly Knot Today
This doubles as a de-tangler and leave-in conditioner, and I swear by it! I honestly never thought I’d be able to get through my kinks smoothly outside of the shower, but this really does the trick and my hair feels great afterwards. I’ll go through my hair with this and a Denman brush, and put it into braids, and let my hair dry completely (usually overnight).
Cream: Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie
This is by far the most popular Shea Moisture product, and for good reason. The smoothie is light enough to feel refreshing, but heavy enough to actually help with styling and taming your fro. It is also incredibly moisturizing since it’s water based, not oil based. I will use this once my hair is dry in the morning when I’m taking it down from the braids and shaping it into a puff. The smoothie has been great in enhancing my curls. I also use this when I’m refreshing my hair between washes; whenever my hair feels dry, I usually dab some water on it, and then put a little of the smoothie on.
And there you have it! This routine has been simple, painless, and gotten me where I am now which is in a pretty good place as far as the growth and heath of my hair. I’m still trying to improve the routine, I definitely want to add in a deep conditioner, and I’ll probably try out some other conditioners and scalp oils. But as someone who was looking for the quickest, cheapest, and most convenient solution, particularly while in college, this has worked for me.