Tag Archives: deep condition

Quick Tip #17: Use Coconut Oil CAUTIOUSLY!

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This blog post contains affiliate links (e.g., to Amazon, eBay, etc.), which means that if you click on one of the product links and place an order, I’ll receive a small commission. This helps support my blog and allows me to continue to create content like this.
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Fresh Coconuts (Set of 3)

Ok, scientifically coconut oil IS NOT a protein but, in a sense, I feel like it behaves like one because it contains lauric acid (a medium chain fatty acid that binds easily to protein in hair). Because of this, coconut oil has the ability to penetrate the hair shaft (due to its low molecular weight), reducing protein loss and strengthening the hair’s structure. It also creates a “hardening effect” due to its ability to change viscosity so quickly (i.e., from a liquid to a solid state) at low temperatures. As a result, harsh winter winds, for example, can create stiff hair very quickly. In addition, repeated use of coconut oil can cause protein build-up, drastically reducing hair’s elasticity and causing follicles to become dull, dry, brittle, easily tangled, and more prone to breakage.

Have you been overusing coconut oil? If so, consider utilizing a deep conditioner or moisturizing hair mask to restore the protein:moisture balance of your hair. Need a complete restart? Try a reconstructor instead.

 

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My First Henna Treatment!

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This blog post contains affiliate links (e.g., to Amazon, eBay, etc.),  which means that if you click on one of the product links and place an order, I’ll receive a small commission. This helps support my blog and allows me to continue to create content like this.

Thank you for your support!

 

 

After much research and struggling to maintain a healthy head of hair for the last year, I finally took the plunge to do my first henna treatment. I had researched the benefits of henna over five years ago, but, to be perfectly honest, I was too chicken to ever try it. Truth be told, after losing an entire year’s worth of hair growth (6+ inches) in the last 12 months to hard water, I was pushed to the brink of desperation! So, I decided, “What have I got to lose?”

Here are some pictures of my natural hair (before the henna treatment). You can really see the damage to my hair in the second picture caused by hard water. (Note: I used high flash for the first and third shots to better highlight my hair color and texture pre-henna. It’s still a little hard to see unless I’m in direct sunlight, but the ends of my hair still have some remnants of permanent color from when I dyed and highlighted my hair two years ago.)

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I settled on Zenia’s Henna Powder because it is body art quality (BAQ) henna. This brand of henna is 100% natural, cruelty-free, and vegan. It is important when choosing henna to make sure that it contains no pesticides, metallic salts, or chemicals (i.e., ammonia and peroxide). Make sure that the henna you buy is BAQ henna. This will ensure an easier application (because it will have a finer sift) and will also create an environment for the best results possible (due to the lack of additives and chemicals). After all, the last thing you probably want is to end up with green or damaged hair!

After looking at dozens of recipes for henna hair packs and treatments, I ended up creating my own. Mainly because I have very fine hair, and most recipes I found called for a boatload of henna that I just knew would be way too much for me to use in 1, 2, or even 3 applications. I found this general guideline online, which proved helpful as a starting point but, keep in mind, that hair thickness and density are vital considerations. Those are two factors that most of the resources I found ignored. For example, if you have fine hair, you will likely require less henna. The reverse is true if you have thick hair (i.e., you will likely need more henna than the average person with the same length of hair as you). I have a high-density head of hair (lots of strands), but each of my individual strands are super fine (very small in diameter), so this is the recipe that I came up with for MY hair:

I used a kitchen scale to make life easier and for more precise measuring. I ended up using about 60% of the mixture. (I froze the rest.) Because I wanted to create a henna hair treatment for its conditioning effects (as opposed to a natural hair dye), I placed the henna mixture in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, four hours prior to use, I let the mixture sit out at room temperature before applying it to my hair instead of the usual 8-12 hours recommended. Here’s the process I followed:

  1. Shampoo and condition your hair. Here’s what my my hair looked like after being freshly washed …
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  2. Place a thin layer of Vaseline on your ears and around the perimeter of your head. This will protect it from potential henna staining.
  3. Shingle the henna mixture through each section. I used my hands and, yes, my hands turned orange! Don’t be like me. Buy gloves! FYI, if you happen to forget to buy gloves, like I did, don’t fret! Create a quick mixture of salt and olive oil and rub the affected areas like a maniac as gently as you can. It took 4 applications over 48 hours, but 75% of the staining disappeared. The remainder vanished after another day or two. Whew! My nails? That’s a different story! Sigh.

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  4. Use butterfly clips to section your hair into quadrants if it won’t stay put. Although I had some butterfly clips , I just created a loose bantu knot to hold each section in place to avoid too much bulk. But, if your hair is super thick or long, you may need to clip it into place.
  5. Use a processing cap to prevent drips and keep the henna from drying out. I left the henna in my hair for 30 minutes while sitting under a hooded dryer. The dryer expedited the conditioning process.
  6. Rinse the henna out. I used my Waterpik handheld shower attachment to rinse my hair out without too much fuss. I used two applications of my cheapie VO5 clarifying conditioner to rinse out all the henna. This is what my hair looked like after I rinsed out all the henna … IMG_9486You can see how the henna created a dip-dyed effect at the ends of my hair where the remnants of my permanent hair dye was. Next time, I think I’ll add some amla powder to create a richer, deeper brown. Or, I may just apply the henna directly after mixing it up to avoid the dye release. Although my hair seemed slightly dry, it felt 100% stronger and more conditioned! Seriously, I could hardly stop touching my hair after washing the henna out, and I’m not much of a hair toucher!
  7. Deep condition. I deep conditioned my hair with my fave Lustrasilk Aloe Vera Cholesterol for 20 minutes under my hooded dryer to restore moisture back into my strands. Here’s what my hair looked like with the deep conditioner in it …
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  8. Air dry and style. I misted my hair with my lavender spritz and followed up with some olive oil. Then, I just coiled the back of my hair into one low french twist and pinned it in place with some Magic-Grip hair pins.
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Overall, I really liked how the henna treatment instantly strengthened my fine, fragile hair. Next time, I will definitely leave it in for a longer period of time. I plan to incorporate henna into my hair regimen at least twice a month. Still confused about how to henna your own hair? This article provides a great read and covers virtually any scenario that might come up while hennaing your hair!

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18 Months Natural: How to Flat Iron Medium-length Hair

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This blog post contains affiliate links (e.g., to Amazon, eBay, etc.), which means that if you click on one of the product links and place an order, I’ll receive a small commission. This helps support my blog and allows me to continue to create content like this.

Thank you for your support!

So, I have officially been natural for a year-and-a-half! To celebrate, I decided to straighten my hair for the occasion. Here’s what I did:

  1. SHAMPOO & CONDITION. Because I have experienced several seborrheic dermatitis flare ups in the last month or two, I used my favorite product line from Aveeno: Nourish+Dandruff Control shampoo and conditioner. It’s great for sensitive scalps, as well as people with scalp conditions, like myself. I love this shampoo and conditioner because it soothes my scalp, prevents inflammation, and is still gentle on my color-treated hair! A win-win-win!  🙂 Click here for a more detailed product review.
  2. DEEP CONDITION. My absolute favorite deep conditioner is Lustrasilk’s Aloe Vera Cholesterol. It makes detangling sessions a breeze! I usually saturate my hair with the product to make sure all of my strands are coated. I gently finger detangle as I rake the product through my hair. Afterward, I cover my hair with a processing cap and sit under my hooded dryer for 20-30 minutes. Then, I rinse my hair and prep it for the next step.
  3. BLOW DRY. I spray my hair with Optimum Advanced Keratin Sealing Leave-in Conditioner. I gently comb the product through my hair and blow dry my hair with my Chi Rocket pro hair dryer on medium heat. I finish by turning on my “cool shot” button to smooth the cuticle of my hair.
  4. PRESS ‘n IRON. To further protect my hair from heat, I spray my hair with TRESemmé‎’s Thermal Creations Heat Tamer Protective Spray. I press my roots and then I flat iron my hair. I try to limit myself to two passes with my Babyliss Pro Nano Titanium flat iron, but if necessary I do a maximum of three passes. However, if a third pass is necessary, I mist my hair first with ApHogee Keratin and Green Tea Restructurizer.
  5. NIGHTTIME ROUTINE: I brush my hair to one side and wrap it around my head. I mist my hair with Julep Top Coat for hair. Then, I add a mesh wrap to keep my hair from unraveling . I secure it with a satin scarf, and top it with a satin bonnet for good measure!
  6. THE NEXT DAY: I mist my hair with Julep Top Coat for hair to prevent frizz. Then, I slowly unwrap my hair and style it.
Next Day Results ...

Final Results …

Next Day Results ...

Final Results …

Next Day Results (after unwrapping hair) ...

Next Day Results
(after unwrapping hair) …

Next Day Results (after unwrapping hair) ...

Next Day Results
(after unwrapping hair) …

My hair remained pretty straight for two days and mostly straight for seven days. Given that the temperatures have been in the upper 90s (and beyond) with a heat index over 100, I think I received pretty good results. I “touched up my hair” once because I had an event to go to and the humidity started to swell the cuticle of my hair but, after that, I let my hair do what it wanted to do and just added some heatless curls to stretch my hairstyling capabilities.

Want more details? Watch my video here to see me prep my hair in action: 

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Flat-ironing My Medium-length Hair: 12 Months of Natural Hair Growth

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This blog post contains affiliate links (e.g., to Amazon, eBay, etc.), which means that if you click on one of the product links and place an order, I’ll receive a small commission. This helps support my blog and allows me to continue to create content like this.
Thank you for your support!

I have been natural for 12 months now. Woot! Woot! In honor of my one-year naturalversary (February 6), I decided to flat iron my hair. The last time I straightened my hair was September 2013 (five months ago). I had been natural for seven months and was curious what my natural hair would look like straightened. This time, I did a few things differently. Here’s what I did …

STRAIGHTENING STEPS

  1. I sectioned my hair into quadrants, lightly misted my hair with water, and detangled.
  2. I applied a 50:50 ratio of coconut oil and castor oil to each section and then two-strand twisted each quadrant into one chunky twist (for a total of 4 twists).
  3. I shampooed my hair with a sulfate-free shampoo (Pravana Hydrating Shampoo). I used very warm water and then rinsed all of my hair with cold water.
  4. I used a light protein treatment (Aphogee 2-Minute Protein Treatment). I added a processing cap, left it in for 5 minutes, and rinsed it out with cool water.
  5. I wrapped my hair in a microfiber turban and let it air dry for 30 minutes.
  6. I untwisted each section and applied Softsheen Carson’s Optimum Advanced Keratin Sealing Leave-in Conditioner to each quadrant. After that I sprayed Julep’s Top Coat for hair (a heat protectant and shine spray) to each section.
  7. I blow-dried each quadrant with my Chi Rocket hair dryer.
  8. I applied TRESemme’s Heat Tamer Spray (a heat protectant) and another dose of Julep’s Top Coat to each section.
  9. I clipped three of the quadrants out of the way, parted each quadrant into smaller sections for the sake of manageability, and then flat ironed my hair using my Babyliss Nano Titanium 1¼” flat iron. I set my flat iron to 410 degrees.
  10. It took me about 2 1/2 hours (from start to finish).

MAINTENANCE

  1. I originally planned to wrap my hair before bed. But, less than 24 hours later, I already started to miss my coils. LOL! So, I decided to pin curl my hair instead with Dove’s Leave-in Smoothing Cream and a little bit of my Roots of Nature Butter Whip Coil Cream (for a light hold). 
  2. I added my satin bonnet and slept on a satin pillowcase for extra insurance.
  3. In the morning, I lightly coated my hair with coconut oil, and unpinned and separated my pin curls. I misted my hair with my DIY multi-use spritz and then layered on some Julep Top Coat for extra shine.
  4. I coated any stray, frizzy pieces with a dab of coconut oil, twirled the wayward strand around my index finger, and then gently released it.

THE RESULTS

In these pics, my hair measures about 9.50″ long.

Flat-ironed natural hair at 12 months

Flat-ironed Natural Hair at 12 Months

Pin Curls

Pin Curls

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My 2014 New Year’s HAIR Resolutions + Encouragement

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This blog post contains affiliate links (e.g., to Amazon, eBay, etc.), which means that if you click on one of the product links and place an order, I’ll receive a small commission. This helps support my blog and allows me to continue to create content like this.
Thank you for your support!

 

So, it’s a new year, and it’s time to put pen to paper concerning our New Year’s resolutions. No, I’m not talking about exercising more or paying down my student loans. (Gasp!) That’s on a different list. LOL! I’m talking about my New Year’s HAIR resolutions. One of the things I’ve learned now that I’ve been natural for 11 months (Man, does time fly!) is that healthy hair doesn’t happen accidentally. If you want stronger hair, it requires a lot of dedication and commitment, utilization of proper hair techniques, and a healthy dose of patience. So, here’s my plan for better hair in 2014 …

  1. Moisturize! Moisturize! Moisturize!

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    Photo Shared by Steven Depolo

     

    • It’s easy to get bogged down by life and neglect the basics your hair needs. I found out the hard way that when I don’t set aside time to take care of my hair, it usually results in dry, dehydrated tresses that break or have minimal growth. I’ve learned that my hair needs to be moisturized daily, even if it’s just misted with water. And, as always, I’ll seal that moisture in with one of my fave oils.
    • I’m still toying with (and trying to perfect) different moisturization techniques (i.e., the LOC method) but, right now, moisturizing and sealing is the minimum I can do to maintain healthy hair.
  2. Deep condition at least once a week! 
  • I noticed a drastic difference in the health of my hair last year when I failed to deep condition it for 4 weeks straight.
  • My natural hair loves moisturizing deep conditioners the way my relaxed hair loved protein treatments.
  • Deep conditioning is a must for me!
  • Use more low-manipulation/protective hairstyles.

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    Photo Shared by Ashley Webb

     

    • Last year, because of the length of my hair, I couldn’t really take advantage of the numerous protective hairstyles I came across online and fell madly in love with.
    • Now that I have more length to play with, I plan to experiment with some of those styles I’ve been coveting.    🙂
  • Air dry as much as possible.

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    Photo Shared by Marco Alexandre

     

    • Last year, I air dried my hair 99% of the time. I only blow dried my hair once! I think that really helped with the overall health of my hair.
    • This year, I plan to continue this good habit I formed and air dry as much as possible.
  • Limit the use of flat irons.

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    • Flat irons can create beautiful, sleek looks. But, don’t over do it.
    • I made the decision early on in my healthy hair journey to limit my use of flat irons to only 2-3 times per year MAX. I’ve been natural for 11 months now, and I’ve only flat ironed my hair ONCE. I don’t plan to flat iron my hair again for another month (on my 1-year naturalversary)!
    • When I was relaxed, one of the reasons I struggled to obtain healthy hair is because of my constant battle with split ends. Limiting the frequency I straighten my natural hair has completely eliminated that problem. My ends are split-free and healthy!
  • Curb my product junkyism. Product Junky
    • When I was relaxed, I was a serious product junky. Whenever a new product launched, I had to try it. No matter what! When I became natural, a lot of the products I had in my arsenal no longer worked on my newly natural hair. So, in some sense, you almost have to be a product junky your first year of being natural by default … Because trying new products and lots of products is really the only way you will know what will work for your hair.
    • I also noticed that my hair goes through stages … A couple of the products I tried when I transitioned and then BCed (and loved), I ended up hating as my hair grew out and got longer. So, there will always be a careful balance between discovering something new and useful and collecting products like trophies!
    • Of course, companies that discontinue your fave products creates a whole new dilemma … But, sometimes a discontinuation can be a blessing in disguise. Early into my natural hair journey when my favorite Lustrasilk deep conditioner was taken off the shelf, it forced me to research products and read labels like crazy. I ended up finding two deep conditioners that I absolutely adore. If I can’t find one, I buy the other and vice versa. I’ve been using one of the two for the last 9 months! The same goes for my co-wash conditioner. I’ve been using the same one since I made the decision to transition.
    • I still like to try new products, but when I find something that works, I plan to stick with it.
  • Throw out my brush and comb!

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    Photo Shared by Gerrilynn Nunley

     

    • Ok, not really! But, it is important to avoid manipulating your hair needlessly.
    • In 2013, I realized that I brushed and combed my hair … A LOT!!! Around month six or seven of being natural, I started to finger detangle my hair. I started slowly … from whenever I could remember to about 75% of the time. I’ve noticed less hair fall in the shower and on the floor!
    • Now, I use my comb predominately for creating clean parts (when styling my hair) and my Denman brush for shingling product into my hair/my boar bristle brush for gently smoothing my edges. I use a comb/brush maybe once a week. Sometimes once every two to three weeks!
    • I used to think that people who finger detangled exclusively were insane, now I can’t imagine my hair regimen without it. Who knew?
  • Stop jumping on bandwagons!
    • Sometimes, it’s easy to get caught up with the latest fads. I’ve always been the first among my family and friends to test new products, especially those related to hair care. There’s nothing necessarily wrong about wanting to try the latest and greatest in beauty and hair care. Just be realistic! And, do your research.
    • Before you drop $200 bucks on the newest innovation in heat styling, read reviews online, ask questions in hair forums, and talk to people who have tried the product first hand to see if the item can actually fulfill a need, or if you are about to become the next victim of a three a.m. infomercial.
  • KISS (Keep It Simple Sista).

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    Photo Shared by Maggie Hoffman

     

    • Don’t use a million products if two will do.
    • Don’t manipulate your hair every day if you can get away with only manipulating your tresses two to three times a week.
    • Don’t install an elaborate hair do if you don’t have the time to maintain it.
    • More isn’t always better. Sometimes more is just … well … more!
  • Be consistent.Consistency Is Key
    • Healthy hair takes a lot of work. You can’t take good care of your hair for a couple of weeks and expect to undo a lifetime of damage or poor hair care practices.
    • Create a hair regimen and follow it for at least a month or two. Then, judge whether your regimen needs to be tweaked to better suit your lifestyle or hair needs.
  • Practice patience.

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    Photo Shared by thinboyfatter

     

    • Healthy hair takes time to cultivate.
    • Period!
  • Ignore the noise. 

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    Photo Shared by La Melodie

    • You can’t please everyone all of the time. There will ALWAYS be naysayers. Sometimes a co-worker, close friend, or even a family member will “mean well” but wrinkle their nose when you Big Chop or say, “I liked your hair better when it was longer!” (a.k.a. relaxed)
    • Regardless of whether you are relaxed, transitioning, or natural, do what works for you and your hair! I had to learn this one in the beginning stages of my Big Chop when my confidence plummeted when certain people I cared about made less-than-encouraging comments about my über short hair. I felt embarrassed. I thought that maybe I had made a mistake. However, one morning I woke up and realized that I was tired of trying to conform to others’ expectations of me. So, I made the decision to be confident about my hair, regardless of the length. And, guess what? Confidence begets confidence!
  • Embrace my hair’s limits.

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    Photo Shared by Randy Robertson

    • Not all hair types can easily shift from hair trend to hair trend, change from a plethora of styles from week to week, or use a million different styling techniques on a whim like a contortionist in Cirque du Soleil. It doesn’t mean it’s good or bad. It just … IS!
    • There are certain immutable facts about certain hair types and rules (as well as exceptions to the rules) within each “type” and for each person. Just because your 4c BFF can get away with only washing her coils once a month and protective styling for 12 weeks at a time,  doesn’t mean you can, too!
    • All hair is created equally BUT differently. Accept the limits of your hair, and move on to what DOES work for you.
  • Love my hair unconditionally.

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    Photo Shared by Kris Krüg

    • I am still a work in progress, and every blue moon I sometimes look in the mirror and question myself. But, then I remember how damaged and unhealthy my relaxed hair was and how strong and healthy my natural hair is. Suddenly, the only opinion that matters is MY own. 

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Flat-ironed Natural Hair – 7 Months of Growth

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This blog post contains affiliate links (e.g., to Amazon, eBay, etc.), which means that if you click on one of the product links and place an order, I’ll receive a small commission. This helps support my blog and allows me to continue to create content like this.
Thank you for your support!

I have been natural for seven months. I wanted to see what the length of my hair really looked like, so I decided to flat iron my hair. I initially wanted to straighten my hair for my six-month naturalversary, but time crept up so quickly, I completely forgot. I didn’t remember until it was almost a full month after my mid-year mark. Oops! Crazy how fast time goes by … Anyway, it’s been so long since I’ve seen my hair straight, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. But, I am pleased with the results. Even my family members were astonished. Mostly because I think they remember how short my hair was when I Big Chopped. LOL. Here’s what I did …

STRAIGHTENING STEPS

  1. Shampooed my hair with a sulfate-free shampoo.
  2. Conditioned my hair.
  3. Deep conditioned my hair.
  4. Rollerset my hair with water (no product) to help my hair have plenty of body.
  5. Let my hair air dry for two hours and then sat under a dryer for 20-30 minutes to finish drying.
  6. Spritzed each roller section with a heat protectant and flat ironed my hair using my Babyliss Nano Titanium 1.25″ flat iron. I didn’t want my hair “bone straight,” so I set my flat iron to 375 degrees.
  7. It took me about a leisurely hour to straighten all of my hair.

MAINTENANCE

  1. Because I live in a very humid climate, the next day (before wearing my hair out), I layered on some of my homemade shea butter glycerin hair styler, about a half of a teaspoon of castor oil, and then sealed it all in with raw, unrefined shea butter. This helped to prevent the humidity from reverting my flat-ironed hair without overly weighing it down.
  2. Prior to going to bed, I wrapped my hair. Because my hair is still too short to wrap around my whole head, I had to secure my wrapped hair as I went along, pinning it in place to prevent it from loosening as I slept.
  3. I added my satin bonnet and called it a night.
  4. Throughout the week, after I unwrapped my hair each morning, I added more of my homemade shea butter glycerin hair styler, castor oil, and raw, unrefined shea butter as needed.

THE RESULTS

In these pics, my hair is 6.50″ – 7.00″ long.

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Regimen for Transitioning Hair

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This blog post contains affiliate links (e.g., to Amazon, eBay, etc.), which means that if you click on one of the product links and place an order, I’ll receive a small commission. This helps support my blog and allows me to continue to create content like this.
Thank you for your support!

 

This is the regimen that I have come up with for my transitioning (mostly 4A) hair.

Weekly Routine
Wash 1x a week (moisturizing sulfate-free shampoo and conditioner)
Deep condition 2x a week
Co-wash 2x a week (with one co-wash, I deep condition before)
Massage scalp with castor oil 3x a week

Nightly Routine
Moisturize and seal
Cover hair with a satin scarf

Monthly Routine
Protein treatment 1-2x a month
Heat pass (no more than 1x a month)

Trim only when needed

GENERAL GOALS
Stay away from heat on a daily basis
Air dry
Use more low manipulation/protective styles

Sunday: Shampoo, condition, deep condition, and massage scalp with castor oil

Wednesday: Deep condition, co-wash, and massage scalp with castor oil

Friday: Co-wash and massage scalp with castor oil

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