Over the last few weeks, we have talked about the wash-day process. We started with the pre-poo and then the 5 things I never knew about shampooing natural hair. This week let’s discuss what happens when you get out of the bathroom. You’re dripping water down your back, your hair is up in a T-shirt (let me hope you aren’t using towels on your precious hair) and now what? Where to start?
Well, the best thing about natural hair is that it is so versatile. You can go anywhere with it, in terms of process. Let me take you through my routine.
Deep condition/mask and rinse.
This means basically we aren’t done with the bathroom yet. Oops. Depending on what you choose for your hair needs, add your deep conditioner/hair mask/protein treatment and cover your hair with it. remember last time I said focus the shampoo on the roots? Now flip the script. Deep conditioner is for your hair tips. Grab that nourishment and moisture!
To make things extra effective, warm your conditioner a bit so that it infuses really well with your hair, considering you may not have a steamer… wrap your hair up in a shower cap and wait 30 minutes. You could wait more but I read a random study that said anything more than 30 minutes was not giving you anything extra, so wait at your own risk. Rinse all of it out with cool water to really lock up that moisture within. Your hair should be significantly easier to comb at this point. Make use of your wide toothed comb 😉
Once your all rinsed up then it’s time for the fun part. Depending on the format you use, begin to apply your Liquid (leave-in conditioner), Oil and Cream/Butter to your hair in sections. The way 4c hair is set up, it gets really thick and shrinky once you get out of the realms of water, so it is best to section it off into 4 (or more) parts and do loose twists so you can open them easy. Or you could use puff holders or even hair clips if you have some with you. I promise you this will make the whole process much easier. Don’t worry about being neat, just keep that for the styling section of it all.
Keep a spray bottle of water nearby just in case one of the sections starts to dry up, it’s much better to work with damp hair.
For this part I usually use Kentaro’s Tea Tree Tingle leave-in, Argan Oil and I mix up the creams. Sometimes it’s Cantu Moisturising Cream, but it’s super curl activating (read SHRINKAGE) so I switch it up with some Shea Butter.
I wrote a post that gets a lot more into LOC method, so feel free to check it out if you want to know more about what I’m saying.
Before styling it is best to grab a good holding gel to help your hairstyle come out perfect. I remember before I discovered gel, I used to just put water and mousse into my hair and act a whole fool when the twist out didn’t come out right. It’s okay to be young and dumb, just don’t make my mistake.
Anyway. Holding gel is the best if you want to do a bantu knot out, twistout, flat twists, or braid out. It will have you looking like the curly Mami of your Pinterest dreams!
I used to use Cantu’s Styling gel but it had the habit of flaking after a few days, so I switched to Eco Styler gel. I have a protective style in right now, so I am not really sure of its performance yet, but I will let you know.
This is where your imagination can take a trip down tripland and never return. I’ll just give you a few basics, whichever one you go with is yours to rock. It’s best to do this so that your hair doesn’t completely shrink, and it also gives it definition. So you could do:
- Flat twists
- Bantu knots
- Wash and go
- Half puff + twists (so that the base is stretched but the tips are curly)
- Whatever else you could want or imagine
This most cases happens the morning after #washday. If you have a job you might want to wake up at least 30 minutes earlier so that you don’t run late. If you already put your hair in a style that you feel comfortable wearing, more power to you. But the rest of us are going to take out the twists before we leave the house.
A good rule of thumb when unravelling is to be very gentle and use a light oil on your fingertips. Take down the style, and one by one unravel them so that the chunks of twists break up a bit and create that lovely volume. Use a pick comb at the end to add some more volume or to cover the tracks on the scalp and walk into the day.
If you need some products to help your hair come out just right, Natural Girls Rock usually gives me what I need
Bonus tip: DIY Deep Conditioner.
- Plain yogurt (500ml)
- Avocado (half)
- Olive oil (3 tablespoons)
- 4 Yellow Bananas
Get each of these ingredients and add them to a bowl. If you have a blender that would be better but if not, mash the bananas and avocado with a fork until smooth then add them to the yogurt and oil. Mix them completely until the consistency is smooth. Place the bowl in a saucepan with hot water for 10 minutes to warm the mixture up. Apply generously to the hair from the tips to the roots and enjoy your deep conditioner.