In 2013, I was two years into my natural hair journey. Even though I had been natural for most of my life, I was inexperienced at taking care of my 4c hair. I didn’t know how to make it grow healthy and strong. After much trial and error, I overcame my obstacles by creating a hair regimen that I could use daily.
Initially, I was torn between practicing hair care the way that I grew up with and adopting new products, tools, and techniques that were alien to me. I also had to mentally overcome the stereotypes around 4c hair — particularly that it’s “difficult” and can’t grow very long.
Realizing that I needed a method for keeping track of what I was doing, I started journaling to record my progress. Eventually, I could pull these notes together to form strategies for taking care of my hair each week. Patterns began to emerge and I was soon able to develop a regimen that was specific to the needs and concerns of my hair.
I developed my hair care regimen as a tool for recording my hair’s reaction to the products that I would try. I’d note how my hair felt when I used them, positive or negative, and whether or not I would use them again. I’d also record the how often I would use them and adjust the frequency depending on how my hair felt over time. I also included any styling tools and techniques that I’d used and whether I found them to be beneficial or detrimental to my hair’s growth.
Eventually, I had formed a plan that was easy to follow and that worked for me. I would still continue to look for ways to tweak and improve my methods, but I now had a solid foundation to build on.
Click here to view my current regimen.
Cleanser: DIY clay wash (Rhassoul or French pink clay)
Shampoo (occasional use): Giovanni Eco Chic Hair Care Smooth as Silk Deep Moisture Shampoo or Giovanni Eco Chic Hair Care 50:50 Balanced Hydrating-Calming Shampoo
Conditioner: Giovanni Eco Chic Hair Care 50:50 Balanced Hydrating-Calming Conditioner, mayonnaise DC (occasionally)
Moisturizer/spritz: DIY moisturizing hair cream; Giovanni Eco Chic Hair Care Direct Leave-In Conditioner + water
Oils: Carrier oil blend (castor oil, sweet almond oil and macadamia nut oil), EO for my edges
WEEK 1 — Sunday (Wash day):
- First, I detangle my hair using my fingers
- Next, I detangle my hair using seamless combs and place my hair into 10-12 braids/plaits. I do NOT remove them in the shower
- I deep condition (DC) my hair for 1 hour with mayonnaise and whatever oils I feel like using at the time. In order to create a simple DIY steam cap I layer the following: First I put on clear shower cap, then winter hat on top, and finally a head scarf. After the hour is over, I rinse the conditioner out
- I wash hair with a DIY clay wash that made using rhassoul or pink clay. Sometimes, I leave the clay mask on my hair for 1 hour before rinsing it out. If I leave it on my hair for an hour, I wear my DIY steam cap (see above)
- I condition my hair using with Giovanni 50:50 Balanced Hydrating-Calming Conditioner
- After rinsing the conditioner out of my hair I squeeze the excess water out of my twists. After, I sop up any excess water using a t-shirt. I do not use the t-shirt to dry my hair (plopping)
Post-shower and styling
Throughout the year, I use the LOC method or LCO method to moisturize and seal my hair. In summer, I forego using oil since it ends up leaving my hair too greasy.
(L) Quick spritz with Giovanni Direct Leave-In diluted with water
(O) Oil with nickle/quarter sized amount of castor, almond and macadamia nut oils mixture. I apply by holding my head forward so that I can make sure that I get ends first and then apply up to my roots. Hair is still in braids.
(C) Moisturize with DIY hair cream (using the same amount and same application process as with the oils)
- I remove one braid at a time and divide the hair into smaller sections before putting them into two strand twists. I continue doing this until my whole head is done. If my hair starts to dry out, I spritz the section of hair BEFORE taking out the braid to make the hair more pliable. I apply additional moisturizer as needed
- I apply EO blend to my edges or wherever my hair is thinning
- After, I let my twists air dry
- If the ends of my hair are ratty or frizzy I “dust” them (i.e. I trim about ¼’ – ½’ of hair off with hair scissors. I do NOT use hair scissors for anything other than cutting hair.)
- If I encounter any knots, I do NOT try to take them out using a comb. I use only my fingers to gently try to uravel the knot. If I still have trouble, then I will snip only one hair at a time to gently detangle the hairs. The knot usually falls away at this point
- I do NOT take braids or twists out of my hair using a comb. I find that my fingers are good enough
- If I only have time for a rush job, then it’s not time to do my hair
Monday through Saturday mornings:
- I style my hair using the LOC method from wash day
- Style: I place my twisted hair into a ponytail or bun to keep ends off of my shoulders (i.e. Hair on shoulders/clothes = damage)
In the second week, I repeat the whole process except I wash my hair in the existing twists
I repeat the process from week 1
I repeat the process from week 2