everything I've learned about growing, maintaining, styling, and loving long hair

my hair care routine

It was requested that I add this on here, so here’s what I do……………
(edited 3-24-09)
 
shampooing/conditioning:
Since my hair is curly, the only time I comb it is directly before washing (or when I’m going to braid it).  I first run my fingers through it to get out any big tangles, then comb it thoroughly with a wide-tooth comb.  My comb is made out of bull horn.  I have plastic ones too that I use occasionally, but I like the horn one the best.  I usually spray my hair with a little water as I’m combing to keep it from fluffing out in every direction.  If my hair is particularly tangled for some reason, I skip the combing and take care of that in the shower when I put conditioner on it.  My hair detangles the best under running water.  (this is also a good way to undo microbraids) 
 
I normally shampoo my hair once every week or two, and only the scalp area.  I sometimes shampoo twice (using small amounts of shampoo) because my hair is fairly thick and it’s hard to make sure the shampoo gets down to the scalp good enough.  I rarely shampoo the length.  The oil and sweat from your scalp doesn’t get to the length so there’s not as much need for washing.  (conditioners usually contain a bit of cleansing ingredients anyway, so it’s still getting cleaned, just much more gently) 
 
I apply conditioner on the length only – from my neck down.  In my hand, I mix conditioner about 50/50 with honey.  I glob on a huge portion, don’t squeeze it out, wrap it up in a bun and clip it.  I let it soak like that throughout the rest of my shower, then rinse with lukewarm water.  As I’m rinsing out the conditioner, I finger-comb to remove any loose hair and pick out any tangles.  Then rinse again with cool water. 
 
Then I bend over and flip my hair forward, squeeze out excess water, and pour a vinegar rinse through it.  I use about a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in about 8 ounces of purified water.  It makes my hair sooo soft and keeps the hard water mineral deposits from building up on it.  (hard water will make hair dry and brittle)  The vinegar smell does go away as it dries. 
 
I smooth a tiny bit of shea butter (about a dime sized piece melted in my hand) on the ends, scrunch it and wrap it in a towel.  I leave the towel on for about 15 minutes.  Then I just let it air dry, trying not to handle it as much as possible.  The more you handle it, the worse the frizz gets.  When it’s mostly dry, I put aloe vera gel all through it.  (this works better than gelling while it’s wet, the curls form better if I let it dry first and then apply gel.)  I don’t use a lot, just enough to keep it from being fly-away.  The more healthy it gets, the less I need gel.  I also spray it with a little lime juice in a bottle of water.  Lime juice is great for curly hair (about a teaspoon per 6 ounces of water).  It helps the curls keep their form, makes them more bouncy. 
 
on the days between shampooing:
As I said, I shampoo my hair usually once a week or less.  In between those days, I "wash" with conditioner.  I use a small amount of conditioner and massage it into my scalp and and all through my hair then rinse thoroughly just as if it were shampoo.  I follow that with my normal conditioning routine above.
 
On other days, I spray my hair with the lime juice water or a quick rinse under the faucet and apply conditioner to the length only.  Curly hair tends to be very dry and needs lots of moisture.  I wet it every day.  Many women with long hair swear by daily oiling to keep their hair soft, shiny, healthy… but that doesn’t work for me.  If I use oil, it’s only on wet hair to seal the water in, or for a deep conditioning treatment.  (that’s why I use the shea butter right after I wash my hair, it works better for me than any oil I’ve tried) 
 
once every month or so (or whenever I get around to it):
I wash my hair completely with rhassoul clay.  Wash with dirt… yeah, sounds perfectly logical!  Really, it has the grainy texture that removes build-up on scalp and hair both and it’s conditioning at the same time.  Sometimes in place of the clay treatment I will do a special wash with a baking soda/shampoo mixture that practically strips the hair and scalp.  With either one of these I follow with at least a very heavy application of conditioner, or a deep conditioning treatment if I have the time.  This is important, you don’t want to leave the hair vulnerable after being stripped. 
 
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2 responses

  1. Rachel

    Do you rinse out the apple cider vinegar, or let it stay in your hair?

    August 17, 2012 at 10:44 am

    • No, I don’t rinse it out.

      August 17, 2012 at 1:24 pm

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