FYI, THE VIDEO ABOVE INCLUDES ALL THE INFO BELOW.
Until last year I completely took my hair for granted. It was effortlessly beautiful. Then, I undid my latest braids to find it wasn't. It was all broken, unhealthy, thin - ugly! Since then, I have treated my hair with reverence and it's thankfully beginning to look healthy again. I hope I don't have to start going blind before I start treating my eyes with the same respect!
1. Detangle hair gently with fingers before you start washing especially if it was in plaits. No combing - it's still too dry.
2. Wash hair with just WARM water
- Warm water a) loosens up dirt and oil and b) it opens up the hair cuticles;
- I actually feel the hair getting softer and the strands becoming more separable;
- Water is the ultimate moisturiser;
- I rub my hair and scalp as I wash it to determine when it’s been fully hydrated.
- I do it once only because I don’t want to over-strip my hair of its natural oils; generally I don’t think my hair is that filthy, I don't use heavy products like gel often and I don’t get dandruff - touch wood!
- If I think it needs a little extra cleaning I just use a little more shampoo and I massage the scalp and hair for a little longer.
- I work the shampoo into my hair using the flats of my fingers to avoid irritating my scalp with my fingernails.
- I rinse my hair first with just water then with c. 3l of water with 10 drops of peppermint of oil in it. Peppermint is great for hair growth and as an anti-itch solution.
- My hair look super coily after this stage
5. Put a shower cap over the hair.
- Because my shower cap gets cold once I stop blow drying, I usually put a hat or thick scarf on top of the shower cap as soon as I have stopped blow drying to seal the heat in.
- Leave for 15-30 minutes to deep condition.
- Before the hair is combed, it is still very kinky and the visible length will double or even triple as you comb it out.
- I have seen people use brushes in their hair at this stage but I personally never do because I think they are too rough for my hair and the wide-tooth comb seems to be doing a decent enough job for my purposes.
- You can either do this straight after twisting your hair or if you need to do some household chores, put the shower cap back on and do it later.
- I don’t think keeping the conditioner in for longer makes too much difference at this point.
- Apparently rubbing it dry leads to kinkiness so it’s better to just dab at it or wrap a shirt around the head.
- It appears that the material shirts are made from is better for drying hair with but I am yet to do in-depth research on this point.
10. In my final step, I undo each twist. Moisturise the section with a mixture of leave in conditioner, a shea butter based moisturiser and my homemade jojoba plus essential oil mix. I then redo the section in a plait or a twist. Let me explain in greater detail:
- I rub my shea butter moisturiser into my hands until it has dissolved, add a bit of “Neno Natural’s Hair Growth Stimulator” to my hands, a blend of Jojoba + lavender + rosemary + cedarwood + Ylang Ylang and when I find it, I'll add Thyme)
- I undo a twist and rub the hair butter/oil mix into the hair making sure I rub it all the way down to the roots
- I then re-plait the now super moisturised section of hair into a 3 strand braid. I prefer this to twists right now because they produce a better curl pattern for my current length of hair. I keep my plaits in until my hair is dry.
- This stage is critical for two reasons: i. Adding moisturiser to the hair whilst it’s wet leads to a shinier, glossier finish. I only added this to my routine a year after being natural. I used to leave the twists in my hair after I’d showered, I let them dry naturally AND THEN I moisturised. This does not work well for my hair. By then it is already too dry and clumpy.
ii. If I don’t leave my hair in plaits until it's dried up, my hair becomes rock hard by the next day and I have so much trouble managing and styling it.
- If you want your hair to stay look stretched you need to plait or twist your hair every evening for at least three nights as it starts reverting back to a kinky afro. If you replait for three nights in a row, it should stay pretty stretched for another two or three nights without re-plaiting. I like the afro look so I sometimes allow it to revert to type.
- I usually wash my hair on Sundays and I don’t unplait it until Monday or even later in the week if I don’t need to go anywhere special. I usually wear some sort of headgear when I have the plaits in. The texture and curl pattern when you undo the twist is magnifique!
In developing this regime, I received a lot of inspiration from kimmaytube on YouTube. I give thanks. The key difference between my routine and hers is that I'm very into essential oils. I've been using them since 2006 when I learnt the art of massage.
I plan on experimenting with different conditioners and moisturisers (both bought and homemade) until I feel that my hair cannot come out any better.
On a daily basis spritz with water and massage Neno Natural's Hair Growth Stimulator.
Follow me @NenoNatural and check out Neno Natural's Haircare Store.