I can't believe it's been six months since my 'big chop' (I transitioned for just under a year before removing my relaxed ends). Me and my hair have been getting to know each other and it's been a great period of experimentation. I've learnt so much about caring for my hair through research and more importantly practice. I've stopped obsessing about trying to 'type' my hair and just go with what my hair responds to best. I've fallen in love with my texture and my initial goal to grow long hair has been replaced with an appreciation for a healthy head of curls. I actually don't know exactly how long my hair is, or how much it has grown since I started my journey. That's terrible but I just haven't been paying attention. I know it has grown because there's definitely more to handle and based on how it looks in a twist out I'd guess it's roughly shoulder length now.
I've pulled my hair just so you can get an idea of the length when stretched
My favourite thing about my hair journey so far has to be watching it transform from a mass of undefined frizz to a head of tight ringlet type curls for the most part with some frizzy kinks at the top of my head. I've also fallen in love with shrinkage. I'm not crazy, I know many naturals fight it but it's the worlds greatest styling tool! I can go from a head of cute short twists, that sit just below my ear to a fluffy twist out that sits on my shoulders. Honestly, our hair can do the best stuff if we let it.
My wash and styling regimen has taken many forms over the past six months but the regimens below are what's working now. I'll probably make some tweaks as my hair grows and the weather changes but at it's core I think this is what works best for my texture.
My Wash Day
My hair is prone to dryness so wash day for me is all about moisture, moisture, moisture. I aim to wash my hair at least every seven to ten days.
I pre poo with virgin coconut oil which I smooth through my hair the night before.
The following day, working in four large sections I gently finger detangle working from my ends to my roots. I then follow this with my wide tooth comb to get rid of the last of my tangles before I step in the shower. My detangling session can take up to an hour.
I shampoo in sections with my sulphate/silicone/paraben free shampoo, making sure to smooth it into my hair and scalp. After a thorough rinse, I massage my hair and scalp with an oil rinse of castor, olive and tea tree oil. I then smooth over silicone free conditioner and allow it to sit for a couple of minutes before rinsing.
I use an old t shirt to squeeze out the excess water before applying my shea butter mix and putting it into twists to dry. I then style as usual. Sometimes I indulge in a hot oil treatment prior to washing. I also do a clarifying rinse with apple cider vinegar once a month to get rid of any product build up.
My hair post wash and still wet, you can see the different curl patterns when you compare the front to the back
Styling was such an issue for me at the beginning of my journey. I have never been good with hair so it was a real learning curve. I made it my mission this year to ditch the braids and get to know my hair. You can read about some of my hair styling experiments here and here.
My go to style at the moment is small to medium sized twists which I do at the beginning of the week. I wear them as is or do an updo till the weekend when I unravel it and wear it as a twist out. I wear the twist out for a 2-3 days before I wash it and begin the cycle again.
These are my favourite ways to wear my twists
I don't attempt to stretch my hair once it's in a twist out, I just roll with the shrinkage. If I have a special occasion, I may re-twist my hair with a styling product just to minimise frizz and maintain curl definition. I'm all about that lazy girl styling so this really works for me.
Look out for a follow up post on the products I ditched this year and those that are now firm favourites. What stages are you at in your natural hair journey? Share advice, tips and questions in the comments below!
Subscribe to our newsletter for all the best bits, access to competitions and the latest discounts from your favourite designers.