natural hair

my hair. my body. my choice.

the natural hair movement allowed black women to learn how to take care of their crowns.

i first started wearing my hair natural in 2015, going into my senior year of high school. i didn’t really know how to do my hair (yet), but i was determined to learn. since then, i’ve been researching, trying new products and creating a regimen that’s working for me. five years, i can proudly say i have a steady regimen that works!

my curls with conditioner, april 2020.

protein/moisture balance

my #hairgoals is to have a strong protein/moisture balance. curls need moisture. but too much moisture depletes the protein levels of your hair (your hair actually made up of a protein called keratin). this makes your hair limp and it’s hard to hold a style. but, too much protein makes your hard and breaks it off. if you have the right amount of protein and moisture, your hair will flourish. my hair is protein deficient, so i incorporate protein into my weekly routine. as a result, my hair is normally frizz free, moisturized and holds styles very well.

What does my hair need?

protein

  • is your hair barely holding a style? is it mushy? that means it could be time for a protein treatment! using protein regularly fills in the gaps within your strands, making it stronger. depending on your diet and hair porosity, you may need to increase or decrease protein

moisture

  • is your hair dry? hard? then you need moisture! the source of all moisture is water! you need to drink water and use water in your regimen to keep it moisturized! products lock in the water!

to clarify

  • clarifying is key! it allows moisture to enter your strands!

quality products

if there is one thing i have learned, it’s the products make all the difference! you have to find brands that work with your hair. organic is the way to go! top three brands right now are camille rose, the mane choice and curls.

my go-to products:

shampoos:

conditioners:

deep conditioners:

protein treatments:

  • Rice Water- i make my own rice water (find out how here), this rinse-out treatment helps strengthen my hair
  • ApHogee Keratin 2 Minute Reconstructor– the only store bought protein treatment i’ve ever used; leave on as noted and it helps reverse damaged hair

leave-in’s:

creams:

oils:

  • Carrier Oils
    • Olive Oil- penetrates the hair shaft, leaving the hair soft
    • Vitamin E Oil- promotes a healthy scalp
    • Jojoba Oil- resembles sebum, the hair’s natural oil; light weight, reduces frizz
  • Sealants
    • Shea Butter- seals in moisture at the end; can come in multiple forms
      • Raw Shea Butter- available at most beauty supply stores, comes from the shea nut
      • Whipped Shea Butter- many people sell shea butter, whipping it with other ingredients to moisturize
    • Sunny Isle Jamaican Black Castor Oil (JBCO) – seals in moisture; it’s very thick! this company sells multiple different scents of JBCO, including lavender! JBCO is great for hot oil treatments and prepoo’s
  • Essential Oils
    • Tea Tree- cleanses scalp, should be combined with a carrier oil
    • Peppermint- stimulates hair growth, should be combined with a carrier oil

gels:

foams/mousse:

edge control:

i did “knotless box braids” on myself the last week of april 2020.

styling

are you a “i don’t have time to do my hair so it’s going up in a bun?” type of natural? trust me, we’ve all been there. but it’s important to style your hair in low-manipulation styles to retain length. low manipulation styles include twists, braids, and cornrows.

LOC vs LCO

  • what do these mean?: i’ve seen many people use many acronyms to describe the order they apply products, some even adding a G and a S. below are what the letters mean
    • L-Liquid/Leave-in; some people just add water, or a leave in (i do both for my L)
    • O- Oil; add back in the oils that were lost by shampooing.
    • C- Cream; add moisture and help with definition
    • S-Sealant; seal in all the moisture, best to be used at the end
    • G- Gel; gels reduce frizz and hold hair in place
  • which one is for me?
    • i read online once “cream before oil for perfect coils, oil before cream for frizz extreme”, and have found that to be true. i have way less frizz and better moisture retention after switching to LCO
  • mayah’s regimen
    • i use LCO, only adding oil after my hair is completely styled. i’ve found that adding a carrier oil and a sealant really help keep my hair hydrated

protective styles (w/o added hair)

  • plaits- featured above (single braids)
  • cornrows- braids on the scalp
  • twists- single twists
  • flat twists- twisted on the scalp

protective styles (w/added hair)

  • weave/sew-ins: your hair is braided and wefts of hair are sew-in. with proper attention (ensuring you’re still moisturizing your hair), your hair can flourish.
    • be careful of tension- too many sew-ins back to back can break off your hair!
  • box braids: hair is added to your hair and braided in plaits
    • knotless- the new IT hair style. braiders start off braiding your hair and add braiding hair as they go down your strands. very little tension and no pain!
    • regular- similar to knotless, braiders start off by adding braiding hair as they go down the strand
  • wigs: easy to manage, you put it on, and you’re all set!
    • be careful of tension- wigs can cause thinning around the edges and nape of neck with a lot of use!

sample hair care regimen:

i created this regimen for one of my linesisters. the major issues she had were moisture retention and damage from protective styling (braids, sew-ins, and ponytails). i added in using the rice water and green tea rinse every other week, because she expressed that she had a lot of shedding. green tea will minimize shedding while rice water will help strengthen her hair and restore the health of her scalp. overtime, she won’t have to use the green tea/rice water rinse as often.

Week 1

wash:

  1. wash with clarifying shampoo
  2. protein treatment (rice water and green tea rinse)
  3. deep conditioning (1 hour with steam)
  4. rinse out deep conditioner with warm water, then add conditioner (3 in 1 leave in conditioner)

LCO:

  1. section in four sections (repeat steps for each section)
  2. spray with water
  3. add conditioner (3 in 1 leave in conditioner)
  4. cream (moisturizing one)
  5. then oil 
  6. section for braiding/twisting
  7. spray section
  8. add styling cream/butter
  9. repeat for each section
  10. at the end spray down braids with water, adding castor oil and shea butter.
  11. wrap hair with satin bonnet/scarf

tips for the rest of the week:

  • massage scalp with a little peppermint oil on fingers for two minutes DAILY
  • oil scalp every two days with wild grow
  • use a satin bonnet/scarf nightly

Week 2-

wash:

  1. wash with clarifying shampoo
  2. protein treatment (rice water)
  3. deep conditioning (1 hour)

LCO:

  1. Repeat LCO method from week 1

Tips-

  • if your hair seems dry before you rinse the deep conditioner out, add more water and deep conditioner, comb out each section and braid it. leave it on for like thirty more minutes. 
  • clarifying shampoos can be drying so since you’re trying to retain moisture, i say do just one wash with it. if you feel like your hair is just super dirty then do a second wash with a moisturizing shampoo. if you have to wash your hair within the week, use a moisturizing shampoo. 
  • before adding gel, add a little moisturizing cream, it’ll keep your hair softer
  • remember that if you use the banding method, it’ll stretch out your hair without ruining your curls 
  • drinking water is important. try to drink at least 64 ounces a day so your hair will stay soft
  • find styles where you like how it looks down so you’ll allow your hair to heal from all the tension from weaves and ponytails 
  • use satin hair ties= less friction=more length retention

mayah’s tips have helped me grow my hair out from a shoulder length bob to almost bra strap length in less than a year! the most influential thing she taught me was MOISTURIZER MOISTURIZER MOISTURIZER. my hair used to shed so much, but with the proper products (i used her go-to’s) i’ve been able to retain so much of my new growth!

monique wheeler


want to learn more about my hair journey? check out my posts!

%d bloggers like this: