Natural hair

How To Formulate A Natural Hair Regimen That Actually Works

Caring for natural hair can be a handful. There are tons of resources to help you online, but sometimes it’s hard to filter what really works from what’s –for lack of a better phrase- a waste of time. You should build your natural hair regimen around three constants, your hair type, hair porosity, and your hair texture. If you’re not familiar with these terms or you’d just like a refresher, you can click on the links to see what they’re all about.

How to make a workable natural hair regimen.

We’re going to start with things that are essential to hair care and need to be included in your regimen. Next, we’ll work up to how frequently you should be doing them depending on your own hair. They are;

  • Shampooing/Cleaning your hair
  • Conditioning
  • Deep conditioning (protein treatments included here)
  • Detangling
  • Moisturizing
  • Protective styling

It’s not a very long list, but considering what a hassle it is to do these things on a schedule and do them right, the list above can be pretty intimidating.
Now we have to segment these activities and figure out how often they should appear in your natural hair regimen/routine. This depends on the specifics of your hair so let’s start with porosity.

Low porosity hair considerations
  • Low porosity hair makes it hard for products to penetrate the hair shaft and properly do their job. So, you should never condition, deep condition, or do a protein treatment on your hair without using heat to lift the cuticles. The heat should be mild and you can achieve this by
    • Spritzing your strands with warm water before applying the product, and spritzing the inside of the plastic cap you’re going to use to cover your hair.
    • After covering your hair with a plastic cap, wrap a warm towel around it to simulate a heat cap.
    • Warming up whatever product you plan on using just a little before actually applying it to your hair.
  • Low porosity hair typically accumulates build up very easily, you can shampoo twice/thrice a month and co-wash any other time you feel like cleaning your hair.
  • Deep conditioning is essential and should be carried out at least twice a month, while protein treatments can be left at once every 6-8 weeks.
  • Moisturizing is key, so try to do it properly. You can use this method for best results.

Medium/Normal porosity hair considerations
  • Medium porosity hair can discern for itself when it’s had enough moisture and that makes it easier on you. Try moisturizing with this method at least twice a week, and you can just spritz a watered-down leave-in conditioner whenever your hair feels dry in between. Don’t forget to seal it!
  • Cleaning should be done with shampoo at most twice a month and co-washing carried out in between.
  • Deep conditioning stays the same as with low porosity.
High porosity hair considerations
  • High porosity hair does not accumulate product build up quickly. Cleaning with shampoo should be carried out twice a month, with co-washes in-between.
  • Protein treatments should be kicked up to once a month (every 6 weeks works too) and deep conditioning can stay at twice a month.
  • Never starve your hair of moisture, dryness will make it brittle and prone to breakage. Always seal in the moisture with heavy butter and oils. For better understanding check here.
Black woman making cornrows for a Black woman. how to make a natural hair regimen. natural hair routine.

Moving forward, here are things you can do to align your regimen with your hair type and texture.

Fine hair texture considerations
  • Fine hair does not handle excessive tension, harsh chemicals, and excessive heat very well, so try to ensure your protective styles are not too tight, and never leave them in for over 4 weeks.
  • Avoid applying direct heat to your hair. If your hair is low porosity, the mild heat protocols from before are not considered harmful to your hair.
  • Be very gentle with your detangling so as not to break your hair. Only detangle on wash days with a very slippery product.

Coarse hair considerations
  • Coarse hair is tough and tends to tangle and knot easily. Detangling should be carried out every time you condition, but you’re also free to detangle outside of wash days to help you better manage your hair. Keep it to a max of twice a week though, don’t go doing more harm than good.
  • Protective styling and regular afro styling can be done more frequently without causing damage to your hair. Still try not to leave protective styles in for too long to avoid itchiness and bad smells.
  • Heat and dyes can be applied but try to work with moderation, your hair is strong but it isn’t invincible ma’am :).

Medium hair texture considerations
  • This hair texture is right in-between coarse and fine hair. It doesn’t tangle as much as coarse hair, but it does need to be detangled more often than fine hair. You can do this once during the week to help your hair along
  • Protective styles should be comfortable and not too tight so as not to cause traction alopecia.
Hair type considerations

These are not as many, but just as important.

  • Type 4 hair has a less obvious curl pattern so when doing afro styles, you tend to use more gel to define your curl pattern. In this case, washing should be done with shampoo at least twice (thrice is the charm though) a month, and clarifying using this method can be done once a month.
  • Shrinkage depending on your hair type can cause you to use a flat iron more often, always use a heat protectant before applying heat.

Other things that can affect your regimen are;
  • How often you work out or do yoga: in this case, you might want to wash your hair more often with shampoo, that’s fine. Just ensure your shampoo is safe and free of silicones and sulfates.
  • Your hair care budget: if you can’t afford to spend so much on your hair, your best option is DIY deep conditioners made in your kitchen.
  • Your mood: yes, your mood. Sometimes you’re too lazy, or too tired, or too angry to follow your regimen strictly. In times like this, just let it go and do whatever you need to do the next day.

Your natural hair regimen should work for your hair, and also work with your schedule as a functional human being. Some people are too busy with work to commit to a very involved regimen and that’s okay. Others can spare the time to really get their hands dirty (pun intended) while caring for their hair. You just need to envision the line of balance and walk it as best you can.

Have a question or tip to share? Make sure to leave it in the comment section below!

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