Here is a brief outline of my current regimen:
WASH & CONDITION – I ALWAYS wash & condition my hair in 6 twists/braids which are always detangled before I braid. There is no need to detangle while washing as I will not unravel the twists until I am blow drying. If I do happen to wear a braid out that week, I will definitely detangle while the conditioner is in my hair.
I wash my hair with shampoo every week. This is because I always use oils and/or silicones so to avoid build up (which is usually blamed on silicones saying that they cause breakage!). I use a sulphate free shampoo. Sometimes I use a Tresemme naturals low sulphate or Aubrey organics sulphate free.
I am currently deep conditioning with heat weekly but sometimes I do a quick condition, that is to say that I allow the conditioner to sit in my hair only for 5-30 minutes without heat depending on how long it takes me to have a shower/bath.
I use a protein conditioner most weeks (my hair loves and absolutely needs protein because I color & straighten so often!). I love Tresemme Salon Silk, Pantene, the one with ceramides and a whole host of others. I generally switch conditioners once the bottle is finished as they are so many to choose from!
Very occasionally (twice per year at most) I may use head and shoulders as my clarifying shampoo as it is extremely cleansing.
BLOW DRY – While my hair is still wet, I use the stretch blow dry method to stretch my hair out. I am then able to style my hair for the week. I use either Fantasia IC straightening serum or Tresemme heat defence. I will also usually apply some John Freida Frizz ease serum. I have always gone heavy on the silicones but it’s never affected my length retention because I shampoo!
This is my styling day, I will spend an hour flat ironing my hair or else the blow dried hair will remain in a ponytail or bun for the week until the next wash.
Because my cuticles will be laying flat after I flat iron my hair, I will not moisturize for the first two days as it does not need it.
If my hair is flat ironed, I will wear my hair down, no brushing but maybe some light combing with a wide tooth comb once per day only.
My hair will noticeably have lost moisture so I moisturize and seal. I will usually use s curl to moisturize and coconut oil to seal. My hair is worn in a ponytail or bun on this day
I will repeat the same mosturize and seal routine but I will douse my hair with a bit extra oil as a sort of pre-poo in preparation for the Saturday wash.
If I am due any extra treatments, I will usually do them on Saturday before my wash. These are my extra treatments below:
Hard protein treatment – I do an aphogee two step treatment once ever 2 months like clockwork. I will usually deep condition with heat afterwards.
Steaming – I want to make this a more regular part of my regimen but I fear the mushy hair syndrome! Even so, I do it every couple of months.
Deep conditioning – Once a month usually with a protein conditioner but occasionally I may use a moisturizing one.
Henna – I henna once every 3 month or more often if I have the time. I will usually apply the mixture into my hair on Friday night and sleep with it and on Saturday after rinsing it out, I will continue with my routine as usual. I am currently trying to add more henna treatments into my repertoire as a way to smooth my cuticles and prevent friction between my strands.
I usually use 1 and a half packets of henna mixed. I don’t really measure the water, but the mixture should be the texture of greek yogurt so pretty thick. I find it easier to apply. Sometimes I will actually add a couple of tablespoons of yogurt or oil to the mixture.
Caramel Treatment – Same as henna
Clear rinse – I do these very infrequently but when I do it is usually on Saturday before my wash too. Clear rinses do a similar job to henna. They coat and smooth the cuticle and prevent excessive friction between strands.
The straightening regimen is only followed for about 4 weeks at a time after which I go into my next protective style be it weaves or braids, twists etc. I never manage to keep my protective styles in for longer than 3 weeks so I try not to make them too elaborate!
As you can see, my journey to my current length has been a mixture of wearing my hair out and in protective styles. I would estimate that I am in protective styles about 40% of the year. This will reduce probably to 20% when I reach my ultimate goal length.
Even though I love braid outs they will not return to being a regular part of my regimen until I reach my ultimate goal of waist length. Because of the tangles caused by wearing my hair out in a braid out I get way to much breakage during the detangling process to make it worth my while.
As you can see, my regimen is as simple as can be. I attribute my success to keeping my styles very low manipulation. Even when my hair is straight I will sometimes go the whole week without combing or touching it other than to moisturize!