This is the simple routine I use to style my 4a curls / coils
“easy natural hair”
Click MsAliciaJames.com For More “Natural Hair” videos!
So, I have been wearing nothing but wash and gos for nearly two months. I decided that the wash and go would be the best option for me, because I have been working out 6 days a week. I take a 60 minute class everyday, Zumba, Strength Training, and Cross Training. I found that it was really difficult to keep my hair stretched, and also my scalp was really irritated from the constant sweating. I decided that wearing a wash and go would work for my current lifestyle. This way I can conditioner wash my hair daily. I have been loving my wash and go, and also totally embracing shrinkage! My hair is extremely soft and bouncy. I will be sticking to this regimen for the rest of the year. It’s a great low manipulation hairstyle, good for keeping the hair moisturized, and I am hoping to see some great length retention.
I will keep you updated with details on my new regimen, things I learn, mistakes, etc.
I am calling it a challenge, because as a woman who has “4 type” hair, wash and gos are the one thing that most say is impossible. It can be frustrating, and the shrinkage can be discouraging. I am someone who religiously stretches my hair so I am excited about the possibilities!
Check out some of my wash and go videos here! 🙂
MORE AT MSALICIAJAMES.COM
The good news is……
Your hair is more than likely growing, unless there is some underlying medical condition. If so, seek medical advice.
The bad news is…..
Your hair may be breaking off as fast as it is growing.
There are so many reasons why you are not retaining length, or your hair is breaking.
I have not had a perfect journey, there were times when I felt like my hair was breaking, and I was not retaining the length, I wanted to retain. Below is the method I created to examine my hair regimen.
Know Your Porosity:
How does your hair absorb moisture? Is your product just sitting on top of your hair? Is your hair just soaking up moisture as fast as you add it? Are you able to get moisture into the hair?
This just became really important to me. I never knew how important it was, until I tested my porosity, and was able to truly understand how my hair absorbs and retains moisture.
I have low porosity hair: This means that my hair cuticles are closed tightly, and it makes it harder for moisture to get in. Products and moisture can sit on top of the hair instead of being absorbed. I always wondered why my hair took 24 hours to completely dry. This is also why my hair started to retain length once I started doing consistent deep conditioning/hot oil treatments. I use heat for my treatments, and heat helps to open the hair cuticles so that it absorbs the moisture and product.
How often do you moisturize your hair? How often do you NEED to moisturize your hair? What do you use to moisturize your hair? How do you seal in moisture?
So, again porosity is going to be important when determining how you moisturize and seal. For years before I knew my porosity, I found myself moisturizing every day. I would spritz my hair with water and then seal with an oil or a leave in. Now that I know my porosity I limit moisturizing to only 1-2 times a week. What I have found is that my hair stays clean and my styles last longer. I never understood why my hair got weighed down so fast until I learned that I had low porosity hair, and most of the product I was adding daily was just sitting on top of my hair. If you have high porosity hair, you are going to find yourself needing to moisturize a little more, but also layering on thicker products to seal that moisture in.
What products could be affecting your hair? (make a list of the products you are currently using)Have you changed products recently? Are you using any chemicals including color, relaxers, etc.? How effective are your products?
When it comes to products, I always try to keep it simple. This way, I always know what could be affecting my hair. When I switched products once in my journey for about a few months, I instantly noticed a difference. My hair was a lot drier than normal, and harder to detangle on wash day. I instantly switched back to my normal products. I don’t use any chemical on my hair, because due to past experience my hair broke off, and I was not able to retain length.
How often are you styling? What kind of styling are you doing? What kind of styling tools do you use, heat, wide tooth comb, brush, etc. Do you use heat? How often? How do you protect your hair during heat styling?
When it comes to styling for me low manipulation and protective styling is key. After my second year and into my third year I wore mostly two strand twist. I am not saying you have to wear twist to retain length, but it was something that kept me disciplined and really kept my hands out of my hair. It was also helpful for those times I didn’t know what to do with my hair. I was able to retain the most length during this time in my journey.
When it comes to combing, I do like to finger comb. I find that I lose less hair during the process, but after finger combing I like to use a wide tooth comb to smooth the hair down. I always detangle my curly hair when it is wet only. Detangling is very important when trying to retain length, because that is when a lot of naturals lose, break, or rip out their hair. I do use heat on my hair, but my normal regimen is only once a month. I blow dry my hair as a normal part of my regimen. I’ve only flat ironed my hair once during my natural hair journey, but maybe more in the future. Using heat makes my hair more manageable for my lifestyle, and I love it, but I do understand the risk that comes with the use of heat. I always blow dry my hair when it is freshly washed. I do a deep conditioning/hot oil treatment adding moisture into the hair, because heat pulls out moisture. I also do a protein treatment to strengthen the strands of my hair.
How often do you wash your hair? How often do you NEED to wash your hair? Do you use shampoo? How does the shampoo affect your hair? Do you co wash? How does co washing affect your hair?
I cleanse my hair every 2-4 weeks. In the beginning it was weekly, but the longer my hair has gotten and the further I am in my journey, certain things in my regimen have changed. In the beginning it was more about following a routine, because I was looking for certain results. Now, it is more about doing only what I need, so that it does not become overwhelming. I use to conditioner wash, when I was washing weekly. Now, that I wait so long in between washes, I feel my hair benefits more from a good shampoo. I find now that my hair does not feel dry and brittle after a shampoo. I also make sure to mix in a little conditioner during the shampoo. After my shampoo I do my deep conditioning/hot oil treatments. This adds back any moisture that was lost during my shampoo process. When my hair is not properly shampooed and cleansed it starts to feel rough, and styling is almost impossible. These are things that can lead to breakage.
Do you condition your hair? What type of conditioner do you use? Do you deep condition your hair? How does your hair feel after your conditioning routine? How often are you conditioning your hair?
Conditioning is a must for me. I ALWAYS do a deep conditioning after I shampoo or wash my hair. Deep conditioning over time has made my hair soft, manageable, and also has given my hair a beautiful shine. I use a moisturizing conditioner, Herbal Essence. There are also conditioners that have protein if you need it, which would be great for high porosity hair. For my deep conditioning I use my regular rinse out conditioner, Herbal Essence Hello Hydration, and I mix it with my extra virgin olive oil. Then I sit under the dryer with a plastic cap/bag on for about 15-30 minutes. Conditioning is very important to my hair regimen. It refreshes and strengthens the oldest part of the hair and also minimizes breakage and excessive shedding.
Do you trim your hair? Do you do your own trimming or do you go to a professional? How much are you trimming? How often are you trimming? What are you trimming your hair with? Why do you trim your hair? How do you know your hair needs to be trimmed?
Trimming for me is Important, especially because I use heat regularly in my regimen. Heat can dry out and cause split ends. My ends are not horrible, but I like to make sure I take care of them. I trim my own ends with hair shears. It is important to not cut with regular scissors, because they are usually dull and can cause more damage to the ends of your hair. I trim my hair every 6 months, so that is usually about twice a year. I only trim when needed. My hair grows about ½ an inch a month, so trimming monthly would definitely be an issue for length retention. I usually trim about ½ – 2 inches of hair. I know that my ends need trimming when they start to feel rough or I notice more shedding than usual.
Make sure to check every part of your regimen. Ask yourself questions to figure out how the different processes benefit or hurt the health of your hair. You are basically dissecting your regimen to find and figure out what is and isn’t working for your hair care regimen. You can create your own questions or use the ones above from my process. Again these are the things that I do to improve and stay consistent with my hair care. This comes in handy when you are noticing changes with your hair, breakage, etc.
“easy natural hair”
Click MsAliciaJames.com For More “Natural Hair” videos!
When I found Youtube I decided that I would NEVER use heat on my natural hair. I developed this big fear of damage and a whole lot of other things. Once I became a little more comfortable with my hair and started to develop my own personal regimen my opinion regarding the use of heat on my natural hair changed.
I did not start using heat in my natural hair journey until I turned two years natural. When I turned two years I did my first blow out. After blow drying my hair for the first time I found that I really enjoyed the stretch and the benefits I got from the stretched hair.
Blow Drying Method I Use
- Tension Method:
- I shampoo my hair to make sure it is thoroughly clean.
- I do a protein treatment to strengthen the strands of my hair.
- I do a deep conditioning using my rinse out conditioner and my extra virgin olive oil to add moisture into the hair. (heat will dry the hair out, extra moisture is a plus)
- Detangle the hair thoroughly.
- I add my leave in and heat protectant and put the hair into twist or braids so that the hair air dries. I wait until it is about 75-90% dry.
- After the hair dries I then section the hair off into smaller sections and start to blow dry each section.
- Without using the comb attachment stretch the section of hair and start to run the blow dryer up and down the section. I hold and cover the ends of my hair. I don’t find it is necessary to add heat directly to my ends. I am not going for super straight hair. You can do so if needed.
- Continue this movement until that section of hair is stretched and dry.
- Repeat this process until the entire head is complete.
- You can also do a cool shot at the end. The cool shot is supposed to lay the hair cuticle back down after the use of heat.
*Tension Blow Drying*
I blow dry my hair now 1-2 times a month. Now that my hair is much longer, I’ve limited the amount of times I am washing my hair. I blow dry after each wash. I have seen a huge difference in my hair since decreasing my wash days.
Moisturizing Blown out or Straightened Hair:
Deep conditioning is a huge plus before using heat. Heat dries the hair out so adding moisture into the hair is great and minimizes frizz. I notice a big difference if I don’t deep condition before blow drying my hair. My hair frizzes and shrinks up immediately.
When moisturizing blown out or straightened hair I use a bottle to lightly spritz water, mainly focusing on the ends. I massage the water into the hair starting from the ends and then upward. I seal in the moisture with oil. I usually only add oil to my hair once a week. If I need to set a style I use water only. My blow dried hair lasts so much longer when I am adding less product. Adding too much oil or product throughout the week can cause build up and greasy weighed down hair.
I use a leave in that is also a heat protectant. This helps to minimize the amount of products I am stacking on top of my hair. Less products, better results.
My Quick Tips:
- Always blow dry on clean hair
- It is okay to blow dry your ends, but limit the amount of high heat on them
- The faster you can finish the better, which is why air drying before you blow dry is important. You want to limit the amount of heat you are using.
- The more heat you use the better chance you have for heat damage. Try to create a regimen that doesn’t include heat multiple times throughout the week.
- Add a good moisturizer or heat protectant that will help with minimizing frizz
- Heat equals dry hair and dry hair equals breakage, so keep the hair moisturized. Don’t be afraid to add oil throughout the week. (when needed)
- Air dry the hair before blow drying. I never blow dry on soaking wet hair, this can damage to the hair and also the hair can lose its elasticity. If the hair gets too dry, spritz lightly with water before blow drying. I don’t like the hair to be too dry, the blow dryer will just dry it out even more from my personal experience.
- A trick (sort of trick LOL!) I use to stretch my blown out hair even more is leaving the freshly blown out hair in a bun for a day or two. This stretches the hair out more with less heat and also the blown out hair lasts longer.
As long as I have been using heat I have not seen any setbacks with my hair. I started using heat in my second year and at year four hit waist length. This is not the case for everyone! As far as heat training that is not my intentions or ultimate goal, but I do understand regular use of heat can alter the curl pattern. For over two years I have not noticed a change in my curl pattern. My coils are still super tight.
The use of heat is a personal choice. Always do your research before trying any new products or methods with your hair.
I hope that this helped someone! 🙂
“easy natural hair”
Click MsAliciaJames.com For More “Natural Hair” videos!
So, not sure if it is the best, but this routine truly changed the way my hair looked and also made a difference in my hair’s overall health!
I’ve done my deep conditioning/hot oil treatment on both wet and dry hair. I don’t really have a preference, but normally do my treatment on wet hair, because I like to shampoo first.
Step 1: I do a light finger detangling, and then shampoo my hair.
- I like to clean my hair first with a sulfate shampoo. I use Herbal Essence Hello Hydration. Some do it afterwards, but in my mind I would just be taking out all of the oils I just added from my deep conditioning/hot oil treatment.
Step 2: I add a generous amount of regular rinse out conditioner to my hair.
- I use Herbal Essence Hello Hydration
Step 3: I add a generous amount of oil to my hair.
- I use extra virgin olive oil
Step 4: I cover my hair with a plastic cap or bag.
Step 5: I sit under a hooded dryer for about 15-30 minutes.
- This heats the oil and conditioner. The heat also helps to open the cuticles of the hair so that the oil and conditioner can be absorbed into the strands. I have low porosity hair so this is very important.
- If you like, you can heat the oil in a microwave. Once you have added the conditioner and oil to your hair, put on the plastic cap or bag. You can wrap a warm towel around it and let it stay on for a few hours or overnight.
Step 6: Rinse the conditioner and oil out of the hair. I usually have to add a little rinse out conditioner to rinse the oil out. I don’t mind leaving a small amount of conditioner and oil in my hair.
Step 7: I add my leave in conditioner and style as normal.
I have used this method for over half of my journey! This has made my hair soft and manageable. My hair also has a beautiful shine that developed over time. This is a must for my hair regimen
I always compare my relationship with my hair to a marriage. LOL! A big dramatic, but it works! When you have a good relationship with your hair, you enjoy it and you stay consistent. You are not distracted by the newest magic pills, product, or rules. NO ONE knows your hair better than you!
1. Ultimate Goal: (where is this relationship going?)
a. What are your hair goals?
b. Are you aiming for healthier hair?
c. Are you trying to achieve a longer length?
d. Are you trying to correct previous damage?
2. Realistic Expectations:
a. You cannot expect your hair to do things it was not designed to do. Many spend valuable time trying to create a look or style that they are never able to achieve. In the end doing irreversible damage to their hair.
b. Length goals are great, but make sure it makes sense. On AVERAGE most people grow about 6 inches per year (1/2 an inch per month), and only retain 3-4 inches of that.
3. Quality Time:
a. Spend time with your hair find its likes and dislikes
b. Don’t be afraid to play in your hair a little. Create styles that are simple, fun, and fit your personality.
c. Try products and find what your responds well to for moisture and styling. Once you find those products, stick to them.
4. You Will Make Mistakes:
a. The journey will not be perfect! You will try things that do not work
b. Don’t give up when things are not going as planned. Reevaluate your current regimen and change the products or routines that are setting you back.
c. You are learning, it’s all about building a strong relationship with your hair.
5. Love and Commitment:
a. Commit to a consistent regimen so that you can meet your ultimate goal.
b. Fall in love with your hair! It may not hold a twist out or braid out like the next, it may not curl and twirl around your fingers, it may not shake and fly in the wind, it may not hang down your shoulders, but it is yours, embrace it!
Good luck on your journey!
“Easy Natural Hair”
Click MsAliciaJames.com For More “Natural Hair” videos!
Subscribe to my channel on Youtube for new natural hair videos, it’s free!!! Click the logo below!
I guess you can say this was a two day process. I didn’t want to rush it, and I wanted to make sure that my hair was well protected and taken care of. I have no regrets, and I am really enjoying my straight hair!
- Golden Wheat Deep Cleanse Shampoo by Giovanni
- Smooth As Silk Deeper Moisture Conditioner by Giovanni
- Direct Leave In Weightless Moisture Conditioner by Giovanni
- Smooth As Silk Xtreme Protein Hair Infusion by Giovanni
- 100% Vegetable Glycerin (any brand)
- Brazilian Smooth Keratin Blowout Cream
- Andis 1 1/2″ Ceramic Flat Iron
- I shampooed my hair with my Golden Wheat Deep Cleanse Shampoo by Giovanni. It is very important to flat iron on clean hair.
- I did a nice protein treatment with my Smooth As Silk Xtreme Protein Hair Infusion by Giovanni. I wanted to make sure my hair was nice and strong.
- After my protein treatment I did a deep conditioning to add back in the moisture after the protein treatment. I used my 100% Vegetable Glycerin (any brand) and Smooth As Silk Deeper Moisture Conditioner by Giovanni. I didn’t do a oil treatment, because sometimes I don’t wash it all out. I didn’t want my hair to be oil and weighed down.
- After my deep conditioning I applied my Direct Leave In Weightless Moisture Conditioner by Giovanni and Brazilian Smooth Keratin Blowout Cream (heat protectant). I put my hair in medium twist to let air dry overnight.
- The next morning I took down my twist and blow dried my hair using the tension method.
- After my hair was blown out, I sectioned the hair into four different sections. I started with each section, breaking it off into smaller pieces to flat iron. I only did one pass. I flat ironed on 15. It goes up to 20 an the hottest temperature is 375.
- When I was done flat ironing I applied a small amount of Brazilian Smooth Keratin Blowout Cream. (heat protectant)
- I cut about 3-4 inches to even out and any straggly ends
I love it! I want to wear it straight for as long as possible! My hair is not extremely straight, it has some body. I wasn’t looking for a bone straight look. Also, I understand with my natural hair texture it may require hotter heat to get bone straight. I am not interested in risking burning my har off! LOL! I am maintaining my hair at night by using the “bunning method”. I am not looking to have bone straight hair. The bun gives me movement.