After recently cutting my hair it has taken me some time to get into a new curly hair routine. I started incorporating water only hair washes in January 2014 and my hair has never been softer. I’ll start by saying that I don’t only wash my hair with water. When I first started I thought that I would be product-free for life, and use the natural oils that my scalp produces to do it all. In the end I’ve found a pretty good balance with it all.
Prior to water only hair washing I didn’t know my scalp produced any natural oils at all. This alone killed the myth that curly/coily hair is naturally dry because these oils moisturize the hair like nothing else. I use the natural oils from my scalp, also called sebum, along with simple DIY hair care products for easy, extremely inexpensive, and truly effective curly hair care.
Pre-Sectioning & Finger Detangling
Every 3-4 days I reset my hair style. I spritz my hair with water and divide my hair into 8-12 sections to get a thorough scritch, massage, and preen going. Scritching is a light scratching of the scalp, a scalp massage helps the scalp produce sebum and increases circulation, and preening is distributing theses oils down from the roots to the ends of the hair strands. I put each section into a two strand twist.
Monthly Clay Clarifying Treatment
Once a month I clarify my hair with a bentonite or rhassoul clay wash. I sometimes mix in other herbs such as a conditioning and mucilage herb with the clay as I describe in great detail here along with an acidic liquid like aloe vera juice. I don’t worry about removing too much of my natural oils because my scalp is always producing more, and a good preening moves these new oils down the length of my hair. Applying wheat germ oil to dry/damp hair prior to clarifying is a great way to add an extra conditioning step that also helps remove excess oils if needed.
Water Rinses & Herbal Apple Cider Vinegar Rinses
Most of the month I only rinse my hair with water, although I will use a diluted herbal apple cider vinegar as needed. The vinegar rinse maintains a healthy pH balanced scalp. Once or twice a month I use a detangling brush similar to the Tangle Teezer to further detangle my hair under running water during my hair rinse. In general I only detangle my curls with my fingers.
Moisturizing & Sealing
I have a love/hate relationship with flaxseed gel just because it defines my hair too well. For awhile I had completely forgotten about the easy way to make flaxseed gel which is actually more like creating a curl refresher spray. This DIY Flaxseed Jelly Spritz has the best consistency to create definition, yet still give my hair the volume that I want. I use the Flaxseed Jelly Spritz to moisturize and style my hair.
I’ve also started using shea butter again which I whip with wheat germ oil, castor oil, and rosehip seed oil. I eyeball the amounts of each ingredient to create the consistency I desire. No batch is exactly the same, but they all do the same thing, further protect my hair. I always get smooth results with my styles using small amounts of shea butter.
Styling The Curls
My braid outs have been my go-to style when not doing a wash and go. I use 3/16″ perm rods on the ends of my 12 braids for extra volume. No matter how I set my curls, I use a hair pick to fluff my hair as much as possible. Between frizz and a hair pick I couldn’t be happier.
Currently No Deep Conditioning
Currently I have been skipping the deep conditioning step in my regimen simply because there is no better conditioner for your hair like the natural oils that your scalp produces. I feel like I was adamant about this step before because you’re supposed to deep condition right? The longer that I have worked with my own natural oils the more I realized it wasn’t exactly necessary. If things change, I’ll change with it.
I haven’t been using henna as often right now either. Not because I don’t absolutley love it, but because I haven’t had the time. I’ve only hennaed my hair once this year so far. If I can get one or two more in this year I’ll be thrilled.
DIY Hair Products + A Quick Review
Filtered Shower Water–I rinse my hair every 3-4 days to finger detangle & restyle
Herbal Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse–as needed for a healthy scalp
Wheat Germ Oil–optional pre-wash treatment before clarifying
Clarifying Herbal Clay Wash–my monthly clarifying treatment
Flaxseed Jelly Spritz–moisturizer/styler
So there you have it, my simple curly hair regimen!
See the beginning of my water only hair washing journey here!
(Images by Dawn Michelle)