I’ve learned so much about amazing curly hair care in the simplest way this year. It started at the beginning of the year when I experimented with water only hair washing to discover that my dry scalp also produces natural oils that can move down my dry curly hair strands if I only give them a chance. The result has been endless moisture to my hair and scalp. You can read the three articles I wrote about my water only hair washing experience beginning here.
(Image above… My hair in a braid out set with 6 braids–September 2014)
Now that the seasons are changing and I honestly don’t feel like doing daily rinses, I’ve decided to reincorporate the natural hair care routine I enjoyed during the spring. What is incredible about this hair care routine is that it does not strip the hair of its natural oils and it allows me to style my hair as I would on any other curly hair regimen. Instead of daily rinsing when doing water only hair washing, I am now back to a regimen of cleansing and conditioning my hair 1-2 times a week and water only hair washing as needed as my hair loves to be fully saturated with water.
I always do my hair in sections for washing, detangling, and styling. Lately its consistently six sections, yet it does vary from time to time. I use large Goody Comfort Flex Updo Barrettes to hold each section as they never tear, snag, or break my hair. I begin my hair routine starting with the cleansing and conditioning process outside of the shower on dry hair.
Herbal Infused Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
I mix 1 part raw organic apple cider vinegar to 4 parts water and a few drops of essential oil for scent. I like to apply this to my hair and scalp with an applicator bottle purchased from the beauty supply store. I massage this into my scalp and do not rinse out until after my conditioning treatment. I sometimes use raw organic white vinegar when I’m out of apple cider vinegar. I find that the smell of white vinegar is not as potent and still does the job. You can read how to infuse vinegar with herbs here. I use a variety of whatever healthy hair herbs that I have and different ones with each infusion. Vinegar rinses keep the hair and scalp clean, pH balanced, and healthy. If you are interested in alternate all natural hair cleansing options then read this article.
DIY Deep Conditioning Treatment w/ Pureed Organic Banana & Organic Coconut Milk
This simple mix of a pureed banana and coconut milk is the best DIY Deep Conditioning Treatment that I’ve tried to date. Please note that the banana must be pureed with coconut milk to perfection for this to be fully enjoyed. Add more coconut milk slowly while blending for the best preferred consistency if needed. It also helps to strain this mixture to avoid any hassle rinsing.
I apply this DIY Deep Conditioning Treatment to my hair also in an applicator bottle for ease. I leave this in my hair for 30 minutes to an hour before rinsing. This DIY Deep Conditioning Treatment makes detangling a breeze. I find organic canned coconut milk at Whole Foods and Sprouts. I’ve also used the Trader Joe’s canned coconut milk too although it is not organic. Adding a teaspoon to a tablespoon of oil to this deep conditioner enhances the benefits even more. You can see alternate all natural conditioning options here.
Detangling my hair has become much easier due to having full coverage of my own natural oils from water only hair washing. I was so surprised by this initially that I used a detangling brush in my hair daily with each rinse. To achieve maximum hair health, I now gently use a detangling brush on the last two inches of my hair only and finger detangle the rest which is kind of the best of both worlds. The ends of my hair are usually where the knots form so by clearing the space before finger detangling the process is much smoother.
I finger detangle my hair while rinsing out my cleanser and conditioner under running water. When I keep my hair in stretched styles such as braid outs especially, this process is always so much smoother. In general keeping my hair stretched and also primarily finger detangling attributes to healthier hair for me.
Organic Pumpkin Seed Oil & Organic Castor Oil
With a cooler season approaching my hair must be consistently moisturized to prevent breakage. Since I am not rinsing my hair daily with water only hair washing, I prefer to seal in the moisture on wash day with an oil mix of organic pumpkin seed oil (a skin care favorite) and organic castor oil. I’m playing around with oil ratios, yet I am loving these two oils for my hair right now. Organic hemp seed oil (also amazing for skin) and organic wheat germ oil are two other favorite oils for my hair so I wouldn’t be surprised if they are used as well this season when I get more. I just don’t have any right now. I use a small dime size amount of oil per section working from the ends of my hair up. I never apply oil to my scalp. I do apply a small amount of oil to my hair to seal in moisture even when I do a water wash now if needed.
Body Art Quality Henna & Organic Coconut Milk
I’ve been using henna consistently in my hair since March 2010. It keeps my hair strong, thick, and shiny. I’d like to get back to doing monthly henna treatments, but bi-monthly treatments seems to be the latest schedule. You can read about the benefits that I’ve found mixing henna with coconut milk and the recipe here. I haven’t used any other henna mix once I discovered how amazing this combination is for my hair. If I feel that I need a conditioning treatment afterward rinsing henna from my hair, I use the DIY Deep Conditioning Treatment with coconut milk and pureed banana. I also use organic canned coconut milk for my henna treatments.
I very rarely ever put heat in my hair and recently got rid of both my blow dryer and flat iron since I never enjoy my hair straightened anyway. Maybe I will feel differently in the future but I’m not sure about that. My best curly hair styling methods are braid outs, twist outs, and wash and gos. Braid outs and twist outs keep my hair the most tangle-free so I will be attempting to set my curls with those two methods the most, yet wash and gos have the least amount of hair manipulation. I also intend to wear updos and buns to keep my ends protected.
In the evenings I massage my scalp and gently preen my hair. I add a few drops of oil to my hair at night if needed focusing on the ends. If my hair is in a braid or twist out, I loosely braid my hair in four braids and pin curl the braids into place. I then cover my hair with a satin scarf. If I am wearing my hair in a wash and go I will put my hair in a high loose ponytail and cover the sides of my hair with a satin scarf.
I have finally let go of having perfectly shaped hair and now only trim split ends and single strand knots. Over the past few years I’ve cut off a lot of length shaping my curls a few times a year. Since different parts of my hair grow at different lengths some areas would be cut more than others to create a uniform look. Any overall trims that I do on my hair will be only dusting the ends in very small amounts very infrequently.
Last spring I cut off more than a few inches off my hair after a serious stress induced hair shedding. My hair has grown quite a bit since then though, and I feel daily scalp massages and water only hair washing has helped a lot. I’ve reincorporated deep conditioning treatments to ensure healthy hair as I continue to grow my hair out. Keeping my hair in an updo as much as possible to protect the ends of my hair will also help me reach my goals of longer healthier hair. (Hair Goal Update)
Water Only Hair Washing
Water only hair washing has been the BEST thing that I could have ever experimented with and included in my hair care regimen. My hair has never been this conditioned and is very easy to manage. It even appears and behaves completely differently than when it wasn’t coated with my own natural oils. I believe the main benefit of water only hair washing especially for dry curly coily hair is to reach full coverage of your hair’s natural conditioning oils for consistent moisture and increased hair elasticity without relying on products which are never as good.
I have found that using water only hair washing exclusively for curly hair care can be a unique challenge in itself though. Instead of forcing things to work in a particular way, I’ve reincorporated some tried and true methods. Daily rinsing is important for encouraging sebum production and helping to distribute it through your hair evenly especially when beginning water only hair washing, yet this simple DIY hair care regimen shared today is the best of both worlds for me right now.
How do you modify your hair regimen during colder months, and what has been your experience with water only hair washing if you have tried it? You can also see monthly updates to my beauty regimen here.
(Images by Dawn Michelle)