Welcome to Hair Diaries! A monthly feature where Black women share their hair routines, holy grail products, their feelings, and everything in between. Want to submit a hair diary? Email us your 7-day diary to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week my hair journey started off with a trip to the natural hair care section in Target. I’m annoyingly opposed to stocking up on hair products and often wait until a product is empty to re-up. This time around, I spent a pretty penny because I had to restock basically all of my wash day products. I didn’t notice before, but Target has very ambiguous signage in their natural hair care section. Some products are thrown under the curly section while others are under texture hair care, and there is also a multi-cultural hair care section.
I am not quite sure what the products under each section have to do with the signage, but I am here to share my hair diary so I will digress.
Day 1: Wash Day
Wash day can be hectic, for some people it takes up their whole day,but I don’t have enough hair or time for that to be a reality. Including breaks and idle time, I take 2 hours at most. I usually start by detangling my hair, using Mielle Organics Mint Almond Oil Healthy Hair And Scalp mixed with water in a spray bottle, and a wide-tooth detangle comb. I detangle my hair not only to remove knots and tangles but to also ensure that any hair I may have shed is removed before I get in the shower. My experience with communal bathrooms during college makes the sight of loose hair in the shower nearly unbearable. Detangling before shampooing allows me to minimize that to the best of my ability. After I detangle my hair, I part it into 4 sections. I keep my hair in these four sections for the rest of the wash process.
I have dry hair, so ordinarily, after I detangle, I would do a pre-shampoo treatment to moisturize my hair. However, before my wash day, I had my natural hair in straight back cornrows that I was frequently moisturizing. When I took them down for washing, my hair was as moisturized as it usually is after a pre-poo treatment. I decided to go straight into washing my hair. I know everyone has a product that they claim is the best, but there is no shampoo truly better than TGIN’s Moisture Rich Sulfate Free Shampoo. A little goes a long way, it cleans without stripping moisture, and it smells great.
I am almost embarrassed to share this, but I learned how to properly shampoo my hair only recently. For those of you who were left in the dark like me, shampoo should be applied to your roots. It is not necessary to shampoo the tips of your hair. Doing so can unnecessarily strip moisture from that part of your hair. Immediately after shampooing my hair, I use a wash-out conditioner. The wash-out conditioner I choose to use is Aussie’s Miracle Smooth Conditioner. I cannot rave about it, in the same way, I do TGIN’s shampoo, but it is reasonably priced and definitely does the job. Another thing I learned this year that may be another no-brainer is not putting conditioner on your scalp. Conditioner is meant to be the ends of your hair and can actually cause irritation when left on the scalp.
After shampooing and conditioning, I do what may be the most critical part of my hair routine, deep conditioning. I try to keep this very simple. I only use two products TGIN’s Honey Miracle Hair Mask on my ends and roots and Mielle Organics Mint Almond Oil Healthy Hair And Scalp on my scalp. To intensify the deep condition, I wear a heated dryer cap for 25 minutes, after that time is up, I wash the products out with cold water. After deep-conditioning, the rest of my wash day process goes by rather quickly. Before I twist up my hair, I partially air dry it. I know I can’t be the only one who finds it super challenging to twist my hair with product while it’s extremely wet! Then, I take an old t-shirt and wrap it on my head for about 10 minutes, or until my hair is damp and has stopped dripping. I resection the four sections of my hair into smaller sections for my two-strand twists.
I twist my hair using the “OC” method, the LOC method (lotion, oil, conditioner) sans lotion since I’ve found that too much product weighs down my hair. Then, I take some of the same Mielle Organics oil I used on wash day and lightly apply it to the ends of my hair. Once I’m finished, I follow up with a Mielle Organics Pomegranate and Honey Leave-In Conditioner. My twists conclude my wash day process. I either tie my hair down using a silk scarf or put on a satin bottom to go to sleep.
Since I began working from home, many of my days include Zoom meetings that are held very early in the morning. I’d be lying if I said I styled my natural hair every day. Some days are head wrap days, and that is what Day 2 consisted of. However, it is essential to ensure that my hair is taken care of under my head wrap. Hydration and moisture are my two primary goals. To hydrate, the twists I put in my hair after the wash day process, I take a spray bottle with a water/conditioner and oil mixture and spray my twists down. After each twist has been sprayed, I use a little bit of oil and conditioner to rub the ends of each twist.
I had a little more time on Day 3, so I took my twists down and styled it to the best of my ability. I ended up creating two puffs in the front of my hair while leaving the back untwisted and picked out in a kind of TWA half-up, half-down hairstyle. Like on Day 2 before I unraveled my twists, I hydrated and moisturized using the spray bottle water/conditioner and oil mixture, and oil and conditioner to moisturize my ends. The only new product I used on Day 3 was edge control. I have a VAST edge control collection. I have yet to find one that works on my 4C hair no matter the circumstance. Right now, I am using Style Factor’s EdgeBooster hydro conditioning pomade.
I decided to switch it up and turn my two puffs into Bantu knots. I accessorized the base of my Bantu knots with gold hair jewelry, and I lightly sprayed down my hair with the same mixture. Since I didn’t want the product to build upon my hair, I skipped oil and conditioner.
I decided to put some jumbo box braids in my hair! Day 5 was the most exciting because it involved a trip to the beauty supply store. Before this day, I had not been to the beauty supply store in over 3 months. At the beauty supply store, I picked up 6 packs of X-Pression’s pre-stretched hair. The process of putting braids in my hair was all over the place. Still, it involved a pretty simple rubberband method I got from YouTuber Chev B’s latest video on how she installed knotless twists on herself. My braids took 3–4 hours. To prep my hair for the braids, I really focused on sealing my ends with moisture. I used my usual oil/conditioner combination to do so. I also chose not to apply heat to stretch out my hair.
Protective styles seem much easier, but in reality, it can be much harder to penetrate through a protective style to provide your real hair with moisture. I focus a lot of my care on my scalp and massage oil into it daily. I also apply some of my Mielle Organics Pomegranate and Honey Leave-In Conditioner onto my braids as well as water. Some people shy away from putting water or anything moisturizing onto their braids. There is the fear that their natural hair will begin to puff up, peek through and appear to be frizzy. However, I have accepted that no matter the style, my natural hair is going to do what it was made to do.
The last day! I typed that out in much more excitement than necessary. I really enjoyed taking the time out to dedicate focus on my hair. We have been living in difficult, confusing times. Even though I feel like I have more time than ever before, I’ll be the first to admit that self-care has not been one of my major priorities. This week has allowed me to get back into the groove of things and add hair love to my daily regime.