I have been a serial “protective style-r” for the past few years. I find that giving my hair long periods of rest (at least two weeks at a time) helps it to thrive and maintain length i.e. grow longer. It is also a time-saving measure, which is vital for my lifestyle as a busy mom and lawyer.

The products I have been using also played their part in nurturing my strands. I sometimes like to switch things up since, like our bodies, our hair can become accustomed to the products we use and become less effective. Below I discuss my wash day routine and the products I am currently using.

Preparation

Before beginning the cleansing process I use my fingers to detangle my hair. I do not use a comb or detangling brush at this stage because dry hair strands break more easily than wet strands. I then part my hair into four sections and plait or twist each section so that I could wash them one at a time. This step helps the cleansing process to be easier and prevent my hair from becoming matted.

Shampooing

Giovanni 50:50 Hydrating Clarifying Shampoo continues to be my staple cleanser. I have been using this shampoo for at least five years. Since I have been protective styling often, this shampoo is necessary to get the build up of dirt and grime out of my hair. It is also very helpful to remove hair gel used to style my wash & go or sleeked hairstyles.

As the name suggests, Giovanni 50:50 Hydrating Clarifying Shampoo leaves my hair clean and hydrated and allows the deep conditioner to properly penetrate the hair shaft and be more effective.

Deep treatment

Applying treatment to my hair at least weekly is vital to my hair regimen.  This tends to be a two-step process of applying a protein treatment followed by a moisturising deep conditioning treatment. After applying each treatment I prefer to sit under a hair dryer for 15 to 20 minutes each time to help the treatment to properly penetrate my hair shaft.

This month I revisited the Beautiful Textures Rapid Repair Deep Conditioner. It is the first time in a couple of years that I am using it. I cannot remember exactly when I first tried this deep conditioner but it was probably during the second or third year of my natural hair journey. I love its smell and how soft it left my hair last wash day. There is one more batch left so let’s see how it goes. So far this month I have not applied a protein treatment before deep conditioning because last month I used the last of my Shea Moisture Manuka Honey & Yogurt Hydrate + Repair Protein Strong Treatment.

My go-to protein and deep conditioning treatment have been Mizani’s Hydrafuse Intensive Moisturising Treatment Conditioner and Kerafuse Intense Strengthening Treatment, respectively. I love them because they make my hair thrive and it helps that they condense the deep treatment stage into one step since these two products are most effective when mixed and applied together. However, it seems that Mizani has discontinued them because I cannot find them anywhere. So I am left in search of a replacement protein and moisturising deep conditioning treatment. In the past I have also used hair mayonnaise as a protein treatment so I might just return to that in the interim. Although I do switch things up so that my hair does not become too familiar with any one product, it is quite annoying that I now have to return to a two-step process.

Detangle

The detangling process helps to remove tangles and knots, a curly haired girl’s worse nightmare.

I have very fine strand hair which is even more delicate and easy to break so my hair needs all the gentle care in the world. I find it tremendously helpful to use a Denman Brush to detangle my hair. I detangle from the ends of my hair first and work my way upwards to the root. Once I have successfully detangle one section (when I can pass the Denman Brush or a wide tooth comb through it without any snagging) I move on to the next one until all four sections are detangled.

This step can be time consuming but it is vital to remove knots and tangles which can cause your hair to break faster than it grows. That is why I keep a pair of scissors handy so that I can snip anyway any single strand knots. One trick I have learned over the years is to detangle my hair while it is still warm from applying heat to the moisturising deep conditioning treatment. I feel that it makes the detangling process a little easier.

Conditioner

I have been using Maui Moisture Nourish & Moisture + Coconut Milk for the past two years. It has actually been my “go-to” conditioner during that time (although I would sometimes try other products). However, I am currently trying Garnier Whole Blends Hydrating Conditioner. I love the slip this conditioner gives. I have used it twice and I am pleased with the results. It is comparable to the Maui Moisture conditioner. The price is also reasonable, just over five dollars in the Cayman Islands, whereas the Maui Moisture conditioner is almost ten dollars. I ordered Maui Moisture on Amazon back in March but it, along with everything else I was shipping in, is stuck in Miami where they arrived just as the Cayman Government closed the Islands’ borders. So I think I will be using more of the Garnier conditioner for now.

Post wash

Most natural curly girl swear by the LOC method, i.e. liquid, oil, cream but I prefer to use the LCO, that is, liquid, cream oil.

  • Liquid = water
  • Cream = a waterbase leave-in conditioner
  • Oil = any natural oil suitable for hair

I have just started to try Cantu Care for Kids leave-in Conditioner. It is lightweight yet moisturising enough for my fine, low density tresses. Why the kiddie version? Truth be told I wanted to give it a try especially since it is half the price of the adult version at just over five bucks. The first few ingredients are the same as the adult version so I think it will work.

The oil I use to seal in moisture is Argan Black Castor Oil. Other oils I have used in the past include coconut oil, jojoba oil and almond oil. You can mix the oils or you can use them separately. I have done both before.

Since going back natural in March 2012 I usually end wash day by oiling my scalp with Jamaican Black Castor Oil (“JBCO”). I also try to reapply oil once or twice during the week. If ever I have a problem area I would apply JBCO to my scalp nightly.

There you have it, that is my current wash day routine! As you can see, I am using some new products, revisiting others and still have some staples. Do you use any of these products and what is your wash day like?