As a natural for about 6 years, I have struggled with hair health, length retention, shine and scalp tenderness. These issues over time helped me build a hair care regimen that is sustainable as a medical student who is not swimming in cash or free time but wants optimal hair health and growth.
Today I will be sharing my hair care regimen that has helped me retain length and grow out my voluminous 4C hair.
First off, what is a hair regimen?
A hair care regimen is a set out plan of the processes you will carry out on your hair, their timelines and the products you will use in an attempt to get optimal hair health, length retention and volume. These goals may translate into different looks for you but all healthy hair is good hair.
Learn how to set up a hair care regimen in this blog post.
What is length retention?
Length retention is basically making sure that the hair you grow doesn’t get broken off. It is no news that on an average, hair grows half an inch every month but for you to actually see a length difference of half an inch or 3 inches after six months, that means that your hair should not break off.
Breakage are those short hairs that cut off from your hair, they may be through combing or friction when your hair rubs against your shoulders, headrests or other surfaces. This shouldn’t be compared with shedding which is full grown hair falling off because it has reached the end of its life cycle. Shedding is usually the length of your hair and has a tiny white bulb at the end for where it was attached to your scalp.
So in a nutshell, for you to retain length. You should be keeping your ends healthy so they don’t break off. This doesn’t mean holding on to split, straggly dead ends, it means keeping your ends healthy and preventing the dead ends, or trimming them off when they are still starting out.
Some things you can do to keep your ends safe include;
- Protective / low-manipulation styling
- Wearing a satin bonnet
- Deep conditioning
- Regular trims (to prevent small split ends from becoming huge split hairs)
- A healthy lifestyle and hair regimen.
What is my hair care regimen?
My hair care regimen includes processes I carry out every other day, weekly, bi-weekly and once in 3-6 months.
Every 2 to 3 days
- Hair mist sprays (to keep my hair moisturized).
- LOC application
- Scalp massages
Every 2 weeks
- Deep condition
- Co-wash day
- Shampoo wash day
I alternate wash days, so on the 2nd week of the month, I co-wash and the 4th week, I shampoo wash. I deep condition both times.
Every 3 – 6 months
- Protective style
- Low manipulation style
I have found that keeping my hair in protective or low manipulation styles like mini twists and corn rows make keep my hair moisturized, make it much easier to handle during wash day (washing in twists) and help me retain length. Read my guide to low manipulation styles here.
Products I use
In a bid to reduce waste and be eco-friendly, I have a very minimalist approach towards hair products usage, I don’t hoard products, I do a lot of DIYs with oils and I check the ingredient list before buying. These are acts you should try to practice as your own way to help the earth.
My current list of products include;
- Sunflower oil
- Sesame seed oil
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Vegetable glycerin
- Au naturale afro moisturizing butter
- Jojoba oil
- Au naturale anti itch scalp soother
- Amla oil
- Au naturale wash free braid refresher
- Carrot oil
- Au naturale knot out conditioner
- Eucalyptus oil
- Au naturale moisture-replenishing shampoo
- Lotta body fortify me strengthening leave-in conditioner
- Shea baby pure shea butter
- Aunt Jackie’s don’t shrink flaxseed elongating curling gel
- Cantu anti frizz oil argan
Most of my oils are mixed up in a bottle for scalp massages, oil treatments and are part of my oil-water hair mist.
Tools I use
If your goal is length retention, then you should pay attention to what tools you use, tiny combs, hard brushes, those things have to go because all they will do is pull at your hair and cause shedding or breakage. The tools I use include;
- Wide tooth comb
- Soft detangling brush
- Wooden brush
- Picking comb for making parts
I normally don’t do my edges so I don’t have an edges brush and most times since I am not looking for uber neat hairstyles, I part with my fingers.
We all have different hair journeys and challenges, so the issues that challenged my length retention may not be the same as yours but hopefully something from this blog post will help you on your journey.
Stay healthy, Stay happy.
– Drop of black