I hit the 6-year mark back in October. As I’m sure a lot of naturals in it long-term know, your hair IS “long” starting at about the 2-year mark but it doesn’t LOOK long for a while more. That was especially true in my case because my hair is really fine and light, so it took awhile for it to begin weighing itself down.
Now I’m living the good life length-wise. I can make a bun with MY OWN DAMN HAIR AND IT WILL ACTUALLY STAY IN A BUN. I can whip my hair dramatically to leave a room even if it’s for no reason. It’s great.
I had been doing Teri’s method for awhile but was starting to get frustrated. Even with leaving the conditioner in, separating each curl, etc. my hair would STILL get frizzy. I know a lot of that is due to Houston’s climate. That’s why I’m glad the humidity is gone (except on the occasional rainy day) so I can truly experiment now. I also realized after time, that Teri’s hair is THICK. My hair is not really thick. I think that may be a key part as why that full method isn’t giving the results I want. I was seeing too much shrinkage and poodle hair.
So I found heyfranhey and began experimenting.
I wash every Sunday. Co-wash only, no shampoo. I currently use the Whole Foods 365 conditioner to wash my scalp (huge bottle for about $5, has lasted forever), then rinse that out over the rest of my curls. I then use Giovanni (either the 50-50 hydrating or leave in…I dunno, it’s 2 different varieties that I confuse with each other) to coat my hair for the de-tangling process. Here’s where a crossroads has occurred.
I’ve been using the Denman to detangle, but it clumped my hair together too much and gave me poodle hair/shrinkage. But, the wide-tooth comb doesn’t fully detangle like I need it to. Fran finger-detangles her hair. I tried that and it took me ONE GOTDAMNED HOUR just to detangle one-FOURTH of my hair. Nawl. So I looked up some youtube videos and googled other people doing it. One girl said finger-detangling saves her time. Girl, what? So I figure I must be doing that wrong. Fran is supposed to come out with a Youtube series around January so I may revisit then if she demonstrates it.
So La gave me the idea of alternating comb first, then Denman, then comb again to loosen up the poodle curls. Ima edit that to Denman first (using Teri’s method of ends, then working the tangles out from the top and clearing from the bottom so you’re not brushing the same part of the hair over and over, which causes stress), then comb to loosen the poodle clumps.
Then, another crossroads occurred after my hair was detangled.
I was previously just leaving the conditioner in, and letting my hair air-dry. That ain’t working for me anymore. So now, I rinse the conditioner out, apply aloe vera juice (search heyfranhey.com for aloe vera juice info) to the hair while it’s still dripping wet, then put a LITTLE Giovanni as a leave-in on top.
The aloe vera juice has changed the game. It locks in the water, so your hair is super shiny and soft AND MOISTURIZED.
Then, when it comes time to put your hair up at night, yet ANOTHER crossroads. I had been doing 1-2 braids or a bun at night. Then, I tried pineappling (hair in a loose ponytail of sorts at the top center of your head, then putting a scarf over it). That shit gave me too much shrinkage, because my hair didn’t want to “lie down” when I took it down. BUT, the curls were intact and cute though. So now, I’m thinking I’m going back to alternating braids/buns for the stretch that it gives my hair. I also sleep on satin scarves draped over my pillowcase, shout out to Kit for that idea (easier than ordering satin pillowcases).
When I take my hair down in the morning, I mix a little grapeseed oil and Giovanni together to moisturize my ends, as needed and to smooth down the top of my hair if there are any fly-aways.
So I think I have almost perfected my routine. Co-wash once a week, detangle with Giovanni and Denman brush/comb combo, rinse, apply aloe vera juice, apply a little bit of Giovanni on top, air dry. Braid/bun at night, take down in the morning, apply teensy bit of oil/Giovanni mixture. Stunt. I’m going to get some peppermint oil to massage my scalp before washing, as I have heard from multiple people the benefits. I also want to pick up some Shea Moisture conditioner (I use the body wash now and OMG it is heavenly. Luxurious, and that SCENT, and all natural ingredients, I definitely recommend you try this line).
Here are some photos.
I don’t remember what combination of a routine I was doing at this point. I know I hadn’t gotten the aloe vera yet, and I know I wasn’t using the conditioner-only method. I think this was when I was just using olive oil/grapeseed oil during the week and I wanted to show the link because I was getting little shrinkage.
This was a couple of weeks ago, also on the grapeseed oil only routine at this point. It was a Sunday, and I was headed to my niece’s christening. My hair looks fierce but also dry and that’s because Sunday is my normal wash day so this was 8-day old hair at this point. I love the fluffiness though.
That’s another revelation I’ve had at 6 years natural. I LIKE FLUFFY HAIR. I just don’t like frizzy hair (for me). I’ve been focused on what will save my curls the most and showcase them with no shrinkage, and I’ve just had to accept that though, yes my hair is clearly curly, it is on the fine/light side, and throughout the course of a week, the curls naturally stretch out (if I don’t fight them) into this Chaka Khan-ish look. AND I LOVE IT. Just so you can see a comparison of what I mean, look at this last picture:
See what I mean? This photo was last week. I started the aloe vera thing, and pineappling at night. See how much shorter my hair looks? The curls are cute, yeah but I don’t like the overall effect of my hair like this. So this Sunday I’m going to modify the routine, using the same products but modifying my nighttime/morning routine. No more pineappling for me.
Anyhoo, that’s a slice of my hair life at 6 years natural. It’s awesome. I’ll post more pics as I perfect the new routine. OH, and length-wise, my hair reaches my lower-back when stretched. Just about to my badonkadonk.