Updated: Sep 19
Hey lovelies! Today I am sharing my simple, affordable and extremely accessible 4C hair care routine that grew my hair back to waist-length. Natural hair does not have to be complicated, frustrating, confusing or expensive. This is truly the routine I’ve been doing and products I’ve been using for years, and with the natural hair community filled with so many different, elaborate routines, expensive products and conflicting info, I had to share my basic, easy-to-follow and apply hair care routine that works amazingly on my hair and those of my family and friends.
This is the written record of the routine I shared on YouTube, so if you’d like to watch the video instead, click here, and don’t forget to like, comment and subscribe while you’re at it😉. Without further ado, here’s the breakdown:
I had to begin with protein treatments because it is what feeds your natural hair the necessary nutrients it needs to thrive. I protein treat my hair 3 times a year: at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end. Unless I’m doing an extreme hair growth regiment/experiment where I protein-treat my hair once a month, I only do 3 times a year, and honestly, this is my recommendation for those who are looking for a simple routine; 3 times a year is enough. Sierra and I recorded the recipe and application of the protein treatment I’m referencing, so if you’d like to watch that video, click here.
The protein treatment we use is mayonnaise-based and is a great way to begin introducing your hair to protein, as protein-treatments vary in strength, and a protein-treatment that is too strong for your hair can cause your hair to seize and break off, especially if your hair is relaxed. So please be careful with stronger protein-treatments like rice water treatments, even if you are natural, until you’ve acclimated your hair to receiving protein. If you don’t like mayo, another gentle protein that I know people commonly use for their hair is avocado. So you can totally swap the ingredients that Sierra and I use for your own. As long as you’re feeding your natural hair those nutrients on a consistent basis, you’re in the green. ✅
Brace yourself… I wash my hair as often as I protein-treat: 3 times a year. Why? Well, first, let’s examine why washing natural hair multiple times a month, or at least once a month became popular. This practice became popular because “dirty hair doesn’t grow” or ”dirt doesn’t make your hair grow better” began circulating in the natural hair community; and while I’m not advocating for naturals to stop washing their hair, I am saying that there’s no need to wash your hair every month or multiple times a month for your hair to grow either, especially if your hair is not dirty. My hair follicles and scalp stays very, very clean in between wash days because I keep what I use on my hair light, and I don’t use products that causes dirt to accumulate and build up on my scalp and hair. Keeping what you use on your hair light, and eliminating products that causes your hair to accumulate dirt and build-up at high rates, not only diminishes the need to wash your hair often, but also, in doing this, decreases the likelihood of your hair breaking off at higher rates. Washing your hair often, despite its benefits, is high manipulation, which is something to avoid with natural hair care. You can keep your hair clean, styled nicely, well-nourished and moisturized while also keeping hair manipulation low, which brings me to the next topic.
What I Do in Between Wash Days
Products I Use to Moisturize + Style My Hair
In between wash days, my focus is giving my hair what I call “The Big Three”: moisture, nutrients and low manipulation, or, as I like to call it, leaving your hair the eff alone. I like to think of hair like a plant. All a plant needs to thrive is the right amount of water, the right amount of sunlight and the right amount of nutrients, all on a consistent basis, in order to thrive. Similarly, all natural hair needs is moisture, nutrients and to be left the eff alone for it to thrive. So, this is what I do:
I moisturize my hair with warm water, my homemade leave-in-conditioner, and olive oil. My homemade leave-in-conditioner is made with water from the tap, my favorite conditioner, (Suave, the one in the green bottle, no specific scent), and olive oil. I place my warm water in the dollar spray bottle from the beauty supply store, and spray the part I’m working on until damp. Then I use my leave-in-conditioner and cover my hair in it, from root to tip, and massage it into my scalp as well. You must remember that moisturizing, nourishing and oiling your scalp is just as important as moisturizing, nourishing and oiling your hair. Then I coat the part in oil and braid it.
My Low-Manipulation Routine
I braid my hair into anywhere from 8-12 braids and leave them in there anywhere between 1-2 or sometimes, even 3 weeks. While your hair is moisturized, it’s important for you to protect that moisture. If you want your hair to grow as long as possible as quickly as possible, it’s great practice to moisturize your hair and then protect it. But here’s the caveat: I don’t mean protecting it by going to the salon and getting your hair braided with weave. This is a big no-no for my hair care routine and I’ll get to that later. What I mean by protecting it is covering it so that way your hands, and no one else’s hands, are all up and in your head. Remember the third of The Big Three: your hair needs to be left the eff alone. And I’m serious. This is the most important step out of all of them, because none of the rest of them matter if your hair is constantly breaking off, drying out and thinning out because of high manipulation. I choose to cover my hair with head wraps (I LOVE a good head wrap 🥰), but you can even tuck your hair under a wig, if you like.
I’m not a huge wig person, so it’s headwraps, for me (and I can’t tuck my braids under a wig because they be too thick and I don’t like cornrowing my hair so🤷🏾♀️). After a couple of weeks, I take my braids out and wear my hair in a braid out for a week or two, then I begin the process all over again. This routine will ensure your hair is being nourished, moisturized, growing and becoming stronger in between your wash days and all year long. It will only be a matter of time before you start seeing results with this routine.
Benefits of This Routine
For someone looking for a simple natural hair care routine, this is perfect because with this, you’re probably moisturizing and styling your hair twice a month at most. The products I use are super affordable, so you’re not breaking the bank to do your hair. Your hair is staying moisturized for longer because you’re covering it and protecting it from not only being highly manipulated, but also all the harm it can be caused simply by being exposed. When your hair is out, it is being exposed to and affected by the sun, all kinds of free radicals in the air — like cigarette smoke and other pollutants in the air — and the weather — like high and low temperatures. All these external forces can dry your hair out and cause it to accumulate dirt at a higher rate, which is counterproductive to growing healthy, long, strong, thick hair.
Covering your hair only has benefits, and don’t get me wrong, if you have a date or somewhere really important to go where you want to wear your hair out, don’t let the 1 week - 3 week recommendations stop you. Life is for the living and do what brings you joy, always. Your natural hair growth journey will not be foiled if you bend these rules from time to time. And this is also what makes this routine awesome: it‘s flexible and can be adjusted to fit your needs and wants. Just stick to The Big Three and you’re good to go.
After describing everything I‘ve done to grow my hair, here’s a short list of things I don’t do or have stopped doing in order to grow my hair waist-length.
I stopped using combs and brushes.
I’m sure you’ve heard this before and I’mma say it again. Finger. Detangle. Finger detangling ensures that you’re not causing unnecessary shedding and breakage. Hair sheds naturally, and sometimes hair gets weak and breaks off. You don’t need to help your hair with this process by using combs and brushes, toils that rob you of the ability to tell if what’s coming out is natural or forced. When you use your fingers, you can tell when you’re being too rough on your hair, and, most times, untangle your hair from knots that have formed. I do it all the time. But when you use combs and brushes, and you come across a knot, the automatic response is to brush or comb it out, and we think we’ve won when that knot comes out. But what we don’t understand is that we‘re ripping out/breaking perfectly healthy pieces of hair, causing uneven hair, meaning uneven growth, damaged hair and split ends. Sweetheart! Put the comb and brush down, and finger detangle. Please!
2. I keep my hands and other people’s hands out of my head, ESPECIALLY other people’s.
Listen. It is not everyone’s goal or intention for you to have long, healthy hair. We see it over and over again in the stories womxn in our community share about their horror stories going to the salon or going to get their hair done; and we see it over and over again in our own lives and experiences. Do you know how many times I’ve gotten my hair done by someone else and it was not only painful but also buckets worth of hair all over the floor simply because the stylist carelessly ripped through my hair in the interest of time? I’m sure you even have stories of your own. Everybody does not know what they’re doing regarding keeping hair healthy and strong, and they don’t care. At what point do you stop letting other people in your hair? You can take of your hair! You can do it! And your natural hair is beautiful in its natural state because it’s yours. It doesn’t matter how long your hair is. Your natural hair deserves to be embraced and enjoyed at every stage. Embrace it. Love it. It will make your natural hair journey that much more enjoyable and is an extremely powerful way to practice radical self-love. 💞
This is all I have for now, lovelies! I hope you enjoyed this blog post and have fun applying these tips and seeing the growth! Try this out for a year and see how it works for you. This is not the last blog post I’ll be making on this topic so stick around for more as Sierra and I get Back to the Basics, a series we’ve started with this very blog post and on YouTube via our most recent videos. Please see the end of the blog post for other ways to keep up with Sierra and I as we run JFBG and provide this online, safe space for free and would appreciate your support in anyway possible. Thank you so much in advance.
Love you all,
Update: Hey Lovelies, after working with and growing natural hair holistically for over a decade, I now offer natural hair consultations so we can work together, one-on-one to get your hair to be as great as it can be! You can book a 1:1 Natural Hair Consultation Session with me here to receive even more hair tips, and to get personalized assistance and resources to grow your hair longer, thicker, healthier and stronger. JUST TO CLARIFY: I have made numerous videos giving out my secrets on how I grew my, Sierra’s and MANY OTHERS’ natural hair long, healthy, thick and strong and past their hair growth plateaus so you can definitely check those videos out to find out how. Those videos are uploaded here for free, on the Getting Back to the Basics Self-Care Series Playlist.
The consultations are for those out there who need/want something more than what I have already publicized for free— meaning they want to work with someone with a ton of experience growing natural hair one-on-one so they can reach their hair goals. If you’re interested, head over to book a session with me here. I can’t wait to meet you all
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