It's officially fall! I can't believe how fast the summer flew by. Now that the season is changing, it's time for our hairstyling routines to change, too. Here's a quick snapshot of my full hair care routine for the cooler weather.
1. An hour before I shower, I apply a deep conditioner/yogurt treatment to my dry hair and don a plastic cap. To generate heat, sometimes I'll wear a beanie or my heat cap without microwaving it.
2. Hop in the shower and rinse.
3. Thoroughly saturate hair with water and divide into two sections (left and right).
4. Cleanse hair with co-wash or mild shampoo one side at a time. Rinse thoroughly.
5. Generously apply a slippery conditioner, usually Aussie Moist or Tresemme Naturals, to both sides in a smooshing motion.
6. Pass my head back under the water stream for a second, for better distribution and added slip.
7. Add even more conditioner
8. Clip the hair up and out of the way to complete shower rituals.
9. Take down the right side and section out the back piece near my neck. Pin up the rest. I finger detangle thoroughly and then, using the Denman, brush through once or twice for smoothing and curl clumpage. The Denman creates what looks like finger waves on my conditioner-laden curls. I continue this step section by section. Sometimes, I create a hair sandwich where I'll use one hand to hold the brush and the other hand to smooth the hair as I pull the brush through. I end up with about 6-8 sections per side.
10. Once all the hair on each side has been finger detangled and smoothed and clumped with the Denman, I rinse the right side. I hold the clumped curls in the palm of my hand and stand under the shower stream, allowing the water to gently rinse away the conditioner. I do the same on the left. I rinse out 100% of the conditioner.
11. I eliminate excess water by smoothing my hair between my flat hands using what I call "the praying hands method."
12. Finally, I apply my cream styler of choice in a smooshing motion (not raking, as I don't want to disturb the curls I just created with the Denman) to the right side, then the left. I finger twirl any frizzy bits and smooth product down the length of any curls that didn't clump, using my fingers like a flat iron. I usually sit under the dryer for 15 minutes to get things going and air dry the rest of the way. Sometimes, I'll hit the roots with the blow dryer for extra hangage.
While I love this hair styling routine, I have to admit it does have its pros and cons:
Nikki "CurlyNikki" Walton is a successful psychotherapist and creator of one of the most credible online sources about natural hair care, maintenance, and decoding the psychological ties between black women and their hair. Visit her at her blog CurlyNikki or follow her on Twitter @CurlyNikki.