In the last two articles, I have shared my transitioning journey and also how to better understand your new natural hair after the big chop. In my final article, in this three-part series, I want to give you an understanding of how you can create a new natural hair regimen based on of your former relaxed hair routine. There are a couple of ways to do this but we will figure it out by discussing these few topics:
MONEY, MONEY, MONEY!
There is a myth that natural hair is expensive. I would like to counter the myth by reminding us that salon bills are broken down to labor, type of service and products used. One can easily understand this breakdown especially if they were the type to carry their own products to the salon.
In a bid to help you come up with a likely budget for products for your new hair we can say that:
|Cost of a salon visit||Number visits per month||Monthly budget for natural products and accessories|
However, if you feel that the new budget is higher than you planned and your pocket is tight, consider being selective and purchase different products every month as you slowly add on to your product cabinet. You can start with simple & affordable all-around products such as Coconut Oil (which you can buy off the supermarket shelf), Avocado Oil and Shea Butter.
I personally advise that you explore local brands, which have come up over the years, and give them a chance. Once your hair loves local products, it will be much easier to restock compared to international brands and they are pocket-friendly. But there is nothing wrong in mixing both local and international products, by all means, explore what your hair loves.
You can find local brands in Natural hair marketplaces/sokos, further interact with them on their own Social Media business pages and during natural hair events to get more insight on the products they produce. Finally when you are convinced on what product/s you would like to try out, visit physical shops that carry them or place an order via their online shops.
SALON FREQUENCY VISITS
How often were you visiting your salon/stylist? If your answer is weekly, twice a month or monthly then consider that your washday schedule. However, you may realize that you cannot last a whole month without washing your hair. Washing once a week or fortnightly also makes for a good schedule. Please note to never cast in stone because you can always review and tweak your regimen as you see fit.
TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE
The aim here is to help you realize how much time you used to dedicate to your hair care processes when your hair was relaxed. Timings would, of course, have depended on whether you had booked an appointment or not and what you came in for. For example:
- 1 Hour – A quick wash and set, school-girl cornrows and simple styling
- 5-2 Hours – Wash, treatment and set/styling
- 3 Hours – Retouch/color plus treatment and styling
- 4 Hours+ – Braids, twists, weave and faux locs. Note: These can take longer depending on how many people are working on your head at the same time.
We can also factor in the trip to and from the salon, especially if your preferred salon was not close to your residence. It might seem that time flew by because you were in a different setup, and that salon visits were viewed as an escape and pamper session for many.
On the flip side, the hours for natural haircare may seem longer or a drag because you will be working from home and doing it yourself. You might even start to groan and moan about “Washday”. However, on the positive side, you can multi-task while waiting for your hair to treat/dry, come up with a wash day playlist to keep you excited and take breaks to snack & rehydrate. Challenge yourself to use the exact hours that you had relaxed, and tweak the hours as you see fit once you have put your regimen to the test.
PRODUCTS ARE BAE
Once you return natural, it is important to understand the ingredients that are in products. Researching makes it easy to pinpoint which products would work best for your hair based on its density and porosity. Then you can analyze the products that were used in the salon and ask yourself if they are natural hair friendly. It’s at this point you can then decide if you’ll keep using some products or remove them from your new routine entirely.
Many a new Naturalista will at this stage discovers the art of Doing It Yourself (D.I.Y) and becoming a homegrown Mixologist. Incidentally, this is how many local natural haircare brands started out, so you’re in great company. Once you have your research on lock, you’re free to experiment you can start with simple hair treatments, spritzes, and rinses.
Aside from products, you may need to purchase other natural hair essentials such as hair accessories, spritz bottles, oil applicator bottles, satin bonnets/pillowcases/scarves and wide toothcombs/bore-bristle brush. Later when you’ve stocked up you can get a hooded dryer or steamer to boost your treatments.
The hairstyles that you previously used to install may have played a role in your hair progress or lack thereof. It is important to understand the styles and find out if they were good or bad for your hair. You can simply do this examination by figuring out whether:
- Your edges are intact or not
- Your hair has been stuck at the same length for years
- Your hair has been breaking at a certain point (e.g. crown, nape)
- Your hair is chronically dry and brittle
Once you have zeroed in on the problem areas, you will need to take a break from or do away with certain hairstyles. Start focusing (not obsessing) on the remedies and be patient with the recovery process (it might take a while). When your hair has settled into the new regimen, you can safely try out different hairstyles such as Bantu Knot Outs, Twist or Flat-twist out, Roll-Pin-and-Tuck (I recommend this last one for conservative workplaces).
Now that you’re settled into a routine, let the fun of your natural hair journey begin!