It’s been almost 5 months since my “big chop” after 11 months of transitioning, and I’ve learned quite a bit. Of course moisturizing is super important, and so is protective styling. I don’t really wash in sections. For me, it’s just quicker if I wash the fro, then detangle. I imagine as it gets longer, I will shift to sections.
There is one thing, however, that has saved my hair life, keeping it stretched. As of now, banding is my go-to method. I read about banding in The Science of Black Hair by Audrey Davis-Sivasothy (and I’m sure in a few blogs/youtube videos as well), and I gave it a try a couple of months ago, and it has been one of my best hair decisions, by far!
Banding is stretching the hair using scrunchies/ponytail holders. You secure one at the root, and continue along the length of the hair, securing the final ponytail holder at the ends.
I allow my hair to air dry in the banding method for 30-60 mins after putting in my leave-in (currently using Shea Moisture Restorative Conditioner) and sealing with Hot Six Oil (plus a little Tea Tree oil). It looks crazy (my fiancee gets quite the laugh in lol), but it works!
Once dry (or close enough), I add my cream (Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie), then proceed with styling, which is either two strand twists or flat twists.
Throughout the week to keep my hair stretched, I do large bantu-knots at night. I’m talking like 8-9 total. In the morning, it never looks like I styled it lol, but it does keep it stretched after I’ve moisturized it for the night. When I wake up, I’m able to wear a larger, fuller afro puff. I love it!
Here’s a photo of my stretched fro as of December. I wish I had a pic of a non-stretched fro, but I don’t dare let my hair air dry without stretching lol, so try to use your imagination :). I do, however, have a picture of my fro back in August when I first cut off my relaxed ends. I admit it’s not a fair comparison, since I’ve had a couple inches of growth since August, but I’m including it anyways 🙂
By the way, I still don’t use any heat on my hair.