Wash Day Routine

Winters in Chicago can be brutal, so I have to make sure my hair survives the dry, brittle cold and damaging winds. I honestly don’t change much of my regimen between winter and summer, so this regimen will likely be relevant year round.

Weekly Wash Days

Protein conditioner Pre-Poo for 30 minutes with hair in 8 twists

Aphogee 2 Minute Keratin Reconstructor

Aphogee 2 Minute Keratin Reconstructor

Method: LAZY ALERT!!! I don’t have a steamer and I don’t build in the time to sit under my hair dryer, so I do the old fashion “run a towel under hot water in a bowl for 5-10 minutes”, method haha. I then place it on top of my shower cap and secure it with another shower cap. It’s not perfect, but I need to be able to multi-task 🙂

Shampoo with hair in 8 twists

Scalp condition side note: I have to use stronger shampoos because of a scalp condition that I have called Seborrheic Dermatitis. It’s actually quite common. Rece, a fellow blogger, is experiencing similar frustrations. My dermatologist described it as my scalp/skin producing too much yeast and becoming irritated. It’s been called the “adult cradle cap”. Anywho, it means I have to wash regularly, and so I try to wash once a week (I should wash more frequently given that I workout 6 times per week). I will admit that washing weekly definitely dries my hair out, but I’ve tried alternating between a shampoo-wash and a conditioner-wash, but of course conditioner-washes don’t help my scalp. So to relieve the itching and flaking this condition causes, I’ve been using T-Gel Shampoo. I plan to go back to my beloved KeraCare Dry & Itchy Scalp shampoo this week (super excited!). My dermatologist says she typically recommends KeraCare for African Americans, in particular naturals, since it works to restore moisture. I will keep you posted on how it works out for me.

Deep condition with hair in 8 twists for 60 minutes

Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner

Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner

My favorite part! I LOVE Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingling Conditioner. I love their shampoo too, I just need something a bit stronger for my stubborn scalp!

Method: I just plop it on, focusing on the ends, but being sure every strand is completely saturated. It really does give a tingling sensation and that feels like heaven to my scalp. I use the lazy method described above – run a towel under extremely hot water for 5-10 minutes, then place on top of my shower cap and secure it with a second shower cap. Because I do this for 60 minutes, I sometimes get a fresh towel after 30 minutes.

Detangling with conditioner in hair, separating hair into 16 twists

Shower comb

Shower comb

Method: I start with 8 twists but end up with 16. I take down one twist and start detangling one half of that twist. My hair is pretty thick and tightly coiled so as usual the smaller the sections, the more peaceful the detangling session :).

I use a mixture of finger-detangling and wide tooth comb detangling. I start with my fingers to get the major knots and kinks out. I then only use the comb under the stream of water. I start with the ends and only stroke my hair 3-4 in total (I try to use as few strokes as possible). I realize that I can run the comb through my hair as much as I want, but given my hair’s texture, it will continue to catch on itself. So I settle for just getting the major tangles out. This takes me about 45 minutes typically.

Air Drying

Method: I wrap my 16 twists in an old t-shirt to soak up the water for 10-15 minutes. I then take down each twist, apply my moisturizing and sealing products in the below order, and retwist:

  1. Leave-in: Shea Moisture Restorative Conditioner
  2. Oil: Hot 6 Oil -or- Shea Moisture Reconstructive Elixir
  3. Cream: Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie

Can you tell I like Shea Moisture 🙂 I stick with them because I’ve found that my hair needs heavier products to stay moisturized.

For styling, I typically sleep in my 16 twists then do a quick protective style in the morning.

I’m afraid to say “that’s all”. It’s truly a day-long event (okay, maybe half a day), but so far it is a good compromise between my hair’s needs and my busy schedule!



Product Challenge Contender #1: Vatika Coconut Oil

Last week I mentioned it’s time for me to venture out and try new products. This came about after noticing I was using the same products since the beginning of my transition about 8 months ago (and some even since I was still getting relaxers). I did an entire post on how adjusting is one of the most important parts of a transition (read it here), but here I am, stuck with the same old same old. So I’m embarking on a product challenge.

I laid out the plan for my challenge in the last post, but here it is as a reminder (mainly for myself :):

1. First I will document the products I use now, the effects they have on my hair, and why I love/don’t care for them.

2. I will alter one product within my regimen at a time, and will try to use it for at least one month to give it time to work (hopefully I can report out results on a monthly basis).

3. I need some type of goal for this challenge. I’m not trying to maintain length because I still have relaxed ends that I cut off every couple of months. So instead, I’m going for less breakage (as a result of more moisturized and more manageable hair).

So, addressing step 1: I did a quick documentation of what I use now, and it really helped me quickly identify what to focus on first, detangling!.

I will start with my pre-poo/detangling process. It’s time to lose Herbal Essence Hello Hydration and move on to something a bit lighter, but still effective for detangling. I actually love Herbal Essence, and am not losing it altogether. It will remain my go-to conditioner for my co-washing sessions, but as a pre-poo, I’m afraid it is a bit too heavy for my hair.

I quickly researched blogs of countless helpful ladies (see blog roll for my go-tos), and it seems like EVERYONE is using Vatika Coconut Oil for pre-pooing. From what I’ve read, it seems light and effective, so I’ll give it a try. I plan to buy it before I wash this Wednesday.

As promised, I will give it a good month before I review or make a “keep it/toss it” decision. So stay tuned!