Monday, February 22, 2010

Hair Routines

A lot of us have established, rarely-varied, almost-religious hair care routine we use on a regular basis to maintain and style our curly locks. The question has been asked, however: is having a hair routine a must?

I don't think there is any "right" or "wrong" answer to that, frankly; I think that depends on you, your particular hair and your lifestyle. So let's look at the possible reasons to have or to not have one.

If you are like me, having an established hair routine means the difference between sanity and insanity in your daily life. Like many of you, I am a tremendously busy woman: I am a wife and a mother, I work in a salon about 30 hours a week, and I run Live Curly Live Free, which is an almost full-time business, on top of it all. There isn't a whole lot of additional time factored into my day and I don't particularly want to spend the precious few extra minutes I do have fussing with my hair. And, truth be known, as much as I love doing the hair of others, I have very little patience for doing my own. Having an established routine means I only have to spend 10-15 unthinking minutes a day, tops, on making my curls look the best they can be...and that suits me and my busy life just fine.

Also, I find my own particular hair responds best by having some sort of structure in how I wash, condition and apply my products. My curls seem to relax when I use a regular routine, almost as if they have made a silent pact to behave as long as I don't surprise them with anything new. I know how my hair will respond to each step in the process, regardless of weather or season, because I've used that same process so many times before. It's comfortable, familiar ground.

On the other hand, however, there is a lot to be said for changing it up. Some women tell me their curls look better if they don't fall into a set pattern: by switching their products and product application technique frequently, their hair keeps a fresh look they say they can't achieve by using the same routine consistently. Depending on what products you use, making a switch can also help you to avoid build-up issues or prevent your products from losing their effectiveness with long-term use.

Being more varied in your routine additionally leaves you more open to discovering new products or techniques that you might not have otherwise found had you settled into an unchangeable, unvaried routine. Although I stick to my usual routine whenever possible, I do a considerable amount of product and method testing and I can definitely vouch for the fact that I have found more than a few great products and techniques during one of my experiment phases.

Like everything else in our mad, crazy, wonderful world of curly hair, whether or not you have an established hair routine is a very personal choice and one only you can make for yourself. Let your glamorous selves shine by always doing what YOU think is best for you and your own beautiful curls!


Lion-ess said...

I just transitioned from locs to natural hair a month ago and I'm folowing my first ever routine. But the thing is I don't know as yet how my hair responds to certain products. I use all natural products because I read that they're the best for natural hair. Hopefully, I'm making the right decisions. said...

i might have to drive over from orlando and get my hair cut by you.:) I love my stylist here in orlando, but he doesnt know anything about co-washing etc, in fact i am teaching him.. i would love to come visit because i dont know basic things about my hair such as porosity and texture and what to do in this FL climate! :) I just got my haircut last week so maybe next time i am due i can make the trip.

Anonymous said...

Hi, such a great blog and really helpful. Its really great that you are willing to share your professional advice to everyone, not many people would do this! firstly i would like to thank you for that! I am just beginning to accept the fact that I have curly hair and have decided to let it be, it’s my first time with out straightening and blow drying! So here it goes! Just wondering if you could advise me on maintaining my curls second day as I don’t want to wet my hair every day. I would really appreciate any tips!

Anonymous said...

What do you think about the wen hair care system? I have seen infomercials on tv. Following is the website:

Do you think this would be good for curly hair?

Lulu said...

Just ran across your blog today because I am SICK of my own strange hair! My father has extremely curly hair and my mother has board straight hair leaving me with something in between that is not so nice. If I let it air dry, it is beautiful waves but flat on top and tends to get greasy very quickly. If I blow dry it, there is no way to keep the wavy and instead I get FRIZZ everywhere. I have been to countless stylists here in Baton Rouge and New Orleans with no help. I've gotten to the end of my rope and have just figured I'll have to move out of the horrible humid climate or chop my hair off to be happy with it. I've tried every product out there for frizz and have found that sometime they just make it worst! Any advice?? Thanks! L

Paula said...

I'm curious about your views on 'product satiation.' I have a basic working routine that just needs small tweaks with weather changes.

Others say that they can only use a routine for a week, and then it no longer works and a switch up is needed. I just figured that this was a person who had a close-but-no-cigar routine. I'd love to hear your views on it.

The Curl Whisperer said...

I think product satiation is possible, but once-a-week seems a little bit too often to me if the right products are being used. I switch up my conditioner every two-three months or so, but don't feel the need to do it more often than that. Of course, extreme weather changes, sickness, medicine changes, damage, etc. can affect product effectiveness as well, so those factors need to be taken into consideration. If they are not a factor, then I would tend to believe the products they are using may not be the most effective ones for their hair type.

Anonymous said...

Your blog is extremely helpful! Were I in the US, I surely would like to have a haircut and an educational session with you.

I'm a man, and had a great time when I discovered, at the age of 17, that I could leave my hair curly.

In the last 15 years though - I'm 55 now - I got sidetracked, tried to fit into a mold, and other hair issues appeared (gray, thinning hair).

But all the knowledge you transmitted was an inspiration to try and reach a better-looking hair.

Thank you so much!