Current Natural Hair Regimen (Full)

Updated March 8, 2018

Here’s my current regimen, I try to keep it fairly simple. I do not use sulfates if I can help it, but do use silicones at times and am sure to use the proper cleansers to prevent buildup.

Wash hair with shampoo 1x a week (maybe every ten days or so if I’m lazy) in 4 sections (pinned up with alligator clips) – I no longer cowash. Remember, cowashing is technically using conditioner to clean your scalp. I use conditioner on the length of my hair, and shampoo or a cleansing conditioner (like Ouidad) with cleansing surfactants, concentrating on my scalp.

Condition or use a lighter cleansing conditioner (like DevaCurl Decadence No Poo) when I am redoing my hair (4 sections again), depending on how my hair feels and if I feel the product has left some build up (usually every 2-3 days, could be daily if I don’t like my second day hair or am playing with products). If my hair feels good, I may just condition that day.

**While washing my hair in sections, I wash and condition each section before moving onto the next IF I am using shampoo. If I’m using a cleansing conditioner, I will leave it in for a few minutes after applying to all sections to allow it to work, then rinse and oil rinse or condition.**

DC 1x a week. Note: My GOAL is to DC once a week, but I have gotten REALLY bad at this. Lately, I’ve been leaving my rinse out conditioner on my hair for ten minutes or so before rinsing, and I consider that my DC.

Oil Rinsing (I haven’t done this lately, but it’s still a good practice) – I often oil rinse my hair before conditioning it in the shower. I used to try to do it every time I wet my hair, but now it’s really just when I feel like my hair feels dry. Check out the below video on the benefits of oil rinsing and how I do it:

Daily Style – Wash and Go (applying product in 8 sections), bun, or ponytail. Since I often wear my hair out, I wrote an article with tips on retaining length without protective styling. I might also do a dry braid out if I’ve had my hair in a bun all week.

Wash and Go Potential Product Combo/Orders

  • Leave-In + Styler + Finisher
  • Leave-In + Styler + Sealer
  • Leave-In + Styler + Finisher + Sealer on ends (I promise it’s not a lot of product!)
  • Styler + Finisher
  • Styler + Sealer
  • Styler
  • Leave-In + Finisher
**Note: Finishers are only applied to the top of my hair (not per section – this is in my last wng video), and sealers go on the ends (because the purpose is to reduce the friction between my ends and clothing, demo in sealing video).**

What’s the difference between how I use a styler and a finisher?

Wash and Gos: I do not apply products differently depending on what I am using. I have tried different methods of styling and raking/smoothing works best for my hair.

Sleeping! – My night routine is hella bootleg, but it works. I use my satin scarf but since my hair is longer, the scarf won’t cover my entire length and I don’t want frizzy ends. So, I either place another satin scarf on the bottom part of my hair or put my Sue Maesta hood over the scarf. The below routine also works great if your hair is a bit shorter.

Again, always sleep with a satin pillowcase!

Moisturize/fluff out as needed using a water based moisturizer or oil when refreshing a wash and go. If my hair is too stretched, I will spritz it with a refresher spray so it shrinks up some.

Refresh my hair throughout the week as needed using a spray or oil.

Sealing – Since my hair is longer, I have started sealing my ends more to keep them lubricated and minimize breakage and splits. In addition to sealing in moisture, using an oil or pomade on your ends forms a protective barrier between your hair and the elements/items of friction (clothing, bag straps, etc). Check the HG list for my favorite pomades and sealers! I may also use a silicone serum on my ends ONLY as they provide a protective barrier.

Trimming – I try to keep my SSKs to a minimum by moisturizing like crazy. However, I do search and destroys for the rare split and SSKs when I see them. I trim as needed. Sometimes I trim my bangs a little so they frame my face and because I look at them the most. I don’t like them looking raggedy, lol!

Detangling – I finger detangle in the shower when I condition my hair to get out shed hairs and make sure there aren’t any bad knots. Every 1-2 weeks I detangle using a seamless comb. I also use my Ouidad Double Detangler, which is amazing if I have more tangles (this can happen if I use conditioner only).

Heat/Diffusing – I diffuse as needed when my hair is soaking wet and I have things to do! Otherwise, I air dry. I do not flat iron my hair often (at this point I think it’s been over a year). Really when the mood hits me and the climate is optimal (meaning, not much in summer because it will just frizz out anyway).

Also, I continue to get questions about my hair color. Please check out this post for a thorough review of what I have used. Since that time, the only thing I did was add indigo to my henna mix (mixed them about half and half). However, I am no longer using henna or indigo (last use was the end of February). I dyed my hair at the beginning of 2012 in order to attempt to make the red less noticeable, check out the post on my dye experience here. In September 2012 I dyed it dark brown/blackSince then, I have decided to venture out and play with fantasy colors using bleach. I bleached about half my head in January 2016 for a more ombre effect, and in January 2017 I bleached my whole head to achieve a light rose gold blonde. Throughout the year, I refresh and give the color “pop” with conditioning, semi-permanent dyes. I recently applied a darker semi-permanent color to my bleached hair. I’ve also used Olaplex to strengthen my color-treated hair. All of my hair color experiences are archived here.


89 thoughts on “Current Natural Hair Regimen (Full)

  1. Cacaocurls says:

    Hi Elle,

    Just happened upon your blog on you tube this weekend. Your beautiful and so is your hair. I’m late to the curl game but I’m inspired to stop wearing my curly weave and wear my own curly tresses. My 10 year old daughter has very similar looking hair to yours. Curl patterns are a little different but the density is same and length. Thanks for sharing, I realize now that I will need to experiment with new products on myself and daughter. I would like to understand my hair better and it’s needs lol. How does one go about nailing this down? I’m beginning to get the feeling there is a lot more science/ chemistry going on that I’m not knowledgeable about.

    • Elle says:

      There are several things to consider when you go about developing a hair regimen and learn how to care for your hair. A LOT, lol! I used to read SO many natural hair books and articles, and gather information about hair structure in general. I have a lot of information with resources and suggestions in my Natural Hair Newbie playlist on YT. That should be really helpful! The information can be overwhelming, so it’ll be less stressful to focus on one or two things at a time, like protein/moisture balance, porosity, texture, climate factors, etc.

    • samkaugust says:

       Hi Elle, I have 6 brand new containers of the super wet gel. I purchased them months ago thinking I would get around to using for wash and go’s, however I no longer have a use for them as I’ve recently locked my hair. I’m selling them all. If you’re interested in purchasing, please email me at Sam August

      From: Quest for the Perfect Curl To: Sent: Thursday, January 28, 2016 11:40 PM Subject: [New comment] Current Regimen (Full) #yiv0011954269 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv0011954269 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv0011954269 a.yiv0011954269primaryactionlink:link, #yiv0011954269 a.yiv0011954269primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv0011954269 a.yiv0011954269primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv0011954269 a.yiv0011954269primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv0011954269 Prissy Curls commented: “Hey Elle, Do you ever pre-po?” | |

  2. Marie says:

    Do you get or have you ever gotten single strand knots? If so, how do you avoid them? Ever since my hair has gotten longer I have been getting them and I have tried methods like keeping my hair stretched but it does not seem to work. Thanks.

  3. Jas says:

    Hey Elle,

    I’m considering trying henna for the first time. Any tips, suggestions, etc. And is there any particular reason you’ve stopped doing the treatments?

    Thanks in advance!!

    • Elle says:

      When I was doing henna, I did a lot of posts about my technique and the mixes that I made, but that was back in 2010-11 and I definitely don’t remember! I stopped using henna mainly b/c I hated the red color.

  4. Brandy says:

    I was replying to the comment about the henna, and I heard someone say that baking soda altered the hair. I didn’t mention the Q-redew in this comment.

  5. Bran says:

    I have a Q-redew and I feel like it makes my hair really puffy and takes the definition out of my curls. Do you have a video on how you use it?

  6. Aaron Harris says:

    Concerning your winter routine what benefit is given by letting the leave-in sit for 10-15 minutes before applying your gel/styler? I’ve been suffering from dry hair this winter and I wanted to know if this might help because I do wash and goes year around. Thanks!

    • Elle says:

      In the past I’ve had issues with heavier moisturizers absorbing into my hair. Letting it sit for a bit just gives it some time to “marinate” before I apply my styler.

  7. Janelle Hunter says:

    I’m a little confused with your wash n go combo/order.
    When you’re sealing, are you saying that you :
    1. put leave in
    2. put styler – i.e. gel
    3. put finisher ( not sure exactly what a finisher does)
    3. then seal , are you sealing the entire hair , or just the ends , with and I could use an oil for that correct??

      • Janelle Hunter says:

        Thank you so much for replying, I sat through a ton of your videos today, from years ago to now….I did what i call my ” little-big chop” yesterday, Cutting 1-4 inches of relaxed ends off after 18months of transitioning. Kept my hair in braids most of time, but now i’m trying to get the hang of this 100% natural hair. I was a little worried about only doing wash n go’s for now, because i don’t really care for protective styling, so i was happy when i saw that you did wash n go’s mostly and retained length so beautifully and fast it seem. (sry for the long post)

      • Elle says:

        No, I do not wet/seal my hair daily. The moisturize/fluff part of this page is how I refresh my hair when I wear it out. Otherwise I just keep it in a bun.

  8. BradLee Atkinson says:

    Love your info!!! It has really helped me!!! But i’m still lose, I’m about 3 months into my big chop but I still don’t know how to wear it to bed.. Please any info is good thanks again!!!

    • Elle says:

      It can be either or. I have a bunning tutorial that should be helpful to you – I also have a couple of videos on bun styles on dry hair. I hope that helps!

  9. samkaugust says:

    Hi Elle- Do you have any suggestions or recommendations to prevent extra dry roots. I’ve been experimenting with wash and goes/CG method. As my hair dries throughout the day and toward the evening, my roots are super puffy, dry and hard. I can barely run my fingers through. In addition to the wng and cg method, twice a week I would spritz my hair with warm water, apply a leave in or oils and sleep with a plastic cap. Again, super dry roots once hair dries. I have to admit I don’t DC weekly. could this be the problem? Thanks in advance for your response.

    • Elle says:

      It could be a number of things…you need to assess your regimen and determine why your roots are dry. Is it just your roots? If you aren’t applying product in sections, you may be missing them. You could also have build up from not washing as well, or it could be the products in your climate. Assess it further and determine a course of action. Good luck!

  10. mnm321 says:

    Hi elle
    I JUST FOUND OUT THAT I HAVE LOW POROSITY HAIR. My natural hair is very dry and i think damaged due to the fact that i didnt know how to take care of it. My question is due you recommend i cut off alot of my hair and start fresh or do the cherry lola and it will be good.

    • Elle says:

      It is 100% up to you – you need to figure out if your damage is irreparable and why it happened so you can prevent it from happening again. Just a note though – cherry lolas don’t repair your hair besides the possible shot of from from the yogurt and amino acids (where the effect is debatable b/c it’s not hydrolyzed protein – I have a video going over proteins as well).

      • mnm321 says:

        So would it be a bad idea to do A strong protein treatment one week and than the next week do the cherry lola since its not strong. And thank you soo much for answering my 1st question

      • Elle says:

        Again, you need to determine the source of your damage. Unless you have done something to break down the protein in your hair, a protein tx may not be necessary.

  11. Stacey says:

    Hey Elle!
    Do you seal every day? Like after you fluff in the morning or only after your initial styling session?

  12. Iman says:

    Hey Elle,
    I recently received my last perm 3 weeks, so I’m a extra newbie newbie. Haha. I’ve been watching your videos for a couple months and I love them; but, I was wondering if you could do a video or article about all the natural hair “terms” or “lingo”? Thank you!

    • Elle says:

      Hey Iman, I probably won’t do a post like that because I have seen a bunch already. I know that they usually have a sticky thread on natural hair forums as well. Is there a specific term in my videos that you didn’t understand?

  13. Tas says:

    Hey Elle,
    This may be a silly question but can you please explain the wng product combo section above. For me it’s not really clear. Thanks

    • Elle says:

      Hi Tas, it’s just the order in which I apply my products – so for example, it’s like leave in first, then my styler, etc. Does that help?

      • Tas says:

        Hey Elle, I read through it again. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems like it’s the order you apply products in depending on which products you are using. Like you may not always do each step based on which product you decided to use for that particular WNG. I think I got it. Thanks Elle.

  14. R.deLaRosa says:

    Idk:'( Ugh I’m guessing because of the continuous brushing, and yes it has to be slicked down, but it’s never too tight. My hair is about bra strap length. I moisturize and seal every other day but where it’s worst at is the middle or crown I believe is the term.

    • Elle says:

      Can you pull your hair back then put a scarf on overnight and it will slick down? That’s what I usually do for buns on 2nd/3rd day hair, put on gel or a heavy moisturizer and pull it back, then sleep with my scarf on. Works for me but I know everyone’s hair is diff.

      • R.deLaRosa says:

        Haha the only reason why I never tried that is because of the bad memories I have of the forehead indentations I would get from wrapping my hair when it was straighten. Fine hair, silk scarves, and satin pillows don’t mix lol, but I will definitely give it a try and let you know. Also, I wanted to try a protein treatment to aide in my breakage and I saw you had the CJ Repair Me! as a strong PT. Did you mean this generally speaking or specifically speaking on your behalf?

        A million thank yous

  15. R.deLaRosa says:

    Elle, I know you stay vocal about low manipulation as being a key point in retaining length. However, as a broke college student with a server/bartending job that requires I keep it pulled back in bun, this is an impossible task, and the culprit to my breakage. Do you have any suggestions? Maybe? I

  16. veronica says:

    Hello!!!! =) Im so glad I found your blog. I use to wash and gos in the pass but stopped. I just got started agian so Im in the process of discovering what works. My question is what product do you use to 1. wash, 2. conditioner, 3. deep condition,and 4. sealing? =)

  17. Nappymarge says:

    Elle you condition your hair every other day (2 days) right? How do you get it dry before leaving the house? I have to leave for work at 7am and my hair looks great on a fresh wash n go I would love to condition and style every other day but it’s difficult to do that as it would mean to always leaving home with wet hair? Any tips on how to get elongate wash and gos at mid long hair?

  18. Nikki says:

    cooool!!! totally answers my question!
    thinking abt BCing it at the end of the month (to get rid of heat damaged ends… this whole time i’ve been natural ive been getting my hair fried (pressed monthly) not even thinking abt my natural curls)…
    so I plan on testing it all; just had to make sure I understood the technique…

    thx for that! and for all the information you share! your hair journey and hair knowledge is def inspiring to all the curly girls in the world who are trying to find themselves…

    also idk if you’ve heard of them but I’d love to see you review uncle funky’s daughter products


  19. Nikki says:

    Hey Elle,
    What’s the different between cowashing and conditioning?
    i’m a newbie… i understand the cowash… i just have this one question… you said you apply conditioner once you’re out of the shower… are you saying you:
    1.Go from wet hair to a (non leave-in) conditioner, rinse, then style?
    2.Go from wet hair to a (non leave-in) conditioner finger comb, then go?
    3.Go from wet hair to a leave-in conditioner finger comb, then go?

    ok, so that was more like 3 questions, Lol, but I need just a little more clarification
    I saw the dry DC but wasn’t sure if leaving a non leave-in for 2-3 days was ok…
    looking up sectioning as i wait on your reply =)

    • HB says:

      I’ve done all three. Well, I really only finger comb when I’m using my rinse out conditioner in the shower. Some conditioners I leave in are actual leave-ins, and some are regular conditioners. It just depends on what your hair likes. To be totally honest, this is one of those things where it’s best to experiment on your own – some non leave-ins aren’t moisturizing enough for ME, but other people love them, and some I love and others don’t.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Ok Elle, just for clarification. You don’t cowash anymore, I understand that. However, because your hair is longer you can get several days out of your wash and go so that makes sense. My question is, knowing what you know about your hair now if you had recently big chopped would you still not cowash? Because there is no way to get second day hair when you have a teeny twa lol.

    • HB says:

      Cowashing is different from conditioning. I still condition my hair probably every other day…multiday hair really isn’t a priority for me. Cowashing is how you cleanse your hair – I wash with shampoo now, and if I had a TWA I’d still stick with that. It doesn’t have anything to do with multiday hair though.

  21. Jenna says:

    Im sorry If you get this question alot but i tried and couldnt find an answer! What do you consider your hair texture to be? somewhere in the 3’s?

  22. Anonymous says:

    Elle! I want you to know that you are the absolute BOMB! I began transitioning in June from heat trained hair (no relaxer for 5 years). When I began, my hair was healthy and middle of my back length. I had recently colored my hair 3 months prior and discovered the natural community shortly after. I decided to no longer straighten my hair and thus my journey began. It was complete hell because my hair would tangle so freaking badly no matter what I did. So I purchased the science of black hair and learned about why my hair was so dry and super tangled. I had protein overload and my color didn’t help. I was a wreck and purchased product after product. I refused to big chop because i felt if I couldn’t take care of this I couldn’t care for my hair when it grew back out. Then you recommended creme of nature moisture and shine shampoo. My hair never, ever, felt soft or moisturized until I used this! Also, Oyin honey hemp!! OMG!! I knowed there was a God (in my miss sophia voice). This gave me the courage to go ahead with the BC and I am loving it. Thanks Elle.

  23. Yecal says:

    Do you have any tutorial videos on how you style your hair ?? I’d love to see how you do your hair in the morning I got curls somewhat like yours

  24. lola says:

    hey Elle, can you recommend any shampoos that don’t strip hair, preferably something that moisturizes if thats possible. thank

  25. Anonymous says:

    I saw the last video that you posted and you said that you get your volume by low manipulation. Mostly I use Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera Gel. I really like the definition, but I am not satisfied with the volume. When you say “low manipulation” do you mean you just rake it through? And also do you know of any conditioners that promote volume. I have tried many and I cannot seem to find one that actually does what it says.

    • HB says:

      It’s okay! That’s just why I want people to know that I’m being sincere and not being a jerk when I ask they search the blog/YT. There is a LOT of info on here an many questions can be answered via search and people can get what they need quicker.

  26. Lisa says:

    I’m a newbie and like many others suffer from dryness. I have been learning more about sealing in moisture so I’ve started to use the EVOO as the last step after I co-wash and put on my leave in. Now I’m just confused about when to apply my gel on the days I decide to use it. Is it best to do this after the oil or before? Also is it okay to use the EVOO as a sealant or are there other oils that are better for this? I love your blog by the way and all your vids! Thx.

    • HB says:

      Hey Lisa! There are several posts addressing your question (mainly in QOTD or FAQ Videos), but ultimately it is up to you and what makes your hair feel best. Try experimenting with some different product orders.

  27. Charmaine YaYa Bonner says:

    does the tightly curly method of conditioner only wash and go work for you? I want to try it because i want a fluffy/bouncy curly look and can never acheive this with Gel. i’m also afraid conditioner alone might not be enough to prevent the frizz from humidity(i’m in louisiana and its super hot and humid)

    • HB says:

      I’ve never tried the “true” TC method. I have too much hair to try to smooth each curl – that would take me hours. I’ve styled with only conditioner though, but usually don’t because it gives my hair the opportunity to shrink and tangle more.

  28. Shay says:

    when you say you wash your hair in six sections, how do you separate it into sections (with braids, with hair ties, with duck clips). My hair is super thick and I think it’s getting to a length where I might need to think about sectioning while washing/conditioning

    • HB says:

      I didn’t say what I use b/c people can really use whatever they want – I can’t braid/twist my dry hair in six sections though (it’s too big, I would have to do more sections), so I use clips or hair ties.

  29. Anonymous says:

    I love your hair! It’s beautiful. I BC’d on May 18, 2011 and this is all new to me so I’m constantly on YouTube! It’s of course super short right now so I can’t actually twist it. I have been doing wash and go’s but my hair is VERY dry. What can I use to help with the dryness? Also I cowash pretty much every day since I workout like 4x/week but I don’t know if cowashing so much can be damaging? I feel like my hair is not growing even though it’s just been a couple months…sigh. Lastly what products do you recommend for a wash an go? I have been using the knot today or mixed chicks leave in and then just some Eco Styler gel but my hair is feeling icky (dry and crunchy), instead of soft and moisterizered. Sorry for the rant…feeling a bit discouraged.

    • HB says:

      No. I think this is more prone to happen to people with fine hair, as the curl is loosened solely due to the weight of the henna. Henna coats the strand but does not alter the bonds of the hair.

      • Brandy says:

        I didn’t know that. So does the baking soda alter the bond ? I have low porosity hair but I really like my curl so I’m nervous it would change it. I’m transitioning. I’m 11 months post relaxer.

      • Elle says:

        I’m confused – you’re still asking about the Q-Redew? No, baking soda does not alter bond in the hair.

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