I have been natural for over ten years now and the change has been for the better in my life as a whole. It has not always been an easy transition but every single stumble, mistake, and victory was worth it. Ten years ago I was rocking weaves, braids, and wigs while damaging my hair by neglect and simply worrying about my family and that dreaded 9 to 5.  

I would have to say it was around five years ago when I felt I had a true and confident handle on my regimen. I knew what worked and what didn’t but it was exactly three years ago this month that I enlisted in the Curly Girl Method (CGM) and when I saw a real difference in my hair. Here’s how my regimen has changed over the years.

Read more: How to Follow the Curly Girl Method

Cleansing

Prior to the CGM, I struggled to find a shampoo that I loved or one that did not give me dandruff. I staved off the dandruff by adding a few drops of tea tree oil to my shampoo and that would last a few months, but I always fought stringy strands that were ready to knot up no matter what shampoo I tried. It was daunting to say the least so when I started the CGM I heard about As I Am Coconut CoWash from MahoganyCurls and fell in love! I usually cleansed weekly or biweekly.

I still love As I Am Coconut CoWash but have also added Aveda’s Be Curly Co-wash and alternate. I also have added shampoo back into the regimen. I still hate shampoo but know the importance of it so I use one of the best shampoos out that will give lather without stripping and clean without damaging: SheaMoisture Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen, Grow & Restore Shampoo. I use it when I haven’t shampooed in a while or when I use a non-CGM friendly product (usually has silicones) as my hair likes silicones but not all the time.

Conditioning

I conditioned my hair in the shower almost daily and then applied a leave-in conditioner or regular conditioner to my coils. I was using mostly Kinky-Curly Knot Today and the Kinky-Curly Curling Custard but I was also dabbling in other popular conditioners like Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose and Giovanni Direct Leave-in. On wash day I deep conditioned overnight, rinsed out in the morning, and styled as usual.

Now I deep condition but only for 30 min. under a heat thermal cap. I have fallen in love with SheaMoisture Manuka Honey & Mafura oil Conditioner and add pumps of SheaMoisture Raw Shea Butter Reconstructive Finishing Elixir or drops of jojoba oil before applying to my hair. I now only rewet my hair once after wash day.

Sealing

I was all about the coconut oil back then and sealed my hair with it after I liberally applied my conditioner. I simply put a dab in the palms of my hair, rubbed them together, and ran it down my sectioned hair sealing all that goodness in.

Styling

Styling is simple. I run Kinky-Curly Curling Custard to freshly conditioned and sectioned hair. Then, I pull it back in a low ponytail with an ouchless barrette until almost dry and then shake loose. I was a wash and go fiend but now I have backed off from wetting my hair during the weekends (except to cleanse). Occasionally I skipped a weekday or two but back then this was my daily routine.

Overnight

I used to wear a satin bonnet at night to protect my hair, but I was left with a smashed and modified TWA. I tried the pineapple several times but my hair remained stretched and defied gravity.

The satin bonnet was a failure for me but now I only sleep on a satin pillowcase and my trusty Loc Soc. The Loc Soc saves my style better than any other product I have tried the last few years. It gives me second and third day hair with a spritz or dab of conditioner or gel.

Refreshing

My spray bottle is filled with distilled water and lavender. My hair is soft, coily, and most of the time, I just need it to fluff in the morning. Back then I was working way too hard, but most of my problem was in my lack of a proper nighttime preserving routine and not taking out time to perfect my washday styling session. By finding the Loc Soc to preserve my hair at night and making sure all coils had conditioner and gel on my hair I was able to finally achieve second, third, and even fourth day hair.

How has your regimen changed?