Admittedly, I have put my hair through quite the gamut over the past year and it has definitely taken a toll. The most disappointing thing has been dyeing my hair dark red (with permanent dye) and having it fade back to brownish blonde over the course of a few weeks. While I now like to call my color more of a “rose gold” since it is still an auburnish color with some blonde and brown locs peeking through, I am glad that my locs have maintained their strength through my color experimentations. My struggle, and a common complaint that I hear from others who color their hair, has become keeping my hair moisturized.

I am always talking about the importance of keeping hair and scalp moisturized, and that has been my saving grace throughout this year of my hair journey. In year seven of my loc growth, I have been introduced to my core essential products from Shea Moisture and I hope that they will make as huge of a difference in your life as they have in mine!

Wash Day

I made the big switch from liquid shampoo to the African Black Soap Bentonite Clay Shampoo Bar over the summer. I had tried black soap as a shampoo before and I loved it, and I made the switch for good over the summer for the ease of travel. This stuff is amazing! I wet my hair in the shower and the shampoo quickly works into a rich lather by gently rubbing the bar against your wet hair and scalp. The shampoo bar alone never leaves my hair feeling stripped once it dries, so it is perfect for the colder weather when I do not always have time for a conditioning treatment.

Since I wash my hair about every 8-10 days, I usually do some kind of strengthening treatment after shampooing. The Manuka Honey & Yogurt Hydrate + Repair Protein- Strong Treatment is a new one that I have been using for a month, as well as the Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil Intensive Hydration Masque. When I am not crunched for time, I will do both, which adds about 30 minutes to my wash routine, but one or the other will do the job. I use these hair treatments instead of conditioner, and my hair is always so much softer after it dries and throughout the week.

After towel blotting my hair, I realized that this is the best time to moisturize my scalp. I was introduced to 100% premium pumpkin seed oil, and in honor of pumpkin spice season, I gave it a try. While it looks much like Jamaican black castor oil, and a little goes a long way, pumpkin seed oil is a bit lighter and easier to spread. I like to mix mine with a little bit of peppermint oil and massage it into my scalp. Another great way to use the oil is to add both to a spray bottle filled with water, and use as a daily scalp moisturizer.

Styling

Twistouts and braidouts are my favorite styles and, when it comes to air drying wet locs, I like to wash my hair at night, style it in braids or twists, and unravel them the next morning. If possible, I wait even longer, to ensure that my hair has dried completely. Lately, juicy twists are one of my favorite protective styles for my locs. The secret is to use the right products so that every twist unravels into soft, pliable waves and curls. I personally like to spray 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Daily Hydration Leave-in Detangler onto each section of hair before twisting it. That way, I know that once I unravel my twists, my hair will be left soft and pliable for me to style it however I want. The leave-in also works well when I want to slightly dampen my hair with water for roller sets.

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Juicy twists on locs

A braidout on locs

Flexi-rod curls on locs

My nighttime routine

I swear by my satin scarf at night. I like to keep my hair up in a pineapple or loose bun and my scarf keeps my edges smooth, which means less work for me in the morning. I have a natural widow’s peak hairline and I am very wary of styles that pull on my hairline too tightly. This means that tight ponytails, buns, or anything else that adds tension to my hair is usually not a style that I wear for too long. To help prevent hair loss along my edges and strengthen the shorter sensitive hairs in that area, I massage a mixture of Jamaican black castor oil (which is great for hair growth) and pumpkin seed oil along my entire hairline. The satin scarf will not absorb the product the way cotton does, and I can wake up in the morning to soft, moisturized edges.

Do I notice a difference?

The greatest difference that I noticed after incorporating more moisturizing products into my regular hair routine was how soft my hair was. Using the protein treatment and hair mask on wash days made it less necessary to use leave-in conditioner every day because my hair felt nourished and healthy. I also took a break from retwisting my roots during this past month, and the couple of inches of new growth feel soft enough to run my fingers through. The softness makes it even more manageable when it comes to switching up the parts and wearing my hair up and down throughout the day. Softer roots make retwisting easier and while I like the added length freshly retwisted roots add to my locs, I love the added volume that my untwisted roots add to my hair even more.

Since my hair is moisturized, it looks and feels healthier. The auburn color in my hair has looked richer for longer than usual. The curls and waves that I created with twistouts, braidouts, and roller sets have lasted at least a week and they seem to get better with time.

I am loving the new look and feel of my hair, and I think that this is a hair routine that I am willing to stick to throughout the winter. My hair looks and feels amazing, my routine is easy to maintain, and I know that if I run out of any products, I can always find great substitutes and replenish my stock on NaturallyCurly!

Are there any products that you would like to see me try this fall? Do you have favs that have changed your hair for the better? Share in the comments below!