Almost any curly natural can tell you that maintaining the integrity of our curls and hair health is so important. We go through a rollercoaster of emotions on the natural hair journey—after we finally fall in love with our curls, we have to learn to maintain them after working our way through tons of products, trying to find the best ones that help us have optimal hydration and the most defined twist out. It’s a process. So many of us do our best to follow the curl handbook and do everything we can to completely stay away from anything that can compromise the health of our hair, including heat and even color. I don’t know about you, but the very thing I love about being natural is the ability to be versatile and I’ve always loved color. From the time my mom allowed me to experiment with a color rinse, I’ve been enamored with switching up my hair with adding color, especially blonde. I’ve been natural for eight years and during that time, I have gone blonde three times. Let me tell you, blonde is no easy feat to maintain when your hair is natural. I’m always asked how I am able to maintain my blonde hair and keep my curls healthy and hydrated. The biggest thing I've learned throughout my journey is that hydrated hair and a healthy regimen begins on wash day. Incorporating the correct techniques and quality products make all the difference in retaining length and moisturized curls. So, let's jump into my wash day routine and how I keep my type 4 blonde curls healthy and hydrated.
Wash day can be a very, very, very long. My wash day is essentially two days from prep to picking, so I try to get my mind, arms (haha) and hair ready for the marathon, if you will.
My very first step is gather all my supplies—shampoo, conditioner, twisting products, clips or hair ties, spray bottle, hair towel, shower cap, thermal cap and detangling brush. Then I line up a good podcast episode for wash time and a TV show to catch up on during twisting time. Lastly—prep! My hair is very densely packed, with tightly curled, fine strands. I’ve always found it much easier to divide my hair in four to six sections for easier manageability. If my hair is particularly tangled, I’ll spritz water and a little conditioner in a water bottle to soften the hair so I’m not breaking or snagging any strands as I separate it into sections.
Time to Wash:
I can’t begin to express how important the shampoo step is on the wash day. A great weekly shampoo will remove dirt and buildup from your hair and scalp without stripping it of its natural oils. I’m using the SheaMoisture® 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Daily Hydration Shampoo. I love how creamy it is, that it is color safe, and most importantly, doesn’t dry out my curls. I can literally finger detangle as I shampoo, which helps ease wash day along. What I love about this shampoo is that it’s not only formulated with 100% virgin coconut oil, it also contains argan oil, sweet almond oil, coconut milk and acacia Senegal, which are amazing in helping with growth, providing hydration, increasing manageability and adding shine.
A good shampoo is crucial because if you don’t remove the buildup, your scalp can’t breathe and your curls will be limp. If you were to compare our hair to a plant, our scalps would be considered soil and our hair the plant. Just as a plant flourishes when it's planted in good quality soil, your hair will flourish if your scalp is free from buildup and your strands aren’t brittle. I like to shampoo my hair twice and I love that this shampoo is sulfate-free—it's gentle, but efficient enough to lift the impurities and add hydration.
This is by far the most important step for hydration and it’s my favorite part of wash day. Probably because I get to give my arms a 15 minute break, but also, this is where the magic happens. I deep condition every single time I wash to consistently infuse moisture and hydration into my curls. Just like my shampoo, I apply the SheaMoisture® 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Daily Hydration Conditioner to my hair in sections. This conditioner, like it’s shampoo counterpart, is formulated with the same amazing ingredients—100% virgin coconut and shea oils, coconut milk and acacia Senegal, in addition to argan oil, aloe and rosehip oil to hydrate, smooth, soften and nourish. I make sure my hair is completely saturated with water so I get nice slip to detangle. I work my way up from ends to root with my detangling brush .
This conditioner, like its shampoo counterpart, is a nice lightweight formula that easily and quickly penetrate my strands to deliver that hydration and reduce frizz. Once my hair is completely saturated with conditioner, I usually do 1 of two things—cover my sections with a plastic and thermal cap, or allow the steam to do its thing while I indulge in some self-care, like a body scrub. Both curly and color-treated hair are more susceptible to dryness so this is a step I never, ever skip.
Twist and Take down:
Time to seal in all that work and create a bomb style. This is normally the moment I throw on a good show to catch up on while I slather my curls in an extremely hydrating curl cream. I use a curl cream alone vs. a layer gel. That small change has made all the difference with maintaining my blonde curls because I’m limiting the amount of product buildup and ensuring I’m not putting any products that contain alcohol, which can dry out my hair. By choosing a styling product that has both moisture and hold, this ensures my finished style looks and feels hydrated and lasts throughout the week without consistent touch-ups. I like to allow my hair to air dry throughout the day and set overnight for a super juicy twist out.
Taking care of blonde curly hair doesn’t have to be difficult at all. My current wash day process is very similar to my wash day without color, which is likely why I’ve always had success with color-treated hair. While no two curls are the same, it’s important to be very intentional when it comes to choosing the right hydrating products and making sure I never skip a conditioning session. Keep your ends tucked, your hands out of your hair after wash day, and regularly trim your ends. Head to Costco® or Costco.com to get the amazing jumbo-sized SheaMoisture® 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Daily Hydration Shampoo and Conditioner Duo. Seriously, the size of these bottles are exactly what every natural needs in their life—dime sized who??
If you have had or have blonde natural hair, what are some tips you have for maintaining moisture and hydration?