It's a strange experience to look back at all that has happened over the past year or so. In March 2020, everything about our lives changed when we found ourselves locked indoors in the name of public health. We were collectively scrambling to define a new normal. The old normal for a curly girl like myself usually included visiting a professional stylist every three months for a routine appointment and some good old TLC. I looked forward to the ritual of checking in on the progress of my curls and making sure they were growing healthy and strong. And, of course, learning if the maintenance I was doing at home was up to par. To tell the truth, I never thought I’d ever have to take on my natural journey without the help of a stylist.
Even with virtual consultations available and three years of being natural under my belt, the thought of having to maintain my curls alone terrified me. I feared that by the time I’d finally make it to the salon months later, I would have already cut my hair unevenly in attempts to trim my ends, or I'd show up with dry, dehydrated curls because I couldn't purchase my favorite products. I almost didn’t survive without my Taliah Waajid Curl Cream.
I assumed I would be saying goodbye to positive progress and hello to unwanted damage. However, within a few weeks, I quickly dispelled my fears. I found a new normal of using household items lying around my Jersey City apartment and channeling all the free time I never had in the past into keeping up with my daily and weekly curl routine.
I started the year with my natural hair barely reaching past my shoulders. By August, when quarantine restrictions were letting up in New York, my 4B/4C textured hair flowed well past my shoulders, with three additional inches of length. Who would have thought? Certainly, not me.
Take it from us: there’s hope in maintaining your hair journey from home. With time, patience, and effort, anything is possible. If you ever have to take on caring for your natural hair without the expert stylist advice you’ve come to rely on, here’s a look into the routine I created for my 4B/4C curls and coils.
Use the Resources You Have
A few years ago, I came across a natural hair mask recipe that I used at the start of my hair journey but never had the time to keep up with. The recipe included rinsing my hair with apple cider vinegar to break down any excess product or dirt from my hair. I'd also mix two raw eggs, two tablespoons of mayonnaise, two teaspoons of raw honey, and a scoop of avocado if my hair needed extra moisture. This interesting yet weird-smelling mixture has worked wonders for my hair. Every two weeks during quarantine, I blended these ingredients to create a moisturizing mask that kept my curls soft, defined, and overall looking and feeling amazing. I left this in my hair for about 45 minutes each time.
Vitamins Are Vital
While stuck at home, I realized the best way to keep my body healthy and strong was to amp up my vitamin intake. In addition to helping my immune system, the extra amounts of vitamin C and vitamin A enhanced the health and length of my natural hair. My hair appeared stronger, fuller, and thicker after two months of consistent vitamin intake. Keeping up with my vitamins was a task within itself, so if you want to do the same, you can try setting daily reminders or alarms, so you don't forget to take them.
Care for Your Ends
I’ve heard several stylists say they’ve never really recommended cutting your hair at home. While it may seem as easy as a few snips here and there, the wrong cut can honestly change the entire shape of your hair. However, for those of us with naturally curly hair (and many people in general during our recent stretch of lockdown), the need for some DIY maintenance is likely to pop up eventually when you can't get into a salon.
To cautiously maintain my ends, I separated my hair into sections and twisted my hair into smaller portions. I carefully trimmed the end of each twist, mainly targeting broken or straggly hair. This helped me eliminate any split ends so my hair could continue growing while working carefully enough not to mess up my overall shape.
Protective Styles are Beyond Helpful
Even with the abundance of time I appeared to have during quarantine, working from home did consume most of my life. In between my DIY masks and regular maintenance, I put my hair into box braids from May to August to keep it protected while I had less time to care for it. This made growing out my natural hair easier because I could protect my curls from any external factors, such as humidity during the summer months or failing to put my silk bonnet on at night.