Wednesday, February 11, 2009

In Search of... The Regimen for Me

You would think that being natural since 2001 would mean that I have a locked down regimen by now.

Ha. Think again.

I've loved my curls since I was 18, but it's only now, at 25, that I'm finally learning how to nourish, pamper and (in terms of different styles) fully celebrate them.

A lot of that I owe to the wonderful women of the interwebs. I've learned a lot from stalking blogs like Mane and Chic, Honey Brown Sugar, and from tuning into YouTube gurus like CurlyChronicles and ItsMsHeatherNicole (my personal favorite -- she is hilarious, yo.)

See, back in '01, there weren't nearly as many resources as there are now. And I was sad to realize that many of the natural salons here in DC didn't really "do" curly naturals. Instead, they specialized in braids, locs and intricate protective styles -- all beautiful, but that's not what I had on my head. So my regimen became a simple, yet not very beneficial process: Lather with shampoo. Rinse. Apply conditioner. Don't rinse. Air dry. Repeat a week later.

My poor hair. It would look great on day one, okay on days two and three, and simply wretched by day four. At that point, I'd pin it back, or furiously brush it into a sad, limp and dehydrated puff.

Oh god, that puff. I spent many nightmarish days with it, feeling hopeless and completely unattractive with that fuzzy tuft of hair atop my head. And in undergrad, especially that rough fall semester junior year, I didn't have the time to figure out anything else. At one point, one of my friends rather bluntly told me I needed to get my hair together; at another, a random Ethopian woman stopped me on the street and very sweetly gave me some suggestions on how to moisturize my hair. (She suggested grease, which was likely a bad idea, but hey. She tried.) It was so sad. And it's the reason I have a severe aversion to puffs now -- which, as I mentioned a little while back, I'm just starting to get over.

Fast forward to sometime around 2005, 2006. A company called Miss Jessie's starts showing up in magazines. The owners have hair like mine, only longer, shinier, glossier, bigger. I'm enchanted. I promptly order a full size of Curly Pudding, for more than I was willing to pay (at the time) for a pair of jeans. The package arrives, and I'm excited. I use it once... and I'm not that excited anymore. Curly Pudding sits in my bathroom only to be used intermittently until it finally runs out a year later.

Is this the only company for curlies like me? *le sigh* Back to square one.

But one day, somehow (when I probably should have been working), I stumbled across a Web site called Naturally Curly. And I started reading posts by women who had "regimens," with products that actually worked with their textured hair. I read about using t-shirts instead of terrycloths towels, and about a method called "plopping." (Genius, although I only did it once or twice.) More perusing around the web would bring me to articles, blogs, and, in the past year, YouTube. And I'd find out about moisturizers, conditioners, sealers, stylers, humectants, commercial products and kitchen cabinet finds... everything.

It's funny, actually. Because of the Internet, my hair has never been happier.

...but at the same time, my wallet has never been more frustrated. Lol.

There's so much out there! And as much as I love the other natural ladies on the web, I will fully blame them for my current product-junkie-ism. (*shakes fists* Darn you all!!!) And so now, I've gone from knowing nothing about caring for my hair to knowing -- if it's possible -- almost too much.

And so now, my dresser is lined with all sorts of stuff -- oils, organic stylers, shampoos, conditioners and a big jar of solid coconut oil that my roommate won't go near. (She can't stand coconut.) I've gone from an almost useless regimen to a schizophrenic one. The only constant is the Elasta QP Deep Penetrating Remoisturizer (I love that word... remoisturizer) that I used as a deep condish every week.

So friends, I conclude this exhorbitantly long post with one question -- how did you get to your current regimen? How long did it take? And is it permanent, or are you always looking, always keeping your options open?

(P.S. I'm sitting under the dryer after trying a new combination of products -- and styling techniques -- tonight. I'll share results tomorrow.)


Bronze Trinity said...

I have to subscribe to this blog! You haven't been around too long so I'm glad you are here :)

Miss Marche said...

Yay! Thanks! And I gotta say, I love that name. :o)

Nicole said...

I don't have a regimen per se, whatever I do is a response to my hair's needs at the time and I try not to fuss with it too much. I don't wash unless I need to, but I wet/condition my hair during the week to make it easier to style (usually a curly fro) and moisturize everyday to every other day. Deva curl shampoo sans sulfates and conditioner in addition to bentonite clay masks work really well for my hair. As far as moisturizing, I couldn't find anything that worked well that didn't cause buildup THEN I saw this vlog on youtube: and took to the kitchen and started mixing. Ingredients are expensive, but once you buy them, you don't have to replace them for a while.

I wish there was an over arching cure-all, I think we'd all save a lot more money that way; but unfortunately it's trial, error, and eventual success.

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