How To Develop A Hair Regimen When You Don’t Know Where to Start

Last updated on March 18th, 2024 at 08:08 am

Knowing where to begin and the building blocks on what makes for a good natural hair regimen could be confusing when you’re a beginner. If you’re looking for tips on how to develop a natural hair regimen for beginners, you’re in the right place.

how to develop a natural hair regimen

I’ve been natural for many years so I like to try new things including various hair products. This is something that you get more comfortable doing the longer you are, natural regardless of your hair type. But, you need to develop a natural hair regimen that’s effective for maintaining the health of your hair.

I know it can be overwhelming in the beginning. The natural hair community can actually add to that frustration at times. 

However, as you learn your hair, you will discover what it is that works best for your natural hair.

From trying new hair products to new hair techniques, the best way to truly discover what works is to make note of what you are using and to just give it at least a while between products so you can test how different products interact with each other. A good way to do this is with a hair planner or hair journal.

You’ll find a printable version down below. I created it for those looking to streamline their hair routines. 

When you don’t know where to start, you can simplify your natural hair regimen by starting with basic practices and products.

Basic Hair Practices in a Beginner’s Natural Hair Regimen

When providing guidance on building a natural hair regimen for beginners, I like to start with hair practices before focusing on hair products. That’s because there are many products but very few practices or techniques.

When you have good practices or hair habits in place, you can safely move on to trying different hair products over time.

Here are the most important things to get familiar with (Each header is linked to a more in depth article but you will find some additional commentary on these articles beneath the title.)

Pre-Pooing or Pre-Shampooing

This article contains all the tips you need to know for why and how to pre-poo fine natural hair (but the tips are beneficial for all hair types).

Coconut oil is typically the best for pre-pooing your natural hair but it is not so great of an oil to seal with. That’s because when using coconut oil to seal moisture into your hair, it can mimic a protein treatment. The results can leave your hair feeling sort of brittle.

Not everyone gets brittle hair sealing with coconut oil but many have experienced this so it’s best to err on the side of caution and just use it to pre-poo with. 

There’s much to learn about how to choose a hair oil to pre-poo with or seal with. There are more details below. Just know that oils are great for pre-pooing your natural hair.

Cleansing

We all know that cleansing your hair by way of shampooing or co-washing is an important step in “resetting” your hair for the week (or month).

This articles shares tips for cleansing fine natural hair for length retention with a moisturizing shampoo. You will find some solid advice in this article even if you don’t have fine hair.

Deep Conditioning

In this deep conditioning guide, you’ll find it to be a complete resource for understanding deep conditioning (especially for fine hair). It also includes a link to an article outline the Do’s and Don’ts of deep conditioning because too much moisture isn’t a good thing either.

Detangling

When removing tangles (and knots) from natural hair, you need to do so with caution and time on your hands. You also don’t want to detangle dry hair. Damp hair or wet hair with the aid of the shower stream is the best way to detangle natural hair.

Those are just a few points. This articles shares all that you need to know about detangling safely (note: fine hair needs extra precaution)

Moisturizing

Know how to moisturize your hair will make or break your natural hair journey. That’s because moisturized hair is hair that is in the perfect environment to grow and thrive.

Those with a 4 C Hair type may struggle with moisture retention more than others. The tips in this article can definitely help with that.

Lastly, this article is a Guide to Moisture 101 and includes tips for each porosity hair type. It also outlines how to seal moisture into your hair with methods like the LOC method

Strengthening 

Strengthening your hair is just as important as moisturizing it. In this article you’ll discover why those with fine hair need to do a regular protein treatment and the important role protein plays in every natural hair routine.

Trimming

No matter how moisturized or strong you keep your hair, you will get split ends and maybe even single strand knots from time to time. That’s just the nature of having natural hair. Plus, there’s this wicked thing called wear and tear.

This is why you’ll need to trim your hair at regular intervals. That doesn’t mean you will need to trim it every 6 weeks or 2 months as some recommend.

If you are not damaging your hair regularly, you won’t need to trim it or get it trimmed as often. Also, even though you may prefer to get your hair professionally trimmed (regardless of how often), you’ll still need a basic knowledge of how to trim your own hair. This could be as simple as trimming out a knot or dusting your ends.

In this article, you’ll read about ways to trim your own hair when you aren’t comfortable having someone else do it. Because, hey you could change your mind and become a self trimmer.

Protective Styling

There’s a reason you see so many protective styling video tutorials on YouTube. Styling your hair in a manner that protects your ends from premature wear and tear will help you to retain more length (if that’s your goal).

In this article, you’ll discover 6 easy steps to doing protective styles on your natural hair in a manner that keeps it 100% protected.

Low Manipulation Styling

While protective styling is a good way to retain length, using low manipulation styles and handling can also help you retain length. Plus, who wants to keep their hair in a protected state 100% of the time. Surely, you want to enjoy wearing your hair out too right?

This article explains what low manipulation actually is, how to do it at various points of your hair regimen and 7 tips to making low manipulation styling successful.

The Hair Regimen Handbook

All of the moving parts in a hair regimen can be a bit much to grasp. If you want to discover how your personality type determines the routines to add to your hair regimen so that it’s in harmony with who you are at your very cord, grab the Hair Regimen Handbook.

hair regimen handbook

This guide will help you to understand how to approach building and following your hair routines. You’ll also discover 7 common (but some unknown) personality types, common hair practices and the potential dangers of each.

A Word on Heat Styling

Notice I didn’t list any specific tips on styling that utilizes heat. The reason is when you are just starting out building a natural hair regimen as a beginner, heat styling should be the last thing on your mind.

First, get to know your natural hair and develop a routine that works for your hair type.

If you add in heat styling too soon, you can experience heat damage and even hair loss.

Yet, while I know there are some that will say, “I’m doing it anyway.”, please at least take these tips in mind:

  • Always use a heat protectant even when you are using a small amount of heat. This could be with a blow dryer but especially hot tools like flat irons and curling irons.
  • Don’t heat style more than once in a month
  • Don’t use the highest level of heat. You can usually achieve great results under 300 degrees.

Basic Hair Products for Your Natural Hair Regimen

basic natural hair products

The word “basic” tends to have a bad connotation. You know how there are those people who will say things like “You’re so basic” to degrade another individual?

However, I submit to you that as it relates to a natural hair regimen for beginners, being basic isn’t a bad thing. 

Once you’ve familiarized and become well versed on the best hair practices, it’s time to decide what products you will need to complete your hair routines. So, for best results basic is good when building a natural hair regimen for beginners.

Also, whenever possible opt for natural hair products. This term has a two fold meaning. Natural hair products are:

  1. Products marketed for those with hair in its natural state
  2. Products containing mostly natural ingredients (some may have a safe preservative in them)

When building a natural hair care routine, you want to incorporate the right products into your hair care regimen. While your hair texture may be different from another, each one of us needs to use the following types of hair products. The recommendations I mention are great if you have fine natural hair.

So, you can start with (and actually stick to using) using these products in your natural hair regimen:

  • sulfate-free shampoo
  • clarifying shampoo
  • co-wash product for the other weeks you wash (I recommend Eden Bodyworks Coconut Co-wash). You don’t want to over-shampoo your natural hair.
  • deep conditioner (I love TGIN Honey Miracle Hair Mask and Ominira Naturals’ Honey and Watermelon Infusion – Ultimate Moisturizing Conditioner)
  • detangling conditioner (I recommend Ominira Naturals Tangle Slayer and Giovanni Smooth as Silk Deeper Moisture Conditioner)
  • few light natural oils to either pre-poo with or seal in the moisture (jojoba, grape seed or sweet almond or great). If you don’t have super fine hair, you can use a heavier oil like olive oil or castor oil or a hair butter like shea butter or mango butter to regularly seal your hair strands with. To pre-poo, you don’t much need to concern yourself about the heaviness of the oil because you will be washing it out.
  • styler that can double as a leave-in conditioner (there’s so many out there but I have to say even though I’m not a huge Shea Moisture fan anymore, their Curl Enhancing Smoothie will always be a fave of mine)

That’s not too much is it?

Focus on One Brand

Also, take note that it’s best to use as many products from the same brand or manufacturer as possible. This is because they are formulated to work well together.

Here are a few complete product lines that I have used and find work very well because they are gentle and comprised of safe ingredients:

Daily Moisture Spray

daily moisture spray

In addition to the products mentioned above, I like to place special emphasis on creating at least one or two DIYs that you can customize to focus on a most critical part of your natural hair regimen. That part is making sure you keep your hair moisturized.

You’ll want to make sure your hair stays moisturized between wash days. Depending on your hair’s porosity, you may need to moisturize more frequently to prevent dry hair.

If you’re looking to see some hair growth, it’s very important for those with curly hair to make maintaining moisture one of the key focuses. A great way to do this is with a daily moisture spray.

Here’s a good article from SkinKraft on understanding porosity (It’s actually important that you understand it): What Is Hair Porosity?

So, while you can just create a nice daily spray moisturizer in a spray bottle with your conditioner, a little oil and some water, it’s fun to experiment.

Check out the video below where I share a very easy DIY recipe for a daily moisture spray:

Hair Tools and Accessories for a Beginner Natural Hair Regimen

In the resources section below, you’ll find more in depth content on what tools to use in your natural hair.

However, if you’re looking for a quick list of tools that is recommended for all new naturals to have, here it is:

  • Wide-tooth comb (preferably one without seams like this one)
  • Detangling brush (The E-Z Detangler is great for use under the shower stream)
  • Gentle hair dryer (yup click the link. It’s the most gentle of them all)
  • Satin pillowcase set – you can find these just about anywhere. Mulberry Silk is even better if it’s in your budget
  • Satin scrunchies (or silk)
  • Plastic caps (Drug store caps are fine. You’ll use them with the next tool)
  • Conditioning cap (This microwavable one is portable)
  • Bobby pins (for securing your styles of course!)
  • Hair clips (You’ll need these for sectioning your hair on wash day or when styling mid-week)
  • Basic pair of hair sheers for snipping out knots (I’ve had these titanium scissors for years and they remain sharp)
hair tools for beginners with natural hair

This list may seem long to some but to truly care for and style your hair in a manner that is safe and effective, you’ll need each of these hair tools and accessories. This list is truly basic (there goes that word again!).

Optional Tools and Accessories

You may be wondering about some of the hair accessories and tools you’ve seen other naturals use. When you are a beginner at caring for your natural hair, you want to keep things as simple as possible.

When you become a more seasoned natural, you’ll be able to add more into your hair care arsenal without becoming overwhelmed.

A few additional tools and accessories I’ll mention but you won’t necessarily need as a beginner are:

  • hair steamer (portable or otherwise….basic deep conditioning can be done with a conditioning cap)
  • scalp massaging brush – your fingers are sufficient; this is just a bonus tool
  • special styling tools like Curlformers, Flexi-rods, Heatless curling kits and this list goes on

I hope you find these tips on how to develop a natural hair regimen for beginners helpful for your natural hair journey.

The good news is once you nail your techniques and find the hair products that work best for you, your natural hair care becomes much easier. When that happens, you’ll not be tempted to turn or return to what some call the creamy crack.

Additional Resources:

A few additional resources that can shed more understanding on helping you care for your natural hair can be found here:

Newbie Natural Hair Guide for Those Transitioning to Natural Hair – this is an in depth guide for those either transitioning to natural hair for the very first time or those who have failed at it and want to give it another go. You’ll find all the support you need to transition to natural hair here.

Beginner’s Guide to Caring for Natural Hair Daily – This is a complimentary guide to this article on a natural hair regimen for beginners. It includes some overlapping themes but also includes my top 5 healthy hair tips and some sample wash day routines.

Best Tools for Fine Natural Hair – This is a list of my personal list of recommended tools to care for fine natural hair. If your hair isn’t fine but you still want to use the most gentle hair tools, you’ll find them here.

Also, see the Fine Hair Routines guide or the Goal Setting Hair Care Planner for help to develop your hair routines:

beginner's natural hair regimen

This article was updated from a previous version to include more complete information.

Share with friends!

Michelle Smith

Michelle is a Christian natural hair enthusiast. She's been natural for 20+ years and shares natural hair care tips and easy hairstyles for those with low density or thin fine natural hair. It's her joy to inspire you to live by faith in God while caring for your "crown."

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.