Guten Tag, y'all!
One question I get asked a lot is "Girl--how are you taking care of your hair in Germany?" I usually just answer these questions individually, but I figured it'd be a good idea to do a post about it. That way, if you want to know, you don't have to wait for me to reply!
A few things: I'm REALLY into hair. Most of my beauty products are hair related, and before I moved, I was all about trying new products and techniques. However, since moving to Germany, I've really streamlined my process and made an effort to stop being such a product junkie. I still try new things sometimes, but this is my bare bones routine. I think any girl can have healthy natural hair in Germany by following. You might have to adjust when it comes to products, but that's just a part of having natural hair.
So--caring for your natural hair in Germany. Let's get into it.
STEP 1: PREPARE
Because this can be a lengthy process, I definitely recommend gathering your arsenal before you get started. My arsenal of products includes a cleanser, a conditioner, a leave-in moisturizer, a sealant and an oil. My tools include a wide tooth comb, various hair clips and ponytail holders, and a spray bottle of water. I had been using a Denman-esque brush, but I think it's thinning my hair out. So I'm going to take it out of of the rotation for a while and see if there's a difference.
STEP 2: DETANGLE
As you can see, my hair is way overdue for a wash. Because I blew it out and straightened it, though, it's not as tangled as it could be. When it's very tangled, I part my hair into four sections, but since it's not that bad, I'm just going with two. To detangle, I spritz it with a little bit of water, then comb from the bottom up with a wide tooth comb. I bought the spray bottle at Ikea and the comb in America, but you can find a version of both of these in any drugstore, like Rossman or Mueller.
STEP 3: CLEANSE
I leave my hair in sections when I wash. I found this AWESOME Beautiful Textures Tangle Taming shampoo in Wal-Mart. Normally, I'm not that picky about my shampoo, but I REALLY like the way this makes my hair feel. But I've only been using it for the past few months; before that, I used Herbal Essences Hello Hydration shampoo, which you can totally find here in Germany (I tend to buy mine at Rossman or Mueller).
STEP 4: CONDITION
I like to rotate between Herbal Essences Hello Hydration conditioner (Rossman, Mueller) and Aussie Moist (which you can find at DM, though the bottle is much smaller and is beige instead of purple). If my hair is feeling extra dry, I use a cholesterol conditioner with a plastic cap (usually with olive oil mixed in; I've only seen this conditioner in black hairstores), and leave it on for 30 minutes to an hour. But if I don't have any cholesterol conditioner on hand, I just mix the Hello Hydration with olive oil. I also twist my hair in big twists while the conditioner's in it; this helps keep the tangles at bay.
STEP 5: MOISTURIZE & SEAL
This is the magic combination that takes my hair from dry and brittle to soft and supple. This is technically two steps, but I've found that it doesn't make sense to do one without the other. Nine times out of ten, I use Cantu Shea Butter Leave In to add moisture to my hair after rinsing my conditioner out. I haven't seen this in Germany, BUT I think you can find it at an Afro Shop or a black hair store. If I want some variety, I'll use Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie (not pictured, and not available in Germany, as far as I know). To seal in the moisture, I top it off with a bit of whipped shea butter, which I make using shea butter, coconut oil and olive oil. If I don't have any whipped shea butter, I use olive oil, and when it's hot, I use lighter products, but 90 percent of the time, this is what I use. I HIGHLY recommend this combo for Type 4 girls who have trouble keeping their hair moisturized!
STEP 6: STYLE
(I know this is the same picture. Just roll with it.) My go to style is either a twistout or a braidout. I'm kind of bored with twistouts at the moment (plus they shrink and tangle quickly for me), so I'm going to go back to doing braidouts for a while. To do this, I just put on a movie and braid my hair in pencil-sized individual plaits. I let them air-dry overnight. I do the same with twists. Sometimes I'll add a gel, if I want extra hold.The next day, I'll rub a bit of oil onto my hands (this is olive oil) and take down each section. If that's what you like, you can stop right there.
STEP 7: FLUFF & SEPERATE
Since I like my hair big, I seperate and fluff each braided section with my fingers. Sometimes I lift it at the root with my fingers or with a pick if I want more volume.
So that's what I do! Sounds like a lot, but once you get the hang of it, it's really not that difficult.
Now it's YOUR turn--how has your beauty regimen changed since moving to a foreign country? Or, if you don't live abroad, how does it change when you travel?