Summer is over, and school is back in session. That means busy moms, kids, college curlies, and working naturals are once again squeezed for time with densely packed calendars and schedules. While some naturals have the luxury of spending hours upon hours managing their manes, there are some of us who can barely carve out time to go to the restroom, let alone give our hair the TLC it needs. Here are six ways to cut back on time spent on your hair without sacrificing taking great care of it.
A Few Birds, One Stone
One of the easiest ways to save time (and money) in your regimen is to make your products work a little bit harder for you and do double duty. Simply put, find products that are able to accomplish more than one thing. For example, I rarely ever spend time pre-pooing before wash day anymore. That’s because I can accomplish a pre-poo and detangle in one step, with one product (Trader Joe’s Tea Tingle Conditioner). Even if I decide to skip the pre-poo all together, I can still detangle and cleanse in one step with my new favorite, Obia Natural Haircare Coconut Shea Shampoo Bar. See what areas in your regimen can benefit from a streamlining of products and purpose, and go for it!
Cut Down Your DC
It has been proven time and time again that deep conditioning does not have to be done for hours on end to be effective. Nothing zaps more time from your day then sitting at home under a dryer waiting for miracles to happen while you need to be out and about running errands, or on your way to class. The truth is, your average deep conditioner is formulated to work in under half an hour to achieve maximum benefit. So instead of wasting hours (or interrupting your sleep by attempting to deep condition your soaking wet head overnight), follow the instructions on the package, but don’t exceed 30 minutes for deep conditioning. You have better uses for your time.
Master A Go-To Style
Every curly girl should have at least one go-to style that they can execute in 10 minutes or less. For me, that style is a transitioner puff (a traditional puff with the straight ends tucked away) or a high bun. I know exactly what tools and products I need to get a no-fail result every time. When I’m pressed for time or have a horrible style/product experimentation mishap, I always know I can fall back on either of those styles. Find your go to styling options, and keep them in your time-saving arsenal at all times!
As the seasons change, the temperatures do too. Many natural ladies find themselves cleansing their hair more regularly in the summer months due to increased perspiration. But as the later months bring cooler temperatures, there is an opportunity to skip a wash day or two. Depending upon how often you wash your hair, you may be able to forego or delay a wash without posing significant harm to your hair. For example, I wash my hair twice a week during the summer months because it is warmer, I sweat more, and I tend to spend more time outdoors. But as fall rolls around, I cut back to one wash day a week – saving me time and money on products…and your water bill.
Another huge time zapper is not being able to find the things you need. Before I got organized, I spent so much of my time trying to remember where I put such-and-such product, or trying to locate just one more bobby pin. Now those days are long behind me. When you get a spare moment, begin organizing your products and tools in a way that makes them easily accessible. For example, all my products are grouped by category: cleansers, conditioners, deep conditioners, stylers, moisturizers, leave-ins, etc. I also have Ziploc bags dedicated to particular tools. My scrunchies, bobby pins, satin strips, perm rods, headbands, and clips all have their own separate bags. Of course, this system only works if you put things back where you find them!
One last great way to trim time from your regimen is to cut down on maintenance. Not ignoring your hair; rather finding products that are able to meet your hair’s needs for an extended period of time. If your hair craves moisture, make sure your process and products to add moisture to your hair will carry you throughout the week (or at least for a few days). If your concern is style and hold, check for products that will keep your look locked-in for the long term. I personally recommend Alikay Naturals Shea Yogurt Moisturizer for thirsty hair, and Wonder Curl Get Set Hair Jelly or Goddess Curls for tresses that need long-term taming.