A lot of us have one...an established, rarely-varied, almost-religious hair care routine we use on a regular basis to maintain and style our curly locks. The question has been asked, however: is having a hair routine a must?
I don't think there is any "right" or "wrong" answer to that, frankly; I think that depends on you, your particular hair and your lifestyle. So let's look at the possible reasons to have or to not have one.
If you are like me, having an established hair routine means the difference between sanity and insanity in your daily life. Like many of you, I am a tremendously busy woman: I am a wife and a mother, I work in a salon about 30 hours a week, and I run Live Curly Live Free, which is an almost full-time business, on top of it all. There isn't a whole lot of additional time factored into my day and I don't particularly want to spend the precious few extra minutes I do have fussing with my hair. And, truth be known, as much as I love doing the hair of others, I have very little patience for doing my own. Having an established routine means I only have to spend 10-15 unthinking minutes a day, tops, on making my curls look the best they can be...and that suits me and my busy life just fine.
Also, I find my own particular hair responds best by having some sort of structure in how I wash, condition and apply my products. My curls seem to relax when I use a regular routine, almost as if they have made a silent pact to behave as long as I don't surprise them with anything new. I know how my hair will respond to each step in the process, regardless of weather or season, because I've used that same process so many times before. It's comfortable, familiar ground.
On the other hand, however, there is a lot to be said for changing it up. Some women tell me their curls look better if they don't fall into a set pattern: by switching their products and product application technique frequently, their hair keeps a fresh look they say they can't achieve by using the same routine consistently. Depending on what products you use, making a switch can also help you to avoid build-up issues or prevent your products from losing their effectiveness with long-term use.
Being more varied in your routine additionally leaves you more open to discovering new products or techniques that you might not have otherwise found had you settled into an unchangeable, unvaried routine. Although I stick to my usual routine whenever possible, I do a considerable amount of product and method testing and I can definitely vouch for the fact that I have found more than a few great products and techniques during one of my experiment phases.
Like everything else in our mad, crazy, wonderful world of curly hair, whether or not you have an established hair routine is a very personal choice and one only you can make for yourself. Let your glamorous selves shine by always doing what YOU think is best for you and your own beautiful curls!