I have to comb through my hair at least once weekly (unless it's braided) to prevent tangling and/or locking. Yes, your natural hair will loc up on you if you don't comb it. Don't be alarmed.
Instructions - Saturate hair with Garnier Fructis Strength & Repair Fortifying Deep Conditioner, comb through hair with a strong wide toothed comb one section at a time - add more conditioner as necessary, but the conditioner should be easy to comb through. If not, you need to find another deep conditioner. Rinse conditioner, (optional: clarify with baking soda, rinse baking soda), follow daily wash and style instructions from yesterday.
In the winter time (so far), I just do the weekly maintenance and either put it in a head wrap, get it braided, or wear a towel dryed curly fro. For the winter curly fro, instead of washing/wetting my hair each morning, I just spray it with water (or a liquid moisturizer) and that makes it manageable enough to pick out/finger comb through, but allows it to dry much faster.
My cousin is going to try two-strand twists for me at the end of this week and I'm thinking about flat-ironing it and getting a fly cut of some sort, then going to back to the wet fro in the spring. I dunno.
Headwraps - I love 'em. End of story. I can't really find a picture with one on, but you know what a head wrap is. (Not a doo rag Mike, before you come in here roastin')
Cornrows - Cornrows are a simple go-to for the in-between times. They itch like hell though and I haven't found a good winter moisturizer that I like yet.
Flatironing the naps -
November '07 (the last time I straightened my hair)
There is a such thing as heat damage. If you blow dry or flat-iron your hair, there is the chance that you could permanently relax your hair and/or parts of your hair. There are plenty of people who don't have a perm, but who got the ish blow-dried out of their hair and now it's permanently straight. To each her superfly own.
I haven't gotten my hair straightened since November '07 for a few reasons.
1) If I wanted to wear it straight I would get a perm
2) I am afraid of heat damage
3) There is always too much precipitation in Chicago. Name a season where it doesn't rain or snow here? It's always wet. So I haven't straightened it yet, but I've been thinking about it. Maybe for a vacation. :-)
Dying Hair - Do it! (if you want more color) Dye will loosen your curl, so if you absolutely don't want your curls to get ANY looser, don't dye your hair. Otherwise go crazy with color. Not worrying about overprocessing your hair is one of the fab benefits about not having a perm. Also note: I got regular at the beauty shop, chemical color in my hair. Some natural sisters prefer henna and other natural ways to color hair. I don't know anything about it, but if someone wants to share, knock yourself out. Below is color I got done in June.
Quick recap of today and yesterday: my must-have product list is: Burts Bees Raspberry and Brazil Nut Conditioner, Garnier Fructis Strength & Repair Fortifying Deep Conditioner, Olive Oil (plain old EVOO from the grocery store), Miss Jessies Curly Buttercreme, Baking Soda, Strong Wide Tooth Comb, Carol's Daughter Black Vanilla Leave-In conditioner (optional, 'cause it doesn't do anything, but smell good) and IC Fantasia Gel (the truth!)
Also, I stay away from anything that contains petroleum or mineral oil (which add unnecessary build-up) and sodium laurel sulfates or sodium laureth sulfates (which strip hair of moisture).