How to Wash and Condition Natural Hair
How to Wash and Condition Natural Hairby Nicole Hollis of Hair Liberty

African American hair can be dry and fragile. A difficult combination, especially if you’re a busy woman. Treat your wash day like a pampering spa appointment for your hair. Follow these steps and you’ll get soft, moisturized hair that’s ready for a variety of styles.



Key Tips
  • Start by rinsing your hair with lukewarm water for about 3 minutes.
  • Comb your hair out from ends to roots before you rinse out the conditioner.
  • Always apply a leave-in conditioner before you proceed with styling.



Pre-Shampoo Oil Treatment
Step 1: Using your fingers, divide your hair into 4-6 sections.
Step 2: Apply approximately 1 tablespoons of pure coconut, olive, or avocado oil throughout each section. Make sure to put oil on every layer of your hair – you will use 4 to 6 tablespoons. Try Nutiva Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, $13.54 for a pack of 2 ($11.99 each MSRP).
Step 3: Cover your hair with a plastic cap to keep the oil from dripping down your face and neck.
Step 4: Leave the oil on your hair for 1 hour or more.

Wash
Step 1: Detangle your oil-soaked hair with your fingers. Gently pull apart tangles and knots so that your hair will be easier to wash.
Step 2: Once in the shower, rinse your hair with lukewarm water for 3-5 minutes. This long rinse will loosen up and rinse away product build up from the week.
Step 3: Apply a nickel to quarter-sized amount of a gentle, conditioning shampoo to your scalp and hair. Pass your hair back under the water to create a good lather. Try Kenra Moisturizing Shampoo, $24 for a pack of 2 ($12 each MSRP)
Step 4: Gently rub your scalp with the shampoo lather.
Step 5: Gently and quickly, work shampoo through the length of your hair – don’t separate the hair into sections or try to detangle it.
Step 6: Rinse thoroughly.


Condition

Step 1: Apply a generous amount of a thick, rich conditioner throughout your hair. The amount you will use depends on your hair length and thickness. For natural hair, try Shikai Color Reflect Intensive Repair Conditioner, $28.97 for a pack of 3 ($9.99 each MSRP). For distressed hair, try Joico K-Pak Moisture Intense Hydrator, $17.96. If your hair is very thick or very curly, you may use a palm full of conditioner or more.
Step 2: Work the conditioner through your hair from root to tip.
Step 3: Pass your head back under the water to help you distribute the conditioner. Make sure every strand of hair is saturated. Leave the conditioner in your hair for the amount of time specified in the instructions on the container.

Step 4: Before you rinse out the conditioner, detangle your hair with a wide tooth comb. Remember to start combing at the ends and work your way to the root.
Step 5: Rinse thoroughly.
Step 6: Once out of the shower, apply a creamy leave-in conditioner to your hair. Leave-in conditioners make African American hair easier to comb, which helps prevent breakage. Try Neutrogena Silk Touch Leave-In Cream, $15.99 for a pack of 3 ($6.99 each MSRP).
Step 7: Remember to air dry your hair whenever possible.

Any tips or tricks to share for an awesome wash day?