If you have a head full of natural hair like myself, wash day can be a bit intimidating if your new to the healthy natural hair scene. A bit of water touches your hair and you’re instantly introduced to shrinkage, tangles and knots. Knowing how to wash your natural hair is priceless. I’m going to give you my top tips for getting through wash day with natural hair.
1. Prepoo With Oil
If you need to familiarize yourself with the details of prepooing click here. I try to do a prepoo before every single shampoo, especially my clarifying shampoos since the entire process of washing can be very rough on the hair. Applying a natural oil to the hair from root to tip about 30 minutes before a shampoo can be nourishing and give a protective shield to the hair. I recently found out that coconut oil applied to the hair at least 20 minutes before shampooing can reduce stress known as hygral fatigue on the hair. So prepoo with coconut oil before hand to give your hair a fighting chance.
2. Section And Wash
If you have 6 inches or more of natural hair length, washing the whole head of hair loose may not be the best way to do things. Try sectioning your hair into 4 or 6 sections that twisted or braided. Remove one braid or twist at a time and wash that particular section only. Re-twist or braid the section when the section is washed. This process takes a lot longer, but fewer tangles, knots and breakage is totally worth it.
3. Lather Once With A Sulfate Free Shampoo
Shampoo is for cleaning the scalp, and the run off of water and suds work to clean the length of hair. If you get the scalp and hair sufficiently wet, you should be able to get shampoo right to the scalp and work a good lather. Rinse well with lukewarm water and your hair should be clean. If you feel like you need another wash, opt for a conditioner wash (co-wash) instead.
4. Follow Up with Conditioner
Don’t forget to always follow up your ‘poo with an instant conditioner and if you’re really feeling yourself, hop out and deep treat right quick with a gentle heat source! You will need to replenish the moisture back into your hair, as well as detangle your hair with a moisture rich conditioner. Check out this list of best products with slip.
5. Dry Hair With A Microfiber Towel or T-shirt
Traditional cotton towels can really tangle and break hair due to the structure. Try a microfiber towel or plain t-shirt to dry the hair instead. Be sure to squeeze and blot the water out of the hair and avoid rubbing.
Just remember that a little bit of breakage while washing or doing anything to the hair is inevitable, but be sure to keep an eye out for excessive breakage. Give yourself a good protein treatment, balance your hair out with moisture and assess your diet in this case. When all else fails…consult a physician. Doctors (sometimes) know best!
QUICK VIEW– FAQs for Washing Natural Hair
How do you wash your natural hair? Let us know in the comment section below.
1. How Often Should I Wash My Natural Hair? The frequency of washing your natural hair depends on your hair type, lifestyle, and personal preferences. On average, most naturals wash their hair every 1-2 weeks. However, you can adjust this based on how your hair feels. Some may need to wash more often, while others can go longer between washes.
2. What Type of Shampoo Should I Use? Choose a sulfate-free shampoo that’s gentle on your curls. Sulfates can strip your hair of its natural oils, leaving it dry and prone to damage. Look for shampoos that are specifically formulated for curly and natural hair, as they’re designed to cleanse without over-drying.
3. Can I Use Conditioner to Co-Wash? Absolutely! Co-washing, or conditioner-only washing, is a popular method among naturals. It involves using conditioner instead of shampoo to cleanse your hair. Co-washing helps maintain moisture and can be used between regular shampoo washes.
4. How Do I Detangle My Hair Before Washing? Detangling before washing is essential to prevent knots and breakage. Use a wide-tooth comb or your fingers to gently remove knots and tangles from the tips to the roots. Some naturals prefer to detangle their hair with conditioner in the shower for added slip.
5. Should I Use Hot or Cold Water to Wash My Hair? It’s best to use lukewarm water when washing your natural hair. Hot water can strip your hair of moisture, while cold water may not effectively remove product build-up. Lukewarm water helps open the hair cuticle for cleansing without drying it out.
6. How Much Shampoo Should I Use? Less is more when it comes to shampoo. Start with a small amount and add more as needed. Focus on your scalp and roots, as they’re the areas that need the most cleansing. You can allow the shampoo to run through the lengths of your hair as you rinse it out.
7. Should I Use a Deep Conditioner After Washing? Yes! Deep conditioning is a vital step in your hair care routine. After washing, apply a deep conditioner and leave it on for the recommended time (usually 15-30 minutes). This helps restore moisture, softness, and elasticity to your curls.
8. How Do I Prevent My Hair from Tangling During Washing? To prevent tangling, divide your hair into sections before washing. This makes the process more manageable and ensures that each section gets properly cleansed and conditioned. Be gentle when washing and detangling to avoid creating knots.
9. Can I Use a T-Shirt Instead of a Towel to Dry My Hair? Absolutely! Using a t-shirt to dry your hair is a popular method among naturals. T-shirts are gentler on your curls than regular towels, which can cause friction and frizz. Simply blot your hair with the t-shirt to remove excess water.
10. What’s the Best Way to Dry My Hair After Washing? Air-drying is the gentlest way to dry your natural hair. If you prefer to use a dryer, use a diffuser attachment on low heat and low speed to prevent heat damage and frizz. Always apply a heat protectant before using any heat styling tools.
11. How Can I Maintain My Curls Between Washes? To maintain your curls between washes, use a satin or silk pillowcase or wear a satin bonnet to prevent friction and frizz while you sleep. You can also refresh your curls with a water and leave-in conditioner mixture or a curl refresher spray.
This article was originally published in May 2013 and has been updated for grammar and clarity.