Wash day is a new world to natural hair newbies. Nothing like a wash day for relaxed hair, washing natural hair can be frustrating, confusing, long and often disheartening if you don't have a great regimen in place. Detangling is a huge factor in wash day as natural hair loves to curl and coil around itself and our hair is delicate and need extra care while wet. (Remember hair is weak when wet!)
Shampoo vs. Co Wash Natural Hair
Whether you use shampoo, cowash conditioner, clay or a shampoo bar, the cleansing process has rules and we've listed twelve that are pertinent to a positive and productive wash day for newbies.
DO: Detangle before you wash
Detangling your hair is a must and sometimes a bit of a hassle if your hair is thicker, longer, or if your curls happen to be tighter. The best way to detangle, is to first finger detangle, then use a wide tooth comb (starting from the ends and working your way to the roots) and using a detangling product like Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Extra-Moisture Detangler or a cheap conditioner will help remove many tangles and snags.
DON’T: Yank hair when detangling
It’s something we have unfortunately learned from younger days sitting between the laps of our mothers while she combed through out hair. Never start from the root, yanking until the comb goes all the way through. Not only does that cause an unnecessary headache, but uproots hair that wasn't ready to go. That could even cause damage to follicles so severe that hair may not grow back. Use your fingers or a wide tooth comb and comb gently through the hair.
DO: Section your hair
Instead of trying to shampoo and condition your entire head simply section your hair (by 2 or 4 parts) and wash and condition each section separately. This affords every bit of your hair to benefit from the product and it is easier to manage your hair in sections. You go from fighting all of your hair to working with smaller parts and winning!
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DON’T: Rush wash day
I know you might be busy and have a long to do list waiting for you, but it’s not called wash day for just any old reason. It’s good to take time to detangle, wash, deep condition, and style your hair with a lot of TLC. Listen to music, watch a movie or just stay in the moment but know that wash day is not a time for rushing and doing a poor job.
DO: Clarify your hair
With us making sure our natural hair is shiny and moisturized, there is a good amount of product build up going on. A way to make sure your hair is getting really clean is to clarify your hair. Although, some do it every time they wash their hair, it is really up to you on how often you do it.
Some recommend once a month but now it is helpful to get hair fully clean from product build-up and pollutants. You can clarify your hair by adding a tablespoon of baking soda to your shampoo although I am loving Design Essentials Oat Protein Henna Deep Cleansing Shampoo.
DON’T: Neglect your ends
There are some products that want you to get the product straight to the root and work it to the ends, but in reality since the ends are the oldest part of hair; they are in need of more attention. So during wash day, be sure to detangle the ends gently, keep them moisturized and make sure to concentrate on them when using products.
DO: Protein Treatment
There might be some naturals that are unfamiliar with this term, but adding this to your wash day routine will actually be beneficial. Since the hair is made up of protein, utilizing a protein treatment during wash days strengthens the hair. There are a list of DIY protein treatments online and protein treatments at the local drug store. They should not be used every wash day as too much protein can make hair brittle so many opt for using protein treatments monthly or even less.
DON’T: Use too many commercial products
It’s impossible to say don’t use them at all, because these products do help promote natural hair growth. There are some ingredients you should avoid in your shampoos and conditioners like sulfates, Isopropyl alcohol, PEG, Glycol, DEA, MEA, TEA, and DMDM Hydantoin, just to name a few.
DO: Deep Condition
Most naturals know this is a no-brainer, we understand that maximum moisture comes from deep conditioning on wash day. Some of the best ways are after washing to apply the deep conditioner thoroughly to the scalp, cover with a plastic bag and let it sit for 30 min or a little longer (with heat like with the Hot head Therapy Cap) if you desire.
DON’T: Overdo the heat
We are talking about direct heat like from a curling iron, flat iron or a blow dryer. Heat is a word that is a little controversial with naturals. Most don’t recommend it, some do it. If you are going to use heat (especially on wash day when the hair is wet) make sure you have a heat protectant product, and also don’t overheat the hair, too much heat will damage the hair in the long run.
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DO: Air Dry
This is normally a better substitute than drying with a blow dryer, and normally this is one of the reasons why wash-day is long (unless you’re doing a wash and go).
Don't: Dry Hair With A Bath Towel
Air drying hair is ideal but if you must dry your hair, use a microfiber towel, an old cotton tee or even paper towels and NEVER use a regular bath towels. Bath towels are terrible for curly, coily and kinky hair as they whisk away too much moisture, create frizz and can snag on our delicate strands. I love the T-shirt Hair Towel by Hair Repear but any microfiber towel will suffice.
Use these twelve tips and your wash day will be smoother with less frizz, dryness and headaches!