Clean hair is the best pathway to healthy hair as the old myth that dirty hair grows faster has been debunked. We use a lot of products in our hair not to mention pollutants and dirt that all need to be removed from our strands.
Shampoo vs. Co Wash Natural Hair
Washing natural hair is a big deal and while we are all experts at washing hair, it is different from relaxed hair and you need to know how to handle natural or transitioning strands. Here are some basic tips on the best way to wash your natural strands and keep your hair in excellent shape!
This should go without saying but this is a quick reminder that washing once a week or bi-weekly is ideal although from time to time we find ourselves waiting even longer. You can use shampoo, clays or even a cleansing cowash but hair needs proper cleansing to maintain health. Your hair cannot be properly moisturized and healthy if it is coated with products or dirt so wash when hair needs it even when hair is in a protected style.
When hair is in a sew in, crochet braids or some other protected style, wash hair with a dry shampoo, use Sea Breeze on the scalp or fully wash hair and work on keeping the added hair from tangling. The object is to keep your scalp cleansed and moisturized.
Wash when you have the time
While washing relaxed hair may have been a cake walk, washing natural hair takes longer and requires more patience. Natural hair tangles and is very delicate when wet (all hair is) so rushing is not an option unless you want to damage your strands. Always find a good time to do it (like on the weekends, or days off) and take your time.
What Is Co-Washing?
Wash hair in sections
Our hair knots up so washing in sections can alleviate some of our hair trauma by working with it instead of working against it. This will also keep us from spending too much time on washing. Once the hair is long enough (about 6 inches in length) you will find this technique helpful.
- Section the hair into at least four parts with a wide-tooth comb or your fingers but it can be sectioned into 6 or even 8 if need be. This may be necessary for our thicker haired Naturals.
- Braid each section to keep them separate or band them if braiding is not your thing.
- Wash each braid separately. You can leave it braided or upbraided when working on each section but make sure to re braid or re band when moving onto the next section.
- Rinse each section separately and you can apply conditioner in the same manner as the shampoo. I usually keep sections until I apply leave-in and by then hair is tangle free and willing to play nice. Seriously Natural
Do not create tangles!
Tangles are the devil so make sure your are sectioning hair, never washing hair in a circular motion and do not scrub hair. You can scrub your scalp with your fingertips but wash hair in on direction (I always wash in a downward direction) to keep hair from tangling up. Your objective is to clean and not create tangles!
Wash Day Dos & Don'ts For Natural Hair Newbies
Follow up with a deep conditioner or protein conditioner
Even though this post is about washing I must explain the importance of following up with a deep conditioner after every wash unless you are following up with a protein treatment. Protein treatments can be used monthly or less but a deep conditioner should be used on every wash day. It helps to fix what washing and styling has done to your strands so see it as a regular part of your washday routine.
Do you have any washing tips?