As with most natural-haired ladies, wash day is an all day event in my home. This is literally true to the point where I can only wash my hair when I have a full day off work.
When I first started going natural, on wash days I usually ended up doing more harm than good. I really had no clue what I was doing when it came to washing my natural hair, and if you recall from Part 2 of my Hair Journey, I never even washed my own hair until my mid-teens.
So newly natural, I would hop in the shower and scrub shampoo into my hair willy-nilly. Then, because the washing process had thoroughly tangled my natural hair, I would spend hours upon hours combing through the mess, causing breakage the whole way through.
Now, due to a lot of research, and trial and error, I think I have come a long way with my wash day routine. Here are some of the tips that made my wash days easier (though by no means any shorter).
1. Divide my hair into sections
The biggest game changer in my wash day routine was the discovery of dividing my hair into sections. Working in smaller pieces prevented my hair from getting knotted all together, and it really made things more manageable. With less to work with, it also cut down on detangling time after washing, reducing breakage as a result.
So now, before beginning the process, I always make sure to split my hair into four sections. I twist them, then pin them out of the way with either a bobby pin or a butterfly clip so I can focus on one section at a time.
2. Detangle and Pre-Poo
Once I have taken care of sectioning off my hair, I then move on to detangling and Pre-pooing my hair. I comb through each section with a wide tooth comb, then follow it with a conditioner, an oil, or a blend of both if I’m feeling ambitious. (On a normal day, my go-to conditioner as a Pre-poo is Herbal Essences Hello Hydration; It has a ton of slip which helps the comb glide right through my curls.) Once each section is detangled and covered in conditioner, I braid the sections back up. (At this point, I braid instead of twisting because braids are less likely to unravel in the shower).
The “detangle and pre-poo” process has become a non-negotiable step in washing my natural hair, as it allows for the moisture to really sink in before I shampoo. Depending on how much time I have, I usually stick a conditioning cap on my head, and let the pre-poo soak in for hours. If I need to run errands, I just throw a toque over top and leave the house.
3. Wash with “Praying Hands”
Another step that I’ve taken to prevent knotting is using “praying hands” to shampoo my hair. In other words, I rub the shampoo between my hands, then press my palms together and run them down my strands to coat them. This ensures I don’t mess up all the hard work I had gone through by detangling. Sometimes, if my hair is especially dry and subject to tangles, or if I just did a poor job combing it out while pre-pooing, I will change my hands into claws, and “claw” the shampoo through my hair as a form of light finger detangling.
The only place where I really focus on massaging and scrubbing, is at my scalp to remove build-up, but even then I am cautious as to not make motions that may cause tangles.
4. Wash in sections, then Deep Condition
I know I mentioned it above, but it is vital to my regimen, so it’s worth repeating. No matter which step I am on while washing my hair, I make sure I keep my sections separate. I wash each section individually, one by one, smoothing the shampoo down the strands, then braiding it up again. Then I do the same thing with a conditioner; individually smoothing, rinsing, and re-braiding. Then I apply a deep conditioner to each section. (My current go-to is the Shea Moisture Intensive Hydration Hair Masque.)
Once the Deep Conditioner is in, I make sure to clip each section out of my way. Similar to my Pre-poo process, I try to keep my Deep Conditioner in for as long as I can afford, depending on the given day. I usually throw on a conditioning cap while doing laundry, or if I am in dire need of moisture that day, I will sleep with it on.
In the end, I usually wrap it all up by moisturizing using the LOC method, twisting, and going to bed. By this time, it’s usually at least 11pm, and I am exhausted!
So what tips do you have from your #WashDay regimen? How has your process changed throughout your hair journey? Let me know in the comments!
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~ Comfy Girl With Curls