Natural Hair Wash Routine Confessions: it’s like a Ritual

For a long time, before I got the courage to embrace my mane, I would rock weaves, braid my hair and often straighten it with heat. Weaves are low-maintenance and became somewhat a staple when I needed a break from blow drying. All you needed was a good hairspray and a Denman brush, and you are set for the day.

As for braiding, up to date, I don’t enjoy spending long hours in the salon. Your experience in a lounge depends on the type of hairdresser who attends to your hair on each encounter. When one moves to a new location, and have to find an ideal hairdresser; it becomes a trial and error venture.

You could get one who convinces you of their prowess only for the result to be a disaster. Since you invested your hard earned cash on the service, you are reluctant to unbraid your hair. You gain courage and wear the style for at least a week, as you seek another professional stylist.

To cut short the time spent in the salon, especially, if I wasn’t in the mood for the latest local gossip, I would opt for a blow dry. Sometimes I would contemplate chemically processing my hair. Well, the silky smooth finish from straightening would last a week maximum and needed special and extra care on the mane.

The excessive heat applied to the hair would cause thinning, weakening and shedding. In search of a hair care regime that would help me retain length and bring my hair back to optimal health, I came upon best natural hair tips. I learned to embrace my texture and fall in love with my kinky coils.

The natural hair world is both illuminating and confusing. From learning the different coil patterns, finding the ideal products, to understanding the various porosity levels. There exist so many different opinions and advice on the best natural hair practices and products.

It all requires patience because you have to take it one step at a time. Natural hair washing routine is another story.

A Typical Natural Hair wash Routine
Before I joined the natural hair movement bandwagon, wash day was merely shampooing then conditioning hair. You didn’t have to use numerous products, and it would take approximately 15 to 20 minutes, maximum, to have clean hair. Nowadays, washing the hair takes several hours and has so many stages that I at times skip.

1. Pre-poo
It is the initial stage in a natural hair washday process. It merely means, before shampoo. It is advised that you should apply a light oil to your hair. It helps with detangling and also to keep the shampoo from stripping your hair.

Any oil will do. I once used black castor oil and put heat on it because it is a heavy oil. My hair was smooth to touch, before and after shampooing.

2. Shampoo
Depending on your hair density, you may need to section your hair. I wet my hair with warm water then twist it into four chunky parts. Apply a squint of clarifying shampoo, on each section and massage with a shampoo massage brush or tip of the fingers.

Ever since I was tasked with washing my hair, I would use my fingers. I once tried using the shampoo massage brush, and I became exhausted, before completion. Black natural hair gurus advocate the use of a sulfate free shampoo, as the best natural hair shampoo. Regular shampoo used to work fine, back then, though.

3. Protein-Treatment
Our natural black hair needs proper moisturizing and protein treatment. Protein helps to strengthen and grow one’s hair. Listen to your hair and do protein treatments when necessary, especially if you notice more than the usual shedding of the hair.

From the tests I took on determining my hair’s porosity, I would conclude with 80% certainty that it is low porosity. Since my hair suffered from heat damage, typically, I sought answers on the web on the best type of protein treatment.

From the results, the ApHogee Keratin 2 minute reconstructor, had many positive reviews. Decide to test it out and headed to the cosmetic shop to purchase it.
From the shelves, there were bottles of different sizes; however, the attendant encouraged me to take the large bottle. After all buying, one large bottle was cheaper than buying two small bottles of the same. Decided that he knew better and brought the big bottle home.

On wash day, I was excited to try it out. I followed the script, applied the treatment and waited for two minutes for it to work. As I was rinsing it out, I could feel an instant change in my hair. It had lost its elasticity and was brittle, even after deep conditioning my hair. Maybe it’s because I used it with heat but I’m not ready to risk it again.

Recently I took a chance with a more affordable protein treatment from Miadi; it left my hair soft and smooth. And, yes, there was less shedding. You can also try using DIY mixtures.

4. Condition
Rinse off the shampoo/ protein treatment, and apply a dime-sized amount of conditioner on each section. You can now finger-detangle the knots in the hair or use a wide tooth comb to spread out the conditioner to each strand. Conditioning makes it easy to detangle your hair.

Follow the instructions that come with your conditioner. You may have to let it sit for 2-3 minutes before you rinse it out.

5. Deep Condition
Regular conditioner works by adding instant moisture to your strands. However, you need to deep condition for the maximum effect. You do not have to deep condition every single day. Some deep-condition on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis.

Use it with heat. If you have a steamer, dryer or heating cap, then, around 30 minutes will do. However, for one who isn’t able to get their hands on one, a plastic cap will do. You can use two shower caps, wrap a towel around it and wait a while. Personally, I let it sit for at least an hour before rinsing the hair.

Fun fact: did you know you can turn your regular conditioner into a deep conditioner? Had to mix mine with oils when I couldn’t find my regular jar of deep conditioner and was at the deep-conditioning stage. It worked pretty much the same.

Typically, I usually spend about half a day tending to my hair. After rinsing with warm water, though others propagate for cold water; it’s more moisturizing, styling and waiting for it to dry. Use an old t-shirt to wipe the excessive water. Find the best anti-frizz products for natural hair for styling and bide to rock your kinky coils, once it dries.

You can air dry your hair or for instant effect, use a dryer or diffuser. Now, before the adoption of western culture by our ancestors, rituals would involve several processes, regulations, practices, etc. Specific events would require donning a particular regalia, or draw distinct intricate tribal patterns on the body, and much more.

Natural hair washing routine personally feels like it. Having to set aside a whole day just to tend to your hair. Using different concoctions on your hair, one after the other. Religiously following a wash day calendar, for co-washing or a whole hair washing routine. Not to forget there are days when you want to try out the ACV rinse or detox with clay. Ooh!The list of possible options is endless.

An old saying among the Kikuyu, says, beauty comes with pain (translated and summarized). For you to rock those curly patterns, have a healthy mane and rock your kinky coils, you probably just have to go through this process. But, is it wrong to wonder why our practices in the old days produced the same results without all this hustle? Do we blame it on the creamy crack or the current beauty standards?




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