“Going natural” involves learning and, once in a while, relearning proper hair care. Though every hair has the same composition, best practices vary from one person to another.
Natural hair wash routine, in particular, involves “several” steps that can become tedious with their repetitiveness; and most people don’t have a whole day to dedicate to one’s tresses.
With time, as one builds a relationship with their hair, one is able to separate the things/steps necessary for it to thrive from those that aren’t mandatory, as per the “Natural Hair Wash Routine Rules.”
This distinction has helped me shorten the time spent washing my hair without compromising its health.
5 Things I Do Without on Natural Hair Wash Day
It’s a process of preparing your hair for cleansing, especially when using a clarifying/sulfate shampoo. You coat your hair with oil or conditioner and let it sit a few minutes or hours.
Dripping hair or oily strands that require extra caution when sleeping characterize overnight pre-pooing—a very restless night.
Despite this effort, one still has to wash out most of the product(s) –cost a pretty penny– with their choice of shampoo.
Couple this with low porosity strands that require a deep clean every so often; pre-pooing isn’t essential every wash day if at all.
- Non-Clarifying shampoo
For low porosity strands, product buildup happens every-so-often. The only way for clean hair that benefits from the ingredients in preferred hair products; a deep clean is necessary every two to three weeks.
I could get away with co-washing once every blue moon, but on shampoo days, my hair prefers a cleansing agent that gets rid of all the gunk. Such are the washdays that allow the scalp to rest for a good number of days without itching.
Using a non-clarifying shampoo on wash day also doubles the time for shampooing; going back on each section, a second or third time, to get rid of the whitish film that remains after the first wash.
Before deep conditioners, a regular conditioner was the second most important product on wash day. The latter adds instant moisture to your strands, while a deep conditioner gives longer-lasting moisture.
Skipping regular conditioning to the deep conditioning stage is just fine. Before this, I’d still condition then follow up with a deep conditioner, which translated into more time spent on washing hair.
Note: Using heat –in addition to what your body provides– makes the deep conditioner more effective and reduces wash time.
Consider investing in a heating cap or steamer; it will do your low porosity strands good. And the 30 minutes for deep conditioning will be precisely that— 30 minutes.
Also, a deep conditioner with a proper balance of protein and moisture is a plus—no need to do a protein treatment first.
- Detangling with Brush/Comb
Brushes and combs on dry or wet hair feel a lot like pulling my fine strands right from the roots. For detangling, fingers are my best bet in separating any knots without straining an already sensitive scalp.
Allowing water to pass through the hair before washing also encourages separation of the strands; before I go in with the fingers.
Especially since I rarely have intricate styles that may lead to excessive knotting. Braids, bantus, or twists out(s) are my go-to styles.
For hair that’s been in a protective style for long, it may not be prudent to shampoo your hair right after takedown without detangling. Though some advocate for overnight prepooing, I’ve had to cut off several inches for not combing the hair after taking down a protective style— with hair additions.
I’m still a little wary about spraying my strands with water or putting conditioner on it before combing it out. For regular twists, braids, bantu knots, and wash ”style” & go’s –with no hair extensions– running water is the first “detangler” on wash day.
• I’ve tried out overnight deep conditioning —yes, before the shampoo. The hair was pretty much detangled the next day. Only that it felt as if the strands had reached saturation at some point in the night. And from then on, they were just drippy.
• For retwisting an old mini twist, a mixture of water, leave-in and some oil did a better job of unraveling than my previous technique of separating the parts, dry.
For the lazy naturalista, washday doesn’t have to be a tedious process. As you embark on this journey, figure out what your hair needs and the steps you can omit without diminishing its health.
If you have low porosity strands, a good source of heat will prove convenient and a clarifying shampoo is essential for a fresh start.