The two words that strike fear into every naturalistas heart, whether a new natural or a very seasoned one: wash day. For those of you who don’t know, wash day is the term dubbed by people with natural hair because washing your hair can be a day long process due to a variety of factors. Washing natural hair isn’t just an easy 20 minutes in and out during your shower, y’all!
This post details my own wash day routine, which took me about two and a half hours from start to finish. Wash days can vary from person to person and also by what they want their hair to look like. This is my wash routine after my hair has been straightened for an extended period of time. Grab that wide tooth comb and detangling brush because you’re in for a wild ride!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.
The products you need
A wash day couldn’t be complete with a variety of products! The particular brand will depend on your hair type and what works best for you, so I’ll just leave the products broad, with what I personally use in parenthesis as needed.
- Detangler brush (Conair Velvet Touch Paddle Hair Brush)
- Gel (Eco Style Coconut Styling Gel)
- Shampoo (Cantu Sulfate-Free Cleansing Creme Shampoo)
- Conditioner (Cantu Shea Butter for Natural Hair Hydrating Cream Conditioner)
- Hair clips
- Shower cap or plastic bag
Whether my hair is straight or not, I always start off my wash day by twisting my hair to make it easier to wash.
Not only does it help distribute the shampoo and eventually conditioner, it’s easier to detangle in a little while.
After my hair is all twisted, I wet my twists either in the shower or in the sink before adding shampoo. Once both water and product is added you can totally tell the difference between the dry twists and wet twists! The wet twists hold more moisture than the dry ones. This is the step in my routine when I’m going from straight back to curly and my hair is reverting back to its natural state.
From here on out, hair clips and pins will be your best friend. They help separate parts of your hair from other parts so you’re not accidentally brushing or messing with parts of your hair that you’re already done with.
Next, I clip all the twists on one side of my hair together and focus on washing out the shampoo on that side, before adding in a generous amount of conditioner. Finally, I retwist that side and repeat the actions on the still shampooed side of my hair.
My hair type
I’m sure the question of my hair type is on your mind right now. While I really don’t read too much into hair typing charts, I consider myself 4a/4b.
Most people are a mix of hair types, so don’t try and squeeze yourself into one category! Feel free to check out this article for more information about 4a, 4b and 4c hair types.
There are generally four types of hair, ranging from straight to “kinky-coily”. Straight hair ranges from 1a to 1c, wavy hair from 2a to 2c, curly hair from 3a to 3c and finally “kinky” hair from 4a to 4c.
Some people like to know their hair type because certain types of products work better on their hair. I honestly use whatever I like and know works on my hair.
And…back to the routine
So now that my hair all conditioned, I put a plastic cap over it and let it deep condition for at least 30 minutes. This particular time I kept it on for 45 minutes as I usually do after getting my hair straightened. I wash the conditioner from my hair and now it’s time for the magic…
ECO. STYLE. GEL.
This wash day I decided I wanted to do a twist out as my finished style, so I opened up this baby. I use gel after I put in leave in conditioner for my twists. Gel helps hold the curl pattern once I unravel them once they’re (hopefully) dry in the morning.
This is also the point there I’ll detangle my hair with a brush if finger detangling didn’t to its job fully. I try not to use a brush on my hair too much since it disrupts your natural curl pattern and can something make you lose a bit more hair than you intended.
Next gel is added to my hair after I add in leave in conditioner, section by section. I usually start with the front of my head and work my way back as I’m twisting for the final time.
After more and more and MORE twisting, I finally leave my twists alone to air dry. Sometimes when I’m in a rush, I’ll blow dry the twists a bit by keeping my hair dryer on the lowest setting it can go and at least three inches away from my hair. I never dry my twists all the way because to get the most volume, you want to let them air dry at least 30 percent or longer.
The finished product
Here’s the finished product. I untwisted each twist and then separated to my heart’s content. You can separate your twists as much or as little as you like. I love volume so I do it a lot.
And that’s all for my wash routine! Hopefully my fellow naturalistas out there find this post helpful while trying to wash their own hair.
How long does your hair routine take? Let me know in the comments below!
Until next time,