As A and B we have discussed a lot about hair, from the curly girl method to different hair textures. One thing we have not talked much about is the biggest event of our lives when it comes to hair and that is washday. Plans need to be cancelled, phone calls need to blocked; it may sound dramatic but washday is – especially when dealing with natural hair.

As a black woman I can’t swim with my natural hair, I can’t wash it every day, and I definitely can never let the rain touch it. Water can touch my hair when it’s intentional and that can be through styling and on wash day.

I have grown to understand my hair; I now know what works and what doesn’t. That didn’t happen overnight. I bought a lot of products to test, and that is the only way to really understand your hair. I also buy products that work for three different hair types with different hair routines to save money: I am type 4a, my sister is type 4b and my mom had dreads and is a thin type 4c. (Refer to our previous blog where we explain in detail different hair types here.)

To have a hair washday routine, understand what you need it for:

  • Is it to maintain your texture, using curly products like a curl activator?
  • Is it to moisturise your scalp – I have a dry scalp and that dryness creates dandruff, so the shampoo and conditioner that I use are moisturising on top of cleaning it.
  • Is it to grow your hair – many people say washing your hair constantly, grows it and that is true for some people. My sister just cut her hair and we wash it every day which has grown it tremendously, while for me washing every day stunts my growth.

So determine why you need a routine before determining the routine. After that you will know what products to use. For me as mentioned I want to keep my scalp clean and moisturised. I don’t stress much about my curls because no matter how much they get damaged, shrinkage always brings them back.

My hair routine:

Conditioner – Believe it or not I condition before shampooing, I have found this helps with detangling and softens my hair. I use a water spray to wet my hair, then section it, then rub in the conditioner. I then cover my hair with a plastic bag for 15-20 minutes; the heat that the bag produces while covering your head helps the conditioner do its job better.

Shampoo – After the 15-20 minutes of deep conditioning, I detangle with my fingers while washing it off in lukewarm water. Then I start shampooing, followed by rinsing with fresh water.

Conditioner again – After washing off the shampoo, I dry my hair a bit using a towel, then immediately condition again using a hair mask. I use a hydrating one because I have a dry scalp. You can choose whichever type depending on what you are trying to fix. I usually extend my deep conditioning time to 30 minutes, no matter what the instructions says, using a plastic bag again.

Styling products – After 30 minutes I then wash off the conditioner, and dry my hair lightly with a towel. After this I put on a moisturiser, my curl activator, and my leave-in conditioner. I apply all these products while my hair is wet. And I live by them!

Plaiting – At this point it has been detangled, moisturised and is going through the shrinkage stage. Some people stop at this stage, but if I don’t plait my hair it will shrink too much and be hard/painful to comb or style.

Air dry – After plaiting I let it air dry.

It sounds like a lot and most of the time it is, especially if you are dealing with thick and long hair. But I enjoy taking care of my hair, so I hope my routine can guide yours if you don’t know where to start.

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Tell us: What is your hair care routine? Do you do any of the steps mentioned and is there a step that wasn’t mentioned that you would love to recommend?