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How to Wash Kinky, Natural Hair

How To Wash Natural HairLet’s face it! Washing natural hair is not the favorite item on anyone’s to do list. It’s a daunting task. And as hair grows, it gets harder.  As my hair has reached each hair length, I have learned to adjust my hair washing regimen to better meet the needs of my hair.  My hair is kinky with about 80% shrinkage. So washing my hair is no easy task.  When your hair is bra strap length but can shrink to a teeny weeny afro (TWA), then a good hair washing regimen is necessary.

Read More Tips for Preventing Shrinkage

Here are some tips I’ve learned along the way:

Pre-Poo Your Hair


To reduce the drying effects of the shampoo process, many women pre-poo with conditioner and/or oil.  To pre-poo, you can spritz hair with water then add your conditioner or oil of choice.  A favorite is coconut oil, since it protects the hair from protein loss during the wash process.  Personally, I deep condition my hair prior to washing so that I don’t have to hop back in the shower after washing my hair. It has significantly increased the likelihood that I will actually deep condition my hair.

Wash Hair in Sections

When my hair was shorter, washing my hair as a whole was OK. But as my hair has grown longer, that is no longer an option. Some opt to wash their hair in large twists or braids. (When washing your hair this way, the key is to leave the roots loose so you can scrub your scalp properly.) I personally, braid my hair in four sections. I then unravel  each braid to wash that section. Try each method and see which one works best for you. The key concept to remember is, “Divide and conquer”.  It is the key to natural hair care — otherwise it becomes overwhelming.

Don’t Scrub

Remember when you had a relaxer? (Well, IF you had one.) You would scrub all of you hair in a circular motion.  DON’T do that with natural hair — unless you want a head full of tangles. Instead, scrub your scalp and run the shampoo down the hair shaft.  The focus of your wash should be to scrub all the surface dirt off your scalp.  When you rub the shampoo down the hair shaft, it  will still get clean.

As you probably guessed, the key to washing natural hair is to 1) reduce moisture and protein loss and 2) limit tangling during the wash process.  It’s that simple.

How do you wash your hair?

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About Latoya Watson

Latoya is an academic advisor by day, natural hair enthusiast/writer by night, and wife and mom 24/7. Her last relaxer was in April 2010 and she big chopped in October 2010. As a Natural Hair Rules contributor, she shares tools and techniques so that women can find what best suits them, their hair, and lifestyle.

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Comments

  1. Thanks for the tips! Love this post. Very helpful. Have a nice day! :)

  2. amy carmex says:

    I plan on washing and styling my hair. Here is the procedure I plan on using:
    1)Place olive oil and honey mask on LOOSENED hair (afro puff style)
    2)Afterwards, twist hair and leave overnight
    3)Use apple cider vinegar and water to wash hair (don’t have the organic ACV with mother, will get for next time).
    4)Shampoo hair with baking soda and water
    5)Dry hair of excess water and while damp perform LOC with: water, olive oil and refined sunflower oil (will try jamaican black castor or some other unrefined sealant in 6-12 months when my refined sunflower oil supply runs out).
    6)Twist hair into two strand twist.

    Here is my questions:
    1)What do you think of the procedure above?
    2)I am washing my hair alone and I can not do it in the shower. How do I manuever my hair over a sink? Previously, I would wash my hair loose. While applying shampoo or conditioner, I would run comb through hair. This normally prevented my hair from becoming tangled/ “nappy” after it had time to dry.

  3. very helpful! had no idea about the losing protein factor..

  4. lunyefowler says:

    I make three sections, prepoo with oil then add my deep conditioner or ayurvedic paste. I use either shampoo in a spray bottle mixed with oils and aloe vera juice or a shampoo bar. I rub my scalp and smooth the shampoo down the hair. Add a conditioner mixed with marshmallow root on it and detangle (since using the marshmallow root I am able to finger detangler much quicker) then put on a baggy and finish my shower then rinse with cool water. (If I did an ayurvedic treatment then I DC) rinse it with cool water and then use some type of tea for my final rinse. I just wrap in a tshirt for a few minutes then add my leave in, a sealing oil and then a pudding.

  5. I wash in 4 sections. This is how i do it:
    1. shampoo my roots first
    2. Rinse shampoo out and the rest of my hair gets cleansed from the shampoo running down the shaft.
    3. Oil Rinse with coconut oil or Castor Oil. Pour oil on my hair in a smoothing motion. Finger detangle here.
    4. Apply Conditioner and finger detangle some more to make sure that all the knots are out.
    5. Rinse it all out and go on to moisturizing with the LOC method.

  6. Before I was my hair I use my fingers to detangle some of the curls then I wet my hair, add the shampoo and scrub my scalp. I also while shampooing run my fingers through my hair to loosen the tangles, then rinse. Afterwards I add my conditioner rub it through my hair and rinse. I don’t towel dry my hair I leave it wet and add my detangler spray to my hair, then comb the rest of my tangles out. Then I add my leave in conditioner along with my coconut oil…grab my rollers and comb. Then I separate my hair for either a two strand twist or braiding, rolling up my ends. Only thing is I don’t have any silk scarves for my hair, I got cotton scarves which I know is not good for my hair.

  7. I leave it in braids

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