Early, at the beginning of my transitioning hair journey, I quickly learned that washing my hair was associated with long wash days, and although I eagerly waited for a week to see my curls popping again I did not enjoy the long time it took me to detangle my hair – my Acquilles Heel – or the multi-layered product application step. Luckily, things have come a long way and my wash days are not the way they used to be. If you are suffering from the same problem I was and you want to keep your natural hair wash day short (or shorter) keep reading, I have a few quick tips for you.
First of all, I just wanna to say I understand all of you who face wash day with an inherent laziness. I truly do! I feel that way too. As much as anyone has gotten the process down to 30 minutes (just washing, not styling), it still doesn’t beat the time it took us when our hair was relaxed.
Remember when you could easily wash and style my hair in under 30 minutes?! Well, that doesn’t happen now that I’m natural and it certainly didn’t happen when I was transitioning (she chuckles as she writes! 😉 ). Can you relate to this?!…. 🙄
Anyway… different times, different hair, different knowledge… The point is I miss how easy and quick things actually were and felt… I bet you feel the same way too ’cause I see the comments on my Facebook Group (and others), on social media and through the emails I frequently get.
Listen, you are not the only person who hates long wash days!
The only difference between me and you is that I probably have a system for approaching washing and styling my hair that is better, quicker and, ultimately, has been working for me.
I’ll share my system with you hoping it will make your wash day better, but conscious it may not work for everybody. Either way, I urge you to try and see how much time you can save. Don’t forget to share with me your results!
#1| Stop Shampooing In So Many Sections
Say what, Monica! – I can just see your raised eyebrows and googly eyes as you read this… 😀 😉
First of all, I realise I have been preaching about the whole section-your-hair thing here on the blog… Section to wash… section to detangle… section to moisturise and style… Yes, I’ve done all that and I realise that in the natural hair community that is the norm.
It certainly worked for me, and it still does. It helps to better clean, detangle, moisturise and style my hair. However, one thing I quickly abandoned in my hair journey, well I never really adopted it, was shampooing my hair in many different sections.
I like to wash my hair in two sections parted in the middle (front to back) and sometimes I don’t even do that. Sectioning and shampooing your hair in more parts takes you longer to shampoo your hair and you spend more water and product. Additionally, by forcing your tangled hair to part in more than two section you can be causing it to break, leave this for when you apply a conditioner.
Caveat! Yes, there is one. Though I’m advocating less sectioning when shampooing your curly hair, I still use sectioning as a technique to make my life easier when detangling and even moisturising my hair. For instance, my hair is very curly at the back and if I try to handle the detangling process in one Big section it will just tangle more, it will require more arm-power, it can break my hair more and I will stress while doing it. But I guess this is true for curlier hair types.
However, if your curl shape is looser than mine (corkscrew), try working in fewer sections.
Action. Try to gently part your hair in two sections (you can do it before or after wetting it. Do whatever feel best for your hair) and apply your sulphate free shampoo to the roots of your hair massaging with the pads of your fingers to release, dirt, sweat, release dead skin cells and remove product build up. Work the lather throughout the length of your hair smoothing and working it in a downward motion. Once you’re satisfied, rinse well. Work one section at a time.
#2| Take Advantage Of Dripping Wet Hair
I accidentally discovered this tip when Tresemme changed the formula of their Naturals conditioner line to a new formula renamed Botanique. Although this new conditioner wasn’t bad, it didn’t work as well for my hair – it didn’t feel as smooth on my hair, didn’t seem to have as much slip and so it took me longer to detangle my hair.
But you know what!?… Sometimes, out of unfortunate situations, you discover something good.
This is what happened to me… Know when you’re rinsing out the conditioner and while the water is still running you pass your fingers through your hair because the water makes it So.Much.Easier to remove any possible tangles and knots still on your hair?
Yeah!? Well, one day I thought about this too as I was about to apply my Tresemme conditioner (the Botanique) and thinking about how much I loved the old version.
So, with my hair still dripping wet and just rinsed out of the shampoo I applied the conditioner and it was life-changing.
Action. With your hair still sectioned in two, after shampooing, quickly apply your conditioner to one section of your hair. Make sure your hair is dripping wet and don’t squeeze any excess water, this is what will make the detangling process easier and quicker. But, if you feel you must, remove just a small amount of water, the more you take the less easy it will be to detangle.
Go straight to the conditioner, work it on your hair and detangle it as you do it. You may feel you still need to subsection your hair, but I find I need fewer subsections(only 3 on each side of my head) and sometimes I don’t even do subsections, especially if I’ve spent all week on a protective or low maintenance hairstyle since my tresses aren’t free to tangle. After you finish this section, move the other clean section of hair (rewet if you need), condition, detangle and subsection if you need to.
Moral of the story! Even if you still have to subsection your hair while conditioning and detangling your natural hair, you will find that you spend less conditioner and less time detangling (I like a combination of finger detangling and combing), which is what takes most our time when cleaning our hair.
#3| Extra Dripping Wet Tip
Yes, this tip is still related to the previous one, but I promise it is a good one. Well, at least for my fellow curly sistas you have medium to thick hair like mine. People with fine hair texture will probably not find this last tip useful. Let me explain.
Up until recently, I shampooed, conditioned and detangled, deep conditioned, rinsed my hair and put it up in a microfiber towel or this jersey t-shirt towel from Breezy Tee Towel (less frizz with this one! 😉 ). However, while experimenting with trying to make my day shorter (yes, I still do this too), I started moisturising my hair straight after rinsing the deep conditioner (yes, I still apply heat for 15-20min). (UPDATE– I don’t condition + deep condition anymore. I only do one, know why here)
What do I mean by this?!
What I do is, I lean over my bathtub, rinse the deep conditioner from one half of my hair and start moisturising then I move to the other half. This may sound surprising or weird, but I always liked to apply my moisturising and styling products when it was really wet. This way my hair stayed moisturised for longer and my twist outs and braid out came out better defined. Usually, I had to wet it with a spray bottle because the microfibre towel retained a good size amount of the water.
So this way, I skip the towel and take advantage of my dripping wet hair.
Again, my hair is still pretty much wet, I spend less time applying products and I spend less product.
Action. Rinse half your hair over the bathtub (lean to the right/left), squeeze some excess water, but not too much, and apply your first moisturising product (it can be a leave-in conditioner or moisturiser). Then I move in front of the mirror and depending on what style I pretend to do I apply some curl defining or setting product.
Note. I still section my hair (3 sections), but I find I work the products on my hair much better, easier and faster. The reason this technique may not be good for hair with a fine texture is that because it is drenched in water it doesn’t have ‘space’ to take up much more of anything else from your product formula, so when you apply your moisturising products this hair can’t take much of them and you may get frizzy hair. But do try and let me know how it works! 😉
As you can see, small changes in your natural hair wash day routine can have a big impact, and in this case was a change for the better, for me. Who doesn’t want short wash days and still be able to follow through with their hair regimen while giving what your hair what it needs? All of us right? 🙂
However, I am aware that this may not work for everybody. As I said, some of the techniques I explained here may not work for fine hair and, for very curly hair, working in fewer sections may result in more tangling. Still, I hope these tips can help some of you. Let me know how it goes if you try them.
Do you still believe wash days are long days? Are you willing to try or have tried some of these tips?