One of the biggest challenges we face once we go back natural, is the washing routine. How can you ensure that your hair is clean without stripping it too dry? Read my washday routine and see how I do it.
Depending on the season, I try to wash my hair at least once every two weeks or when my hair starts to get a bit “smelly”. These are the steps I follow for my washday routine:
Step 1: “Pre-poo”
CAUTION: I would advice you use an old t-shirt or anything you would not mind getting or dripping oil on.
I normally keep my hair in 2 strand or 3 strand twists and I make an effort to give my hair a pre shampoo treatment before I shampoo.
After removing the twists, I try to not detangle until the conditioning stage so that I do not over manipulate them and cause breakage.
- I section my hair into 4/6 parts (using my hands, no combs) and work each section separately.
- I heat a small amount of Coconut Oil or Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or a mix of the two). Not too hot, and not too little to ensure my whole head will be covered.
- I spray a bit of water onto my dry hair before I apply the oil just to give it some moisture and to avoid breakage during this process.
- I apply some oil and work it well into the hair, paying particular attention to the ends.
- Once a section is done, I would twist it again and move onto the next sections until my whole head has been covered.
- I cover my hair with a showercap and keep it on for at least 30 minutes.
Step 2: Shampoo
I currently do not have a favorite shampoo but from my reading around, the best shampoos are those that are sulphate-free as those that contain sulphates tend to be too drying for our hair as they strip our hair of moisture.
I happen to have a lot of shampoos at home, and I have decided to first finish the ones I have around before buying new sulphate free shampoos which by the way are not as easy (or cheap) to find.
I apply the shampoo to my hair, working in sections again.
Since I try not to use too much shampoo I work it well onto my scalp as well just to make sure whatever product build up gets cleaned away properly.
Step 3: Condition
After rinsing off the shampoo, I remove excess water and I apply my conditioner to damp hair.
The amount of time I keep the conditioner in, depends on what the condition of my hair is like and how much time I have to dedicate to my washday.
Being a mum of two boys, it’s not easy to find the time necessary.
Sometimes with a screaming baby and my eldest asking me to play soccer in the house I would end my washday for the day here, I leave the conditioner on and just put on my showercap to either late in the evening when they fall asleep or to the next morning. This of course cannot be done for deep conditioners as leaving the deep conditioners on for too long can cause more harm than good to ones hair.
As with the shampoos I currently find myself with lots of conditioners at home and not wanting to waste them I would add EVOO to the conditioner and this normally adds lots of slip to my hair and makes detangling easier.
A friend of mine recently shared a great way of improving my conditioners and I must say this is my go-to for any conditioner that I might find in my bathroom cabinets.
What you need: Shea butter, EVOO, Honey
- Heat some EVOO and Shea Butter (make sure it’s just warm enough and not too hot).
- Mix it with a few spoons of Honey. Oil and Honey do not mix very easily unless you use an electronic mixer.
- Add this oil and honey to the normal conditioner you have and mix well.
- Apply abundantly to the freshly shampooed hair and keep in for as long as you think is necessary.
Step 4: Moisturise
To moisturize my hair after cleaning, I use the famous L – O – C method.
After rinsing and drying my hair I put them into sections again (4 or 6 sections) and work the sections as follows:
- Leave-In: I use a water based leave-in conditioner. I am currently using the Avlon KeraCare Leave-In Conditioner. I have not used it for long, but so far the results are great. It provides great slip and I can finish detangling using a brush without causing breakage.
- Oil: I then apply a bit of oil mixture (you can also apply any oil of choice alone or mixed): Coconut Oil, Almond Oil and a few drops of Jamaican Black Castor Oil. I try not to add too much oil, so i just dip my fingers in the oil and take up just enough to cover my hair without “over-oiling” it.
- Cream: To finish off this process, I apply a thick butter or cream. At the moment I am using the Shea Moisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie. When it runs out, I sometimes finish by applying unprocessed shea butter or my Whipped Shea Butter. After this, you can style as you want.
I try very hard not to use heat on my hair and to keep my hair stretched I usually leave them in big 3 strand twists or smaller 2 strand twists and let them air dry. The next day they are perfectly stretched for styling.
How do you prepare for your washday? What are your washday Dos and Donts?