There’s a common misconception floating around that natural hair is hard work. We’re here to debunk that myth, starting with wash day for 4C hair.
But “wash day” doesn’t have to mean all day long! It’s completely possible to get wash day completed in less than a full day, even with 4C hair.
New hair products and pampering are ways of life around here, but an effective wash day routine doesn’t have to span more than a couple of hours. It’s all about optimizing your steps and products for your healthiest hair ever, and the process should be completely personalized for what your hair needs.
Here’s how you can keep wash day fun, quick, and effective, from start to finish:
Make it a weekly affair
Don’t go more than 10 days between washes to ensure your hair is getting the T.L.C. it deserves.
Incorporate a pre-shampoo treatment
This will help to detangle and soften your strands before you start cleansing your 4C hair.
Though you may be doing nightly twists or braids, natural hair still very much has a mind of its own and may incur a few knots or tangles throughout the week.
So, before you dive into cleansing, do a pre-shampoo treatment the night before (or morning of, if your routine is later in the afternoon or evening). Ideally, you’ll want to pre-poo for at least 1 hour before starting your wash day.
You want to use a product specifically made for this important step, or a nourishing oil like jojoba, avocado, or hemp seed.
Saturate your hair in your preferred product and then gently run your fingers through your hair to detangle. You can then cover your hair with a scarf until your shower session.
Start by double cleansing
This is key for the weeks when you use shampoo.
So many things are thrown at your hair during the week, from environmental aggressors to the amount of product you’re adding to your kinks and coils.
Double cleansing is the antidote — yes, the same method that is suggested in skincare works on your hair!
You can double cleanse by going in with the same shampoo twice:
Once really focusing on the scalp and roots, and the second with a focus on your strands from mid-length to tip. This will make sure that your hair is squeaky clean before you move to your next step.
Conditioning is a MUST…
No matter what.
There may be one or more steps that you skip here and there based on your hair needs, but you always need to condition if you have natural hair.
Use it generously and really make sure you’ve coated your strands in a healthy layer of product before rinsing out your conditioner. If you’ve conditioned properly your hair should feel softer and will already have more spring.
Hair masks are your friend
These products are great for supreme hydration. Then detangle again with the nourishing product applied. In colder months, add a steaming session to the mix.
We never skip masking because natural hair needs all the hydration it can get. Apply the mask as your last product-based step.
Then once you’ve given it 5 minutes to set in — perfect time to shower, do a face mask, shave — go through and detangle your hair, because your strands are now hydrated and softened.
At the tail end of Fall, in Winter, and the beginning of Spring, add a steaming session while the mask is working its magic to really help it lock in all the benefits.
Rinse the mask out
Use warm water and follow with a cool rinse to seal.
Once your hair is detangled and as soft as can possibly be, wash out the mask thoroughly with warm water. Then, you want to seal the hair cuticle by rinsing with cold water to lock in moisture and shine and keep frizz at bay.
Dry with a t-shirt
Or wrap up in a super-soft microfiber turban.
Getting out excess water before styling is paramount for natural hair, if you don’t want your kinks and coils to be drying for hours on end.
But the friction caused by a regular towel can lead to unwanted frizz and sometimes breakage, so you should opt for the softest fabric ever to get the job done.
A soft cotton t-shirt can do the trick, as well as a super-soft microfiber turban that can soak up the water without any drying motion at all.
Infuse additional moisture
Do this with a leave-in conditioner and a lightweight, hydrating oil.
The hydration can’t just stop at the shower. So, continue to nourish your hair by moisturizing before your styling session begins.
Add a leave-in conditioner to your strands that will protect them no matter what the week throws its way, and a lightweight oil that can really soak in while the drying process is underway.
With the product of your choice based on the outcome you want.
Who doesn’t love a good wash-and-go moment? That calls for a lightweight curling gel with hold to really give your kinks and coils definition that will last all day. But if a twist out or braid out is on the agenda, a thicker curl cream will do the trick. That way your hair can pop later in the day, or in the morning once drying is complete.
That’s the secret sauce for our wash day routine. Do you have more steps or less? Share all your routine gems with us in the comments.
Written By: Faith Cummings