How To Wash Natural Hair

9 Sep

A year ago I was in a hotel in Montreal using cheap hotel shampoo and slathering up my hair until I was certain bubbles were coming out of the glass shower door. This is how I spent 20 years washing my hair because it’s how you see women wash their hair (sans the slow, sedutcive hair rubbing and the happy-go-lucky grin…why would someone be smiling when soap suds are threatening to turn you half blind?). Anyone who owns a TV has seen the atypical l’Oreal commercial where said happy-go-lucky brunette washes her rod-straight hair amidst a hurricane of playful soapy suds. The problem is….we don’t have this woman’s hair. And we don’t need her shampoo or her washing techniques either!

For starters, it is vital that black women do not shampoo their hair daily. It is not unhygienic or gross, it is actually important to have hair oils. Yes, dirt does build up and clarifying your hair is important but you will be doing much more damage to your hair by washing it daily rather than twice a week or whatever you’re comfortable with. I shampoo my hair once every 2 weeks but wash my hair with a conditioner once a week.

Before my hair even gets wet, as it is fragile, I do two things: once a month I do a hot oil treatment. Yeah, it takes a while and it’s annoying but very beneficial. I bet they didn’t tell you this in that L’Oreal commercial, did they? Hot oil treatments repair so much damage, dry scalp, as well as nourish and condition your dry hair. Also, using hot oil treatments protects your hair from the stress of being washed. I use a hot oil treatment and keep it on for 45 minutes then wash very gently with condition and lukewarm water.

I also do a deep condition once a month with a regular conditioner amped up with some oils (jojoba, coconut, etc) and leave that on for up to 2 hours before shampooing and conditioning.

Protect your hair with olive oil before washing it. Also, once you are done washing your hair (with a natural shampoo, I hope) you should let your hair air-dry if you have the time. Do not use a blowdryer. If you have one, throw one out. Do not towel dry roughly. You can use a towel to soak excess water. The freshly washed, soft hair is the best. Before it dries, you can use a moisturizer (I use some castor oil, as I stated before..and aloe gel) and run it in your hair and style as  usual.

If I’m really lazy, I put all my wet hair in a ponytail and let it dry for a few hours.

So simply: protect your hair with a product before washing: whether oil, cream, conditioner or gel. And forget the heat!



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