How To Wash Natural Hair

Written by Arshiya Syeda

Washing your hair is not an easy task. And if you have just started your natural hair journey, you have probably already hit a few snags along the road. Natural hair can become brittle and dry after a wash if you don’t wash it the right way. This tends to put some people off and make them avoid washing their hair for as long as possible.

If you find yourself agreeing with this, do not fret! Today, we look at how you can wash your natural hair the right way and put all your concerns at ease. Keep reading!

The Importance Of Washing Natural Hair

Before discussing how you should wash your natural black hair, let us discuss why you should wash it.

1. It Can Help Your Hair Grow

The amount of oil and product present on your scalp can build up over time. This could block your hair follicles and prevent your curls from growing at a quicker pace. To avoid this, you must wash and condition your natural black hair frequently.

2. It Is Hygienic

When you skip your natural hair wash routine, the sebum secreted from the scalp can build up on your scalp and along the length of your hair. This acts as a nutrition source for different microfauna (bacteria and fungi), which can eventually cause your locks to get dandruff and lose their natural shine.

Furthermore, the product residue from different styling products may also build up and result in oily, weighed-down tresses.

3. It Can Add Character To Your Color

Believe it or not, washing your natural hair is a great way to enhance your hair color. Here, the shampoo works by distributing the oil from the roots to the ends of your hair. This, in turn, can make your hair color and highlights seem more vibrant.

4. It Makes Your Hair Easier To Style

Freshly washed natural hair is the easiest to style. Not only is your hair tangle-free, but it is also devoid of any build-up that can make it look oily, dull, and all-around messy. Additionally, if your tresses are on the thicker side, shampooing them will coat and weigh down all the flyaways, which will help you retain your hairstyle.

5. It Makes Your Locks Smell Better

Throughout the day, your scalp is exposed to different styling products, the sunlight, and various pollutants in the environment. This not only causes extreme build-up but can also make your scalp sweat, which can cause it to smell. Hence, regardless of your hairstyle, it is important that you wash your natural hair regularly for the best results.

6. It Ensures Healthy Roots

Interestingly, the stress hormones present in your roots cause your hair to get thinner and fall out. A study conducted at the University of Massachusetts found that washing one’s hair reduces the cortisol (stress hormone) present in the hair follicles (1).

In addition to this, cleansing your roots weekly helps prevent the build-up of dead skin cells. This can boost your hair growth.
In short, washing your natural hair, even if it is tied in protective styles, is incredibly important for your hair’s health and hygiene. Now that you know why you should wash your natural hair, let us talk about the different products you need to use for the best results.

Essential Products For Your Natural Hair Wash Day Routine

Washing your natural hair is an intricate process that requires several products to get the desired results. Mentioned below are the different hair products you need to ensure a stress-free natural hair wash day.

1. Paddle Hair Brush

Unlike other brushes, a paddle hair brush has wide bristles that make it easy to remove the knots from your curls without pulling your hair out.

2. Detangling Spray

Curly hair can get extremely knotted throughout the day. Hence, it is important to have a detangling spray on hand to soften the knots and make them easier to untangle. This is especially true when you are brushing your natural hair after a wash, as wet hair is fragile and more prone to breakage during the combing process.

3. Pre-Shampoo

Pre-poo, or pre-shampoo as some people call it, is an absolute must for people when washing their natural hair. It acts as a protectant of sorts and prevents your hair from expelling too much moisture while you wash it.

4. Hydrating Shampoo

For the most part, natural hair falls under the dry hair category. It can further dry out when exposed to hot water. It is, therefore, important to remedy this loss of moisture with the help of a hydrating shampoo.

Try to find a product with low or no sulfate content as it is the least likely to damage your hair.

5. Moisturizing Conditioner

While shampoo can hydrate your dry strands, its main job is to clean your hair and scalp. Conditioner, on the other hand, is made for the sole purpose of boosting the moisture content in your hair.

Opt for a product that is rich in moisturizing ingredients such as aloe vera, coconut oil, honey, and keratin complex.

6. Deep Conditioning Mask

While deep conditioning is not something that you need to do every day, it is important that you introduce it to your curls at least once a week. This is especially true if you have colored your natural hair.

Besides the ingredients mentioned above, we recommend picking products that include jojoba oil or olive oil as they are quite nourishing and can definitely boost the moisture in your hair.

7. Leave-In Conditioner

Sometimes, washing and conditioning your natural hair is not enough to replenish the moisture in your strands. A leave-in conditioner is needed to seal in the moisture and protect your tresses from environmental stressors. For the best results, we suggest looking for a product rich in vitamins O, E, A, and C that work towards boosting your hair health.

Now that you are armed with the right products, let us talk about how you should wash your natural black hair.

3 Ways To Go About Your Wash Day With Natural Hair

Before going any further, it is important that we first answer the age-old question: How often should you wash your African-American hair?

Well, to ensure that your tresses stay in tip-top shape, try washing them with shampoo at least once a week. We also recommend co-washing and washing your natural hair only with water once a week to keep it clean, hydrated, and easier to style.

To help you carry out the same, we have listed down step-by-step instructions on how you should wash your natural hair.

1. Washing Your Natural Hair Only With Water

Also known as the wash-and-go routine, this method of washing your natural hair reduces the build-up on your scalp without drying your curls out. It is also an alternative way to style your tresses without using hot tools. Here is how you do it:

  • With your fingers, divide your hair into four equal sections.
  • Pour some lukewarm water on each section. Make sure that your hair is completely wet and well-saturated.
  • While your hair is still wet, apply some detangling spray to it as well as your usual styling product.
  • Comb your hair with your fingers to promote even distribution of the products and to avoid knotting.
  • Squeeze out the excess water from your curls and style it as your normally would.
  • Wait for it to dry, and you are good to go!

2. Co-Wash Natural Hair

The main aim of this method is to strengthen your strands and to add more moisture to your dry curls. It involves skipping the shampoo and only conditioning your natural hair. Here is how you do it:

  • Start by wetting your hair with lukewarm water.
  • Take some conditioner in your palms, along with a few drops of water, and rub them together.
  • Massage the conditioner into your hair. Ensure that every strand, from root to tip, is coated with the same.
  • Leave the conditioner in your hair for 20 minutes before rinsing it off.
  • Repeat this process once a week.

3. Natural Hair Wash With Shampoo

This method of washing your hair is required to remove the dust, grime, and build-up from your locks. It requires a few steps, so let us just jump right into it:

  • Start by applying some pre-shampoo to your hair. Spread it evenly using your fingers.
  • Leave the pre-poo on for at least 20-30 minutes.
  • Then, wet your hair with lukewarm water and apply some shampoo to it.
  • Massage your scalp and hair strands for about 5-10 minutes to ensure that all the dirt has been removed.
  • Rinse the shampoo and pre-poo out of your hair with lukewarm water.
  • Coat your hair with conditioner from root to tip and leave it on for 10-20 minutes.
  • Wash it off cool or lukewarm water.
  • Finally, massage some leave-in conditioner into your strands and style as required.

As you can see, there is no singular guide to washing and conditioning your natural hair. Rather, there are multiple routines, all of which should be carried out every week. Next, we discuss the various natural hair wash day tips that you should keep in mind when carrying out your routine.

Tips To Keep In Mind When Washing Natural Hair

  • Try to keep the pre-wash or pre-shampoo on your natural hair for as long as possible before shampooing it. In fact, we recommend applying it to your curls 2-3 hours before you wash it.
  • Wash your natural hair with either cold or lukewarm water. This will prevent your strands from drying out.
  • For even product distribution, divide your natural hair into sections while shampooing, conditioning, and washing them.
  • To avoid breakage, detangle your natural hair before you wash it.

Closing Thoughts

Washing your natural hair can brighten your hair color and ensure healthier roots. To make things easier, you must use the right products. There are three ways to wash your hair, and you should cycle through them every week. Additional tips include leaving the pre-shampoo in your hair for a long time, rinsing with cold water, and detangling your curls before a shower. Try out this natural hair wash routine to experience the benefits yourself!

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should you wash your naturally curly hair?

Ideally, you should shampoo your natural hair only once a week to prevent dryness. That said, we recommend washing your curls with water only and co-washing it at least once a week to prevent build-up.

What do you do with your natural hair after washing it?

Depending on how you wash your natural hair, you can either apply some leave-in conditioner to it and leave it to air-dry or gently dab your curls with a cotton T-shirt.

Can I wet my hair every day?

Yes, washing your hair only with water and styling it while wet is a better alternative to using hot tools.

Why is my natural hair dry after I wash it?

This could be because you are using hot water to wash it. The heat from the hot water can strip away the moisture from the strands and leave them drier and more brittle than usual.

Recommended Articles


Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

Was this article helpful?
The following two tabs change content below.
Arshiya Syeda is an editor and certified counselor. Ever the lover of the written word, she served on the editorial boards of her school and college newsletters. Writing articles on hairstyles, hair care, and nutrition helped her combine her love for reading, writing, and research. As an editor, she helps her team members deliver polished and meticulously researched content. Arshiya is fluent in English, Urdu, and Hindi and aims to become a multilinguist by learning German and teaching herself American Sign Language (ASL).