Establishing a wash day routine that works for you, and sticking to it, is very important if you want to maintain healthy natural hair.
When your hair is wet, it’s very vulnerable, so you have to take extra special care not to damage it. The trick is to find the right mix of steps and products that leave your hair clean, tangle free and moisturized.
Also, everyone’s curls are different and everyone has different availability when it comes to how much time they can (and want to) spend washing their hair.
After a lot of trial and error, I finally found a routine that works for me, and it can work for you too. I have been doing it for two years, and I actually created my Joiful Bee Wash Day Kit to contain the five essential hair tools that are ideal for curly hair.
- Scalp massaging shampoo brush
- Microwaveable deep condition cap
- Honeycomb detangling brush
- Microfiber towel turban, and
- Continuous spray bottle
I hope to inspire you with my wash day routine, and you can certainly pick and choose the steps and products that work best for you.
Before you get started
Before you start designing your wash day routine, you should have a clear understanding of your hair. This includes:
Curl density: How thick are your curls? Do you have a lot of hair or is your scalp visible?
Curl width: Can you see your strands individually or do they look indivisible?
Porosity: Do you have low or high porosity natural hair? How does your hair respond to moisture and products?
How long and how often
As you’ll want to keep your hair as moisturized as possible, it’s important to remember that moisture can’t penetrate dirty hair. Unwashed hair can also lead to problems with your scalp and, eventually, to hair loss.
With this in mind, a good rule of thumb is to wash your hair every seven to ten days, regardless of what your curls are like. And once you have a set routine, it’s entirely feasible to complete it in 90 minutes or less.
Ready to learn more about my routine? Let’s get started!
I start off in the shower by wetting my hair and applying shampoo. I use my scalp massaging shampoo brush to cleanse my scalp, because I believe that healthy curls start from the scalp. I love this brush because the bristles are actually made from a soft silicone and don’t feel harsh on your scalp at all. They reach the base of your scalp and leave it clean, while also stimulating new growth and combatting hair loss due to breakage.
After I wash, I usually go straight to deep conditioning, so I apply my favorite deep conditioner to my hair.
Then I section off my hair in four, which makes it easier once my hair is done conditioning, and I use the sectioning clips in my kit’s expansion pack.
When I’m finished, I put on a plastic cap and then, on top of that, I put on my deep conditioning cap that I warm in the microwave before getting in the shower. This cap works miracles and can give you the soft, moisturized curls you’re looking for. It contains flaxseed, which ensures that the head radiates through the cap evenly, and the cap combats dry hair as it activates the deep conditioner.
I leave the cap on for 10 to 20 minutes, depending how I’m feeling. What I love about this cap is that it’s cordless, so I can do chores and things around the house while wearing it or, alternatively, I can just sit in the bathroom and watch TikToks.
After 10 to 20 minutes, it’s time to detangle my hair. I use the honeycomb detangling brush, which is unique in that it can bend, stretch and twist while you detangle. As it’s flexible, it also prevents unnecessary breakage and shedding because it works with you and not against you, moving with your tangles instead of ripping them out.
This detangling brush has been a staple for eliminating breakage and has let me see a lot of definition in my hair. It’s ideal especially for coily-textured hair.
I always section my hair off and then finger detangle the sections lightly before going in with any detangling tool. I start from the ends of my hair and I make my way up to the root with my detangling brush.
The brush goes through my hair super smooth and I can run my fingers through it with no problem. This brush is nothing short of a game changer. I use it all over my head. The front of my hair is actually much more loose textured than the back but that doesn’t matter. This brush does it all, helping me get through all the tangles quickly.
I then take down all of my detangled sections because it is time to rinse out that deep conditioner. Once it’s out, I grab my favorite leave-in conditioner and apply it all over my head to soaking wet hair.
Every wash day I do the same thing: a braid-out. I braid my hair in four sections. I don’t do anything fancy; I just do four big braided sections, and that’s how I let my hair air dry overnight.
I find that doing these four sections helps to lengthen my hair so there’s not a lot of shrinkage the next day. I can do wash-and-gos but there’s so much shrinkage and it’s really a gamble with those, so I always do the braid-outs.
Lastly, I apply the softest hair towel ever to my hair. The wrong bath towel can actually cause a lot of breakage to your ends, especially if you have a coily texture hair, but a microfiber towel turban like the one in my wash day kit is absolutely perfect for keeping the water off of your neck, keeping your hair less frizzy, and preventing that breakage. The soft fabric hugs your curls as opposed to ripping them out.
Mastering your wash day routine doesn’t need to be difficult: you simply have to find the steps and products that are right for you and the unique texture of your hair, and avoid some of the more common mistakes when it comes to wash day.
It’s also a good idea to get regular trims to keep split ends at bay, as this will ensure better results. Also, use organic products whenever you can, and it’s also a good idea to take into account the seasons. You may need more or less moisture depending on whether it’s winter or summer.