By Choya Randolph
Going natural can be overwhelming. There are so many products you can buy and it’s hard to know which ones to buy, when to use them or what they’re even used for. Not only that, once you start hanging around other naturals, you start to hear a bunch of terms that you’ve never heard before. Terms such as TWA, high porosity, hair masks, and more. And when you ask your fellow naturals about their wash day routine, they have what could seem like such a tedious wash day. Like what’s a protein treatment? Should you buy a steam cap? How much detangling should you be doing? It’s a lot being a new natural but figuring out your own wash day routine is a part of the natural hair journey. If you’re looking for a place to start, you’ve come to the right place.
Let’s go into the basics. You may think all you need is a shampoo but no. Our kinky hair needs a little bit more than just a shampoo. You’ll want to buy a deep conditioner, leave-in conditioner, cream moisturizer, and oil. If you don’t want to finger detangle your hair, you may want to buy a tool that will detangle your hair gently. This could be a denman brush or wide tooth comb. As a new natural, try finger detangling as this will help you get to know your new curls better.
You may think the first step is to hop in the shower to start shampooing but you may want to detangle first. Washing your hair when it’s already matted will only amplify those tangles. As a new natural you should know that detangling is super important. Our coils love each other and get tangled pretty easily. These tangles lead to split ends and breakage which could not only damage your hair but also halt your hair growth. So make sure you could at least run your fingers through your hair easily before you start shampooing.
Shampooing your hair will be the same as before you went natural. However, the shampoo you use may be a little more important. Because our hair is curly, our natural hair oils can’t coat every hair strand which could lead to dryness. Explore and try finding a shampoo that cleanses your scalp without robbing you of all your moisture.
Now it’s time to deep condition. Deep conditioners hydrate the hair to give it back any moisture it may have lost when shampooing. This may sound like a step you can skip but your hair will be dry if you do skip this step. The work we do as a naturals is mostly keeping our hair hydrated so lather that deep conditioner all throughout your hair. To get maximum moisture, put a shower cap on after applying the deep conditioner. This will incorporate heat and that heat will open your hair follicles to receive all the benefits of the deep conditioner.
After letting your hair condition for 15-30 minutes, wash it out. This is when you moisturize your hair. I know this may seem excessive but I promise you, almost every natural does this. You can follow the LOC method. This is a technique used to moisturize your hair using a liquid such as a leave-in conditioner, an oil of your choice, and a cream. The liquid hydrates the follicle, the oil seals in that hydration and the cream closes the hair cuticles to prevent moisture loss. This is the last step of the wash day routine but if you want to style, you may want to use gel for curl definition.
I know beginning this natural hair journey can be intimidating. It sounds like a lot of work and lowkey…it is. But just like you have to put in work to better your skin or get the body you want, you have to do the same to upkeep your hair. Remember that this hair journey is yours and yours alone. You don’t have to follow these steps exactly. Find what works for you. Exploring and experimenting with your hair is a part of the ride and trust me, that ride can be a blast.