I think that one of the most revolutionary steps in learning how to make my wash day easier was the final dawning that my hair was not built to be washed free. Natural hair over 6 inches in length usually has significantly more bulk due to having a curl; shrinkage is also a big factor as it can complicate washing by increasing tangling during the process. For the first year of being natural, washing hair free is not an issue, when you do go into your second year, you may need to rethink your strategy to decrease knotting and tangling as well as overall wash time.
There are three key was to wash hair in sections:
Method 1: In braids that don’t come undone
This video is demonstrated on relaxed hair. This method is best for natural hair with a very tight/small curl, multiple kinks, high shrinkage and long hair. If your hair has any one of these properties the benefit of keeping hair in the braids while washing is that it counteracts against tangling. In order to successfully achieve a good result, hair should be detangled prior to braiding it for the wash. Braids should be relatively large and loose so that you can access your scalp easily. Care should be taken not to tug or pull hair in the process.
Method 2: In braids that are undone
This method is suited to anyone with a loose curl, low shrinkage or who is not satisfied with the level of cleaning achieved with keeping hair in braids during the wash. This method is very similar to the first described above but undoing each braid allows easier access for shampoo and water. The first method requires a high attention to detail to distribute the shampoo well as well as to rinse it off. This second method eases some of those challenges while still allowing the volume of hair to be controlled.
Method 3: With section clips
This video shows how to use section clips to wash hair. I actually think that the hair on the demonstrator is actually more suited to using method 1 as section clips suit fine overall hair thickness, loose curls and hair that does not shrink significantly during the wash. Nonetheless, it is a good video to demonstrate how section clips can be used to control the volume of hair during the wash. Natural hair washed in this method is essentially almost free and this is the reason why hair with high shrinkage or high overall thickness (i.e. a lot of hair) is not suited to this method.
Ladies, what method do you use to wash your hair? Why does it work best for you?