By Jc of The Nat­u­ral Haven Bloom

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?

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33 Comments on "3 Techniques for Washing Natural Hair in Sections"

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Koils Of A Libra

I HAVE to wash my hair in large braids. My hair is 4c and arm pit length so it’s not quite long enough yet to do twists with­out them com­ing undone


I have used all of the meth­ods list­ed above (armpit length 4c hair) and I com­bine the last two meth­ods I guess…I put my hair in 4 sec­tions and clip them up…take them down one by one and wash and con­di­tion them clip them back up. I can get to my scalp and strands bet­ter yet still avoid tan­gles. Have seen TONY less break­age by final­ly accept­ing I can’t wash my hair while it’s free


My hair is only about 7–8 inch­es long but I have recent­ly found that wash­ing in about 6 twist­ed sec­tions works well. Check out my vlog for styling ideas.


I ALWAYS wash in 4 — 6 twists. I have high shrink­age, fine, mid back length hair. No oth­er option for me, lol.


[…] when I tack­le it in sec­tions, it also makes detan­gling much eas­ier as well.  This infor­ma­tive arti­cle by Black Girl Long Hair demon­strates three dif­fer­ent tech­niques for wash­ing hair in sec­tions that […]


[…] Wash­ing hair in sec­tions is a pop­u­lar approach that helps keep hair from tan­gling when wet. Learn three tech­niques for wash­ing hair in sec­tions. You’ll see that some nat­u­rals opt for wash­ing their hair while keep­ing it in braids, […]


[…] the fin­ger comb­ing on its own is good enough to keep your hair detan­gled (see the pre­vi­ous how to on keep­ing hair in sec­tions while wash­ing as that will help to stop hair tan­gling after […]

Ugonna Wosu

I can’t see the third video. What’s it called so I can go straight to youtube and watch it? Thanks.


Before most of wash­es I pre­poo my hair and put my hair in large twist 6 to 8 or in ban­tu knot and I use the­se sec­tions while wash­ing I undo apply soap redo and go on the oth­er one or some­times I rin­se before redo­ing it and go on the oth­er one depend­ing of my mood.


I’ll nev­er wash my hair in sec­tions, wash day is hair play day and I can’t do that if it is all plait­ed up. 

I have found when I have washed my hair in plaits I always have con­di­tion­er left in when I take them out and end up hav­ing to wash them again. 

May­be if my hair was flow­ing down my back rather than being about 9″ long I might both­er.

Still, it is inter­est­ing to read about the mul­ti­tude of tech­niques ava­ial­ble but I like to keep it very sim­ple.


Right now I can still wash it free because after my BC in August (and a fol­low-up trim in Sep­tem­ber to get any remain­ing tex­turised ends out of the way) my hair is now quite short. How­ev­er since my hair grows pret­ty fast, I’ll have to start sec­tion­ing it soon, so the­se videos are a great help.


I wash my hair in sec­tions of twists because it takes less time to twist than to braid and less chance of gunk. I think that real­ly shouldn’t mat­ter, but I have less lint, pro­duct, or buildup, attached to my kinks/SSKs imo. My hair type is 3–4 with main­ly 4 dom­i­nat­ing btw. Is wash­ing in braids real­ly bet­ter or more ben­e­fi­cial than twists?


so how do you keep the twists/braids from unrav­el­ing? Mine always unrav­els so I just opt to wash my hair in four clipped sec­tions.


I wash my hair in twists. I twist to the end and they nev­er unrav­el. I think it’s because I only scrub my scalp and then squeeze the twist to assist the show­er street in get­ting the con­di­tion­er out. 

If your twists or braids unrav­el, try using a met­al-free hair tie to secure them.


Duu­u­ude. I had been putting off try­ing this but as it hap­pens I tried it for the first time last night. It takes for-damn-ever, I won’t lie. I essen­tial­ly washed eight lit­tle heads, LOL! But I lost a LOT LESS hair, and it was love­ly to have stretched and detan­gled hair when I stepped out of the show­er. All I had to do was squeeze each sec­tion with my microfiber tow­el to dry it and set my hair. For that rea­son, I’ll be doing it from now on.


I tried the first method because of that very video but it didn’t work out for me. My hair kept com­ing out on its own (I’m relaxed) & before my wash was over I had just given up & went back to free wash­ing which didn’t work out so great when I washed my deep con­di­tion­er out over the sink. Sec­tion­ing my hair in clips works so much bet­ter & then I just roller­set my hair in those same sec­tions. Break­age has def­i­nite­ly been reduced from wash­ing my hair this way.


I wash my hair in 9–10 plaits.

I also use dilut­ed sham­poo. And I haven’t had any issues with resid­u­al sham­poo or con­di­tion­er. It takes me ~45 min­utes to wash, con­di­tion, and style my hair.


I wash my hair in twists and use an appli­ca­tor bot­tle to apply the sham­poo direct­ly to my scalp. Works a mir­a­cle.


Great help­ful post, Jc!

Late­ly I’ve been doing Method 1 (with 8–10 braids) but I still don’t feel as though I’m get­ting every­thing in and then out. I don’t want to take the time to unrav­el each braid and check though. I much prefer large twists; I’m just going to have to secure them bet­ter so they don’t unrav­el.

I wash in 12 twist­ed sec­tions that don’t come undone.  Before sham­poo­ing, I detan­gle my hair 12 sec­tions. After fin­ger-detan­gling each sec­tion with coconut oil and con­di­tion­er, I twist it up. Then, I cov­er my hair with a plas­tic cap-hat com­bo and let the con­di­tion­er sit for 10–15 min­utes. Final­ly, I hop in the show­er, rin­se the con­di­tion­er, sham­poo my scalp (via dilut­ed sham­poo in an appli­ca­tor bot­tle) and fin­ish up my hair care rou­tine (mois­tur­iz­ing, braid­ing, seal­ing, air-dry­ing, etc). Wash­ing in twist­ed sec­tions works very well for my thick, long, tight­ly coiled hair. It sim­pli­fies detan­gling (no re-tan­gling while cleans­ing),… Read more »

Same here! I find twists to be much quick­er and eas­ier to work with than braids. I use oil with a bit of water for the detangling/prepoo. Leave it on for 15–20 min­utes, wash, and style. I do 4–8 twists.


I have the exact rou­tine for my hair. The only dif­fer­ence is the oil used: my pref­er­ence is a grapeseed/sweet almond/ jojoba oil mix. If I need it I’ll use a pro­tein con­di­tion­er after sham­poo­ing (Aphogee Two Min­ute Recon­struc­tor or AO GPB).


You for­got about twists. Thats what I do. I put it in 10 twists that i can unrav­el, detan­gle and retwist. I find it a quick­er than the braids.


I like twists too. I have type 4 hair (high­ly coiled, high shrink­age) but with the first method my scalp doesn’t real­ly get clean. I have to let it loose by sec­tions and twists are def­i­nite­ly the fastest way to do it. Real­ly impor­tant step is using a dilut­ed shampoo/conditioner, though (I think that was men­tioned in the first video).


I used to wash my hair in twists, but my hair is so thick that I’d need too many twists, or they would come undone. The braids are eas­ier and faster for me now. But I’ll do a twistout more often than I’ll do a braid­out.


Very help­ful! I still won­der how peo­ple think (or suggest)that they (you) can wash their hair with sham­poo only touch­ing their scalp and not the rest of their hair?


I think what you are refer­ing to is the lath­er­ing of sham­poo on the scalp and allow­ing the suds and rin­se off to clense the stands as the sham­poo comes out, instead of putting sham­poo in strands and mush­ing it around like in the old herbal essences com­mer­cials


Thanks Tam. That is what I’m refer­ring to. Regard­less, it seems as though it’s real­ly hard to avoid get­ting sham­poo on the strands of your hair. I always won­dered how that worked :)


This was soooooooooooooooooooooooooooo help­ful! I need a tuto­ri­al on how to do this. I wasn’t sure if I was doing it the right way, but from this, I wasn’t too far off. This actu­al­ly makes since in the way that it will cut down on my process — sec­tion to style, detan­gle, wash/cowash, tshirt/towel dry, con­di­tion­er, sealant, and DONE (if one choos­es to stop there — me!)!!!

This tuto­ri­al will rede­fine my whole reg­i­men which is great!


Oh, I’m not even a one-year nat­u­ral, with about 4–4 and a half inch­es of hair and sec­tion wash­ing STILL saves my life! I can only imag­ine how wash day would be with­out it *shud­ders*. After sec­tion­ing my hair in 6 sec­tions, I detan­gle each sec­tion and break it down into either 2 or 4 twists. I then pro­ceed to wash and/or deep con­di­tion with those 16 twists, only tak­ing them loose dur­ing the rin­se process to thor­ough­ly rin­se out the pro­duct, then prompt­ly putting them back in twists. I then pro­ceed to style as I wish after putting in… Read more »
Good arti­cle with nice visu­als. I have thin very tight small kinky coils( A.K.A nap­py, no curl definition)that I wash in only two sec­tions using clips or lose pony tail hold­ers and then divide into 6 large twists as I rin­se out my sham­poo. With thin hair braids take too long to unrav­el because no mat­ter how big I braid the hair they end up small­ish and not thick and juicy like. So what I do is soak one half of my hair loose, lath­er up with sham­poo con­cen­trat­ing on the scalp and being sure to keep the hair streched… Read more »

Me too, before the pre poo treat­ment, i detan­gle my hair in 4 twists, then in the show­er i do 2 twist con­cen­trat­ing on one at a time and also use the force of the show­er head to help me detan­gle with my fin­gers, real­ly reduces break­age.

I ordered the aubrey organ­ics hon­ey­suck­le rose con­di­tion­er from the usa to switzer­land and i can real­ly see the dif­fer­ence for detan­gling my wet hair but still lit­tle knots with my curls because the ends are rem­i­nis­cents of relaxed hair.


Thank you, you amaz­ing ladies from black­gir­long­hair, i was secret­ly hop­ing for a post about wash­ing sec­tions because i start­ed to doing it. I don’t know if it’s nor­mal because of my tran­si­tion (not big chop), but some­times my 3inch­es of curly hair tends to get knots (less when i dry my hair with a tee-shirt), so some­times it’s dif­fi­cult but its okay it’s grow­ing in healthy state and expect­ing a bsl if i keep on being gen­tle.
THANKS TO YOU i learn to take care of my hair and i love it, it’s trul­ly excit­ing :)))