By Jc of The Natural Haven Bloom

If your goal is to get your hair longer then you have to start really caring for the ends (any hair which is more than 3 inches away from the root — older than 6-8 months).  Long hair is very old hair, usually at least 3 years for mid-back length  and 5 years or more for waist/hip length hair. It is really important to start to take care of the ends and many of you can run off the top tips from conditioning, tucking in the ends, trimming etc. I think that the role of rinsing hair in maintaining really good ends is really not given a big enough spotlight. Rinsing can have a big impact in ensuring moisturising products actually have an effect, prevent breakage of ends and in preventing dryness. Here is how rinsing plays these roles:

1. Rinse your hair before you shampoo

Benefit to the ends : Better effectiveness of cleanser, better repair of ends

You can immediately start to get rid of dirt on your hair by first rinsing it. This is a really crucial step that also helps the shampoo or cleanser to work better.  Simply sitting under the shower for 2-3 minutes (a real 2-3 minutes and not guesswork) is all that is needed. Cleansing  your ends better means that your hair conditioner which follows will have a really nice and clean surface to attach to which means more targeted repair to the ends and therefore better moisture retention.

2. Always rinse off shampoo BEFORE using conditioner

Benefit to the ends : Prevent build up, dryness and ensure effectiveness of conditioner

Some naturals like the ‘buffering’ wash where a little conditioner is applied to hair before rinsing off shampoo. This method carries the risk of build up. Shampoo should be thoroughly rinsed off hair before conditioner is applied (again a real 2-3 minutes). This is because shampoo and conditioner have opposite charges which means that they attract each other. If you shampoo first and apply conditioner over that shampoo, the negative charge of the shampoo will be attracted to the positive charge of conditioner. Hair conditioner is in general heavier and larger and intended to deposit on hair, it can therefore end up trapping the shampoo which is bound to it and not allow it to be rinsed off. This would make hair feel and be drier than if you had taken the time to rinse off the shampoo. Additionally the hair conditioner cannot really work as well as it should in terms of smoothing the cuticle as some of its positive charge is interacting with the shampoo and not the hair.

3. Rinse off conditioner during the wash

Benefit to the ends : Prevent build up and possible breakage, moisturising/ leave ins work better

Some naturals like to leave some conditioner in hair and therefore choose not to wash it out completely during the main wash. Failing to rinse out conditioner can mean that there is excessive product which dries on the hair and scalp. In really bad cases this can cause breakage.  It is perfectly fine to use a regular rinse out or deep conditioner as a leave in but when washing hair, that product should be fully rinsed out first and then a very small amount reapplied for the purpose of a leave-in.

Ladies, how do you keep your ends in good shape?

Leave a Reply

44 Comments on "Want Longer Hair? Rinse Your Ends!"

Notify of
I always rinse my hair before applying conditioner, but I very rarely rinse my conditioner out during (or after) washing my hair. I leave conditioner in my hair whether I use regular conditioner, leave in conditioner or deep conditioner. I guess different things work for different people, but I’ve done this my whole life and have never had a problem with retention or breakage as a result. Leaving in conditioner makes my hair really soft, so I rarely have a problem with dry hair and never have problems with dry scalp. Maybe I’ll test out removing conditioner to see if… Read more »

I remember my mom as a child doing all of the above and using Hair Food grease in my hair regimen. I would get my hair pressed every two weeks, and never had breakage just growth. I do think grease is heavy on the hair but for some reason it worked.
[filecomment image[/file]

Kimira Jewels

Beautiful hair in that picture Nettie!


Same thing for me. I don’t know if it is because of protective styles that my hair was mad long.


To the BGLH Administrator: My email from your site contained a vulgar message.
How did it get there?


[…] Continue reading at BlackGirlLongHair. […]


My “aha” moment came when I began making my own spritz mixture with water, rosemary oil, Jamaican Black Castor oil, lavendar oil, and tea tree oil. I make sure I lightly spritz my hair 3 times (am, evening, and before bed). Before I retire at night I make sure I lightly oil my scalp 3-4 times a night. The result is great length retention.

For ladies with shoulder length hair, it is so important to pin the hair up off the shoulders atleast half the time, and keep the ends moist. I have fine 4c strands that require a lot of moisture and low manipulation. I put my hair up in twists or braids (no extensions) and leave the style in for 4 weeks. Making sure I pin my twists up atleast every other day….I don’t always hide the ends per sey (sp?) but they are up and off my shoulders and away from my hands. My hair is APL and continuing to retain… Read more »

Yummy yummy this article and Naptural85 too? Sometimes it pays to be late:)

Michelle@Radiant Brown Beauty
Unless I’m misunderstanding the intent where washing out conditioner before using shampoo is concerned, I have to disagree….for my hair. Part of my pre-poo process is to use a mix of a conditioner/oil. I allow it to sit in my hair for hours, sometimes overnight. Then when I wash I just jump right in and shampoo. I don’t bother to rinse out the conditioner/oil that’s been sitting on my hair. However, I focus on shampooing my scalp. My hair is retaining length (currently at 16 1/2 inches) so the opposite seems to be true in my case. I say my… Read more »
Pat W.

Great advice! I take really good care of my hair (in between a twa and something else). I kept wondering why my ends were getting ragged and dry until I realized that just throwing on a satin cap at night was not enough. I started moisturing then twisting and pinning at night. It’s making a difference.

The best tip I ever heard on length retention was from on old YouTube vlogger, Rustic Beauty. She said if you want long hair, “Leave your hair alone!” Too much manipulation, changing styles several times a week, raking a wide-toothed comb through your hair three and four days a week, using too much heat – especially for those of us with fine hair, may slow down and/or stop length retention. As far as only leaving a little of the conditioner in after a rinse as the article purports, I use copious amounts of conditioner on my daughter’s 3c hair –… Read more »

Agreed about your routine. Mine is similar as I have 3C hair too. Kudos to you for knowing what works amongst your girls. My friend knows her daughters differences but does the same and one little girl can tell the difference from the other child’s hair and resents her sis a little for it. I try to advise my friend…but she’s one of them people you can’t tell anything to…because she knows everything already, of course. *cue the sarcasm*

A simple routine is all you need to retain length. I do agree with the article and rinse my hair thoroughly before applying a cleanser and conditioner. Washing my hair is me time and I love to luxuriate in the shower, I usually wash my hair 2-3 hours before I plan to go to bed as after my superlong shower I feel very sleepy. I love the doughnut style at the moment it is really helping me retain length and it means I don’t manipulate my hair too much. So, I wash, DC then final rinse my hair once a… Read more »
Really I don’t understand how one cannot rinse the hair and scalp before putting any shampoo or cowashing.I have very dense hair and cowashing doesn’t work for me so I’m a shampoo girl. I like the feeling of water running down my scalp and my hair and that’s the reason why I spend 4-5minutes rinsing my hair before shampoing my scalp and even more minutes to rinse the conditioner out (I use the Ouidad method to deep condition my hair every week. My regimen is different when I wear braids,yarn twists,yarn wraps). My trick is to open my eyes under… Read more »
Love JAH

I’m sorry but did you read the article?…they are saying you should rinse you hair before and after shampoo as well as conditioner….rinse, rinse, rinse, water is the best aide for our hair…


Yes, she read the article. She is sayingthat it’s a given and really shouldn’t have to be stated because how can one NOT rinse their ends before shampooing.

I prevent split ends on my hair by putting grease on it at night and wrapping it. Grease weighs your hair down but it really works. You can also braid or plait it at night. I would moisturize it first. Alot of black girls like to moisturize their hair when they wake up but we mostly get split ends when we sleep. You also have to moisturize your hair before you put heat to it. Another way to prevent split ends is to keep your hair braided. When you take your braids down, wash your hair and GET SOME BRAIDS… Read more »

I’ll definitely start doing #1&3. I always like to wet my hair before shampooing but I always get impatient and do it for less than a minute. I’ll start playing a song on my CD player that’s about 3 minutes so it will help me keep the time without getting bored.


There is a difference between cutting split ends on permed hair and cutting split ends on natural hair.


Nice article and great tips in the comments. I’m confused by point 3 though (leaving a little cond on hair as a leave-in) The tightly curly method advises you to leave lots of conditioner in your hair. I haven’t read of that method resulting in reduced hair health or anything negative like that. Does it?? So confused now… I wanted to try that method


Actually I already do all of the above, even with leave-in conditioner (rinsing it out completely lol). Once I’m washing my hair everything gets rinsed out, the only time leave-in conditioner stays in my hair is when I apply it after I leave the bathroom.

I’ve been Au natural for about 3 years. At first I didn’t know a thing about hair care. I always tell people I went natural by mistake (I kept micro braids and singalese twists in for about a year straight). Now I have a brand new routine and I’m reaping the benefits. I’m not into hair typing but I have various different textures of hair and it gets very dry and breaks easily. The key is not a bunch of heavy products piled on top of each other guaranteeing moisture. The key is water and locking in the moisture that… Read more »

i forgot to mention that after I apply my leave in I use some type of oil or butter(usually shea butter or jojoba oil) to lock the misture in 🙂

Ugonna Wosu

I always rinse my hair and head before shampooing, not just my ends but all of it. I don’t use rinse out conditioner anymore, except as a daily leave-in. I only DC after shampooing. So, I don’t if that tip applies to me about not leaving some on my ends.


I couldn’t agree more that neglecting to fully wash out conditioner will leave your scalp feeling flakey and gross! With hair as gorgeous and bouncy as yours, you should really try and stick with organic shampoo and oils.


This is good. Ever since my hair has grown past my shoulders, I have had more split ends, breakage and minimum growth. It’s frustrating! Any other tips on caring for your ends ladies???


Keep them ends tucked! The shoulder length stage is where your hair begins to brush against your clothes causing friction and breakage. Pin them up off your shoulders and you should be good. Also try to keep your ends sealed with the LOC method.


yep i used to do this when i was relaxed. Learned about it on LHCF and it made a big difference. I’d put castor oil on my ends and then tuck them in a ponytail (easiest way then) and when i’d take my hair down, my ends would be so moisturized and supple. My hair is still short but I plan to do something similar when my gets longer. I got some ways to go hehe…

Curly Queen

I seal my ends with shea butter and this has made a world of difference. I initially was sealing with just oil but I still felt my ends were dry but once I started using a shea butter mix (my fav is Marie Dean’s Shea Nilotica) I now have healthy ends.


Courtney, my growth stopped at my shoulders. I started paying more attention to possible causes and i found them.. These were the culprits: my purse strap. my briefcase strap. my seatbelt in the car. the seat-back of the car. movie theater and airplane seats. any high-backed seat really. garments with high or medium collars,especially if made of non-satiny material.
If this info is helpful, I will share my solutions with you if you like.


Put grease on your hair at night and wrap it to prevent split ends. Another way is to braid or plait it at night. Also, make sure you moisturize your hair before you put heat to it. Black people mostly get split ends when we sleep and if we put heat to it when it ‘s dry. Grease weighs your hair down but it really works (the grease trick).


Add an egg to some cholesterol or other thick conditioner apply that to your hair as a pre-poo..it really seals yours and stops shedding and breakage (part hair in small sections and apply from root to tip all over head).


In addition to these ladies’ tips I also only wear my hair down and touching my clothing when I’m wearing a satiny shirt, which isn’t often since I only have two! Gotta get some more. There’s no catching of my ends on my shirts since doing this.


I like this article because I was beginning to think I was the only crazy one who was adamant on letting warm water run over my hair before applying shampoo. I don’t know…over the past few weeks I’ve been weighing the idea of co-washing more (as in twice a week) because I really feel like I’m missing out on the full moisture benefits that water provides — especially in the winter.


i was thinking the same thing in regards to co-washing most of my friends are all natural. im transitioning and did my first co-wash the other day. The conditioner would not rinse out it just stuck to the products i already had in my hair and left a residue so i ended up washing it out with shampoo. Dont know if it was the choice of conditioner i used for the co-wash or what.

Nikki, I had the same problem at first, but after much experimentation and research (i.e. reading and watching a lot of Internet content made by naturals) I have found what works for me. You could try things this way and see. Start by checking the ingredients of the products you use. If you are going to co-wash (and I highly recommend it), you cannot as a rule use products that are not water soluble: mainly silicones and SOME oils or butters (read up on the oils/butters online). I don’t use silicones, but I do like to use oils for a… Read more »

Great reply! This is the key I think to find a co-wash routine that works for you. Look for those water soluble. I’ve done something similar with the ACV solution and it works pretty good. I think mine was the other way around though, 70% vinegar and 30% water lol.


Interesting how every head of hair is different. ACV rinses are never enough to get my scalp and hair clean and no matter what I use to cowash my hair feels dry and coated. I’ve just figured that shampooing with a creamy cleanser (curls creamy curls cleanser is awesome, it has coco betaine in it) and then using a clarifying shampoo once a month is perfect. You def. have to find what works for you.


I do these things. I think sealing and dusting/trimming are the key as well as moisture and the unsung hero of great hair – good healthy nutritious diet. Honestly I feel like the reason that retention is so elusive for me is my lack of a coherent healthy eating regime.

Ashley F.

I have to agree. we can talk about products and techniques all day but the real helper which is better nutrition seems to not get as much love. Not only does it help for healthier hair but also a healthier you over all.


Very true…I’m even doing a colon cleanse by dr schulze right now because I’m finding out its the first, most important step in having a body that can actually absorb nutrients from foods you eat…


Dr. Schulze is the business.


Very interesting! Thanks!