I am at the stage of my hair jour­ney where the lat­est prod­ucts or hair grow­ing tech­niques no longer pique my inter­est. I am, how­ev­er, always on the hunt for tips and tricks that will short­en the time it takes me to wash, detan­gle or style my hair. Over the past two years I’ve cut out week­ly wash­ing and deep con­di­tion­ing and have opt­ed to wash my hair bi-week­ly and deep con­di­tion as need­ed.  Recent­ly, I have found that there are some weeks when I want to cleanse my scalp but don’t have the 90 min­utes it requires to apply a pre-sham­poo con­di­tion­er and detan­gle.  This becomes espe­cial­ly nec­es­sary dur­ing weeks when I sweat from my scalp or have pro­duct build up. After some thought I fig­ured out at way to get around the full wash day rou­tine, while still giv­ing my hair a mid week cleans­ing.  Unlike the usu­al 3–4 hours it takes to do my usu­al wash rou­tine, I can com­plete the Quick Cleanse in 30–45 min­utes

The Quick Cleanse

  1. 1. First, I will only do a quick cleanse on already stretched hair. Styles like a braid out, twist out or stretched up dos are some exam­ples of styles I con­sid­er stretched hair styles. I don’t rec­om­mend doing the quick cleanse on hair that is very tan­gled. If your hair is tan­gled you should ful­ly detan­gle with con­di­tion­er.
  2. 2. Divide stretched hair into 4 sec­tions, secur­ing each sec­tion with a clip.
  3. 3. Jump in the show­er and sat­u­rate your hair with water. Take one sec­tion down and, using a col­or appli­ca­tor bot­tle filled with dilut­ed apple cider vine­gar or non sul­fate sham­poo, squeeze some of the cleanser into sec­tion of the hair.
  4. 4. Gen­tly mas­sage scalp in order to break up any residue. You don’t need to wor­ry about your scalp being squeaky clean, how­ev­er. You need not spend more than 2 min­utes on each sec­tion. Remem­ber, your full wash day (like­ly the fol­low­ing week) will allow you to fol­low through with your wash reg­i­men.
  5. 5. Once each sec­tion has been cleansed you are now ready to add a leave in conditioner/detangler to your hair. I like Oyin’s Hon­ey Hemp con­di­tion­er.  It detan­gles as well as a wash out con­di­tion­er with the bonus of a leave in.
  6. 6. Here’s the shock­er. I don’t do a full detan­gle. This is why I can fin­ish this process in about 30 min­utes. I divide the two sec­tions in the back in two more sec­tions and detan­gle the ends (about the last 4 inch­es of hair). I then braid the sec­tion, leav­ing me with 4 large braids in the back. I will leave it like this over night.
  7. 7. With the front I’ll usu­al­ly style my hair in two large flat twists, sep­a­rat­ed by a side part. I will then tie my hair down with a sat­in scarf. That’s it!
  8. 8. In the morn­ing I will take the braids in the back out and usu­al­ly pin the hair into a bun, roll or large twist up do.

Okay, so about step 6. Some of you will feel that you’ll cre­ate a night­mare for your­self when you have to detan­gle dur­ing your full wash the fol­low­ing week.  You know your hair so don’t do some­thing that you think you’ll regret. My hair is waist length when straight­ened and very tight­ly coiled, shink­ing to about 70% of its length. Still, I find that if my hair was in a stretched state before the quick cleanse then when I detan­gle the fol­low­ing week (with my hair full of oil and con­di­tion­er as usu­al) the process is no more com­pli­cat­ed than usu­al. Detan­gling the very ends is a trick I use to pre­vent tan­gling at the end that might result in knot­ting or break­age.

So, that’s my quick cleanse. What tips do you have for cleans­ing your hair in between full wash­es?


Island girl raised in the most roy­al of NYC’s bor­oughs. Proud nerd, social sci­en­tist, edu­ca­tor and recov­er­ing awk­ward black girl. When not lis­ten­ing to NPR, try­ing to grow spir­i­tu­al­ly, or detan­gling my fro, I’m search­ing for the best shrimp and grits in the Queen City.

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32 Comments on "How to Cleanse Natural Hair in 30 Minutes"

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Ugonna Wosu

how would you incor­po­rate a pre­poo with oils or pro­tein into the above rou­tine?

nappy headed black girl

Nice tips. I’m anoth­er one who doesn’t spend a lot of time on wash day. I’m a dread and I wash often, so I don’t have to wor­ry about too much buildup. 

Wash, con­di­tion, may­be deep con­di­tion, and I’m good.


I detan­gle before i jump into the show­er. then sec­tion my hair in how­ev­er many twists i find nec­es­sary then i head into the show­er to sham­poo. I add con­di­tion­er to my twist­ed sec­tions, show­er, and last­ly rin­se the con­di­tion­er.
even though i dont pay for my water i do care about how much water im wast­ing by doing a full detan­gle in the show­er.

i still dont com­pre­hend how much time nat­u­rals spend with the water run­ning just to detan­gle hair in the show­er.


I detan­gle in the show­er with the water off after I’ve wet my hair or sham­pooed my hair.


My actu­al wash­ing and detan­gling takes up to 30–45 min­utes. So I guess it’s not a big issue for me…


(just want­ed to repost so I could receive noti­fi­ca­tion of reply email)

Thank you so much for this arti­cle. I’ve had to start using cones but I was won­der­ing if it’s pos­si­ble to just cleanse with ACV mix once a week and then sham­poo­ing every oth­er week while using sil­i­cones reg­u­lar­ly?


Thank you so much for this arti­cle. I’ve had to start using cones but I was won­der­ing if it’s pos­si­ble to just cleanse with ACV mix once a week and then sham­poo­ing every oth­er week while using sil­i­cones reg­u­lar­ly?


[…] such as curly hair, wavy hair, straight hair, kinky afro curls hair, body waves hair, nat­u­ral long hair […]


Oh my good­ness. I washed my hair not too long ago (shampoo+conditioner), and ignor­ing my pre-poo, and the hours pri­or to even this that it took to detan­gle it, it took around two hours. Such a chore. Def­i­nite­ly won’t be doing this on a week­ly basis.

Pro­tec­tive styling is a must for me. I have 4a hair. It now takes me about 30 min­utes to twist my apl hair. Secret is to form curls dur­ing cleans­ing and to not dis­turb the curls while twist­ing or braid­ing, just smooth the ends when you get to them. I’m not gonna lie. Wash day is about 2 hours and forty min­utes for me. Here are my steps: Detan­gle in sec­tions with (((met­al afro pick)))(holy grail tool!), and a mix of aloe water and con­di­tion­er. 30 min. Smooth mayo/aloe/oil/honey through each twist­ed section.15 min­utes. Let sit for 30 min­utes under cap and heat. Rin­se while… Read more »
Michelle@Radiant Brown Beauty

I think this is sub­jec­tive. Hair type and length play a huge rule in being able to wash your hair quick­ly. Even on stretched hair, some detan­gling is a must to pre­vent mat­ting or fur­ther tan­gling and that can take up to 30 mins and more in some cas­es. Per­son­al­ly, it takes me approx­i­mate­ly 40 mins to fin­ger detan­gle and pre-poo (some­times I do it overnight though), 30 min­utes to wash and con­di­tion. Since, we’re talk­ing cleans­ing I won’t even men­tion styling time :-)


4 hours?

i would neva…


My detan­gling, wash­ing and con­di­tion­ing process takes about 90 min­utes on almost APL hair. This is a huge improve­ment from when my hair was short­er. Air dry­ing is what makes wash day a kick in the butt for me…
the last two wash­es I’ve use the ten­sion method on blotted/ damp hair (with leave in, and moisturizer)and can rock elon­gat­ed twists or a twist out the very next morn­ing.


on medi­um heat with grape seed oil as a heat pro­tec­tant


Well I have to mois­tureize very time I wash my hair, so it takes about 2 hours start to fin­ish because I also light­ly blow dry my hair, to relax the curli­ness of my hair. I can’t just wash and go or my hair locks up tight. may­be as my hair jour­ney keeps going I will be able to get the time done a lit­tle quick­er, butit goes pret­ty quick, so it doen’t feel like 2 years.


Tabatha two hours isn’t that bad at all. I sec­tion my hair off into big chunks after wash­ing and just let it air dry. Two hours is what my rou­tine would be if I used the blowdry­er like your­self. Con­sid­er­ing your adding an extra step two hours is decent for wash day.

Lillian Mae

I des­ig­nate Sun­days as beau­ty day so, I expect that it’ll take a while to com­plete my hair. The “wash­ing” por­tion takes about 20 min­utes, if that. By the time I get there, my hair has already been pre-poo’d with oil and in sec­tions; all I have to do is either co-wash or cleanse my scalp with my ACV solu­tion.


to me the actu­al cleans­ing of the hair takes at most 20–30 minutes…I have elim­i­nat­ed pre-poos and hot oil treate­ments from my reg­i­men and just do a week­ly 10–20 min­utes long DC. It is the fin­ger detan­gling that takes me an eter­ni­ty!!! But I got­ta do it if I want to retain some length this year.

Good tips. My entire wash rou­tine is 45 min to an 1 hour. I break my wash rou­tine up into two days so I don’t have to spend all day on my hair. I fin­ger detan­gle with oil the day before cause to me that is what takes the longest ( takes me an 1 hour and a half to fin­ger detan­gle). Wash­ing and con­di­tion­ing are the easy parts. Infact my rou­tine hasn’t changed much from what I did when I was relaxed. Just no more ther­mal heat straight­en­ing to fool around with after my hair is clean. I think… Read more »

So when does com­mon sense comes into play. Hair­care isn’t rock­et sci­ence


This per­son sounds like some­one who is most def­i­nite­ly NOT a black wom­an. B/c no black wom­an per­med or nat­u­ral would say some­thing like that, given the his­to­ry and cul­ture sur­round­ing our hair. Hair is not rock­et sci­ence, but when we grow up in a world that tells us our nat­u­ral hair is “wrong” “nap­py” or “unpro­fes­sion­al” then we grow up being trained not to care­ful­ly take care of our hair and many of us our learn­ing our real hair for the first time. 

I don’t know why I’m explain­ing, this per­son is clear­ly try­ing to troll.


Why are you vis­it­ing this page if that’s how you feel?


pls don’t mind boogee. I had same rude com­ment from her say­ing that hair­care aint impor­tant. I had no idea why she here any­way! She must be scam or some­thing.

I’ve nev­er under­stood the hours/all day wash­ing rou­ti­nes of those with nat­u­ral hair. I have 10 year old waist length locs and I don’t spend that much time on my hair. On just wash days 2 hours at most…and that’s giv­ing my hair time the dry under a hood dry­er. On tight­en­ing and wash days about 4–5 hours. Who in the world has time to wash their hair all day? When I use to go to a styl­ist she would wash, con­di­tion and tight­en my hair in 3.5 hours and my hair comes out soft and shiny every sin­gle time.… Read more »
my hair is pret­ty long since bc abt 2 years ago, I spent basi­cal­ly 3–4 hours that seemed all day . The all hard work­ing pay off ‘cuz a lot ppl com­pli­ment on how long my hair is grow­ing and how soft it is. Then they ask what I use. I don’t like it when you ask who have time, some ppl like to deci­date time to hair if wan­na healthy and long hair. If you don’t want to, who cares. Nobody is forced you. Every­one is dif­fer­ent by opin­ion and desire. Some­times I am will­ing to invest in a… Read more »

Yea she’s just doing too much


She was clear­ly exag­ger­at­ing in say­ing that it was “all day” given that she said it takes “3–4 hours … to do [her] usu­al wash rou­tine.” I doubt you can com­pare waist length locs to waist length nat­u­ral hair. One you have to detan­gle the oth­er you do not, lol. I think you should read the post more care­ful­ly next time.


Hmmm…I see that I should’ve been more clear. I wasn’t refer­ring to the per­son who wrote the article…just nat­u­rals I see in gen­er­al (youtube, blogs) that spend that much time doing their hair. Hers is actu­al­ly more effi­cient com­pared to the rou­ti­nes of oth­ers I’ve seen.


My, bad for not being more clear. It was meant to give her props…as you can see from my last state­ment in the first post.


I meant waist length loose hair (not nat­u­ral).


My nor­mal cleans­es are only about 30 min­utes.