Pho­to Cred­it: Michelle Tessier Pho­tog­ra­phy

When you watch a sham­poo com­mer­cial, where is the woman usu­al­ly wash­ing her hair? Usu­al­ly in a hot, steamy show­er or under a water­fall in a trop­i­cal par­adise, right? The point is, she is usu­al­ly stand­ing upright mas­sag­ing the sham­poo through her scalp. Now, imag­ine watch­ing a sham­poo com­mer­cial with a woman hunched over her kitchen sink. Find that odd? Well, if you’re like me and a num­ber of women I know, the kitchen sink was where our moth­ers washed our hair as lit­tle girls. It didn’t occur to me until recent­ly that once I left for col­lege and no longer had the space to wash my hair in a sink I  took for grant­ed that wash­ing my hair in the show­er was prefer­able, even when I moved into my own home. While using the show­er is often pre­sent­ed as the default method, there are some advan­tages to using a sink.

Time and Con­ve­nience

How long does it usu­al­ly take you to wash your hair? For me, it takes any­where from 20–25 min­utes depend­ing on the prod­ucts I used and the buildup that may have result­ed as a con­se­quence. Because I usu­al­ly go through my entire show­er rou­tine when wash­ing my hair (might as well since I’m in the show­er), the entire process can take 30–35 min­utes. While it may seem that it should take the same amount of time to wash your hair, irre­spec­tive of the method, I find that wash­ing your hair in the sink can actu­al­ly save time. It’s not a per­fect anal­o­gy, but con­sid­er how quick­ly your hair is washed in the sink at a salon com­pared to the length of time it takes you to wash it in the show­er?

One of the rea­sons it takes less time is that you can have a direct stream of water cleans­ing your hair from the sham­poo, which is gen­er­al­ly more effi­cient that the spray show­er heads many of us use. If you have a spray attach­ment on your sink, then those are even more effi­cient when it comes to cleans­ing your scalp. Using the sink is also help­ful when you want a quick rinse because you’ve had an intense work­out or you sim­ply want to “reset” your hair for anoth­er style. It may also be a great way to rinse out a deep con­di­tion­ing treat­ment if you don’t feel like jump­ing back in the show­er.

Detan­gling and Com­fort

Per­haps one area in which the show­er method of wash­ing hair is supe­ri­or is that it helps with keep­ing your hair tan­gle free. How­ev­er, if you detan­gle your hair pri­or to wash­ing and sec­tion your hair in large loose braids, the man­ner in which you posi­tion your head may not nec­es­sar­i­ly make a dif­fer­ence. What will mat­ter is your lev­el of com­fort and hands down, wash­ing your hair in the sink is more uncom­fort­able. Now, because it takes less time it may not nec­es­sar­i­ly be a prob­lem for you. How­ev­er, if you have neck or back issues or if you’re preg­nant, I wouldn’t rec­om­mend this method of wash­ing.


We know what the show­er is for: wash­ing our bod­ies. So, it isn’t strange that we would wash oth­er parts of our bod­ies there such as our scalp and hair. For some peo­ple the chal­lenge with wash­ing their hair in the sink is due, pri­mar­i­ly, to con­cerns about hygiene. It’s the space where they place dirty dish­es and pre­pare foods such as meat and fish. If you do use the sink, you def­i­nite­ly want to clean it for any vis­i­ble residue (i.e. food par­ti­cles), then clean it with a dis­in­fec­tant. Since sinks are rather small it shouldn’t take more than a few min­utes to prop­er­ly clean the area. If you still can­not wrap you mind around plac­ing your head in the sink, then I’d say skip it. You’re going to invest a bit of time either way, so you might as well choose a method that makes you feel com­fort­able.

What is your pre­ferred method of hair wash­ing: The kitchen sink or the show­er?


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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20 Comments on "Sink or Shower: What’s the Best Place to Wash Natural Hair?"

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Even though I occa­sion­al­ly wash my mid length hair in the show­er, I pre­fer to bend over the tub to wash my hair. When my hair was waist length, there was no way I would wash it in the show­er. It just seemed waste­ful to let the water run while work­ing the con­di­tion­er in my hair. On the oth­er hand, I would prob­a­bly get chilled to the bone stand­ing naked in the show­er with the water off, while I con­di­tion and detan­gle.

McKenzie Gardner

The show­er makes it eas­i­er for me to detan­gle my 3b/c hair. Its also eas­i­er to style it after get­ting out of the show­er in the morn­ings. How­ev­er, it shouldn’t become a dai­ly rou­tine because then you’re just strip­ping your hair, no mat­ter how much sealant you use. If wash­ing it in the sink makes it eas­i­er to refrain from over wash­ing, then go for it.


I usu­al­ly sham­poo in the sink and cow­ash in the show­er. That’s because I need to dc 45 min­utes after sham­poo­ing. Every­one keeps talk­ing dish­es but there is a sink in the bath­room. mine has two sinks.

vanx 2801

I pre­fer the show­er. My hair seems to get tang-ly in the sink


Show­er or over the tub for me. I still bend for­ward to wash my hair in the show­er iron­i­cal­ly because I pre­fer the water to flow for­ward. I’m not picky though. Where ever there is run­ning water.


I have a show­er with a hand held attach­ment so I can wash my hair with­out step­ping into the show­er. I don’t under­stand peo­ple who don’t have one of these attach­ments as it makes it also makes it quick­er and eas­i­er to clean. 

When I was lit­tle my hair was washed over the bath tub and nev­er in the kitchen sink. My par­ents’ upbring­ing made it clear it was unhy­gien­ic to wash your body includ­ing your hair where you pre­pare food.


Its fun­ny I ran into this arti­cle because I plan on wash­ing my hair in the kitchen sink. I just dont feel like jump­ing in and out of the show­er today. I wash my hair while its in twists so this will make it much eas­i­er and faster too


I didn’t know wash­ing hair in the sink was some­thing adults do. My hair hasn’t been washed in a home sink since 3rd grade. Con­sid­er­ing how clogged my bath­tub drain gets after a few months of sham­poo­ing and con­di­tion­ing, it would real­ly alarm me to know hair is accu­mu­lat­ing in the sink where peo­ple pre­pare their food and wash their dish­es.

It depends on where I can get the best water pres­sure, to be hon­est. Cur­rent­ly I live in an apart­ment with one of those show­er heads that cre­ates a kind of rain­fall effect. It takes longer to rinse my hair under the show­er than it does under the kitchen sink faucet, which also hap­pens to be detach­able. Two apart­ments ago I had a show­er with a detach­able show­er head and I felt like I final­ly under­stood what the fuss was about, lol. I guess I’m not squea­mish (too much) about wash­ing my hair or anoth­er human being’s hair in the… Read more »
Carlyssa Pierre

I do both. I hate get­ting in and out the show­er mul­ti­ple times, so I typ­i­cal­ly cleanse in the sink(bathroom sink) and rinse out my DC/Treatment in the show­er after I’ve let it sit.


Sink wash­ing makes my neck hurt and being so close to the faint smell of food/bleach/whatever sink clean­er we used pri­or for a long peri­od of time makes me dizzy.


I had no idea peo­ple washed their hair in kitchen sinks until I went nat­ur­al and saw it on the blogs! I thought it was pecu­liar, because for us, the kitchen is for food and food only. Show­er for me :)


I’ve been nat­ur­al my entire life. My mom would always wash my hair in the kitchen sink until I began wash­ing my own hair at 14. I then began wash­ing my waist length hair in the show­er. I got LOTS of tan­gles. This was before I knew how to prop­er­ly care for nat­ur­al hair (2007). Soon after, I end­ed up hav­ing to cut a lot of mat­ted hair out due to wash­ing my hair out. Now I wash my hair in plaits after comb­ing it out. I comb through it again in the show­er. Nev­er going back to the sink.


Show­er for me. Wash­ing my hair at the sink makes me nau­seous.

Kayla V.

I get way too many tan­gles when I try to wash in the sink. I think sink wash­ing would be more real­is­tic if I had real­ly short hair. My hair hangs all in the sink and lays on the bot­tom and I can’t get it all rinsed. I’m also fun­ny about the mess it makes.


I recent­ly moved house and show­er is so I tiny so I’ve start­ed to use the kitchen sink and it has made my wash­ing regime so much eas­i­er and quick­er.

Liza |


I use both to be hon­est. When im hop­ping in the show­er i usu­al­ly wash my hair while im there or if i already show­ered / feel­ing lazy i will use the sink but i feel like i get my hair clean­er in the show­er.

Show­er. I stopped wash­ing my hair at the sink when I was a teenag­er. At the salon, hair is sham­pooed in the sink while I’m lying back in a chair—not hunched over, with my face down in the sink. Con­di­tion­er is applied, and then I have to either sit there and wait a few min­utes while it works or go sit under a dry­er for deep con­di­tion­ing. Once that’s done, con­di­tion­er is rinsed in the sink. Com­pared to my show­er rou­tine, the sink’s not real­ly faster. I use those con­di­tion­er min­utes to wash the rest of my body, so I… Read more »

This arti­cle is so on time. I will not use my kitchen sink to wash my hair as I do not like the idea of mix­ing food with hair. Lol. I cur­rent­ly use the show­er and hate it. Im a wash and go girl and put on all my prod­ucts in the show­er which equals messy. I hate how my show­er looks when im done. So thisweek­endumm redo­ing my laun­dry room. I now have a util­i­ty sink in there where I can wash my hair with­out wor­ry­ing about hair in the kitchen or show­er drain.

I’m a wash & go girl, too. I pret­ty much live in wash & gos. I also hate hav­ing a ton of prod­ucts in the show­er. Actu­al­ly, I hate hav­ing to use a ton of prod­ucts, peri­od. I’ve dras­ti­cal­ly reduced my hair prod­uct list over the last 5 years. I use one sham­poo, one “every­day” con­di­tion­er, one deep con­di­tion­er, and one finishing/sealing prod­uct. Oh, and in the win­ter, I’ll occa­sion­al­ly do an olive oil rinse—but I nev­er store that stuff in the show­er. I don’t store my sham­poo and deep con­di­tion­er in the show­er, since I only use them once… Read more »