Although we have a popular number-letter system for identifying our hair’s texture, the truth is black women more often than not have various textures throughout their hair. For instance, the hairs nearest the nape of my neck are tight and spirally, while the ones in the middle of my head are wavy. Managing various curl patterns at the same time requires a very specific cleansing and styling routine.
And this usually means that what works for one person—even if they share one of your textures—won’t necessarily work for you. So we spend a lot of time trading information and products, hoping that a mix of advice and experimenting will help us land on a wash-day routine that actually works. In an effort to help you with that advice part, five black women with varying curl patterns, including myself, are sharing the wash day routines that keep their hair healthy and in check.
Style: Wavy/Curly Pixie
Routine: So, I’m braving the awkward grow-out phase and doing everything I can to ensure my curls remain intact as they get longer. Right now, since my hair is super dry in-between seasons, the L.O.C. (leave-in, oil,cream) method is truly saving my mane. I’m almost always switching out my shampoos and conditioners (nature of my job as a beauty editor), but for the past few months, I’ve been loving Briogeo’s Don’t Despair, Repair! Super Moisture Shampoo and Not Your Mother’s Natural Matcha Green Tea & Wild Apple Blossom Nutrient Rich Butter Masque. The combo of these two has provided the most hydration without weighing my hair down, which is definitely on the finer side.
After that, I’ll spritz my hair with Briogeo’s Strength & Moisture Leave-In Mask and get out the shower. From there, I run a dime-size amount of Mielle Organics Mint Almond Oil through my hair. It smells amazing and includes peppermint oil, too, which really helps with my itchy scalp. Sometimes, I’ll add a little tea tree oil to the mix if it feels extra flaky. Lastly, before wrapping my hair in an Aquis towel, I’ll finger-comb my hair with Creme of Nature’s Pure Honey Moisture Whip Twisting Cream. It’s made with honey, coconut oil and shea butter; all ingredients that keep me moisturized without being too heavy.
Style: Kinky, Coily Afro
Routine: As most naturals, I usually reserve “wash day” for Sunday. I’ll use shampoo on my hair about once every two weeks, so when I do, I use the Shu Uemura Ultimate Remedy Extreme Restoration Shampoo followed by the Extreme Restoration Conditioner. My current leave-in conditioner go-to is Shea Moisture’s Curl Stretch Pudding, so I’ll section off my hair and apply it evenly, then just go about my day. The next morning I’ll wet my hair again and style it with Cantu Leave-in Conditioning Repair Cream, which is my wash-and-go Holy Grail curly product.
Style: Low-Cut Caesar
Routine: I keep my hair pretty short in a low-cut Caesar, so I maintain my hair by using a mixture of almond, olive, and argan oils with some water and glycerin. It helps keep my scalp protected especially in those NYC winter months. I love using Pantene products to wash and condition my hair.
Wearing a durag at night is extremely essential for me to keep my cut lasting fresh and preventing any harsh pulling I get from the pillow at night. In the summertime, I like to bleach my hair platinum blonde. It’s just more fun! I use Shimmer Lights shampoo to keep the color vibrant. I use the same oiling routine, and for added hydration, I use Pantene’s curling custard to combat the harsh sun rays.
Routine: I’ve had my locs for a little over four years now. On wash day, which is about every two to three weeks, I like to lightly brush them to make sure I’m not washing any dust or lint into my hair. I also spray them with a little water beforehand to prevent breakage. I make sure all the buildup is brushed up so my washing can be more effective. Starting in sections, my choice of shampoo is currently Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap, in Peppermint or Tea Tree. This soap has all natural ingredients and is sulfur-free so that I can wash without leaving behind any residue.
After washing, I dry with a T-shirt wrapped around my head. Once my hair is damp and not soaking wet, I add a mixture of coconut oil, olive oil, jojoba, and Jamaican black castor oil to remoisturize my hair and scalp.To style, I use Cantu Shea Butter Twist & Lock Gel along with my spray bottle of water because you never want to twist dry locs! I sleep with a scarf around my edges and a stocking to keep away anything that could get caught in my hair, and maintain moisture by spritzing with water and massaging in my mixture of oils. I like to use all-natural and unprocessed products in my hair. It helps me keep things simple and make sure my hair has a natural and healthy environment to grow!
Style: Curly Hair
Routine: I wash my hair with Aesop Calming Champoo and then condition with Aussie Mega Moist Conditioner. I then do a twist-out using Cantu Coconut Curling Cream. Leave it in overnight, and that’s it! When it comes to hair, simpler is better for me.