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There are so many things we need to get through on a daily basis, some of them more enjoyable than others and some less so. There are naturalistas who love nothing more than wash day and look forward to it, and then there are those who don’t enjoy it as much. For this last set, the amount of time required to cleanse, detangle, and style their hair seems to be too much to invest, and they wonder if it is worth it.

At this point, I want to state that wash day is very important for naturalistas. To promote a healthy moisture balance, minimise breakage and shedding, and ensure length retention, having a solid wash day routine is essential.

One thing I also want to point out is that your wash day routine does not have to take up your entire day. If you plan it well, wash day routine can be quick and easy. You might actually enjoy it.

This article will help you establish an effective wash day that works for you and doesn’t make you feel rushed and out of breath. But one that leaves you with healthy hair nonetheless.

Here are some tips for establishing an effective wash day routine that works for you.

Schedule it

Don’t approach wash day haphazardly or try to slot it into time that just happens to open up. You have to schedule it and give it its important place in your time scheme. Make an appointment with yourself to get the job done without distractions or interruptions. Try to remember that making the time for wash day is winning half the battle.


Before you shampoo, saturate your hair with water or better still a mixture of conditioner and oil. Then, gently remove all tangles, matts, and knots. I always advise clients to never try detangling without first wetting the hair because combing dry hair can be very painful.

Cleanse in sections

You might want to rush through things and clean your hair as a whole, but it is actually more effective to cleanse hair in multiple sections. You can part your hair into four quadrants, apply the shampoo to your scalp and work the shampoo in with your fingers. Without unravelling, massage the shampoo down the length of each twist and rinse. This portion of wash day should take between ten and 15 minutes.

Condition and detangle

This process should take between 25 to 30 minutes and requires you to pat your conditioner or deep treatment on your freshly washed hair. Once you are done, untangle the hair and start detangling. If you feel like you need more conditioner than you started with, please add more. Work your way backwards, from ends to the roots with a comb. I find that this helps. Once your hair is fully detangled, wear a shower cap to allow the deep treatment or conditioner penetrate your strands.

Rinse with cool water

Complete the wash process by using cool or cold water to rinse. An advantage of using cool water is that it closes your pores, blocks dirt, and smoothes cuticles, while sealing in the moisture from the conditioning treatment.

Dry with a T shirt

When you use a T-shirt (preferably old) to squeeze the excess water from your hair, you cut down significantly on your total drying time.

Moisturise and style

This final step takes the biggest chunk of time, between 45 minutes and one hour. Add a leave in while styling by sectioning your hair into four to six parts, applying the leave-in from the root to the tip, and then braiding or twisting as desired.

In conclusion

So, you see that wash day doesn’t have to take all day. The misconception about long and exhausting wash day is as erroneous as the one about natural hair being a lot of work. All you need to do is optimise and personalise your steps and products for the healthiest hair possible.

I want to point out, however, that I have only outlined the basic steps for wash day. You can add more steps as it suits you. You can add hair masks, pre-poos, and double-moisturisation. The idea is to find something that works for you and that is effective.

And soon, you’ll be handling wash day like a pro.


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