You can make hair wash day so much easier with these tried-and-true essentials. If you have curly hair, you know how time-consuming hair wash day can be. A long day of treatments and conditioning doesn’t have to take so much time out of your busy routine.
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Best Tools for Hair Wash Day
Hair tools are important for the health of your hair. Tools that are not good quality will damage your strands and cause split ends. Although split ends can be managed, many of the products that “seal” split ends are a temporary fix. Damaged hair hair does not absorb moisture, leading to frizzy and unruly curls.
Having the right hair tools will cut the time you spend on your hair in half. You will save time and money by investing in the proper tools. Below you will find several safe product recommendations for detangling and styling.
1. Detangling Brush
A detangling brush is designed to glide through your hair without tearing or damaging the hair shaft. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, hair shedding is normal. However, a detangling brush should never tear or rip your strands. Finding a brush that works for you can take some trial and error depending on the type of hair you have. Look for a strong brush with flexible bristles and firm grip. Things to avoid when buying a hair brush include weak bristles, a weak rubber base underneath the bristles, and a brush with a slippery handle.
2. Styling Brushes
A styling brush will clump your curls together and give you a frizz-free look. The type of brush you decide to buy will depend on the look you are going for. If you want bigger curls, you may want to invest in a wider brush that will clump more of your hair together to form large curls. If you prefer smaller, defined curls, the D4 Denman brush below is a great option. For sleek buns and smooth styles, you will need a bristle brush. If you have baby hairs, consider trying the Kitsch brush to smooth down your edges.
When you are shopping for a hair dryer, look for a dryer with a cold setting. Cool air is perfect for setting your hair style after your hair is completely dry. You can use the cool setting to dry your hair if you want to avoid using heat. Below are two hair dryers that have lasted me for years. You will also need to invest in a towel that will not damage your hair strands. Below is a recommendation for a microfiber towel that has worked very well for me. You can also use a t-shirt until you are ready to explore microfiber towels. Microfiber towels will dry your hair very quickly. You can scrunch your hair with the towel before blow drying to speed up the drying process.
- Luxe Essentials Microfiber Towel or a T-Shirt: I’ve used this luxe Essentials Microfiber Towel for about a year on my very curly hair and I love it. It saves me so much time on wash day.
Cleansing your hair before applying conditioning products eliminates product buildup. Product buildup is left over product that coats the hair, preventing the hair shaft from absorbing moisture. If you don’t cleanse your hair, your strands won’t absorb the healthy ingredients in your products (and you will have oily hair instead of shiny, bouncy curls).
4. Clarifying shampoo
Rinsing with apple cider vinegar and water is a great way to cleanse your hair. You can buy a product that already has apple cider vinegar inside, or you can mix vinegar from the store with water as a DIY clarifying rinse. Dr. Bronner’s is also an underrated product that you can use in a pinch. Use clarifying shampoo once to twice a month for the best results.
- Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse: Accure Buildup Balancing Hemp and Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo
- Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Soap
5. Moisturizing shampoo
If you find that your hair is especially dry, you may want to invest in a moisturizing shampoo to clean and condition your hair on days when your hair doesn’t need a clarifying shampoo. This is great if you lead an active lifestyle because you can wash your hair more often after workouts without worrying about your hair becoming dry.
Conditioning on Hair Wash Day
Hair conditioning is essential for curly hair. Although light conditioners work for detangling and adding moisture to your strands, you will need to deep condition at least once per week.
A deep conditioner is a heavy-cream mask designed to coat the hair for 5-30 minutes. After rinsing, you will see a noticeable difference in the quality of your hair. Just as your skin needs lotion, your hair needs conditioner and oil on a regular basis. There are so many different types of deep conditioners available with different strengths. For maximum effect, use a heated conditioning cap.
6. Deep conditioner (moisturizing or with protein)
You may want to use a deep conditioner with protein if your hair feels frizzy and difficult to style after you condition. This is often a sign of over conditioning. Finding the right balance may take some trial and error. Below are a few products to get started with.
7. Light conditioner (great for in shower detangling)
Light conditioners, or leave in conditioners, are great for detangling in the shower if that’s what you prefer. It is so important to detangle your hair when it’s wet and doing this in the shower can save a lot of time. Using a light conditioner to coat your hair before you shower (on wash days) will protect your hair from heat damage if you take hot showers. Remember to rinse with cold water to seal the hair follicle and prevent frizz.
- The Whole Foods Beauty Department is a fantastic place to search for clean conditioners.
Styling Products for Hair Wash Day
Don’t make the mistake of overlooking styling products. Even if you’ve already used several conditioning products, it is important to use styling products that will make your curls last. Styling products also add nutrients to your hair between wash days. Please be careful not to over condition and to maintain proper protein moisture balance: see Protein Moisture Balance: A Complete Curly Girl Guide.
8. Leave-in conditioner
Leave-in conditioners are a great way to ensure your hair won’t become dry between wash days. Usually, it’s best to look for a light leave in conditioner that mixes well with oil and other heavier products.
9. Oil for Hair Wash Day
There are so many different kinds of oil for hair. Lighter oils such as olive oil, almond oil, or jojoba oil are best for conditioning because your hair will absorb the oils faster. Heavier oils such as coconut oil are best for sealing your hair after moisturizing products.
- Jojoba Oil
- Castor Oil
- Coconut Oil
- Macadamia Oil
10. Cream or Custard
Choosing between a curling cream and a curling custard will depend on the weather. In the winter it’s best to use custards that will prevent the humid air from causing frizz. In the summer, moisturizing curl creams will condition in the intense heat. If you live in a hot climate, avoid using heavy gels or custards in the summer because heavy products that sit on top of your hair will melt and create a sticky effect. In the summer, it’s best to use conditioning creams that your hair can easily absorb in the heat.
Hair spray contains so many drying elements and chemicals. The options below are great moisturizing alternatives to hairspray. These are perfect to use after applying your products to set your curls, or you can use them on “day 2” hair to refresh any curls that got smooshed overnight. Using a spray or a mouse will work wonders when you wake up in the morning and need to refresh your curls.
Healthy Curls Checklist
If you feel like you’ve tried a million products and you still can’t get the curl definition you want, try this free guide to help you build a routine that works for you.
Other Tips for Hair Wash Day
I highly recommend taking the curly hair quiz from naturallycurly.com. You may need to take the quiz more than once during your natural hair journey because your hair will change as the health of your curls improves. After, you take the quiz, review the products above and determine which ones work best for you. Incorporating new products can be overwhelming. I recommend trying one or two products at a time.
Testing several products at one time is not cost effective. It is also difficult to see which products are working when you change too many elements at once. Product cocktailing is also important. Some products do not mix well together, and will clump into a white film after you layer them together on your hair– this is something I wish someone would have told me when I was starting out with natural products.
To prevent this, it is important to try a strand test. The Franchelli’s Curls Youtube channel is a great place to start learning about which products go well together. Feel free to comment, let me know what’s worked for you, or ask a question! Don’t forget to save to Pinterest for later.