Wash Day Routine for 4C Hair

I have VERY thick, very coily hair. Which basically means I cry a little on the inside when I know it’s time to wash and re-style it. Jokes aside though, since going natural in 2015, I’ve learned a lot about how to properly care for my body and my hair, and my hair has been flourishing. However, after trying out different products over time, my scalp was starting to get very dry and irritated. My holy grail shampoo was no longer being sold, and my scalp was starting to suffer. I knew I had to find some sort of scalp treatment or shampoo, and was doing some of my own DIYs which worked, but they were also fairly drying to my hair, which made detangling a nightmare….hence, my dread of wash day… Thankfully, after much trial and error, I’ve been able to narrow in on ingredients that work for both my scalp and hair, and a go-to method to detangle my hair and keep it detangled from start to finish of wash day.

Detangle then twist

The first thing I do before washing my hair is detangle with a spray bottle of water and a wide-tooth comb. I part my hair into 8 sections and slowly detangle by dampening my hair then combing from ends to roots with a wide-tooth comb. After each section is detangled, I two-strand twist it to tuck it away while I work on the other sections.

I’ve recently been loving the Tea Tree & Lavender Water shampoo and conditioner line by Hair Food. I find that this combination is cooling and soothing to my scalp, yet very moisturizing for my hair at the same time. My hair and scalp are clean without feeling stripped. I found these online at Ulta Beauty. Bonus that they both come in a pump! I leave my hair in twists while I shampoo and focus on the roots. After rinsing with warm water, and working one section at a time, I’ll un-twist my hair, apply the conditioner, distribute with a wide-tooth comb, then retwist before moving on to the next section. After each section is done, I rinse my water in lukewarm water.

Deep conditioning mixture

I like to mix up my deep conditioning treatments based on what my hair feels like it needs. On this wash day, I mixed two different products from Shea Moisture with an oil blend from Melanin Hair Care. For me, the High Porosity Moisture Seal Mask works like a protein treatment and revives my hair when it feels brittle, while the Strengthen & Restore Treatment Mask locks in moisture and makes it easier to manage. I’ve been using both of these products for years and always get great results. I pick these up at my local Walgreens since they’re usually on sale there. I’m all for a buy one get one half off sale! I sometimes find them on sale at CVS as well. The Multi-Use Pure Oil Blend is fairly new to me, but it’s quickly becoming one of my staple hair care products. It’s lightweight and absorbs into my hair and scalp without feeling greasy – great ingredients! Since it’s multi-use, I usually just rub the excess into my hands when I use it on its own to help keep my hands nice and soft. I mixed these three into a small plastic bowl then applied to my hair – still working one section at a time. Once each section is done, I cover my hair with a plastic cap (or plastic grocery bag – either one works fine) and let the conditioner sit for at least 30 minutes. You could also cover the plastic cap or bag with a Hot Head cap while you deep condition as well. Adding heat during this process is like a spa treatment for your hair. It enhances the efficacy of your products. (This is usually how I deep condition, but on this particular day, I covered my plastic cap with a plastic bag to lock in more body heat since I couldn’t find my cap). I got my cap on Etsy. After about 30 minutes, I’ll rinse my hair in cool water and untwist while I’m rinsing to make sure all of the product rinses out.

Braid or twist to stretch while drying

My final step of wash day is to braid my hair in sections to stretch it while it dries. If left alone, my hair shrinks to about 40% percent of it’s length. Since it’s also very coily, it typically tangles in its stretched state as well. So, to keep from completely undoing the work I’ve just done, after rinsing out the conditioner, I’ll wrap my hair in a microfiber towel for a few minutes to absorb excess water, then immediately either twist or braid my hair to stretch it while it dries. The style I want to do determines whether I’ll twist or braid. If I want to wear my hair in a puff or fro, I’ll twist it to dry. If I’m trying to prep my hair for box braids, senagalese or rope twists, a crochet style or similar, I’ll braid my hair. Braiding stretches my hair more than twisting and makes the styling process much easier later on. After twisting or braiding, I leave my hair to air dry. Once it’s dry, I apply a leave-in conditioner then style.


This entire process (aside from drying time) only takes me about 2.5 hours. So, it’s really not so much a wash day as a wash event, but I’ve gotten here after much trial and error. A few years ago, I had several more steps, several more products, and it really did take an entire day to get through it. I’ve tried a few different methods and gone through a few different products before I was able to simplify it to just a few hours…..thank God!

How long does wash day take you? What products are you loving? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!