I love that afro hair doesn’t need to be washed every single day (gosh, so drying!). However, wash day DOES eventually roll around and I always make it one of my days off because… having, uh … “complicated hair days” when you’re getting ready for work in a Eurocentric society is a no-no. Black women CANNOT catch a break with a single curl out of place, so rather than have to run around the block with HR managers and anyone else who decides to complain, I just make it a point to devote one of my days off to the wash day blues.
Why do I call them blues? Because the process is tedious. I won’t be one to lie. Now that doesn’t mean I don’t like my hair. I’ve had one too many non-black females try to interpret my grumblings as self-hate and jealousy of what they’ve got.
I love these curls and the things they can do. But I don’t and will never like having to devote half of my day to wash, rinse, condition and style just because the only “messy bun” that’s acceptable in North American society is one made by girls with type 3C hair or looser.
So me and my 4A/4B mop doesn’t make the cut.
Wash day could have been so much simpler. I could wash, condition, pull into a bun or two, and not be stressed that my edges are curly rather than “laid” or my hair wasn’t brushed and brushed and brushed into uniform waves for the satisfaction of …who exactly?
Oh right. Everyone else who feels they have a right to be up in my business.
My days of protesting this ish are semi-over, so I just do what I gotta do until I can figure out a way to escape the system and work for myself –where the only person trying to dictate what I should look like will be me.
So anyway, now that the rant’s over, how about sharing routines?
Mine is as simple as I can make it.
Personally, I’m not one to fuss over the shampoo I use. In fact, I often just use a plain old bar of soap. Like this one:
It works for me. I find that a lot of the shampoos I used to use just left a whole lot of buildup. That slippery, not-exactly-clean feeling. I didn’t like it. I realized that bar soap didn’t leave that greasy feel, so I just use that. A lot cheaper. For those about to cry that it must be sooo drying ….well, it is. But that’s what leave-in conditioners are for.
Wash day starts with a scalp massage for me. Gets my scalp tingling. If I notice any dandruff, I use a fine-toothed comb and loosen the flakes off my scalp. That way they can get washed away in the bath, rather than just getting wet and drying right back on the scalp.
Then, I wet it with warm water. This opens up the pores of my scalp, and it lifts the cuticles on my hair strands as well. I slather generic conditioner through it, and detangle. That’s how I keep it from breaking, especially I have thick hair with very fine strands that like to break at the slightest provocation. I wash it thoroughly with my trusty bar of soap after that to get rid of the product and leave it clean.
Sometimes I’ll find that my hair feels a little limp or just like even the soap hasn’t really done a good job of removing all the product buildup.
That’s where this thing comes in.
Apple cider vinegar has an acidity that’s very close to that of human hair, and it also acts as a great conditioner and disinfectant. It will cut through the buildup, slough it off, and seal the cuticles on your hair strands as well, leaving it looking nourished and having a healthy sheen.
Yes, it stinks, but that’s why you’re going to rinse it out –plus the smell subsides when it dries. I’ve heard of people using it as an underarm deodorant as well. I mean, whatever works, right?
After all of that, I shake my head to get the excess water out (I’m not fond of towels …my hair is delicate) and I use my fingers to coat my curls in a leave-in conditioner of my choice. Sometimes I use a product similar to the Pink lotion a lot of us grew up using. Other times, I just use shea butter mixed with coconut oil. That’s more of my winter routine if I’m wearing my hair loose, as I don’t want it to dry out quickly.
If I’m going to add extensions, I just use the leave-in, as my hair will be protected in or under the added hair.
I do enjoy the process to an extent (especially when I listen to my favorite YouTube mix and watch Netflix at the same time). But it’s also annoying when that’s what I spend pretty much my whole day off doing, hence the blues.
But luckily it’s not something I have to do everyday.