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The Best Black Hair Washing Tips:


Should YOU Pre-Poo Detangle?

Pre-Poo Detangling is thoroughy separating your hair strands before applying shampoo.

You can either dry detangle your hair with an oil or use a wet rinse-out conditioner to help separate the hair strands. Using lubricates (oils) and/or moisturizers (conditioner) to detangle your hair before washing it is called pre-poo detangling (pre-shampoo detangling).

Pre-poo detangling is important for two reasons. One, it helps in the removal of shed hair. Two, you can easily scout-out and remove tangles.

As you separate your hair strands, you are removing shed hair that may be stuck onto other hair strands. If you have matted, tangled hair before you wet it, you better believe that your hair strands will become more knotted while you are washing your hair.

Pre-poo detangling is a preventive method that can help reduce tangles and knots while washing your hair.

Learn the best way to Pre-Poo/ DETANGLE your natural hair.



There are TWO WAYS to cleanse black, natural hair.

The first technique is simply washing your hair the traditional way: loose and free.

The second method involves placing your hair into sections to prevent tangles and knots.

Audrey Davis-Sivasothy, in her book, The Science of Black Hair, calls it the Break-Free Hair-Washing Technique.



1. Freeform Hair Washing: Loose and Free Hair Washing

14 - MUST Dos

when Cleaning Black Hair:

  1. Detangle before washing
  2. Do not ruffle hair on top of head
  3. Turn away from the water and allow your hair to hang down, let the water run down it.
  4. Massage the shampoo onto your scalp and smooth the suds down the length of your hair
  5. Only apply shampoo 1-2 times to clean the hair
  6. Apply conditioner to the hair, not the scalp
  7. Let the conditioner saturate your hair for at least 5 minutes
  8. Rinse the conditioner from your hair, use your hands to milk all of the condiitoner out
  9. Gently fork a wide-tooth comb through your hair while it is subdued in water
  10. Rinse with cool water
  11. Use a towel to pat dry your hair, never flip hair upside down
  12. Apply moisturizer
  13. Use oil or butter to seal moisture-in
  14. Style hair, preferably protective style

(best for shorter natural hair)

The most common and convenient method for washing black hair is freeform washing. During freeform washing, the hair strands are loose and free.

Washing your hair loose is the easy to prep for, but can present serious issues if not completed properly.

Freeform washing is better for black, natural hair when it is shorter. Short hair is hair 10 inches in length or less.

Once curly hair reaches about 10 inches in length, using the freeform washing method is likely to result in unnecessary tangles and knots.

Some of the tangles can become so bad that the only way to remove them is through cutting them out.

As your hair continues to grow longer, you will learn to appreciate the Break-Free Hair Washing technique (described below).

How to Prepare for Freeform Washing

Detangling your hair before you wash/wet it--is a MUST. The best way to prepare for freeform washing is by finger detangling your hair first.

The most important tip you should leave this site with regarding washing black hair is TO DETANGLE YOUR HAIR before you start the process.



Here is an example of the Freeform Washing technique in motion.

MeechyMonroe (on Youtube) takes you through her entire hair wash routine. I like that she did most of the work outside of the shower. You will notice that although her hair is shorter, she still places her hair into sections once it is detangled.



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black-hair-growthHow to Prevent Knots While Freeform Washing Natural Black Hair:

As your hair continues to grow longer, you will experience new challenges.

The first goal in washing kinky hair is to get it clean. Your second goal should be to get-and-keep your hair detangled.

Thoroughly separate your hair strands before you wash. This will remove mild tangles that could worsen into knots once saturated in water.

The more organized you are while prepping your hair for a wash, the less problems you will have once you finish washing your hair.

The worst case scenario would be placing a head of tangled hair into water and attempting to wash it. You would end up with a big knotted mess.

The wash session is the perfect situation to create setbacks if done incorrectly.

Don't forget these three steps:


2. The Break-Free Hair-Washing Technique (BFHW)

(best for longer natural hair)

How to:

Break-Free Hair-Washing Technique:

  1. Place lubricated, detangled hair into 4 - 6 chunky twist or braids
  2. Rinse hair in water for 1 minute
  3. Rub shampoo into hands, ensuring that it reaches the tip of your fingers
  4. Focusing on the scalp, massage shampoo into your scalp and hair
  5. Rinse shampoo, squeeze excess shampoo from each section, in a downward motion
  6. Apply conditioner, from root of hair to ends, in a downward motion
  7. Place a plastic cap over hair with conditioner set
  8. Optional: Deep conditioner under head dryer for 20 minutes
  9. Wait 5 minutes, rinse conditioner
  10. Style hair, preferably protective style

What is the Break-Free Hair-Washing technique?
Put simply, it is placing your hair into at least four chunky twists or braids and cleaning it while it is separated. This is a great technique when you want to keep your hair manageable and prevent unnecessary tangles.

There is strength in numbers.
When your hair is within sections, it is almost impossible for the hair strands to become messy and entangled.

This strategy reduces tangles because the hair strands are grouped together. The more hair strands held together, the less opportunity there will be for frantic movement.

Will there be product left on your hair?
Don't worry, using the Break-Free Hair Washing technique will still result in clean hair.

One way to ensure that the shampoo and conditioner is removed from your hair is to gently squeeze the product out as you rinse your hair.

Those with long natural hair will love the BFHW technique.
I have witnessed many video gurus on youtube use the Break-Free Hair Washing technique. It is a convenient defense system against breakage from reckless tangles.

One of the biggest challenges that those with long kinky, curly hair face is wrestling with tangles and knots.

As your hair becomes longer, single-strand knots can become your hair's worst enemy. Once knots form, cutting them out may become your only option to remove them.

As your hair becomes longer, you will grow to appreciate the BFHW technique because it will not only save time; it will also help you to preserve more hair length too.

The good ole divide-and-conquer strategy works wonderfully when washing kinky, curly hair.


How to Prevent tangles while using (BFHW) technique.

When the hair is left within sections during washing, you are already a head of the game when it comes to preventing tangles.

Its a good idea to leave at least an inch of space at the root of your hair to allow your fingers to reach the scalp and work the shampoo in.

The suds from the shampoo on the scalp will slide down the length of the hair strands. As you rinse your hair, massage the shampoo down the length of your hair.

The challenge when using the Break-Free Hair Washing technique is keeping the hair within sections.

If you notice sections becoming loose, you'll have to retwist that section and continue on to the next. Try to prevent your hair strands from becoming loose and vulnerable to tangles.

Some people unravel each section of hair and wash, condition, and detangle individually.

Others wait until they have finished washing and conditioning their hair then do a final stroke with a detangling tool after they have applied a moisturizer to the hair.

Three Key Steps to Remember:

Here is an example of the Break-Free Hair-Washing Technique in motion.

Mymanemoves (on Youtube) does a great job of showing the slow pace involved in detangling natural hair. Her hair is long and kinky, yet she made the wash session look easy and manageable because her hair is separated and organized.



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Does water temperature affect hair?

Water temperature affects the outside protective layer of the hair strand, called the cuticle. The cuticle has shinglelike scales that open to receive moisture from your hair products. It also closes to seal moisture in.

Warm and cold water temperatures have different effects on the hairaffect the hair shaft This helps to support the strength of the hair.

What is the best water temperature for hair?

Warm water forces the protective layer of your hair to open and remove residue from product build-up. So, when you are applying shampoo to your hair start with warm water to loosen the scales of the cuticle layer and release all dirt.

Using water that is too hot can cause your hair to become dried out. If your hair is color-treated, it can become faded sooner.

Cool it down.
Cool water has the opposite affect on the hair shaft. It helps the scales of the protective layer to close and seal in the ingredients from your hair products.

After you have rinsed the shampoo out of your hair, apply the conditioner and rinse it out using cool water. Final rinses should be done with cool water.

This simple step will improve the performance of the moisturizing (water) and reconstructing (protein) ingredients within your conditioner.

Tips on Washing Your Hair in the shower:

If you wash your hair in the shower, it is natural to want to adjust the water temperature to what feels good to your body. Water temperatures that feel good to your body are not necessarily appropriate for the health of your hair.

For example, most people prefer to shower with steaming hot water; and dislike cooler water on their skin. Your hair thrives within opposite circumstances.

If your hair could speak it would beg for cool water because cool water supports the protective layer of the hair, the cuticle. Unfortunately, it is difficult to lift dirt in cool water. Also, most people can hardly bare a cool shower for more than two minutes.

So, to create balance between what your hair need and what feels good to your body, do not allow the water temperature to elevate beyond warm.

When washing your hair, be careful not to allow the water temperature to become too hot nor too cold. Both extreme temperatures can be damaging to your hair-often, causing it to become dry and brittle.

Does water pressure matter when washing black hair?

Water pressure is extremely important when it comes to cleansing your hair. Water pressure creates force. Too much force will break your hair. Hair drenched in water is more flexible, but not unbreakable.

One might imagine that hair is impossible to break when subdued in water. It is possible for anything to break when confronted with the right amount of force.

The most dangerous time is when high pressure water initially hits hair that is not yet subdued in water. It is not flexible enough to resist the abrupt hit by the water. In such a situation, damage is sure to follow.

On the other end of the stick, the pressure of the water should not be so light that it cannot remove the shampoo and conditioner from your hair. Most showers have adjustable shower heads that allow you to create an appropriate water pressure.


How to Final Rinse: TWO Techniques:

Shower vs. Over-the-Sink Rinsing

Once you are all done shampooing your hair and have the conditioner set, prepare your for the final rinse. There are two ways people complete the final rinse: either over-the-sink or within the shower.

1. Over-the-Sink: Final Rinse:

Rinsing the conditioner out of your hair while bending over the sink is the most convenient of the two because you can focus solely on your hair. You do not have to stand in the shower and wash your entire body when all you really want to do is quickly wash your hair.

DON’T place your face in the sink:
Most people kneel over the sink with their face forward. This is problematic because the hair is lifted up on top of the head in the opposite direction from which it naturally flows. This method is messy and will leave your kinky, curly hair tangled and unorganized.

DON'T lift your hair over your head
When the hair is smoothed upward and over your head during rinsing, you are disrupting the natural flow of its protective layer, the cuticle. As you rinse your hair, smooth it downward. This method is backwards and unbeneficial to the hair shaft.

Hair cuticles that are lifted will reveal dry, dull, tangled hair. Rinsing your hair in such a manner can disrupt how well your conditioner performs on your hair. The conditioner is suposed to go in and replenish the hair with moisture and protein.

If you prefer the convenience of over-the-sink rinsing, consider using the Break-Free method and section-off your hair; then rinse the conditioner out. This will hold the hair strands in place and prevent them from becoming tangled and knotted.

Or, if need be, seek out assistance from a friend and have them rinse the product from your hair similar to how a hairstylist would do it---head-back, face-forward.

DOs when over-the-sink rinsing

Place your head into the sink face-up, with the water pouring onto your hair within a downward motion. If you have ever been to a hair salon; then you are familiar with this technique.

You can accomplish an effective final rinse by grabbing a chair and placing your head into the sink face-up with your hair flowing downward; just like hairstylist do in the salon. The downward flow of the water will support the health of the hair cuticle by smoothing the hair strands. This helps the conditioner to perform more efficiently.

If possible, seek a second set of hands
Have someone help you rinse your loose hair more efficently. If you can not find anyone to help with the rinsing process; then section your hair into 4-6 chunky braids or twist and rinse your hair free of the conditioner. Placing the hair within sections will give you better control and predictability with your hair while washing it.

2. In-the-Shower Final Rinse:

The shower presents a perfect environment for you to wash your hair. You are standing so it is easy to allow the flow of the water to move through your hair in a way that rinses all the product and dirt redue away.

You are comfortable and can dedicate the time needed to work the shampoo and conditioner through your hair. You can easily focus on your scalp and massage it clean without the urgency that discomfort presents.


Washing natural black, kinky, curly hair is time-consuming.

There is no way around it. Be prepared to commit at least two hours between pre-poo detangling and completing the entire wash session.

To save on water and gas, try doing most of the work outside of the shower. This allows for more control over your hair. Also, you can better analyze the condition of your hair and determine its needs.

If you watched the above videos ...

You have seen how to place your hair into sections and then efficiently wash your hair while it is grouped together. You have witnessed how to apply shampoo to the hair while outside of the shower. Both tactics may be different from what you are familiar with.

But ...

To achieve hair length that you have never had, you will have to do things you have never done to your hair. When it comes to washing and maintaining natural black hair you have to think outside-of-the-box. You are dealing with a unique hair texture.

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