Wash day: a simple phrase that can fill a wavy-curly girl’s thoughts with dread. After all, it is the day of the week where we wash our hair and begin a styling routine all over again.

The reason many of us try to avoid wash day for as long as possible is because it can be downright labor intensive. Plus, we never quite know what we are going to get until our hair dries. For this reason, I look to make my wash day routine as simple yet effective as possible–my products may be ever changing as I try out new stuff but my basic routine stays the same.

Step 1. Wet & wash

To start my wash day, I let my hair run under lukewarm water in the shower until it is completely soaked.

By doing this, I find that I am able to work the products through my hair more effectively and with less tangles. When my hair is fully soaked, I reach for a cleanser and because I have natural build-up, I tend to reach for a sulfate-free shampoo rather than a cowash.

I am currently loving True by made beautiful Moisturizing Shampoo. It deep cleans my scalp while not stripping the moisture from my hair and allows me to detangle while rinsing out the shampoo out (which is a must for me”>.

Step 2. Deep condition

After completely rinsing out the shampoo, I use a deep conditioner (once a week”>.

This vital step helps keep my hair moisturized and strong. A recurring favorite in my stash is SheaMoisture Intensive Hydration Hair Masque; I love it because my hair is never weighed down by the moisture it provides (which is a must for those of us with wavy hair”>. I coat my hair with a generous helping of the deep conditioner and use hair clips to clip it up for about five minutes then rinse the treatment out completely.

Step 3. Squish to condish

Once I am ready to be done with my shower, I squish to condish.

I do this by flipping my head upside down, allowing water to run over the back of my head again. It’s important that I make sure my waves are absolutely soaked–then I run conditioner through my hair. I add more to my palms and begin to ‘squish’ the conditioner into my soaked hair to help facilitate the clumping of my waves. This technique also ensures that my hair retains moisture after it dries.

For a conditioner to be successful when doing squish to condish, you need something that is lightweight enough to distribute but can still pack a punch in lasting a few days. My personal favorite is Yes to Coconut Ultra Moisture Conditioner.

Step 4. Apply styler

Once the conditioner is fully absorbed, I am ready to apply styling product.

I am a product junkie, guilty as charged, so I love to try out new stuff on my hair constantly. Although I do have some good and proven mixtures, the one thing that never changes is my formula for a perfect pairing.

I always start with a base–this is something that sets a good canvas for the rest of my products to sit on. It also helps to keep my waves clumped. I find a good lightweight leave in conditioner works great as my base, like Alikay Naturals Lemongrass Leave in conditioner.

Next, I use a moisturizer, depending on your hair needs this could be a mousse to a hair butter–anything that will add enough weight to my wavy hair and keep any potential frizz at bay. In my current routine, I use Curls Curl Crème Brule.

Step 5. Seal

The last step in my wash day is to apply a sealant.

Depending on humidity levels, this ranges from a small amount of oil (when my hair is dried”> to a hard hold gel. Currently, with the ever present humidity in Texas, I reach for L.A. Looks Sport Gel and while this styler dries with a cast, I am left with soft curls that will last for multiple days after scrunching them.

In between wash days

My wash day comes around every 3 to 4 days, depending on my schedule and how my curls are holding up. To ensure I get the best defined waves between wash days, I protect my hair as much as I can:

  • At night, I apply a night leave-in and cover my hair with a head wrap to keep my waves from denting or drying out.
  • In the mornings (depending on how my curls are looking and feeling”>, I either reach for my Q-Redew or a spray bottle to breathe a little life back into my hair.
  • I top my morning routine off with a curl refresher. My current favorite is Alikay Naturals Wake Me Up Curl Refresher which adds volume and defection back into my hair.

While this may seem intimidating for someone first starting out, a wash day is nothing to fear and should be treated as a day to relax and treat our wavy hair. Get into the swing of a wash day routine that works and the process will become a lot simpler to do even within a shorter time frame.

Looking for a styler that will give you great wave definition? Check out The 5 Best Wavy Hair Defining Products.

If you have bangs that never seem to behave, watch How to Style Wavy Bangs.


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