Best way to apply hair products in sections

Applying Hair Products in Sections

We’re back with part 2 of our Q&A series, and today’s question is “I have thick, curly hair. What’s the best way to apply my hair products?” 

This is an excellent question and a really important part of your hair care regimen that a lot of people miss. Correct product application is crucial because no matter how great your products are, you won’t get the best results from them if you’re not using them the right way.

There are three components to proper product application. First you want to make sure you are selecting the correct product so that you get the results you’re looking for. Then you want to ensure that you are applying your products in the right order. Lastly, you want to make sure that you are covering all of your hair and not missing any areas.

thick curly haired woman

Product selection

Washing and styling our hair can be a daunting task and with so many products on the market, it can feel overwhelming to have to sift through all of them and figure out which one to use for which purpose. That’s how we end up spending hundreds of dollars and having a cabinet full of random products that we never use.

In order to simplify the process for you, let’s identify the basic products that you need to have on hand. Of course you’re free to play around with other products if that’s fun for you, but if you want to keep it simple, these are your must haves.

Pre-Shampoo Treatment – This product is optional. Use a pre-shampoo treatment if you have very dry hair or if your hair is tangled or matted, such as when you are coming out of a long term protective style. 

I prefer to use oil when I’m doing a pre-shampoo treatment because it’s easy, fast, and more effective than creams or conditioners for removing tangles without damage.

You can find Indara Naturals Organic Pre-Shampoo Oil here

Cleanser – You can choose to use a moisturizing or clarifying shampoo. How often you need to shampoo your hair will depend on your hair and scalps individual needs, as well as the types of products that you use. If you have less product buildup, you can shampoo less often. You will want to avoid shampooing your hair more than once a week, as shampooing too often can dry out your hair, especially if your shampoo contains sulfates.

Clay masks are another method of cleansing your hair. I recommend clay treatments for everyone with natural hair. They are a personal favorite of mine and they are able to gently cleanse and detoxify your hair and scalp while improving your hair’s moisture levels and curl definition. Clay washes can be used between shampoo washes to keep the hair and scalp clean and refreshed without drying out your strands.

How often you use a clay wash will depend on what type of clay you are using. Bentonite clay is more drying and should not be used more than once a month. Rhassoul clay is more moisturizing and can be used as often as once a week, but every two weeks or once a month is more common.

Conditioner – Conditioning your hair is a fundamental step that should be completed each time you wash your hair. If you’re in a rush, or just aren’t ready to do a full wash, you can skip main cleanser and do a co-wash. This means you do not apply shampoo or clay and you just wet your hair and apply your conditioner. This is a good short-term option if your hair just needs a quick refresh, but should not be your only method of cleansing since conditioner is not intended to clean your hair and is not effective at removing buildup from your hair and scalp.

Deep conditioning is also a vital part of your hair care regimen. A deep conditioner (also called a conditioning hair mask or moisturizing hair treatment) is a more specialized conditioning treatment that should be left on the hair for 15-30 minutes and provides more intense moisture than your regular conditioner. If you are suffering from dry hair, you should be deep conditioning your hair weekly for at least 4-8 weeks. Once your hair’s hydration level has improved, you can transition to deep conditioning every two weeks and then monthly.

Leave In Conditioner/Moisturizer – This is the product that you apply to your hair immediately after rinsing out your conditioner. You can use a liquid leave in or a cream. I prefer to use a cream because it contains both water and oils to keep my hair soft and moisturized for days after wash day. The Indara Naturals leave in conditioner that I use has a light hold so it’s great to use alone for my braid outs and twist outs. No other product needed!

Gel/Mousse – This product is optional, but if you’re wearing a wash and go, you’ll want to add gel or mousse on top of your leave In conditioner to help keep those curls in place.

Scalp/Growth Oil – This is another optional product, but if you have dry, flaky scalp or if you’re trying to grow out your hair, you will want to have a high quality essential oil blend on board to keep your scalp moisturized and stimulate those hair follicles. I use Indara Naturals Soothing Growth Oil which is a 100% organic formula for nourishing the hair follicles and stimulating growth.

These products are all you really need for a solid hair care regimen. Any other products are unnecessary, or can be used if you’re craving variety. Personally, I’m a fan of keeping it simple.

indara naturals luxury organic hair products

Order of Application

So now that we know what products we need to have in our arsenal, let’s talk about how to apply them.

The important point to remember about the order of the products is that you want to apply your leave in immediately after rinsing out your conditioner so that you can lock in all of the moisture from your conditioning session. This helps keep your hair hydrated longer, which allows you to go longer between washes.

I do not recommend applying an oil like olive oil or coconut oil on top of your hair after moisturizing. If you are using a gel or mousse, you will apply that on top of your moisturizer as a final styler to finish your look.

smiling woman with afro

Applying in Sections

Lastly we’ll discuss thorough application of your products. In order to make sure that all the areas of your hair are covered from root to tip, you need to apply your products in sections. This becomes especially important for those who have thick or dense hair. Simply smoothing products on top of your hair will cause you to miss large portions, which can lead to dryness and breakage of the areas that are not being coated with product. Apply your hair products in sections will allow you to use your products more efficiently.

To ensure complete coverage, you should begin by parting your hair down the middle from front to back. Next, part your hair across the middle from left to right. This will leave you with four equal sections of hair. It is also helpful to use hair clips to keep your sections separated.

If your hair is not very dense, these four sections will be enough for adequate product distribution. If you have very thick hair, you will need to divide the four large sections into smaller sections before you start applying product.

Once you have your hair sectioned appropriately, you can begin applying your products. The application process will be the same for creams, gels, and conditioners. You want to begin applying the product at the root and smooth it down to the ends of your hair, adding more product as needed until all of your hair is covered. Use a wide tooth comb or a detangling brush to ensure even product distribution.

For moisturizing products you should focus on adding more products to the ends of the hair, as this is the oldest part of your hair and the part that needs the most attention in order to reduce split ends and breakage.


Now you know what kind of products to use, when to apply them, and how to apply them. Choosing the correct products will simplify your wash day, and applying your products in sections will ensure that each part of your hair will receive equal attention to avoid areas of dryness and breakage. These tips will help you get the maximum benefit from your hair care products and ensure that you are using the best technique to keep your hair moisturized and soft.

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