One misconception about natural hair is that it is extremely time consuming. Wash days take forever, styling takes 2 days, detangling is a 3 hour process – it can be discouraging to even think about, let alone having to actually do this routine every week.
For those of us with busy lives and busy careers, we simply don’t have the time to devote 48 hours to hair care. The good news is, it really doesn’t have to be that complicated. If you enjoy working on your hair and find it relaxing, by all means you can spend a whole weekend conditioning and styling to your heart’s content. However, if you’re short on time and need to style on the go, here’s my minimalist quick and easy hair care routine.
You don’t have to do a pre-shampoo treatment with every wash. It’s only necessary if your hair is extremely dry, tangled, or matted. A pre-shampoo treatment is also recommended if you use a particularly drying shampoo, or if you are treating damaged hair.
I recommend the Indara Naturals 100% Organic Pre-Shampoo Oil. It’s lightweight and full of nourishing oils that penetrate the hair shaft. Oil is a great pre-shampoo treatment because it is quick and easy to apply, it’s not messy, and you don’t have to rinse it out before moving on to the next step.
Simply apply a light coating of the oil throughout your hair, paying special attention to the ends of the hair. You can cover with a plastic cap or leave it uncovered. Leave it on for at least 15 minutes – an overnight treatment is fine.
Application time: less than 5 minutes
Treatment time: 15+ minutes
Your hair and scalp need to be cleansed at least once a month. An ideal cleansing schedule is once a week. Depending on your hair’s needs, you can stretch your washes to every 2 weeks or every month, but no one should go more than 4 weeks without washing their hair.
There are 3 types of cleansers that you can use based on what your hair needs and how much time you have.
Clarifying Shampoo – These shampoos contain strong detergents that can be very drying to the hair. Use them sparingly to cleanse any product buildup or chemical deposits from the hair.
If you are using products with natural ingredients that rinse out easily, you may only need to use a clarifying shampoo once or twice a year. If you use heavy oils and butters in your hair, or use products with synthetic ingredients, you may need to use a clarifying shampoo once a month.
Moisturizing Shampoo – This type of shampoo contains milder cleansers. They can still be slightly drying, but not as bad as a clarifying shampoo. Use this shampoo when you need a quick cleanse, but don’t have a lot of product buildup.
Clay Mask – This is a deep treatment that can be used as an alternative to shampoo. It cleanses the hair by absorbing dirt and toxins from the hair and scalp. Most people are familiar with bentonite clay as a cleansing hair treatment. I prefer to use Indara Naturals Ayurvedic Clay Wash, which is a gentler, more moisturizing cleanser that also contains herbal ingredients to stimulate hair growth and promote scalp health. The Ayurvedic Clay Wash contains Moroccan Rhassoul Clay which is not as harsh or as drying as bentonite clay.
Use the Ayurvedic Clay Wash monthly, bi-weekly, or weekly as a deep treatment for dry or damaged hair. You can use the clay wash alone if your hair does not have heavy product buildup. If you do have heavy product buildup, you can use the clay wash after shampooing.
Shampoo application time: less than 5 minutes
Shampoo treatment time: 5 minutes
Clay Mask application time: 5-10 minutes
Clay Mask treatment time: 30 minutes
There are two types of conditioner that you can use for your wash day. General or “rinse out” conditioners and deep conditioners.
A general conditioner will soften and balance your hair after cleansing. A deep conditioner is a more intense moisturizing treatment for dry hair.
Use your rinse out conditioner when you’re pressed for time. You can also use it as a co-wash (a “wash” with just conditioner and no shampoo or other cleanser). Co-washes should be used only as a temporary fix when your hair needs a quick refresh between washes. This should not be your primary means of cleansing your hair because it doesn’t get your hair completely clean and it can lead to buildup on your scalp and hair.
If you would like to use shampoo less often, the clay wash is a better option than co-washing.
Deep conditioner should be used weekly for very dry hair. As your hair regains it’s moisture balance, you can start deep conditioning your hair every two weeks and then monthly. Leave your deep conditioner in for 30 minutes to 2 hours, but do not leave it in your hair overnight.
Use a deep conditioner that has hydrating ingredients and does not contains an excessive amount of oils and butters.
I recommend the Indara Naturals Honey Hibiscus Deep Conditioner because this formulation focuses on hydrating the hair with ingredients that penetrate the hair shaft and moisturize the hair from the inside out. It also contains herbal ingredients for growth and scalp health and pairs perfectly with the Ayurvedic Clay Mask.
Rinse out conditioner application time: 5-10 minutes
Rinse out conditioner treatment time: 5-10 minutes
Deep conditioner application time: 5-10 minutes
Deep conditioner treatment time: 30 minutes
Detangling is often the longest part of wash day for many naturals. There are several reasons for this. Dry hair, damaged hair, using the wrong detangling tools, improper shampoo technique, and sleeping with your hair uncovered can all lead to excessive tangles on wash day.
Never attempt to detangle dry hair. If your hair is severely matted, use the Indara Naturals Organic Pre-Shampoo oil prior to washing. This will soften your hair and allow you to begin the detangling process with your fingers before you wash.
After you have cleansed your hair, you can detangle after your conditioner or deep conditioner has been applied. Detangling with conditioner in your hair allows the hair strands to glide across each other so that you can unravel any knots with ease.
You should first separate your hair into 4 sections with your fingers and detangle with a large wide tooth comb. Your wide tooth comb will remove most tangles. After that you can follow up with a detangling brush to complete the process.
For bra strap length hair, detangling should take no more than 30 minutes. If it takes you longer than 30 minutes to detangle your hair, you should focus on deep conditioning once a week, and ensuring that you’re using the correct tools.
Detangling time: 10-30 minutes
After you cleanse and condition your hair, you need to apply a high quality moisturizer throughout your hair from root to tip. Make sure to put extra product on the ends of your hair. This is the oldest part of your hair and tends to be the driest.
The Indara Naturals Argan Aloe Leave In Conditioner contains organic ingredients for maximum moisture and hydration. It has the exact balance of oils and hydrators so that your hair stays moisturized for days without the oily buildup.
Use the leave in conditioner on wash day and then every 3-5 days until your next wash day. You may apply it to dry hair, or you can mist your hair with water first for enhanced absorption.
Leave In application time: less than 5 minutes
If you’re short on time throughout the week, you want to style your hair in a way that can last for at least 5 days. I’m normally able to get 7-10 days out of my wash day style.
A wash and go can last for 5-7 days, but this generally requires using a gel with a firm hold. These types of gels can cause your hair to feel crunchy, which most people don’t like. However, the crunch is essential to holding your curls in place so that your style will last for more than a couple of days. If you decide to use a gel, make sure that it is alcohol free and contains natural ingredients.
You can also opt to style your wash and go with a curling cream, mousse, or a gel with a soft hold – but this will likely cause you to have to redo your hair mid-week. You choice of curl defining product will depend on your personal preference and your weekly schedule.
Other styles that can last all week include two strand twists, twist outs, and braid outs. You could start the week in two strand twists, take them out mid week for a twist out, and then style them into an updo or puff for the last few days before you wash again.
Be sure to sleep with a silk scarf or bonnet at night to preserve your style and help your hair stay soft and moisturized until your next wash day.
The last optional step is using an oil on your scalp to promote healthy hair growth. Using a growth oil like our Extra Strength Growth Oil can help reverse hair loss and stimulate the hair follicles for more rapid hair growth.
Our 100% organic growth oils are also great for relieving dry, itchy, or flaky scalp.
Apply your growth oil every 1-3 days depending on your hair's needs and massage it into your scalp for 3-5 minutes.
Application Time: 1-3 minutes
Scalp Massage: 3-5 minutes
If you follow the tips in this guide your wash day can take as little as 60 minutes, and should take no longer than 90 minutes. Of course your styling time will vary depending on what style you choose and how long your hair is. I aim to keep my styling time under 60 minutes (my hair is around hip length for reference).
If you have any questions or need help with you hair, be sure to sign up for our email list and send me an email so that we can work together to get you on the right track!