Natural Black Hair Care

Resources, Articles, and Products For Taking Care of Natural Black and African American Hair

Tips For Washing and Moisturizing Natural Black and African American Hair


You should wash and moisturize your hair as often as needed to keep your hair clean, soft, and manageable. Washing removes buildup on the scalp, and dust or dirt that may cling to the hair from the atmosphere. Moisturizing with a good conditioner helps to soften the hair, aids in the detangling process, and seals in moisture. Both are essential for healthy manageable natural black hair.

Frequency: How often you wash your hair will vary depending on your hairstyle and lifestyle. If you are very active (you participate in sports, or do some kind of physical outdoor labor) you may want to wash your hair daily. Of course this means that you should wear your hair in a style that is compatible with washing your hair this much. If you wear your hair braided, twisted, or thermally pressed, you may want to wash and moisturize (condition) your hair weekly or biweekly. You should wash and condition your hair at least twice a month.

Products: Use a cleanser that is moisturizing and non-drying like either a sulfate-free shampoo, or a sulfate-free detangling and cleansing cream. After washing your hair be sure that you use conditioner to moisturize your hair. Some people only use shampoo, and avoid conditioner. Conditioner helps to soften and moisturize dry hair, and can be used as part of the detangling process. Some people only use conditioner to wash their hair. If this works for you, then that is fine too.

Tools: A wide tooth comb, a towel, and a blow-dryer (optional)

Washing and moisturizing African American hair that is longer than a few inches and is in an afro, or other style that can be changed daily or combed through:
If your hair is longer than a couple of inches, you should separate it into sections before washing it. To do this
a Before you wash your hair, use a wide tooth comb to separate your hair into sections.
b Braid each section loosely to keep each section separate. This makes your hair easier to work with so that it is not tangled up when you are done.
c Get in the shower, thoroughly wet your hair, and wash and condition each section of hair separately.
d If you are using a detangling cleanser to wash your hair, gently use a wide tooth comb to work through any tangles or knots while your hair is wet.
d Use conditioner after washing your hair to seal in moisture. Moisturize each section of hair with conditioner, gently use a wide tooth comb to go through your hair while your hair is wet. Rebraid the section of hair when you are done washing and conditioning.
e When you are done washing, detangling, and moisturizing each section of hair, use a towel to gently blot excess water out of your hair. Use a blow dryer to finish drying your hair, or let your hair air dry.

Washing and moisturizing African American hair that is in a braided, twisted, or more permanent style:
If your hair is in a braided, twisted,or more permanent style that you don't want to take down before washing, this method will help you to wash your hair without getting your hairstyle "fuzzy." Follow these steps:
  1. Put a stocking cap over your hair (you can make one by cutting off the leg of a pair of stockings and tying a knot at one end).
  2. Get in the shower and throughly wet your hair with the stocking cap on.
  3. Apply shampoo to the stocking cap.
  4. Use your fingertips to gently massage your scalp (leaving the stocking cap on), and rinse well.
  5. Follow up with conditioner to moisturize your hair in the same method.
  6. Rinse well.
  7. Leave the stocking cap on and blot your hair with a towel to remove excess water.
  8. Let air dry, or use a blow dryer to finish drying your hair.