By Geniece of Beautifully Made
For many women the decision to wear their hair naturally is well thought out. If you were like me you spent years wearing your hair relaxed and wanted to be sure that you weren’t biting off more than you could chew by taking the plunge and wearing your hair in its natural state. Once you figure out a few styles to wear during your transition, products and a regimen you felt ready. Then you realized something you hadn’t considered: The time. The minutes that turned into hours as you detangle, twist, braid and wash your hair. The belief that it has to take many hours to care for natural hair is one of the main concerns I’ve heard from those considering going natural. I want to put your fears to rest. It doesn’t have to take 6 hours a week to detangle your hair every week. In fact, I would argue that you should be able to care for your hair in a relatively short period of time.
So how long will it take you to care for your hair on wash day? Of course this depends on the length and thickness of your hair. As of today my hair is between mid-back length and waist length and rather thick.
From start to finish I can detangle, wash and style my hair in an updo with large twists (such as a chignon) in about 3 ½‑4 hours. I love such styles because once I’m done I can tie my hair down with a scarf and the style will remain sleek and neat for a few days before I need to fix up the frizzy edges. Because I wash my hair bi-weekly I find that hair care ends up taking a very limited amount of time.
In detail here is how my wash time breaks down.
Pre-Shampoo: 30 minutes
I often start wash day by applying a conditioner to lightly dampened hair. I let the product sit for at least fifteen minutes.
Detangle: 1–1.5 hours
Detangling will take about 1 hour on hair coated with conditioner and oil. This is one part of my regimen I can’t rush through. I like to use a wide tooth seamless comb. Sometimes I then go through the section with a smaller tooth detangling comb (the kind with interlocking teeth) and gently comb the hair a few more times.
Wash: 40 minutes
I keep my hair twisted in large sections and wash each section, focusing on the roots. I always think it should only take me 20 minutes but, alas, I’m usually shampooing for about 35 to 40 minutes. I like to make sure there is no build up or shampoo remaining.
Style: 45 minutes- 1 hour
The time my hair takes to style varies. If I’m lazy I place my hair in 10 large twists and call it a night. The next day I will usually style it simply, such as a ponytail with the ends pinned up. If I want a braid out, I will place my hair in about 15 or 16 braids. When preparing for a twisted up do I usually twist my hair in 20–30 medium twists. Because I spend the time detangling before washing I don’t have to spend time detangling all over again. This makes the styling process fairly quick.
The only occasions in which I spend many hours on my hair is when I flat iron, which I very rarely do, and when I wear mini-twists. Even with mini-twists I find that I save time over the course of a month because while I may take 7 or 8 hours to twist my hair using small sections, I can maintain the style for a month. During such occasions I will also be sure to deep condition my hair, usually overnight. If I deep conditioned every week, which I don’t, I believe it would only add about another 30 minutes overall.
I’ve found a way to manage my hair without it consuming an inordinate amount of my time. If I can do it, I think you can as well.
Ladies, how long does wash day take? What are your strategies for making it go faster?
For more of Geniece’s haircare advice check out her YouTube channel: Beautifully Made.