How To Shampoo Your Natural Or Relaxed Black Hair Without Tangling

Woman having her curly hair assessed by a stylistMake wash day a dream by shampooing your hair the easy way

After you have bought a suitable shampoo for your hair type, now is the time to learn the proper techniques for shampooing black hair. Depending on if the hair is relaxed or in its natural state, shampooing can be a very complex experience even though it needn’t be!

Don’t shampoo very tangled hair

First thing is to make sure that the hair is reasonably detangled. If your hair is relaxed, do this gently with a wide tooth comb. If the hair is natural then just do it with your fingers gently as very curly or kinky natural hair should never be combed or brushed when it is dry.

You may spray a mist of water and apply a little oil in the hair to help with the lubrication and detangling is even easier if you give your hair a hot oil treatment beforehand.

Braid or twist it up

Depending on the length and thickness of your hair, a number of braids or twists will be needed to avoid any further tangling during the shampooing process. For long relaxed hair, 2-4 loose braids or twists are sufficient. If your hair is natural and very curly, coily or kinky then it is best to braid or twist into 4-6 sections. If you have shoulder length and shorter hair you can get away with shampooing without braiding first.

Wash your scalp not your hair

Get in the shower and wet the hair thoroughly while rubbing the scalp in circular motions. The rubbing is what generally causes the tangles in the first place if hair is not braided first so it’s always a good idea to braid particularly if you are natural.

Apply a small amount of shampoo to your palm, rub your hands together and distribute concentrating on the scalp as this is where majority of the dirt accumulates. The shampoo will actually clean the length of your hair while it is being rinsed off so don’t worry about having dirty hair!

If you choose not to braid your hair, you can also prevent tangles by holding the section of hair taut with one hand while rubbing the shampoo onto your scalp with the other. This minimizes tangles tremendously. Wash one section at a time.

Rinse and repeat

The first shampoo will probably not lather much because of oil and styling product residue in your hair so rinse the shampoo out thoroughly and repeat. The second shampoo will lather more and should be sufficient to get all product and dirt out of your scalp and hair. Just take your time with the shampooing process. After you rinse, and if you use a sulfate free shampoo, your tresses should be left clean without feeling stripped.

If you are purposely using a sulfate containing shampoo to clarify your hair, it’s even more important to braid your hair up beforehand. When all the natural oils have been stripped from the hair, it leaves it dry and very prone to tangling which then leads to breakage.

The take home message here is that you should invest in a good sulphate free shampoo with moisturizing benefits. They are widely available in supermarkets, beauty supply stores and online these days. As a last resort you can go for a sulfate containing shampoo which is designed for dry hair as it will be much gentler on your hair.

See this video on how to shampoo natural hair, relaxed hair can be shampooed just the same. And no the beer rinsing isn’t necessary!

Deep condition

Proceed to deep conditioning as usual remembering to detangle with a wide tooth comb only when the hair is soaking with conditioner. Detangling should be easy with very few snags if you are natural. If your hair is relaxed, there should be virtually no tangling! See the article on how to braid the roots of natural hair to prevent tangling.

About Alma

Hi! I'm Alma Ruddock, a full time blogger. I stumbled on a hair care forum in 2008 frustrated with my breaking relaxed hair and the information that I found there changed the fate of my hair forever!. I started as a way to help both myself and other women of color achieve their dreams of long healthy hair. I have now achieved my goal length and I continue to bring new information about hair on both this website and my personal blog.


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