The Emergency Wash Day

Monday, October 28, 2013

frobunni natural hair wash day
My hair 2 days after an emergency wash day. I decided to blowout my hair.

I try to keep my wash days fairly short. No more than 3 hours long, and 3 hours is when I am doing the most - pre-wash conditioning (I don't like the term pre-poo, it sounds weird), detangle, wash my hair in sections, rinse, condition, deep condition, apply leave-in and oil, and then style (which is usually medium sized two-strand twists, 20-30 total). Every so often, I find myself crunched for time, but I still have to wash my hair. During these rare moments, I do my emergency wash day process, which is an extremely abbreviated version of my wash day meant to get me out the door within an hour. It begins with washing my natural hair loose, conditioning, and putting my hair in a bun. This keeps it stretched while I finish in the shower. Afterwards, I apply Giovanni direct leave-in, seal with with oil, and then bun my hair again. I finish the rest of my wash day process - detangling and styling - whenever I find the time, which can be either a day later or a few days later.

Having afro-textured hair and devoting a lot of time to my hair in general, I find that the emergency wash day is an invaluable technique to have as a part of my natural hair regimen, but there are some tips and tricks to ensure that an emergency wash day doesn't become an emergency hair disaster.

  1. Don't try something new: The point of an emergency wash day is to get the hair clean, styled, and get out the door as soon as possible. It isn't the time to try new products or techniques, but just to use tried and true methods to get you out the door feeling confident and looking gorgeous. I know that Giovanni Direct Leave-In and coconut oil are going to always do my hair justice, so there is no reason to use anything else when I am rushing out of the door.
  2. Is this an Emergency Wash Day or an Official Wash Day: Decide if you want the emergency wash day to be your official wash day or just something to hold you over. If it's your official wash day, make sure you thoroughly cleanse and condition your hair so that it is clean and properly moisturized until your next wash day. If it is just holding you over, consider cowashing so that you don't dry your hair out due to over cleansing. Due to the fact that I generally dread wash days, my emergency wash day also doubles as my official wash day since I am not willing to invest two days a week to washing my hair.
  3. Keep the essentials: Decide which products and techniques will get you out of the door the fastest. The longest element of my wash day is detangling because it is very labor intensive, and I have to go very slowly to decrease the amount of breakage. I just keep my hair in a stretched state with a bun or braid, and detangle when I find the time. Pre-conditioning and deep conditioning are actually not necessary to keeping my hair healthy and moisturized because I find that my hair does fine so long as I moisturize and seal every night. 
  4. The right hairstyle is everything: The right hairstyle on the emergency wash day is important because, depending on what other steps you have to complete later, it will either make it easier with little damage and breakage, or make it a natural hair nightmare. Styles like braids and buns help to keep hair stretched and also look really good. My hair style on the emergency wash day is consistent - bun, braid or flat twist. I am trying to keep my hair as stretched as possible since it will be easier to detangle my hair later. 
  5. Do not place speed above care: The emergency wash day is meant to get you out of the door as fast as possible, but you don't want to put speed above care, and cause a setback in your hair journey. It is important to still be really gentle with your hair. If an emergency wash day is something that you cannot do without damaging your hair, consider wearing your hair in a style that will hid dirty hair and allow you to postpone your wash day. This is the exact reason why I leave my detangling session for another time; it is impossible for me to detangle, wash, condition, and style my hair all within an hour without causing a lot of breakage. 

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