Washing & Conditioning Your Hair for Optimal Hair Growth

The first step to happy and healthy hair is a CLEAN SCALP!  So, washing is the first lesson:

  1. Wash your hair at least once a week.
  2. Washing your hair in the shower keeps your hair going in the direction you’d like to wear it, keeps it from tangling, and makes it easier to do three things at once: shower, wash your hair, and condition your hair.
  3. Use a gentle shampoo for washing that moisturizes your hair while cleansing it.  Avoid shampoos with the following ingredients: Ammonium lauryl sulfate, Ammonium laureth sulfate, Sodium lauryl sulfate, and Sodium olefin (ed oleth) sulfonate; these are all harsh cleansing agents.
  4. When you wash your hair pour a quarter to silver dollar size of shampoo into the palm of your hand and concentrate the shampoo on your scalp, not the length of your hair. The length of your hair will get clean by the suds coming down from your scalp and the water pulsing on it.   Also, rubbing your hair with shampoo is a recipe for unnecessary tangling.   Gently use the pads of your fingertips to massage the shampoo into your scalp.
  5. How do you know your hair is clean?   When you can produce suds.   If the shampoo in your hair does not lather, it means that you still have a lot of product build-up in your hair.   So you will want to rinse and repeat. (However, if you are using a natural shampoo you may not produce any suds at all.)
    Washing and Conditioning the Hair for Optimal Hair Growth

Before starting on a healthy hair regimen, it’s a good idea to do one clarifying shampoo to remove product build-up and start with a clean slate.
After washing ALWAYS condition, always!   Some people think that frequent washing dries out the hair, but it’s not true.   What dries out the hair are harsh shampoos combined with not conditioning the hair after washing.   The second step to moisturized, happy, healthy hair is well conditioned hair!


     Use a moisturizing conditioner; if the bottle says for dry, frizzy, damaged, or curly hair, chances are it’s a moisturizing conditioner.

  1.      After rinsing out all of the shampoo, apply a quarter to half-dollar size of conditioner to your hair (not scalp) especially focusing on the ends.   The ends of your hair are the oldest and driest part of your hair and need the most moisture.
  2.      Finish your showering and let sit on your hair for at least 5 minutes while in the shower.
  3.      Rinse out in shower.
  4.      Proceed to hair styling.


Once a month or every two weeks you will need to deep condition your hair to keep it strong and healthy.   If your hair is breaking you will need a conditioner with protein in it.   Too much protein can make your hair hard and brittle, so you have to find your correct balance based on your hair type and the current condition of your hair.   The deep conditioner I use is a light protein conditioner with moisturizing properties.   I recommend to always follow a protein conditioner, no matter how light, with a moisturizing conditioner.

               Use a light protein conditioner, it should be cream or gel based.

  1.     After rinsing out all of the shampoo, apply a quarter to half-dollar size of conditioner to your hair (not scalp).
  2.     Apply a plastic cap and sit under a hooded dryer or heating cap for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Rinse out in shower.
  4.      Apply a moisturizing deep conditioner; this should be a heavy cream based conditioner and will usually be found in a jar instead of a bottle. Apply a plastic cap and sit under a hooded dryer or heating cap for at least 15 minutes.
  5.   Rinse out.
  6.     Style your hair.

Author: Kenesha Williams

K.Nicole Williams is a writer, speaker, and hair care enthusiast. In addition to creating the popular (now defunct) Diaspora Hair Care message board and the Glint of Light Blog, K.Nicole writes hair articles for Black Hair Media and other media outlets. She is currently writing her first novel and you can follow her on twitter at www.twitter.com/GlintofLight_79 and connect with her on her blog at http://glintoflightblog.com

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  1. The shampoo I use has all the ingredients that are “harsh cleansing” agents. Can you suggest me a shampoo that is healthy for my relaxed hair? Is the olive oil brand shampoo a good choice?

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  2. A very informative piece.

    Ladies, beware there are many things in your hair care products that are harmful to your tresses.

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  3. Hello!!

    What about on CHILDREN’S hair? Now I wash and condition my daughter’s hair once or twice a week. I do not use any heat nor do I do a deep conditioning as of yet. She is almost 4 yrs old. I want to make sure I’m taking care of her hair properly.

    Any suggestions would be VERY helpful!!


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  4. When i do a treatment especially if there is a bit of shedding i would use a protein and moisture treatment together. So i will mix equal parts of both together. Example: 2 spoonfuls of reconstructor + 2 spoonfuls of moisture. Then I would go under the hooded dry or use a steam cap or 15 to 20 mins.

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  5. Hi, thanks for this really informative article. About the protein and moisturising conditioners, is it a good idea to combine or mix my conditioners instead of doing the protein deep conditioner and then following with the moisturising?

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    • hi yes you can mix your conditioners together but protein needs to be only done once every 2 weeks. its also better to use all natural products that way you can cancel out all alcohols and not moisturising oils out of your regimen.

      for moisture simply use – shea butter, water, honey, olive oil (or your favourite oil) and to add moisture simply add an egg 🙂

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  6. Hi Charlene,

    If you choose to do a protein conditioner, you should ALWAYS follow up with a moisturizing conditioner because protein can dry the hair out, but it’s needed for strength. I recommend using a mild to strong protein conditioner once a month on relaxed hair, depending on the condition of your hair that month.

    Keratin 2 Minute Reconstructor
    ORS Hair Mayonnaise
    ORS HaiRepair Nourishing Conditioner
    Mizani Renew Strength Reconstructing Gelee

    Two-Step Protein Treatment
    Nexxus Emergencee Conditioner
    Joico K-PAK Deep-Penetrating Reconstructor
    Mizani Renew Strength Reconstructing Masque

    I think that blow dryers can be used with relaxed hair in good condition once a week, but make sure to use a heat protectant (this is my fave: ApHogee Keratin & Green Tea Restructurizer). A healthier was to dry your hair is by air-drying or with a hooded dryer like with a roller set – see this article: http://blackhairmedia.com/articles/the-healthiest-way-to-style-hair-roller-set .

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  7. hi iv got a few questions, do you use a regular conditioner a protein and moisturising conditioner on the same day? What do you think about using hair dryers? I have relaxed hair thank you.

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