Wash Day Routine for 4c Natural Hair

wash day routine for 4c natural hair

Do you have a wash day routine for your 4c natural hair? If not, you’re in for a treat! This article will discuss the ultimate wash day routine for 4c natural hair. So whether you are just starting on your natural hair journey or have been rocking your curls for years, this guide is for you! We will cover everything from cleansing to conditioning to styling.

The five essential steps of any 4c natural hair wash day routine are:

  1. Pre-shampoo care: pre-poo & detangle
  2. Wash hair: shampoo & condition
  3. Deep condition: mask, steam & rinse
  4. Prepare hair for styling: dry hair & infuse it with additional moisture
  5. Style hair

While the steps may seem simple, there is a lot of important information to cover for each one. Let’s get started!

Step 1: Pre-shampoo care

Pre-shampoo care is just as crucial as the shampooing and conditioning steps. It helps restore oils and moisture lost during the week and prepares your scalp and hair for cleansing. There are a few different ways you can do this:


Pre-poo involves applying an oil or conditioning treatment to your hair before shampooing. It helps to lubricate and protect your hair during the wash process.

A pre-poo treatment is beneficial in your wash day routine because it:

  • Adds slip to hair which makes the detangling process easier
  • It helps to control frizz and dryness
  • Creates a barrier between your hair and the harsh cleansers in shampoo
  • Reduces hair friction and breakage due to manipulation during washing

There are many different ways you can pre-poo. 

You can use an oil such as coconut oil, olive oil, or avocado oil. Or you can use a store-bought product such as a hair mask or conditioner.

Once you’ve chosen your pre-poo treatment, divide hair into 4 to 8 manageable sections. Apply the treatment to your dry hair from root to tip and cover with a shower cap or plastic bag.

You can either leave it on for a few minutes or overnight. Use a heat cap for maximum benefits if you’re short on time.

We recommend doing a pre-poo overnight for the best results if you have the time!

Finger Detangle

Finger detangling is precisely what it sounds like – using your fingers to detangle your hair carefully. Detangling helps to minimize breakage and damage during the wash process.

It is essential to detangle your hair after wearing a protective style such as braids or twists, as your hair is more likely to be matted.

To finger detangle, start with small sections of hair and use your fingers to loosen any knots or tangles gently. If you come across a particularly stubborn tangle, use a wide-tooth comb to work it out carefully.

Be careful not to pull or tug too hard on your curls. Once the section is fully detangled, move on to the next one.

Scalp Massage

Another great way to prepare your scalp and hair for a wash day routine is by giving yourself a scalp massage. You can do this with or without oil.

Start at the front of your head and use your fingertips to massage your scalp in a circular motion. Work your way back, making sure to cover the entire scalp.

Massaging your scalp will help loosen any dirt and debris on the scalp, increase blood circulation, and promote hair growth.

This step can be done simultaneously as the detangling step or later during the shampooing process.

Step 2: Wash Hair

Now that you have prepped your scalp and hair, it’s time to wash!

Start by rinsing your hair with lukewarm water to open up the cuticles and allow the shampoo to cleanse the scalp and hair. Avoid using hot water, which can strip natural oils from the scalp and hair.

Shampoo hair in sections

Next, apply a generous amount of sulphate-free shampoo to your scalp in each section and massage it with your fingers.

For type 4c natural hair, it is vital to wash in sections as this helps to avoid tangles and matting. Once the shampoo is applied, use your fingers or a seamless wide-tooth comb to detangle each section before rinsing it out.

Reapply shampoo as needed.

After going through all of your hair, rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water until removing all the shampoo traces.

Use a clarifying shampoo to remove build-up from products and environmental toxins at least once a month.

Condition hair

After shampooing, it’s time to condition your hair. Apply a generous amount of conditioner to each section of hair and use your fingers or a wide-tooth comb to detangle.

Once all of the tangles are out, rinse the conditioner from your hair with lukewarm water. Avoid using hot water as this can cause the conditioner to wash out before penetrating the hair shaft.

Step 3: Apply Deep Conditioner

Once your hair is clean and conditioned, it’s time to apply a deep conditioner.

Deep conditioning is essential in any wash day routine, but it is significant for 4c hair as it is prone to dryness and breakage. It helps restore moisture, strengthen the hair, and improve elasticity.

How to choose a deep conditioner

There are primarily two types of deep conditioners: protein and moisturizing.

Protein deep conditioners help rebuild and strengthen the hair shaft while moisturizing deep conditioners help add moisture and hydration.

For best results, use a moisturizing deep conditioner on most wash days and a protein deep one once a month or on a need basis.

Your hair needs protein when it is:

  • Highly porous, which means it soaks up moisture but doesn’t retain it
  • Low in elasticity as it stretches but doesn’t spring back, and it feels limp or stringy
  • Damaged from heat styling, dyes, or over-manipulation
  • Shedding more than normal

Your hair needs moisture when it is:

  • Dry and brittle (a common characteristic of 4c hair)
  • Frizzy feels rough and has a lot of split ends
  • It does not stretch much and breaks easily
  • Tangled and matted easily

How to deep condition your hair

Section your hair off into four sections or more as required. Starting with one section, apply the deep conditioner from your roots to the ends of your hair.

To deep condition, apply a generous amount of deep conditioner to each section of hair and use a wide-tooth comb to detangle. Once you have evenly distributed the conditioner, cover your hair with a shower cap or plastic bag and allow the deep conditioner to penetrate for 30 minutes to an hour.

You can also apply heat for deeper conditioning by using a heating cap, sitting under a hooded dryer, or placing a towel soaked in hot water over the shower cap.

After your deep conditioner has had time to work its magic, it’s time to rinse it out. Start by rinsing with lukewarm water and then follow up with a cool water rinse.

The cool water helps to close the cuticles and seal in moisture.

Step 4: Prepare Hair for Styling

After the deep conditioning treatment, it’s time to prepare your hair for styling.

Use a t-shirt or a microfibre towel to remove excess water from the hair. Using these fabrics is a great way to avoid frizz and breakage caused by rubbing the hair with a towel.

Infuse additional moisture

Next, use a leave-in conditioner or moisturizer to infuse additional moisture into the hair. This step is essential for 4c natural hair as it is prone to dryness.

For best results, apply it to damp hair. Consider using the L.O.C. or L.C.O. methods for this step.

The L.O.C. and L.C.O. methods are simply different ways of layering your products.

With the L.O.C. method, you start with a liquid, followed by an oil, and then a cream.

The L.C.O. method is done in reverse order; you start with a cream, followed by an oil, and then a liquid.

The liquid can be water, a Leave-in conditioner, or even aloe vera juice.

Oils help seal in moisture and can be anything from olive oil to jojoba oil.

And finally, the cream provides additional hydration and can be a leave-in conditioner, curl cream, or butter.

Once you’ve applied your leave-in conditioner or moisturizer, you can proceed to style your hair as desired.

Step 5: Styling options for 4c natural hair

Once you have adequately moisturized your hair, you can style it as usual.

When it comes to styling, the sky is the limit! You can wear your hair naturally, put it in a protective style, or experiment with minimal heat styling.

There are endless styling options for natural hair. Some popular ones include:

  • Wash and go’s
  • Braid outs
  • Twist outs
  • Rod sets
  • Bantu knot outs
  • Finger coils
  • Wigs and weaves

Your style will depend on your hair’s length, thickness, and overall health.

If your hair is healthy and has minimal damage, you can opt for a style that requires heat, such as rod sets or Bantu knot outs.

Use a style that doesn’t require heat, such as wash and go’s, braid outs, or twists outs if your hair is damaged or you’re trying to give it a break from heat.

Wigs and weaves are also great styling options for natural hair. They can give your hair a break from manipulation and allow you to try out different styles without damaging your own hair.

Be sure to use a heat protectant if you plan on using heat styling tools. Heat damage is one of the leading causes of breakage for natural hair.

No matter what you choose, the most important thing is that you’re taking care of your hair and giving it the love and attention it deserves.

There you have it, a step-by-step wash day routine for healthy and beautiful natural 4c hair.

Natural Hair Wash Day Routine F.A.Q.s

How often should you wash 4c natural hair?

You should wash your hair once a week as a rule of thumb. However, this may vary depending on your hair type and needs.

Remember that a clean scalp is essential for healthy hair growth, but over-washing can strip the hair of its natural oils and lead to dryness.

Many naturalistas choose the same day each week to complete their wash-day routine. This consistency is essential to turning the routine into a habit.

Listen to your hair and wash it as often as necessary to keep it healthy and moisturized.

What is the best shampoo for a good wash day routine?

When it comes to shampoo, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind.

First, look for a sulphate-free shampoo, as sulphates can strip the hair of its natural oils.

Second, choose a shampoo that is moisturizing to help hydrate the hair. And lastly, pick a shampoo that is gentle enough for everyday use.

Some popular options for 4c natural hair include:

Use a clarifying shampoo once every few weeks to remove build-up from styling products and environmental pollutants.

What is a good wash day routine for natural 4c hair?

A good wash day routine for 4c natural hair should include:

  • Pre-shampoo care, including a pre-poo treatment and detangling hair
  • Washing the hair in manageable sections with a sulphate-free shampoo
  • Conditioning the hair and detangling using fingers or a wide-toothed seamless comb
  • Deep conditioning with a protein or moisture-rich treatment
  • Infusing additional moisture by using a water-based leave-in treatment and sealing it with an oil and cream
  • Styling the hair as desired

Be sure to use products specifically tailored for natural hair to get the best results.

How to dry 4c hair after washing?

Once your hair is clean, it’s time to dry it. The best way to dry natural hair is by first t-shirt drying it to remove excess moisture. T-shirt drying helps to minimize frizz and breakage.

Next, use a diffuser attachment on your blow dryer to dry your hair on a low or cool setting lightly. Avoid using direct heat as it can damage the hair.

Once your hair is about 80% dry, you can air-dry the rest of the way or finish drying it with the diffuser.

Be sure to use a heat protectant if you plan on using heat styling tools. Heat damage is one of the leading causes of breakage for natural hair.


Wash days can be long and tedious, but they don’t have to be. With a little bit of planning and prep work, you can make it an enjoyable experience that leaves you with healthy, happy hair.

By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your wash day routine is effective and efficient.

Be sure to customize it to fit your individual hair needs and preferences. And most importantly, don’t forget to have fun!

Experiment with different products and styles and find what works best for you.

With a bit of care and attention, you’ll have beautiful and healthy natural hair! Happy washing!