Monday, 26 April 2010

Sin Bin and Angel Wings: Washing hair in sections

**This post is based on my personal view.**
The Sin Bin 
Curly hair past a certain length (6 inches in my opinion) simply cannot be washed free without knotting, matting and tangling. The tighter the curl, the more the benefit of washing your hair in sections. Washing free hair is therefore going into the sin bin.

Angel Wings
Wearing the halo today is washing hair in several sections. This means dividing the hair into manageable sections, for example two, four, six or eight individual braids. If you don't wish to braid the hair, banding each section with a small hair band or two and/ or using section clips is just as good.

You can then wash each section individually. If you wish, you can unbraid each section (one at a time) to ensure you get your product well distributed or to ensure all the product is rinsed off but only work on one section at a time, making sure to rebraid or band it when you are done.

Why does this work so well?
Curly hair is simply good at knotting.Washing hair in sections makes the hair less likely to knot simply because it does not have to be constantly handled and separated from the other strands.

If your hair is not long enough or you have a larger/looser curl, you can probably get away without sectioning hair. However, if your hair is long - whether curly or not, this technique may suit you too.

So, do you wash your hair in sections or do you prefer to wash it free?

36 comments:

  1. Yes, I agree. I wash in sections and find it more beneficial. I still unbraid and rebraid the section I'm working on but I'd like to see how my hair does without going through the extra steps.

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  2. I have type 4 hair and I wash it free. I have about 3-6 inches of hair and I do find it more beneficial to wash in sections, but it is more time consiming.

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  3. I definitely have to wash my hair in sections. Once my hair started getting long, washing and detangling my hair was an absolute nightmare! It took forever to detangle it in the shower then I'd have to detangle it again as I tried to style it. After detangling my hair would draw up and curl back up on itself. But now I separate my hair into 4 sections, that I keep in twists. I'll untwist a section at a time to wash and apply conditioner and such, but I'll twist it right back up when I'm done. It keeps my hair stretched and prevents it from curling back up on itself. Doing this has saved me a lot of time, frustration, and hair!

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  4. You said curly hair. White people, some somalian and some fula might disagree. This advice is more for afro textured hair...

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    1. Curly hair is more prone to tangles than straight hair, that's a simple fact. This is a method to help control that, so there's no reason White or other people with curly hair cannot also use this technique.

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  5. I always wash in sections. Otherwise, my hair is tangle city. I sometimes just wash in braids or twists and sometimes unbraid and wash individual sections. Either way, I end up with clean hair. I also detangle my hair before washing, which also helps minimize my wash time.

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  6. Alana - I do think that around and under 6 inches, washing free is manageable but beyond that sectioning becomes a life saver. You are so much braver than I am, when I used to wash free I had a pair of scissors as part of my arsenal to deal with tangles lol.

    Kadiane - Afro hair IS curly hair. The curls may be tighter smaller and sometimes kinky changing direction of the curl every so often, it is however still curly hair. I make it a point to refer to my type 4 hair as curly because it is. Scientifically the definitions used are straight, wavy and curly.

    Thanks for the contributions Callalily, Jettimae and Moni

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  7. I have 4A hair that's 6-7 inches long, and I always wash in sections!

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  8. Hey Jc, I agree completely...although anecdotally I must admit that washing my hair free-fro is not as traumatic as one would think. The detangling sessions following such a wash are really no worse than typical detangling sessions.

    Recently, though, I plait up my hair in 16 sections to wash it. I don't find it necessary to undo the braids for the product to "infiltrate" the strands, though. I just rub the shampoo through, squeezing it through the braids and massaging it on my scalp. My hair gets just as clean, and it eliminates even more handling.

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  9. ''Scientifically the definitions used are straight, wavy and curly.''

    My reasoning is that your post is not a scientific post but rather an advice on hair care. If i go by your definition of curly hair, than i can say that this advice only applies to afro textured ones including types 3 hairs.

    About the definition, is it based on something objective or did they take a popular definition of texture (or should i say white texture) ? I'm asking because their definition ''curly'' is so so so so very wide when it includes the afro texture.

    To my mind if all our textures are called curly then we can also call wavy hair, curly. When you look at an afro, it looks so different from a white curly hair that it is almost insulting to think that nobody has created a name and a category for that hair. I'm talking about a real name, not the typing. I feel like since we are invisible when it comes to hair, they just insert us in a category that was only created for other races but us. The difference between wavy hair and curly one is so small but still they have there one category. The difference between my hair and curly hair is so huge ( appearance wise) and still it is not worth having a category for it. I remember an info I found on internet about makeup and skin color. They categorised white skin color in about 5 categories for their advises. They only had 2 for brown people as the call it. Isn't most of the scientific researches made by non blacks ?

    I think i found the name: afro texture hair lol. There is the controversy about ''nappy'' beside a lot of the girls have actual curls even though they have a slight afro texture (like kimmaytube). Some do not like ''kinky'' and ''coily'' do not always fit. Don't get me started on the word ''natural''.

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  10. yes, washing my hair in sections has helped so much but it is hard to do it under the sink. Sectioning and washing the hair in the shower is great but I moved to a new apartment where the water tank can't handle my washing time. I have started the banding, that helps too.

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  11. I'm all for sectioning! Anything else would be an injustice to myself! lol
    My hair is too quick to tangle on itself. Sections all the way~

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  12. I'm currently transitioning. I have about 3-4 inches of new growth and overall I have about 12 inches of hair. Holy cow I didn't know my hair could knot up so much. I never knew what these infamous fairy knots were while I was fully relaxed. I cannot wash my hair loose nor can I airdry loose anymore. I have to wash it in about 4 sections which I typically end up dividing into subsections while I'm detangling. Afterward I put my hair into about 10 ponytails to airdry in twists or braids. If I don't do this, there will be HELL to pay. It's discouraging during this journey but honestly it's the only issue I'm having (other than some breakage) so it's not all that bad.

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  13. TWA phase-free like it was long enough to section or even tangle LOL.

    Hair length now...I like to part it in half and put up each side in a ponytail. Doing a lot of sections takes to much time for me with a little grabbing my leg to hurry up LOL. When I moisturize I take that parted section and part it in three to distribute product better. :-) Angel wings. LOL

    Sin bin. Sometimes if I'm really in a hurry *cough lazy* I will just push all of my hair to the crown of my head and wash freely. I use my palms to slide and "squeeze" it and my fingers to detangle. I don't think I noticed a big issue washing my hair that way as long as I had a good shampoo that could detangle decently. I think hair is used to my lazy routine. :-)
    Lovely post JC!

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  14. Stacey there is some hope, if you do wash your hair in sections, it is more time consuming but in the end your hair will thank you for it. If you are transitioning, hair can break easily along the demarcation line between relaxed and natural hair. I have seen many advocates for watching the moisture balance and also for using protein treatments. I don't know if either of these work but just thought I'd mention what I have seen.

    Thanks again all for the contributions!

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  15. When I had a twa, no problem but after about 8 months in I've been conditioning and washing my hair in sections. Makes life soooo easy and my hair doesn't tangle anymore during this process. WHich means I get to keep more of my hair on my head.

    Ladies that find it time consuming try conditioning and detangling your hair BEFORE you get in the shower. Then all you have to do is cleanse your hair and you're done! I luv this method. It saves me time and water (cheers to being eco-chic!).

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  16. I also wash my hair in sections, it's too much to do anything else!

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  17. I wash my hair in sections 4 to be exact. It is sooo much easier. I think it actually ssaves me time because I don't have to be fightin to detangle it. I am transitioning until my BC next weds May 5th & I have found that the parts that are all natural already are easiest to detangle. The front of my hair which hasn't grown as much as the back is still a hassle at times. But hte sections ahas helped sooo much.

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  18. No way. I feel like I just learned the secrets of the world. I'll have to try this next time I wash my hair. :O

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  19. As a natural 4B w/ dense hair & fine, fragile strands, I MUST wash in sections or else I am in for it - tangles, knots, snaps crackles & pops!! My hair is currently between neck & shoulder length but even when it was shorter I would have a difficult time detangling if I washed it loose. When I had a TWA I actually could not wait for my hair to get longer b/c washing in 12+ sections is no fun!

    I keep my hair in stretched styles so doing my detangling session PRIOR to washing makes the most sense for me since my hair is already stretched w/ less tangles. I detangle w/ my conditioning mix and section my hair into 8-10 large braids (loose at the root for easy access to my scalp). I keep the 8-10 braids in throughout the whole washing process. At first I was worried about the shampoo or conditioner not rinsing out of the braids well enough but I have not had any problems yet. I make sure to squeeze my braids to get out any excess and rinse thoroughly. I've tried banding & twisting my hair but the braids are best option for me b/c they keep my hair stretched the most and do not unravel!

    Both methods: Detangling stretched hair w/ my conditioning mix BEFORE washing & sectioning into braids has helped me tremendously. Now instead of having massive breakage, I get mostly shed hairs. Honestly if it weren't for hair forums I would have never thought of washing my hair in sections and I would have most likely, out of frustration, resorted to relaxers or extension braids for the rest of my life...IT'S THAT SERIOUS & THAT MUCH OF A LIFE CHANGING TECHNIQUE!!!

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  20. I just tried finger combing my very tightly coiled hair dry and then co-washing my it in sections. My hair is 6 inches long and I made 8 parts. I love it! It was way easier to detangle and wash in sections. After I washed it I kept it in sections and applied my moisturizers. I let it fully dry and styled it as normal.

    I will never go back to washing my hair free. I lost almost no hair washing in sections as opposed to my previous method and detangling was so much easier.

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  21. Thanks all for chiming in! Efe I am so glad to see that it was a positive result for you :)

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  22. I am just embarking on the transitioning process, and have read a lot lately re: washing hair in sections. It's not something I've done as a relaxed girl, but I am going to try it, especially since it has produced good results for so many naturals and naturals-to-be. Thank you for the post. :)

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  23. I have never washed my hair in sections, but after reading this post, I definitely see how it can be beneficial! I will have to try it. My hair is so thick and knotty that it takes hours to detangle!

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  24. After one recent traumatic 3 hour detangling session, I doubt I will ever wash my hair loose again! I finger detangle and put into 4 clipped sections which I take out before washing, conditioning, detangling and then braiding before rinsing the conditioner out. If I had discovered this sooner, it would have saved me so much pain and tears over the 10 years I've been natural.

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  25. Brilliant! I am learning so much about caring for my daughter's beautiful curls. I also appreciate the t-shirt drying method although we have lots of baby towels and blankets that will work well too.

    I have be co-washing my daughter's hair with Organix Coconut Milk conditioner, detangling it with the conditioner, then rinsing it all out. Then having to detangle again when I was ready to style. Which was usually after she ran around cutting capers and getting it all tangled again.

    My new plan is to detangle it before getting into the tub, co-washing and rinsing in sections using a pitcher to rinse since she won't tolerate the sprayer yet. Then I can use a baby towel or blanket to dry each braid. It's also nice to know that it's better to wait until it's mostly dry to style. It always happened that way because our house is busy, but now I can say that it's all part of the plan. :)

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  26. That's a great idea. I use to twist my hair before co-washing and then braid them...but that would save me time if I could just braid it, wash it, and leave them in until they dry. I'll have to see if the braid are too fuzzy from the washing though.

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  27. Back again; finished reading all the comments.
    Loved what NappyRina had to say about detangling with conditioner; will save me an extra step.
    here's my new routine:
    1)pre-poo;
    2) detangle with cond and
    put in twists or braids;
    3) rinse and co-wash;
    4) deep condition, then rinse or co-wash

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  28. I always wash in sections my hair is just too thick not to!

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  29. Washed my hair in sections for the first time yesterday and it was great! Not sure why it never occurred to me. Would have saved me so much hassle and hair. just never assumed my hair was long enough for that yet (it's about 5-7inches all around). I would wash free, condition and detangle free and then have knotted tangled coils to style. So frustrating!
    I guess I need to modify my routine as I hair get longer but I seem to notice the length because I have great shrinkage.

    Your website is very informative JC. Asanti!

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  30. Glad to see it helped you Koily K! The Swahili part - loved it!

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  31. The longest hair on my head (at the crown) is 4 inches but everything is shorter than that. So for now I can get away without sectioning. Especially because my everyday hairstyle is simply a shrunken 'fro (I only need to do some fluffing and patting, then out the door). As my hair gets longer or if I want to do more intricate stlyes I will definitely section it, it just makes sense.

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  32. I scrub my scalp with my hair loose and when I put in the conditioner, I section off, detangle and rinse with my hair in big twists..it's the best method for me..no more detangling outside of the shower!

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  33. Sectioning my hair is a total bitch! I'm sure it may help in the long run but using this process takes my wash time from 30 min. to 2+ hours. I don't always have that time. My hair is also at a weird place where it's kinda long, kinda short, kinda thick, but the strands are thin, so it's hard to do all that manipulation without breakage, and the sections don't stay put anyway because they won't go into a braid or a section. I refuse to wash 8 sections. I don't think I can realistically take the time to detangle and braid each section, wash each section, detangle again, then add deep conditioner to each section, then rinse each section, then detangle again. Frustration! I'm working on it, though. :-/

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  34. I don't section, but I *must* apply conditioner before handling my hair. Otherwise lots of hair loss!

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  35. The denser or thicker hair is...the more sectioning is needed...strait or curly. Thick. Strait hair will tangle just as much as thin curly hair...its not color coded its just the nature of hair.

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