The Wash Day Detangling Routine This ‘Glamour’ Intern Trusts

Whenever someone asks me what it’s like taking care of natural hair on wash day, I liken it to learning a new language. Pre-poo, deep condition, high vs. low porosity—all that was gibberish to younger Janae, who was used to getting a Brazilian blowout every three weeks and avoiding the rain like it was cursed. 

Three years ago I had a come-to-Jesus moment with my own internalized racism. Years of growing up in white suburbia created an unconscious need to straighten my own hair—a tale as old as time for Black women everywhere. My Big Chop anniversary is March 31, 2018, when, after a sleepless night, I went to a 6 a.m. hair appointment and told my stylist to just cut off the damage. I haven’t let a flat-iron touch my head since. My hairstyles usually exist in cycles. When I have busy work days or swim-filled summers, I go for a protective style. Crochet locs and box braids allow me to experiment with color without the bleach damage.

Going natural is one of the best things I’ve ever done for my self-esteem, but that doesn’t make it any easier to navigate a brush though the storm that is my hair. It’s a science, and I’ve nailed down a pretty good method after plenty of experimenting and practice. Below, read about my wash day routine and my holy grail products. 


The longest, and easily the most important, step. The shower is where I practice my singing, where I have my epiphanies, and where I tangle with detangling—which I used to be terrible at because I’ve inherited my mother’s tender-headed-ness. Then I found the magical elixir that is Design Essentials Honey Creme Shampoo. It smells heavenly and turns my tangled knots into smooth, slippery strands that I can almost finger-detangle. Though it’s still better to have a sturdy comb for those extra-stubborn knots—I’ve lost many a comb in battle.

Design Essentials Honey Creme Moisture Retention Shampoo

Cantu Sturdy Detangle Comb


After battling with my hair to get it combed out, it needs a little TLC. I already swear by Design Essentials for shampoo, so when my hair stylist introduced me to the Almond and Avocado Conditioner three years ago, I didn’t question a thing. It hasn’t let me down since. It hydrates my low-porosity curls and replenishes my hair’s nutrients after any damage I did with the comb. 

Design Essentials Almond & Avocado Moisturizing & Detangling Conditioner


Ever since I went natural, I’ve been thinking about how badly I want Yara Shahidi curls. The long, flowing, vibrant curls of a woman unbothered. So to protect my growing tresses, I use growth oil just before my hair has dried to lock in the moisture. Whether my hair is moisturizing or deep conditioning, or if I just have disorganized twists for the day, The Slap cap’s satin lining prevents flyaways and keeps me cute while doing it. My days of wearing a bonnet in public are over. 

African Pride Olive Miracle Growth Oil

Grace Eleyae The Slap Satin-Lined Cap in Black

Braid Maintenance

I can’t say enough good things about protective styles. For the most part they’re low-maintenance, but a little extra help really makes them shine. When it’s too tense at the roots (those first few days of a new style), this scalp tonic is refreshing and provides instant relief, like aloe on a sunburn. If the synthetic part of my braids starts to get a bit out of hand, a couple spritzes from this braid spray is enough to tame it. 

African Royale BRX Braid and Extensions Sheen Spray

Design Essentials Peppermint & Aloe Soothing Scalp Tonic


Sometimes I welcome the challenge of styling my natural hair! After all that work protecting it and making it grow, it’s fun to let it shine. For a looser, bouncier curl pattern, this mousse is perfect. Its texture is like hand soap, and it dries lightning fast, which is extra helpful for busy days. For heavier holds, the curl enhancing smoothie is my favorite product. Plus, it makes me smell like Hawaii. 

Design Essentials Almond & Avocado Curl Enhancing Mousse

SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie

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