The first time my boyfriend asked me if he could wash my hair, I was apprehensive and a bit confused. I couldn’t believe that he wanted to touch my hair – let alone wash it. My hair was so often off limits; it never really occurred to me that he might want to touch it. My next hang up was, how? Unlike women with looser textures, depending on how he played in my coils, there was a strong possibility that I would end up with a rat’s nest. My hair is super prone to tangling, and too much movement in the wrong direction is a recipe for disaster. If he truly wanted to wash my hair, he was going to need to learn how.
To the fellas out there with women rocking coily or kinky natural hair – this is for you. Here are 5 tips to keep in mind before you place a single finger on her head:
- Our hair shrinks as soon as water touches it. It doesn’t matter how long it looked before. Water + kinks or coils = shrinkage. Period. This is your heads up – so don’t start looking all shocked when her shoulder length twist-out turns into a mini fro.
- Our hair tangles – easily. If you rock a low cut or fade, you’re probably used to shampooing any old kind of way, and just brushing your hair afterward. That’s not the case for kinky and coily hair of any length. Shampooing the hair and scalp freely and in circular motions will cause the hair to tangle and lock up – almost irreversibly. For this reason, it’s best to stick to downward motions, and work on the hair one section at a time. Trust me – she’ll thank you for it.
- Please, please, please be gentle. As funny as it seems, being tender headed is no laughing matter. You’re dealing with a real, live person – not a rag doll. A little TLC goes a long way.
- Respect the process. Wash day for ladies with natural hair is a multi-step process. There’s no such thing as a shortcut – unless you want the results to be a disaster. The four components of wash day include detangling, cleansing, conditioning, and rinsing. Because every natural woman is different, these steps may come in a different order, or can involve any number (or cocktail) of products. Talk with your significant other – get clear on her process before you start.
- Compliments are welcome. Many of us rocking our natural hair now didn’t always embrace it. In fact, many of us grew up getting our hair pressed or relaxed to look “pretty” – something that we’ve had to work hard changing within ourselves. So if you decide to wash your woman’s hair keep in mind that she might be nervous or shy about the whole thing. Sadly, it’s not as simple for us all as “just washing hair.” For some of us there may be additional emotional baggage to sort through. So take a moment to really admire her hair in it’s natural state and compliment her if your spirit moves you.
Fellas, happy wash day – and I wish you well. If you want to see how another man faired in this particular endeavor, check out this vlog from The Browns “Vlog 54: Hubby Washes My Natural Hair” videos below.
Ladies feel free to share this with a man that needs it and fellas do the same.
Happy wash day!