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How To Wash A Black Girl’s Hair

There are so many things that folks forgot to tell me about parenting a daughter that I only learned after my daughter was born.

One of the biggest pieces of information that would have been super awesome to know ahead of time was how to wash a little Black girl’s hair. 

My daughter’s hair is so beautiful! It’s thick and coily, but quite manageable. 

It hasn’t always been easy to manage, though. 

It took years of trial and tears, but we finally have a simple wash day method that works for us.

I saw a licensed hairdresser tweet out a simple hair washing should be simple, and this is what we came up with.

Both my children’s hair is thriving, so I wanted to share our routine!

Step-By-Step How to Wash a Little Black Girl’s Hair

Step 1: Find a good spot to wash her hair.

I tried washing my daughter’s hair in the bathtub, but that was just not fun at all.

My back was hurting, she could never get comfortable, and it was just not a good option for us.

I started washing her hair in the kitchen sink, and it works out much better.

When she was smaller, she’d climb on the cabinet, and lean her head into the (sanitized) sink.

Now that she’s taller, she leans over the sink.

I’ve seen moms with younger children lean their high chair up against the sink backwards and have their daughter lean her head into the sink that way.

Different things work for different people, but just make sure whatever you decide isn’t uncomfortable for your little girl.

Step 2: Gather your tools.

Chefs call this mise en place when they’re cooking. That means to get all of the ingredients out that you are going to use, and have them handy so that you’re not searching all over for them.

When it comes to washing your little Black girl’s hair, make sure you have all of the tools gathered before you start.

Pull out your shampoo, conditioner, comb, oil, foaming lotion, towel. 

There’s nothing worse than having to wait for your mama to get a towel when there is water dripping down your face!

Tip: Wash hair once a week and see how healthy it gets!

Step 3: Shampoo the hair.

Now that you have all of your tools out, it’s time to shampoo the hair. Since my daughter’s hair is super thick, here’s how I do it.

I squeeze about a quarter of a handful of shampoo in my hand and massage it through her hair.

I’m really careful about making sure I clean around her hairline in the front and back, and especially in the dense middle part of her hair.

Make sure you rinse the shampoo out completely, otherwise it’ll sit on your her scalp, making flakes and causing itchiness.

I love Mielle Organics shampoo. 

It has really helped to soften and condition my daughter’s thick hair.

Once a month or so, you could add a clarifying shampoo to your routine as well. 

Step 4: Condition the hair.

Conditioning the hair is really important.

The shampoo strips a lot of the natural oils away, and the conditioner helps to start replacing those oils and seal the cuticles.

Massage the conditioner through the hair, avoiding the scalp as much as possible.

You can use a comb to start detangling during this time. 

I switch between a comb and a detangling brush

Start combing from the ends up, going slowly, and making sure to hold the section of hair your holding in your other hand so it doesn’t feel uncomfortable.

When you rinse the conditioner out of your little Black girl’s hair, rinse it out completely. 

I used to leave a little in, but learned that it’s better not to do that because it makes the hair dull over time. 

A conditioner that works really well for everyone in my family is Mielle Organics conditioner .

Step 5: Detangle and style the hair.

Ah, the last step of the hair washing process, and to us, it was the step that used to cause us the most grief.

Now, that I wash more frequently and use less products, it’s pretty much a breeze.

Here’s how I detangle:

  • Massage oil (we like avocado oil) and Nairobi Wrapp-It Shine Foaming Lotion throughout the hair.
  • Separate the hair into 4 sections, using sectioning clips to keep the hair up.
  • Comb through each section one at a time by starting at the bottom of the section of the hair that you’re combing with your wide tooth comb. Grip the piece super tight so that your little girl doesn’t feel like she’s getting her hair ripped out.
  • Comb through each section, then braid it until you’re finished with her whole head.
  • Take out the braids, put a little more oil on her hair, and style it. 

Keep a spray bottle of water near so that you can add moisture back into the hair if it starts drying out.

You don’t want to detangle dry hair or you can risk pulling it out. 

For more product ideas and to find everything you need to wash a little black girl’s hair, check out this all inclusive, super easy shopping list I created for you!

Other posts you might enjoy:

How to prepare your tween for her first period
Hygiene Lessons To Teach Your Daughter
Self Care Ideas For Moms and Daughters


Sunday 16th of July 2023

Thank you, Brandi. This article is superb. I appreciate the content of this article.


Sunday 4th of February 2018

As a 56-year old white woman, I have NO experience with a little black girl’s hair! I married a wonderful black man with a beautiful 3-year-old granddaughter and now I have to learn! Thanks SO much! I’m sure you’ve saved us some tears!

Natural Hair Products

Thursday 2nd of November 2017

she is so pretty! and by the way for conditioning it reminds me of my granny making home jojoba and coconut oil conditioner.. and we use that at least 2 or 3x a week..

Natural Hair Products

Thursday 2nd of November 2017

she is so pretty! and by the way for conditioning it reminds me of my granny making home jojoba and coconut oil conditioner..


Tuesday 17th of January 2017

This was helpful. I don't have children of my own but work with children and am now in a position where I need to learn how to do little black girl hair. I am mixed myself with very very thick hair but it has never been course - so seeing these tricks helps....A LOT. I want to do my best to make this girl's hair shine beautifully just like she is!