Taking Care of Dry & Knotted Natural Hair

I have been loving mini twists for the school year. Since I have work and a full course load, I don’t have the time to wash my hair every weekend or style it every single day. That’s why I think mini twists are hands down the best hairstyle for any natural girl in college. The whole process from wash to twisting takes me about 5 hours. That seems like a long time, but I’ve had my current set of mini twists in for about a month. If ya’ll are interested in a full mini twist tutorial, let me know and I can try to make a video of the process!

Any who, after a month of these twists I really miss my afro and having big hair. Plus, I’m finally on break from school so it’s the perfect time for me to have some fun with my hair before I put it back into twists towards the end of this month.

The process that I’m going to deal below is perfect for those times when your hair is dry, knotted and needs some TLC. It’s the perfect base for any style afterwards like twist/braid outs, protective styles, etc.

I’m starting on a mini twist out. From this picture it’s hard to tell, but my hair is a knotty mess. After leaving the twists in for so long, some of them start to go a bit loc-y.

My very tangly and dry mini twist twist-out

So the first step in my process actually has nothing to do with the knot thing that’s going on. Firstly, I go through my hair and use the pads of my fingers to loosen the shed hair, oil, and general detritus on my scalp. It’s super important that you resist the urge to use your nails because it’s no bueno to scratch your scalp.

Once I feel like I have massaged my hair for long enough, I use the Lush Kinky Hot Oil Treatment. I absolutely looove this product. This will help to soften my hair and make it a lot less knotty before I shampoo. Plus, it has a ton of rich oils that will nourish my dry hair.


Following the steps of the hot oil treatment, I left it in for around an hour and a half while I was watching a stream.

My hair with the Lush Hot Oil Treatment

Before I shampooed my hair, I took my hair and separated it into 6 sections. If you have thick, tangly, or knotty hair I cannot recommend sectioning enough. It really helps you isolate certain sections of hair and minimizes the frustration of detangling.

Once my hair was in the six sections (choose more or less depending on your hair’s length/texture), I started washing my hair. Now the Lush treatment is very thick so you’re going to want to rinse each section thoroughly. I let the water run through the section so the pressure of the water flow from the shower head can help me detangle.
Shampooing is probably the easiest part of this process. My hair was really dirty, so I focused on rubbing in the shampoo with the pads of my fingers for about a minute. Then I rinsed the shampoo out with the water pushing my hair down. Pro tip: hold the ends of your hair taut while you massage the shampoo into your hair to avoid further tangles.

Once the shampoo is rinsed out, I put two pumps of conditioner into the section working from the ends to the roots of my hair. I apply the conditioner in a smoothing motion for the most part. Following conditioner application, I take my comb and work it through the section. No matter how many conditioning products I use, when my hair is tangly it takes a bit of time to get out the knots. Be patient in this process. Be gentle with your hair. I hold a bit above where I’m combing to minimize the amount of stress I’m putting on my scalp, yanking out hair is not the goal.

When the section is detangled, I twist it all up. If the section is big, I split it into two when I detangle and make two twists.

After all the sections are detangled, I leave it in for how ever many minutes it takes for me to wash my body and shave. Then I rinse it out and squeeze each section to get the conditioner out.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned this yet but it’s imperative that the water is not hot. The water should be a bit warm, but too warm and you’ll damage your hair.

Out of the shower I leave my hair in a microfiber towel and wait about thirty minutes before I being styling.

At this point my hair is tangle free. To keep my hair moisturized, I unravel each twist comb through leave in conditioner to each twist. I follow up with some oil (Argan or Coconut), smooth it onto the section, apply my styler, and style as desired. Today I decided to do a braid out for some big fluffy hair, but you could do anything. This is the same process (minus the hot oil treatment) that I use every time I wash my hair and it’s a good base for any style.

Once I’m done washing, detangling, and styling my hair is nice and fluffy, soft and moisturized, knot free and wonderful.

If you’re curious the products I used here they are:

If you have any other questions about this process let me know in the comments below or @travelingcurl on Twitter!