Sew-In Saviors: Mastering the Art of Hair Washing with Expert Tips for a Flawless Finish

Hey, gorgeous! So, you want to rock a protective style but you’re unsure how to take care of your natural hair while doing so? Understandable! Consider us your hair guru and get ready to take some notes. This is your official breakdown on how to cleanse, treat, moisturize and maintain the health of your natural hair while wearing a sew-in or any other protective style.

For starters, you should treat your natural hair the same way you normally would–with or without a sew-in. If you wash and condition twice a month, or oil your scalp once a week, you should do the same while wearing your True Glory Hair bundles.

To keep your hair healthy, a clean scalp is needed, moisturized roots are essential and hydrated strands are key. Wearing a weave is a fun way to play with lengths, colors and textures. But no matter whether you’re rocking kinky curly or Brazilian straight, the point of a protective style is to repair and restore your natural hair. So, it’s important to not lose sight of that in the midst of loving your new look!

I remember there was a time when washing your natural hair while wearing a sew-in was unheard of. Women didn’t want to ruin their hairstyle or cause any additional damage, but, sis, those times have changed. Hair care is on the lips of everyone, so tips, hacks and how-tos on how to get the desired look you want are right at your fingertips and, in your case, right in front of you! Let’s get into how to preserve your natural hair safely while keeping your sew-in intact.

portrait of woman washing hair

The Why: The Importance of Healthy Hair Maintenance

Whatever you do, sis, keep it cute, sis–a Cardi B reference, but also very accurate! Think about how amazing you feel when you leave the salon with your hair done and your hair is clean and refreshed. Well, you can still have that amazing feeling in the comfort of your home, so don’t sleep on the process of having a wash day with bundles! Here are a few reasons it’s important to wash your hair while wearing a sew-in.

1. Maintain a healthy scalp

If your goal is to grow longer, fuller hair, keeping your scalp moisturized and nourished with superfood ingredients is needed to boost your chances of achieving your hair goals. Remember this protective style is to protect your natural hair from damage, but you have to do your part and feed your scalp the nutrients it needs to flourish and grow longer, thicker and stronger.

2. Reduce breakage and tangles

A major problem women of color face is tangles and breakage due to the curls and coils in 4A-4C hair. The braids underneath your sew-in will become more susceptible to tangles, so combating that issue throughout your protective style journey is important. The health of your hair is key and allowing build-up can cause breakage, which is counterproductive. Keeping your hair clean and clear makes the removal of your sew-in easy and safe.

3. Secure your protective style

Imagine sitting in a chair for 3+ hours, spending money on bundles and the install, only to remove it after two weeks. We can’t have that, so let’s make sure we’re securing the bag and the bundles. Keeping your natural hair and scalp clean and moisturized will allow you to enjoy your sew-in longer.

4. Soft scents

Sis, who said your hair can’t smell amazing while wearing a sew-in. Pick your favorite scent and make that your signature. A clean, fresh scalp is healthy, but nice smelling hair is always a bonus. Stick with floral or warm scents like rose or vanilla to complement your hair but also because both are nourishing for your hair. Look into a rosewater spray to keep your hair freshly clean and scented.

The How: Recommendations, Tips and Tricks

There’s plenty of techniques to wash your hair while wearing a sew-in weave, but it depends on how much time you have, the tools you have available and how often you would like to wash your hair. It doesn’t differ too much from how you normally would; however, you need to be more careful and strategic with this particular style. You don’t want to loosen the threading so be gentle and take your time. Here’s your how-to on how to keep your hair clean.

1. Business as usual

Try washing your sew-in as you normally would. For most women of color, sectioning the hair in fours makes washing and conditioning a breeze. Part your sew-in into four sections. Start at the back and work your favorite shampoo through both your scalp, braids and down the strands of your bundles. Once you have a nice lather, rinse, repeat (if needed) and then move on to the next section. For this technique, ensuring your hair is completely dry is key–perhaps wash your hair at night so it dries overnight or use a portable hair dryer.

2. Oil cleanse for the win

This option is perfect for those ladies with dry hair and an itchy scalp. For this technique, it’s best to use a bottle with a pointed tip, making it easy to focus directly on your scalp. Be careful not to use too much oil, but just enough to nourish and soothe your scalp. As the oil penetrates your scalp, wash your bundles per usual, rinse, dry and you’re ready to go!

3. A light shampoo

This is for my girls who are always on the go! For the busy ladies out there, diluting your shampoo will make cleansing and rinsing a breeze. If your hair doesn’t have too much build-up and you just want a refresher, this is perfect. Again, using a bottle with a pointed tip will make adding the diluted shampoo in between your tracks much easier. It’s still best to rinse and dry as usual, but you won’t have the trouble of needing to rinse and repeat.

4. A relaxing steam

Give your hair a trip to the spa! This technique may be new for some, but steam is an amazing way to “pamper” your hair and scalp. If you suffer from dry hair or an itchy scalp, apply a little tea tree oil or peppermint oil to your scalp and let the steam open your hair follicles, allowing the oil to penetrate without leaving your hair oily. Steaming is beneficial for your scalp as it allows circulation which promotes growth, provides moisture to your scalp, strands and it also reduces build-up. Try steaming at home if you have a hand-held steamer, or use the sauna at the gym after a nice workout. If all else fails, a hot shower with the doors closed will do!

woman in shower soap bubbles

The Products: Shampoo, Serums and Oils

Now that you know the why and how, let’s get into the products that you can use to achieve keeping your hair and your bundles looking and feeling gorgeous. We consider this the fun part because we love trying new products, so this is your chance to try a new brand or treatment. If you already have your favorite products to use, grab those and get your wash day started. However, if you need a little help, we put together a list of 4A-4C friendly products to clean, moisturize and soothe your scalp. Here’s a list of our go-tos when it’s wash day:

  • Maui Moisture

This line has everything you need from shampoo, conditioner, oil mist and hair masques. So, reach for the shampoo to get an uber-hydrating yet deep cleanse with the Maui Moisture Collection. *whispers* Our fave collection is Vanilla Bean. It’s a warm and sweet scent that’s perfect for fall or summer. A bonus is that it’s great for both your natural hair and your bundles, so there’s no need to switch out products. Enjoy the feeling of clean, healthy hair and hydrated bundles with bounce after a nice wash day!

  • Eden BodyWorks

Eden Bodyworks has a complete regimen for your hair, but it’s ideal for a scalp treatment! You can enjoy a hydrating scalp serum with an easy to apply applicator, making your wash day that much easier. With the scent of papaya or marshmallow, your hair will smell intoxicating.

  • Natural Oils to Nourish

Our favorite oils are jojoba, argan, castor and coconut. For those with fine hair or high porosity hair, try coconut or argan, and for you ladies with thicker or low porosity hair, castor is your go-to. Lastly, normal porosity hair will love jojoba oil. Much like the scalp treatment, use a pointed applicator to apply the oils directly to your scalp. Try to avoid getting the oil on your bundles, so take your time applying.

  • Leave-In

For the light shampoo option, you can always try a leave-in conditioner–especially for those ladies on the go who would like to hydrate and rinse later. Grab a spray-on leave-in and give your scalp a few spritzes in between your tracks.

When to Wash: Time Frame vs. Hair Needs

The question I’m sure you’ve been wondering about: How often do you really need to wash your hair? This varies from gal to gal. Some women produce more natural oils than others, and some have a drier scalp. How often you wash or treat your hair is up to you, but twice a month is ideal. It’s important to not tamper with your natural hair too much, but pay attention to your needs.

  • Scalp feeling itchy? Apply a little tea tree oil to soothe and calm your scalp.
  • Scalp feeling a little dry? Reach for a nourishing oil (jojoba, argan, coconut or Jamaican black castor).
  • Hair feeling dirty or “heavy”? Cleanse, condition and rinse.
  • Hair in need of moisture? Try the steaming option.
  • Hair in need of a fresh scent? Grab your favorite scented shampoo and conditioner.

Your possibilities are endless, and it wouldn’t hurt to try all these techniques to see which one works best for you. Also, be sure to shampoo and condition your bundles once a week to keep your weave soft, moisturized and smelling amazing. True Glory Hair can handle curling, crimping and straightening, but it’s also human hair and needs to be treated as such. We put so much product and heat on our bundles and it’s important to not overlook that hair as well.

blow drying hair in front of mirror


While cleansing extends the life of your sew-in, there comes a point when you have to say goodbye to those longer tresses and say hello to your natural hair. A sew-in can last anywhere between six and eight weeks, but anything past that is pushing it. Once you’ve safely removed your sew-in, it’s always best to hydrate and moisture your cornrows, to make unbraiding easy and reduce breakage. A full “body” cleanse, a deep conditioner and maybe even a trim is needed before you reach for your next set of True Glory bundles.

Who knew the wonders of a weave could be so complex, and we only discussed how to properly wash it. (lol) So, are you now ready to try a sew-in with confidence, now that you know you can wash your natural hair? Or are you finally ready to give washing your natural hair a try after cycles of sew-ins without doing so? We can assure you that you will see a difference in the health of your hair and the lifespan of your bundles.

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