The no-shampoo method is also referred to as co-washing or conditioner washing. Sometimes it's even called the curly girl method (CG) form Curly Girl: The Handbook, a book written by Lorraine Massey and Deborah Chiel which helps people embrace their natural hair texture. With that objective in mind, Massey described a new and revolutionary routine to get healthy, well-behaved waves, curls and coils.
Although the very best way to do this routine is after reading the book, we understand that many people just can’t wait another day because their hair is begging for help. Here are the basic guidelines of the routine to help you get started.
MORE: Curly Girl: The Handbook
Why No Shampoo?
Most commercial shampoos contain sulfates and surfactants that are too harsh for our hair and tend to rob our hair of moisture.Curly hair tends to be more porous than straight hair, which makes rinsing out all traces of shampoo virtually impossible and causing frizz. Many conditioners also contain mild surfactants which, paired with a little manual friction, can lift off dirt, debris and excess oil from our scalp and hair.
To make a shampoo free routine work, you should eliminate the use of most silicones (‘cones for short) from your hair care routine since most can only be removed with harsh shampoos. Washing with a conditioner while using them would cause them to quickly build up on the hair, which results in dull, matted hair and poor curl definition.
MORE: Sulfate Free Shampoos
Choosing a Conditioner
It is very important to choose a good conditioner if you're going no shampoo. Here is what you should look for on the label:
Emollients soften, smooth the hair and give it shine. There are hundreds of them, including such natural emollients as vegetable oils and nut butters. Widely used emollients include glycerides and liposomes.
Proteins temporarily “repair” the hair and/or protect it. Occasionally proteins will build up on some people’s hair, especially on healthier hair. In this case, alternate with a protein-free conditioner. Examples of proteins include silk, soy, wheat, keratin or individual amino acids (components of proteins).
Humectants absorb water and hold in moisture. They are absolutely crucial in a conditioner for curly hair. Panthenol, vegetable glycerin, sorbitol and honey are just a few humectants to look for on the label. Moisturizers soften and control to curly hair. Amino acids and aloe vera are two great moisturizers.