Loving your curls is as easy as saying,“sayonara” to your shampoo, at least to shampoos and cleansers that contain sulfates.
“These detergents strip curly hair of its natural oils leaving it dry, frizzy and dull,” says Lorraine Massey, author of "Curly Girl: The Handbook. "This is bad for all hair types, but for curly girls whose strands are naturally drier than others, this is a disaster! Secondly, these detergents ruffle the cuticle of the hair.
“This outer layer contains overlapping scales." adds Massey. "When they lie flat, your hair looks shiny and gorgeous. But when they stand up, the result is frizz and dullness.” Luckily, going shampoo-free isn’t hard; you just need to make a few adjustment for washing curly hair.
- Change your products: Toss any shampoo that contains sulfates. Now this doesn’t mean you’re not cleansing your hair, it just means you’ll be doing so with cleansers that are 100% sulfate-free. The other option is to use conditioner to cleanse. Yes, conditioner! Just spread it on the fingertips of both hands in the shower and, when hair is wet, use the following technique.
- Change your technique: Another thing that disturbs the cuticle and natural shape of your curls is the technique most people use to wash: scrubbing hair roughly with their fingers. In reality, what really cleanses the hair and the scalp – the area that holds lots of dirt and oil – is friction. All you need to do when using your sulfate-free cleanser or conditioner is gently massage the scalp with your fingers to loosen any dirt and oils then rinse. Friction is how many things get clean – just think of a washing machine.
- Change your thinking: One reason traditional shampoos contain sulfates is because sulfates cause shampoo to lather. Though the bubbles don’t actually cleanse the hair, we’re all conditioned to think they do and that more suds equals cleaner hair. That’s just not true. Sulfate-free products and conditioners won’t suds up, but they will get your hair clean. At first, it may be hard to get used to little to no lather, but give it time and see how much your curls improve. You won't regret it.
- Change your schedule – but not yet: To start going shampoo-less, use a sulfate-free cleanser or conditioner as often as you’ve been using shampoo. “As you begin to see the health and look of your hair become remarkably different – think more shine, body and less frizz – you may need to cleanse hair less often and can just condition,” says Massey.
- Change the world: When you rinse sulfate-filled products from your hair in the shower, they get washed down the drain and into our waterways. This is bad for the environment, so by using sulfate-free products, you are not only saving your curls, but saving the planet too!