Which cleansing method is gentler on your hair?
Believe it or not, using shampoos can actually cause more harm to your hair than simply going without it. We tend to think of shampoo as this helpful product that ensures our hair stays clean. However, regardless of what kind of shampoo you’re using (and we hope that by now you’re at least using a sulfate-free one!), you’re smathering it all into your hair, preventing your hair from being completely natural.
The funny thing is that it tends to have a domino effect where the use of one product requires, in turn, the use of a another product. We’ll use shampoo to wash our hair, but really it tends to dry it out so then we need conditioner, and every so often, deep conditioner. We also might find that we need gels and hairsprays to tame the hair (that suddenly poofed out after we applied the conditioner. Or, even using the conditioner isn’t enough and now need a leave-in conditioner.) Either way, it’s cyclical and we tend to need multiple products.
So, to get the cycle, we say start at the beginning. Have you ever thought about cutting out the shampoo completely? If so, what are your options to cleanse your hair?
Oddly enough, something that’s “tear-free” and “gentle” for your baby’s skin (and eyes) is one of the worst things you can put in your adult hair. You’d think that since it’s baby shampoo, it would be free of harmful chemicals, but actually the opposite is true.
In addition to sulfates, baby shampoos are among the most drying agents you could put in your hair. Babies naturally produce more oils on their scalp, so their hair tends to always be oilier than an adult. Using baby shampoo eliminates this problem for babies. For adults, though, you could be putting your hair through the wringer. At least you don’t have to worry about it burning your eyes while you're in the shower!
If the thought of cutting out shampoo completely leaves you a little unsure, consider going the “low-poo" way. This method involves using a very small amount of shampoo once every several days. Even then, you’d only use what you absolutely MUST use. For some low-poo options, consider using DevaCurl’s Low-Poo, which is specifically for curlies who fall between 2 and 3b. For you 3cs and 4/4as, SheaMoisture’s Organic Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention Shampoo gets stellar reviews, mostly from type 4 and 4a curlies. This gentle, low-poo will give your hair the moisture it’s been drained of, without leaving a thick layer of residue behind or leaving your hair feeling like straw.
Of course, you can also go all-natural on your quest to drastically decrease the amount of shampoo you use. Consider making a homemade lemon and cucumber “shampoothie.” Alison and Jaye from Loving it Raw share their shampoothie (a term coined by Jaye) recipe with which Jaye has had great results. Alison, the curly, has had the best results going no-poo with the occasional vinegar rinse (she mixes up to 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar into hot water, then rubs that into her hair and rinses).
Even Amanda Seyfried knows the importance of co-washing. See what she has to say!
Whether your decide to cut shampoo out all together, go the low-poo route, or create your own rinses for occasional use, remember that co-washing is always a great alternative! Co-washing simply involves using conditioner as a shampoo. Simply apply the conditioner and finger it through the hair, rubbing the strands a bit to allow for a cleanse.
While the change from normal shampooing to none, or any of these other methods, can take a small toll of your hair, in a couple weeks, you will begin to see the amazing results. Many curlies have been shampoo free for months, even years, so take the time to try it out and watch your curls bounce and shine!