Woman smiling with big coily afro and hands behind her head

Clean hair is happy hair, and happy hair grows long, strong and healthy. Cleansing your hair removes dirt and grime particles that end up in your hair during day-to-day activities and removes the residue left from your favorite products. Not cleansing your hair can lead to product buildup, itchy scalp, lackluster and weighed down hair.

There are a few cleansing options we coily-haired girls can use to give us clean, happy and healthy hair. Shampooing your hair is the traditional form of cleansing. You can also follow a no-poo regimen to cleanse your hair. Experimenting with homemade recipes can give you clean happy hair as well.


Shampoo is a hair care product used for the removal of oils, dirt, skin particles, dandruff, environmental pollutants and other contaminant particles that gradually build up in hair. The goal is to remove the unwanted build-up without stripping out so much sebum as to make hair unmanageable. For coily girls, shampoo doesn’t always achieve this goal which leads some of us to follow a no-poo regimen. I shampoo a few times a month with SheaMoisture shampoos. Their shampoos are sulfate free, ultra moisturizing and very affordable. When I want a moisture boost, I use the SheaMoisture Organic Raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention Shampoo.


No-Poo simply means, not using shampoo. Another word for this is co-washing, which is how we coily girls refer to the conditioner only wash method. A co-wash is easy to do, just wash your hair with conditioner instead of shampoo. It sounds really bizarre and it may take you some time to wrap your head around how is it that a product that is meant to restore and add moisture to your hair can also cleanse your hair at the same time. The simple explanation is that most commercial conditioners have mild detergents in them, meaning that your conditioner is capable of cleaning your hair. However, if you’ve recently used gels or products with silicones, petroleum, mineral oil or lanolin, then you may want to use shampoo to effectively cleanse your hair first, because conditioners just don’t have the same cleansing power as a shampoo.

Homemade Recipes

If you open your pantry and fridge, aside from finding options to ease your growling stomach, there are many healthy hair staples. Some of  your food items can double as a homemade hair cleanser. Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a common food item often used on hair to help clarify the hair and rid it of build up caused by the use of hair products and natural elements we encounter on a daily basis.

Baking soda, mixed with warm water (a teaspoon to one pint of water) can cleanse your coils much like a shampoo. It can also help clarify your hair from all the unneccessary build up. This is a great option for coily girls with extremely oily hair.

Similar to conditioner, ACV and baking soda have limitations in their cleansing abilities. The health of your hair relies partially on how clean your scalp and hair are. Make an informed decision about how to cleanse your coils and how often to do it. You should cleanse often enough to keep your scalp healthy and hair free of buildup, but not too often so that your coils can flourish with enough of their natural oils.

How do you cleanse your coils?