Growing up, many of us knew of the traditional shampoo method for cleansing our hair, but there are so many other options that can benefit our hair. Here are six popular ways to cleanse your hair that are important to know.

Clarifying shampoos

Clarifying shampoos are formulated to thoroughly remove product buildup, debris, and sebum from the hair and scalp. Depending on how much sebum your scalp produces and how often you apply products to you hair between wash days, will dictate how often you use clarifying shampoos. Some naturals use clarifying shampoos weekly while others use them monthly. This shampoo is ideal for priming your hair for heat styling to ensure your hair is clean and not weighed down. If cleansing monthly is not sufficient but using a clarifying shampoo weekly is too harsh, then consider a moisturizing shampoo.


Sulfate-free shampoos

People have been raving about sulfate-free shampoos since they hit the market. Sulfate-free is usually in reference to a shampoo be free of  Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), which are some of the harshest surfactants. These shampoos are usually (not always) gentler than standard shampoo.


Sud-free or lather-free shampoos

There is a common misconception that sulfate-free means lather-free. If you are looking for a lather-free cleanser, then make sure it’s stated on the packaging.  People also assume lather is what causes your hair to feel dry and that too is false. According to Curl Chemist, cocamidopropyl betaine is a popular synthetic surfactant used as an emulsifier, cleansing agent, and foam booster in many hair products. As you can see, it is possible for an ingredient to be a cleansing agent but not necessarily be a foam booster. There is nothing wrong with suds, lather, or foam, but oftentimes it causes excessive tangling for some, so they opt to avoid them.  

Shampoo bars

Shampoo bars are solid cleansers. To prevent them from disintegrating in the shower when they are not in use, cut them into cubes and use them as you go. Shampoo bars are known to be gentle cleansers but most of the ones I have used were fairly harsh so it may be hit or miss.


Clays and oat water

Bentonite clay, rhassoul clay, and oat water are all effective cleansers, according to chemist Jc from The Natural Haven. If you are looking for a DIY route that is gentle with no lather, then consider one of these three. Many naturals will cocktail their mixes with oils and aloe vera juice for more benefits. 

Cleansing conditioner

This is specifically about products listed as a cleansing conditioner or co-wash (noun) not daily conditioners used to co-wash (verb). You may be wondering why the cleansing conditioner or co-wash category is listed under cleansers but here is why: I never felt comfortable forgoing my deep conditioner after using a co-wash. If your cleansing conditioner leaves your hair feeling moisturized then maybe you would file this product under conditioner.


What do you cleanse your hair with?