You don’t have to compromise clean hair for soft hair.
You read the title correctly. Shampoo made my hair softer. I too was a convert of the anti-shampoo bandwagon. My introduction to co-washing was the best of both worlds. Curlies have a two-in-one product? How exciting! Every time I used shampoo my hair felt dry and tangled, which only reverted my detangling efforts prior, so I thought co-washing was a perfect solution.
For the past two years I wondered why I could not achieve the supreme softness my hair once had. Yes, the more length your hair retains, the older it becomes, and the more challenging it is to keep moisturized…but I knew this was not the case. My ends always felt irreconcilably dry although I was trimming regularly (more than twice a year). There were not enough butters and oils to seal in the moisture I was trying to retain.
Within the past nine months I converted to being a wash and go natural (best hair decision ever). I wash with a shampoo once to twice a week to refresh my style, reduce tangling, and cleanse the excess oil and sweat from my scalp after exercising. It was not until I used shampoo weekly that I realized how much my hair needs consistent cleansing, not just my scalp. Co-washing did not suffice.
The mediocre moisture and softness that I was feeling was only layers of product buildup. Although the study from The Natural Haven proves that daily conditioners can indeed clean the hair, they are formulated to leave properties behind (as they should) which only built up on my hair. Is it too much to ask for a shampoo that leaves your hair feeling like you just deep conditioned? I am not sure, but I understand why it does not, and that is not necessarily a bad thing. A lot of people do not bathe or shower and not follow up with lotion with the expectation of soft skin, so why do we expect the same with shampoo? We may be more favorable to Dove than Irish Spring (which might as well be laundry detergent on my skin), but you do not skip the bathing process as a whole, at least not without soap.
You do not have to compromise clean hair for soft hair. This is what deep conditioning is for!If your hair continues to feel dry after rinsing off the shampoo, then there could be numerous reasons. If you are not using a shampoo and conditioner from the same line, then you have to remember that what you are using was not formulated with the intentions of being properly pH balanced with the shampoo you started with. No, you do not have to use products from the same line. Most, if not all, curlies and coilies have successfully built regimens that include products from multiple brands. This is just an important variable that is constantly undermined. Another conclusion that many curlies and coilies have accepted is that the product may not be for you. There is nothing wrong with that, but I encourage you to keep looking and not forgo shampoo completely.
If your hair always seems dry, then it might be time to shampoo! Here are the tips that helped me to embrace using shampoo regularly:
I always do the Condition-Wash-Condition Method. I detangle on damp hair with either Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle Conditioner or Herbal Essences Honey I’m Strong Strengthening Conditioner and I do not rinse it out before I start the shampoo process. This makes the stripping process feel less harsh.
Focus on the scalp
While I still have the conditioner in my hair from detangling, I add shampoo to my scalp and massage to loosen the buildup. Shampoo naturally falls down the length of the hair, so concentrate the shampoo on the scalp and then use the backwash to cleanse the length of the hair.
Stroke the hair downward
In Taren Guy’s Salon Series, hairstylist Jennifer Rose emphasizes the importance of stroking the hair in a downward motion with the shampoo in order to close the hair’s cuticle for shine. I was never one to pile hair on top of my head and I never intentionally stroked the backwash of shampoo down the length of my hair. Well, I have been doing it since I watched the video and my hair looks shinier and feels softer than ever before.
Hold your ends taut
This is how you prevent tangles! While I am stroking my hair in a downward motion, I hold my ends taut to assure that the curls do not spring up and intertwine. This also prevents the ends from tangling as you stroke the hair, which could then lead to breakage.
This is essential. Well, even when I co-washed this was essential for me. Shampoos are formulated with negatively charged surfactants that effectively clean the hair and scalp. You should expect for your hair to feel a tad drier and that is where the deep conditioner comes in. I have noticed that my hair is able to better absorb and hold the benefits of my deep conditioner because my hair is completely clean. I highly suggest deep conditioning under a hooded dryer with a plastic processing cap for 15-20 min. Whenever I do not use the hooded dryer, my hair does not absorb the conditioner as well. Now, my new standard of judging whether a shampoo is suitable to my liking is how well my coils recover after deep conditioning. Is that legitimate? I am not sure but my hair is cleaner, softer, and shinier than ever!
Have you neglected the shampoo? Why? Does your hair still feel dry even after deep conditioning?