We’ve all been trained to use shampoo to wash our hair, but what does it really do to your curls? Harsh detergents like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) are usually responsible for the squeaky sound and dry feeling associated with freshly washed hair. The entire purpose of shampoo is to remove product buildup from our hair, but this also leads to the removal of important natural oils our curls need.
So how can you clean your hair without the dryness associated with traditional shampoos? Let’s take a look at some reasons why you may want to explore shampoo-free alternatives. These options can help you retain moisture and elasticity while gently cleaning and conditioning your hair.
Textured Hair & Hair Care Products
Curly hair presents unique issues that need to be addressed when it comes to cleansing our curly, wavy and coily tresses. Many ladies have realized that the products they use can help or hinder the cleaning, conditioning and styling of their hair. Using special curly hair products should address the inherent challenges of dryness, tangling and breakage. These products typically incorporate more conditioning and moisturizing ingredients that help improve the health and manageability of your curls.
Traditional detergents found in shampoo will strip the natural oils needed to maintain the health of your hair. This can lead to dry, tangled hair which is a curly girl’s worst hair nightmare. The ingredients found in typical shampoos usually include these detergents and harsh surfactants that remove not only the buildup from product use, but the natural oils your scalp produces to nourish your strands. Sulfate-free shampoos and cleansing conditioners utilize mild cleansers to effectively restore your hair to a fresh state.
Hydration is Key
Curly hair needs more moisture to keep the curls manageable, bouncy and shiny. Even though water is the only true moisturizer, you can look for certain ingredients that make it easier for your hair to retain all the moisture it can. Traditional shampoos remove both buildup and natural oils from your hair, but they don’t do much to return the moisture to your now stripped strands. Conditioning cleansers often contain extra conditioning ingredients that help to replenish your tresses.
Did you know that certain methods used to clean curly hair can boost shine, reduce frizz and make detangling a breeze? The Curly Girl method (CG) allows your hair to retain some of its natural oils while removing the majority of the extra residue that can build up on your strands. Using more natural products coupled with the CG method yields soft, bouncy and smooth curls that look and feel great, all without using harsh shampoos.
A Burgeoning Market
There are new shampoo-free products on the market geared towards keeping your curly hair beautiful. Brands like Curl Junkie, Blended Beauty and L’Oreal have created cleansing conditioner products that address the major challenge of cleansing our hair without causing excessive dryness. Try switching out your shampoo for a gentle cleansing conditioner and experience the difference it makes in your hair.
Taking the Shampoo-Free Plunge
When you’re ready to take the steps to go the shampoo-free route, there are a few things to consider first. Because most cleansing conditioners and other no-shampoo products contain only mild cleaners, remember to concentrate on applying the product directly to your scalp. Most curlies find that they don’t have to increase their wash days, which is great, but they may use more product to complete the washing routine. It's also important to monitor other styling products you may be using as well. Minimize the use of ingredients like silicones and mineral oil that coat your strands and typically require a clarifying shampoo to remove.
It is important to keep in mind that, while this method works well for many, it may not work for some, and that’s okay! The beauty of being natural is that you can experiment until you find something that works for your hair.
Happy styling, curlies!