Avoid the drying sulphate shampoos and use natural with home cleansers for your hair
There are a number of reasons to go without shampoo for the benefit of black hair. It is very rare to find someone with both curly and oily hair as curly and kinky* hair is inherently dry. Oily secretions are made by sebaceous glands on the scalp where their purpose is to lubricate the hair and prevent moisture loss. The oils* travel down straight hair quite easily but in curly hair it more difficult.
Ingredients in majority of the shampoos make things worse for curly and kinky* haired people. Notably Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (Sodium Laureth Sulfate) which is known to excessively dry out the hair and is found as the first ingredient in most shampoos. These Sulfates are the ‘lathering agent’ for the shampoo and are also commonly used in car washes and engine degreasers. In actual fact, conditioner was invented as a treatment to counter against the drying effects of the shampoo!
Lots of black people are actively using alternatives to these drying shampoos for the health of their hair. There are a few sulfate free shampoos available on the market but they tend to be a bit pricey. Natural cleansers are cheap and just as effective!
There are some excellent alternatives to shampooing outlined below:
- Co-washing – This is simply washing your hair with conditioner only and is by and large the most popular method for ex-shampoo users. Grab your favourite bottle of conditioner and work into wet hair. Rinse throughly and repeat. The great thing about co-washing is that it gives you freedom to wash your hair as often as you like without any risk of drying out your hair. In fact many women co-wash daily!
- Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) – ACV when diluted correctly will be in the slightly acidic range on the ph scale just like your hair’s natural ph. This will not only help get rid of build up but it will also encourage your cuticles to lie flat sealing moisture into your hair. Mix 1 teaspoon of ACV with about 4 cups of water and stream the mixture through the hair working it in lightly with your fingers. Yes, you only need one teaspoon of the vinegar! An ACV rinse is best used as a final rinse after a co-wash.
- Cornstarch – as strange as this sounds, cornstarch works great as a ‘dry shampoo’. Technically it does not actually clense your hair but rather it absorbs excess oil in your hair which when rinsed with water will wash the oil off.
A quick note on Baking Soda – it has been touted as a natural alternative to shampoo but with it very alkaline nature, it is too harsh to be recommended even after dilution. See the article on why baking soda is bad for your hair.