When it comes to natural hair, moisture is essential. It is widely known that achieving moisturized hair is a process that begins each day as you wash your hair, particularly natural hair. This means that you must choose the right shampoo for natural hair as this will affect the moisture level of your hair. Your shampoo is as important as the moisturizer you use. ( BRANDS TO TRY )
SHAMPOOING or CLEANSING?
In the natural hair community, we often speak of cleansing instead of shampooing. This is mainly because there are many ways to cleanse the hair and scalp that do not require the use of a regular shampoo. Some alternative cleansers that can be used for your hair are listed below:
Mud or clay washes
Mud washes are usually made from either bentonite or rhassoul clays. These washes can either contain the clays alone or they can be in combination with other ingredients. Mud washes are generally great for removing impurities from the hair strands. and usually improves curl definition.
Co-washes, also known as cleansing conditioners, contain very little if any detergents that will result in the drying out of your hair and scalp. These conditioners are designed to boost moisture and this makes them ideal for textured hair types.
Many naturals use regular conditioner to keep their hair and scalp clean while going weeks or months without using any type of shampoo at all.
COMMON TYPES OF SHAMPOOS
Most of the shampoos made for natural hair textures usually belong to this group. These shampoos will cleanse the hair and scalp quite effectively without over drying or creating the squeaky clean feeling that usually results in very dry natural hair.
Clarifying shampoos are great for getting the hair clean since they function by removing any product build up that may have happened over time due to the type of products used to style the hair. They are far too harsh for frequent use however, as even the mildest clarifying shampoos has been known to dry out most hair types.
Volume is rarely a problem for those of us with natural hair and so volumizing shampoos are something that we try to avoid. Volumizing shampoos are usually formulated to do the very thing that many naturals try to avoid; it opens the cuticles of the hair. Opened cuticles often leads to dryness, tangles and frizz and we aren’t here for that.
Dry shampoos function by absorbing various oils and odors to leave your hair looking and feeling fresh. They are typically sold in powder or spray form but can also be obtained as foam. Dry shampoos will provide you with the opportunity to clean your hair when you cannot find the time for a regular wash session.
Sulfate free shampoos
Sulfates are widely regarded as ingredients to avoid in the natural hair community as they are known to dry out the hair and scalp. The dryness caused by sulfates can lead to scalp itching and irritation as well as dull, brittle and breaking hair. Sulfate free shampoos are therefore particularly great for color treated hair due to their gentle cleansing properties.
Solid shampoo bars are favorites among many naturals. They tend to be long-lasting in nature and it is especially easy to create lather from them. The simplicity of the formulations of most shampoo bars can also be very beneficial to hair and scalp. Some persons have reported that the benefits of using this kind of shampoo bars include faster growing hair, reduced frizz, reduced dandruff and shinier hair.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU SHAMPOO?
There is no right or wrong answer to this question as how often you shampoo really comes down to a matter of your own preference. You can cleanse hair and scalp as often as you like by either rinsing with water or by using a cleansing conditioner. This will be less drying that washing often with a shampoo.
The curlier your hair, the longer the time that it will take for the natural oils from your scalp to make it to the end of the hair strand. This means you can go longer between washes.
Are you using a lot of thick, heavy products? Do you work out or lead a very active lifestyle? Do you work in a dusty environment? If the answer is yes to any of these questions, then this will affect how often you need to wash your hair.
The truth is, hair is very delicate and needs to be handled with patience, care and love. Think of your softest, most delicate sweater. Would you wash it every day with any old detergent? Definitely not! Your hair deserves no less thought or consideration.
MAKE YOUR OWN SHAMPOO/ HAIR CLEANSER
Here are some simple recipes that you can try at home:
Basic Homemade Shampoo
1/4 cup purified water
1/4 cup liquid Castile Soap
1/2 teaspoon jojoba, grape seed, or other light oil
Use the oils you like best. You can boost this basic recipe by adding a few drops of essential oils such as tea tree, lavender and peppermint. Liquid castile soap is available in scented and unscented versions.
Homemade Mud Mask
1/2 cup bentonite clay
1/2 cup aloe vera gel
1/4 apple cider vinegar
Simply mix the ingredients together in bowl and apply to your hair from root to tip. Next cover your hair with a plastic cap for 15-30 minutes before rinsing. Depending on your hair type and length, you may be able to proceed to your styling step without needing to condition hair.
Homemade Dry Shampoo
The ingredients needed for a quick, easy and effective homemade dry shampoo could already be in your kitchen cupboard. You‘ll need all or as many of the following ingredients as possible. Simply combine them in equal parts.
Oatmeal (Be sure to grind this in a food processor until it becomes very fine)
The baking soda in the recipe will absorbs both oil and odors. You can use a shaker of some kind to dispense your dry shampoo.
How do you use dry shampoo?
*Hair should be loose and free of all accessories. Your hair should also be free from tangles.
*If a homemade recipe such as the one above is your first introduction to dry shampoos, you should do the following. 1. Sprinkle your dry shampoo powder on to your hair while paying particular attention to the really greasy sections.
* Brush or comb excess shampoo from your hair and you’re good to go. As you may imagine, the process can be messy so do not apply too generously, unless needed. The key is to focus on your roots and then move to other areas if necessary.
THE ART OF SHAMPOOING YOUR HAIR
You might be thinking to yourself: “Psshh, I’ve been shampooing my hair all my life. I know how to shampoo my hair!!” But, are you sure? Do you really know how to shampoo your hair correctly?
Here are some tips to help you simplify and manage the process of cleansing your natural hair, with or without shampoo.
*Never pile hair on top of your head.
This is real life; not a Herbal Essences commercial. Piling hair on the top of your head will lead to the formation of knots and tangles. This can prove to be a big problem for girls with tight curls or kinky natural hair. The key is to keep your hair stretched during the shampooing process. Be sure to hold the ends firmly in one hand while using the pad of your fingers on the other hand to apply and massage shampoo into scalp. Once you’re finished with the scalp, smooth the lather down the length of the hair shaft using both palms.
*Wash hair in sections
Washing hair in sections helps to ensure that all areas are clean and that no part of the hair or scalp is missed during the process. It also helps to make the process more manageable, particularly for those with long, thick hair.
* If you already have major tangling, detangle your hair before washing
Even a light detangling before washing will prove to be beneficial to your hair. Any tangles present before you wash will only get worse once you get started. Shampoo dries the hair out and dry hair tangles easier so starting with hair that’s already tangled is just asking for trouble.
*Shampoo once. Twice at the most
For most persons, shampooing the hair once is enough to get the hair clean, especially if this is done in sections. Bubbles and lather are nice, but they are unnecessary for cleansing the hair and many effective sulfate-free cleansers have little or no lather at all.
*Dilute your harsh shampoo
If you find that your shampoo is a bit too drying for your hair type but you would like to finish it instead of buying something new, then diluting your shampoo may be the answer.
*Never, ever skip your conditioner
Conditioners help to replace the moisture and oils removed by shampoos so they form a crucial part of the cleansing process.
INCREASING THE SHINE OF YOUR HAIR
Increasing your hair’s shine is achieved by keeping the cuticles along the strand from opening. pH balanced shampoos, conditioners and stylers help to do this by keeping the cuticles closed and by keeping the hair at its natural pH level. The hair’s natural pH usually ranges from 4.5-5.5 and products that are pH balanced will state this clearly on their packaging. Besides using pH balanced products, there are other ways to ensure that the cuticles of your strands are closed. These include rinsing your hair in cold water, doing an apple cider vinegar rinse and using aloe vera juice immediately after washing and conditioning your hair. Cold water shocks the cuticles closed while apple cider vinegar and aloe vera juice are both acidic substances that help the hair to maintain its natural pH thus keeping the cuticles closed.
THE MIRACLE SHAMPOO MYTH
There is no shampoo in existence that will make your hair grow quicker or thicker , unless that length and thickness is being affected by your hair care products in addition to other practices. Hair length and thickness are determined by your genetic makeup and impacted by diet, overall health and hair care practices. Having said this however, we should be mindful that a healthy, clean scalp is also necessary for hair to thrive. What is far more important than the shampoo itself, is how you use and when you use it. The fact is that a shampoo can do little more than provide you with a clean and healthy scalp. It cannot give you hair qualities that do not form a part of your genetic makeup.
BRANDS TO TRY
There are more and more brands of natural and organic shampoos coming on the market every day. There are some brand name favorites as well as some little known gems. Here are a handful of brands for you to try:
Crème of Nature Argan Oil – This brand centers its line of products around the ingredient of argan oil, which is well-known for having properties that allows it to both protect and nourish the hair.
Oyin Handmade – Oyin Handmade is a brand that can satisfy all your hair needs with products from their ‘Shine& Define’ styling serum to their ‘juice box’ leave-in tonics.
Alikay Naturals – Alikay Naturals is an organic skincare line that infuses various natural oils and herbs into the production of their innovative line. In addition to hair care, this brand also offers products for skincare as well as bath products.
Burt’s Bees More Moisture Shampoo – The main purpose of the Burt’s Bees More Moisture Shampoo, other than to simply clean your hair, is to leave it manageable, shiny and moisturized. To achieve this, the product contains boabab oil and capuacu butter.
Kiss My Face Whenever Shampoo – The Kiss My Face Whenever Shampoo is formulated with various ingredients, such as green tea and lime, to provide you with the convenience of having great smelling and well-moisturized hair. It is especially useful for persons with sensitive scalps.
John Masters Organics – John Masters Organics is an organic, luxurious brand that offers products such as the Rose & Apricot Hair Milk and the Spearmint & Meadow sweet Scalp Stimulating Shampoo. This brand also offers products in skin care as well.
Aubrey Organics – The Aubrey Organics brand is not only organic, but also offers products that are hand-made. This brand does not include sulfates or parabens in their products.
Karen’s Body Beautiful – This brand presents a line of products that is well-suited to all types of hair, from the extremely curly to the damaged.
Honeysuckle Rose Moisturizing Shampoo – The Honeysuckle Rose Moisturizing Shampoo is a product offered by the Aubrey Organics brand. Made with Ros Hip seed oil, this shampoo has the ability to leave damaged haiir feeling soft and healthy.
Shea Moisture – Shea Moisture is a brand that utilizes unrefined shea butter in their products. Shea butter is known for containing essential fatty acids, and having other properties, that will leave hair moisturized and healthy-looking.
Camille Rose Naturals – Camille Rose Naturals offers products that high in essential oils, protein and vitamins. This brand is useful for not only moisturizing the hair, but also for promoting sell growth to create volume and sheen.
Shampoos are an essential part of any hair regimen and shampooing is the step one of the journey to beautiful, healthy, shiny natural hair. When choosing a shampoo for natural hair, you need to be mindful of the ingredients (remember to avoid sulfates as much as possible), how often you will use this shampoo and how your hair might respond. As with many other aspects of the healthy hair journey, there may be a bit of trial and error in the beginning in order for you to find what works best for you. But hey, that’s half the fun.