Even so, cleansing (more specifically, shampooing) natural hair has earned a reputation for itself in years past as being the enemy of moisture, manageability, and progress.
For many of us, when we were younger, shampooing meant dry, tangled, and sometimes matted hair at the expense of a clean scalp. Can you relate?
At times, it even meant a tight, irritated scalp too because it had been stripped of its natural oils. Why was this?
At the dawn of the natural hair movement, the availability and selection of products were very limited and many mainstream products contained ingredients that aren’t very compatible with curly hair textures. This included sodium lauryl sulfate or SLS.
SLS is a detergent and a surfactant that can be found in many shampoos and is highly effective at removing oil and dirt build-up, perhaps too effective as it can leave your hair and scalp with that "stripped" feeling.
Luckily, there are now many more options for sulfate-free shampoos. Many more than 10, or even 5 years ago.
It’s much easier to access a cleanser that will help you to refresh, soothe and nourish your hair and scalp without sacrificing all of your natural oils.
So, if shampooing is nothing to worry about, what signs are there that it’s time to cleanse your natural hair?
- A dry, itchy or irritated scalp if often the first tell-tale sign that it’s time to wash away dead skin, dirt, sweat and product residue from your scalp.
Any combination of these over a long period of time can cause flaking, dandruff or irritation.
Using a gentle moisturising shampoo such as the Moisture Silk Shampoo can help to both refresh and nourish the scalp so that it’s clean and can promote healthy hair growth.
- If your products aren’t working as well as they used to, this can be a sign of excessive product build up.
For example, your leave-in conditioner doesn’t penetrate your hair strands, or no amount of water seems to hydrate your hair. This can reduce how effective your products are when you continue to apply them without cleansing.
When this happens it can be beneficial to cleanse your natural hair and scalp with a clay wash such as the Organic Rhassoul Clay Hair Wash which helps to detoxify your hair and scalp and reset your curls.
- If you’re experiencing a lot of knotting and tangling, or your styles aren’t turning out like they usually do, cleansing can help to restore the pH balance of your hair.
The pH of your hair is typically between 4.5 and 5.5 and when it falls outside of this range, the cuticles of your hair strands are more raised and in turn get rub against each other and tangle with each other.
Using a shampoo such as the Strength & Shine can help to restore pH balance and smooth the cuticle of your strands.
- If you co-wash as a part of your routine. It’s important to balance this out with cleansers too. Traditional co-washes help to refresh your hair without cleansing as an alternative, but not a replacement of a shampoo.
Using a conditioning shampoo such as AyurCleanse can help to nourish your hair and its 6 Ayurvedic herbs can help to protect your strands if you prefer to wash your hair more frequently.
- Can you remember the last time you cleansed your natural hair? If not, then that’s definitely a sign to do so, sooner rather than later.
- Moisture Silk helps me to maintain moisture when I wash my hair more frequently. It's a great alternative to co-washing.
Strength & Shine helps to strengthen my hair and restore its pH balance which is particularly useful before protective styling.
AyurCleanse helps me to reduce shedding and promote growth and is gentle enough for me to use on a regular basis. It's great for cleansing whilst wearing a protective style too.
- Organic Rhassoul Clay Wash helps me to detoxify my hair and scalp and enhance my curl definition, which makes the perfect foundation for my wash and gos!
If you need help with cleansing your natural hair, grab our FREE Guide to Happier Hair for 11 actionable tips towards improving your routine.
Which sign comes up most often for you? What does your cleansing routine look like?