Back to Basics: Natural hair 101 (Part 1) Cleansing

August 15, 2017

First of all, welcome to my blog! Thank you to everyone who has followed me on facebook and instagram (@polkadotsncurls) I am excited to get started. The trouble has been figuring out where to start, there is so much to learn about natural hair care and maintenance and it seems that everyone wants to know everything right now! To start off I will be writing a 3-part Back to Basics series covering cleansing, conditioning and deep treatments. This post is all about cleansing and will cover clarifying shampoo, regular shampoo and co-washes/no-poos.

****images and product names are affiliate links*** When you shop through my links, I receive a commission and get one step closer to growing my blog into a business. I've also promised 10% of my commission to spoiling the polkadotsncurls community. If you haven't already, join my squad. IG: @polkadotsncurls 

Clarifying Shampoo:

Clarifying shampoos can be found with or without sulfates and are formulated to be the strongest cleansing option in your hair care routine. It varies how often a person should clarify depending on hair type and the other products in your routine. Usually for curlier hair textures it could be every 4-6 weeks. The best way to know that it is time to clarify is when even your favorite products don't seem to work on your hair anymore.

If you have ever had a bad wash day where it seems like even a deep conditioner isn't quite helping make your hair feel any softer or curlier that's a sign that you have product build up and need a deeper clean. Regular shampoos are formulated to cleanse dirt and oils but over time they are not quite strong enough to give you the clean slate you need to allow moisture to penetrate your hair strands. Heavy hair butters and silicone-based conditioners will form a film over your hair over time that serves as a barrier against adding new moisture. 

Here are some examples of clarifying products I would recommend for different needs:
Giovanni 50:50 Balanced Shampoo- If you are still transitioning out of using sulfates or don't mind some this is a great clarifying shampoo to get you started. You may however want to follow up with a deep conditioner. 

DevaCurl Buildup Buster - This is a new favorite for me and probably the gentlest clarifying shampoo I have ever used. It can be used on the scalp and strands without stripping any moisture. 

Shampoo is pretty self explanatory, it used to be that this was the only kind of cleanser there was and therefore the only one we thought about. It was a simpler time.. I'm sure many of you have heard a distinction between sulfate shampoos and sulfate-free. 

Basically sulfates are harsher chemicals that can strip the hair of its natural moisture in the process of removing dirt. Because natural afro-textured hair already has a tendency toward dryness sulfates are usually advised against. A HUGE mistake I made however, for many years was using sulfate free shampoos while continuing to use conditioners with silicones in them. Even though this post is supposed to focus on cleansers it is important to make sure your cleanser and conditioner compliment each other. Silicones are only properly cleansed from the hair by using sulfates. If you want to be sulfate free you have to be silicone free to match for maximum results and overall hair health. 

Shea Moisture raw Shea Butter Moisture Retention Shampoo -This is the first sulfate free shampoo I have ever used and is ideal if you are transitioning or wanting a gentle shampoo that is still a bit stronger than a co-wash. The argan oil also lends itself to making this line strengthening without the use of protein. Over time the moisture retention line is intended to soften and define your hair while minimizing breakage and shedding. 
I have been a shea moisture shampoo loyalist for a long time but have recently started to branch out to other brands I will start reviewing more sulfate free shampoos in the near future! 

Co-washes and no-poos: 
Co-Washes and no-poos are members of the conditioning cleanser family. I have only used one no-poo product and while it did feel a bit more cleansing I'd say it's just about interchangeable with a co-wash. Some people have great results using a regular conditioner  by itself however I have found that products that are intended to be used as a co-wash yield better results especially for my scalp. Deciding whether or not these products are for you is really a matter of what your hair responds best to. If even a sulfate free shampoo leaves your hair feeling dry switching to a co-wash (with a monthly clarify) could be the solution. I'll save regular conditions for part 2.

As I Am Coconut CoWash - One of the go to "holy grail" co-washes among naturals. This is a gentle cleanser while still leaving your hair and scalp feeling clean and moisturized. You can also begin detangling with this product and I have found that it brings out my curls in the process.

You Might Also Like