In this post , I will give a brief overview on cleansing the hair.
Salut! In case this is your first time here, check out my post on prepooing which I consider the first step of a good hair routine .
What is cleansing?
Cleansing is the second part of the healthy hair regimen series. When I first went natural , I thought cleansing, clarifying and detoxifying the scalp were all the same . Naturally, I assumed whatever does one of these things can substitute traditional shampoo in my hair routine. To be honest, classifying products using these terms still confuses me.
What should you use to cleanse?
I have tried out sulfate shampoos , sulfate free shampoos, co-washing , apple cider vinegar and clays. They each play a unique role in one’s hair routine and their use is dependent on one’s individual needs.
However, for purposes of keeping this simple, I will use shampoo as the main example. The Natural Hair Haven , a hair blogger, has a great post where she compared the effectiveness of different cleansers under a microscope. Shampoo was proven to be the most straightforward and effective method . This is probably why it has been used for years.
Why do we cleanse?
The primary goal of cleansing is to get rid of build up of dirt, sweat and excess sebum. When cleansing the hair , we pay attention to the scalp where build up tends to happen most. A clean scalp is essential for optimum hair growth.
How much is too much?
For a while now, there’s been emphasis on how over-cleansing your hair or using harsh cleansers can be detrimental to the health of one’s hair. Sulfates, which are key ingredients in most household cleaning agents and shampoos, are associated with excessively drying out the hair . This effect is mostly seen in those with curlier and kinkier hair because sebum does not build up as fast as in Caucasian and Asian counterparts.
Then came a solution to this problem: sulfate free shampoo ! It is now popular particularly in the natural hair community. When I went natural , I was an advocate for going sulfate free. Then the need for a clarifying shampoo arose because some sulfate-free shampoos are too mild to get rid of all of the build up.
Cosmetic ingredients require an entirely separate post or even series because there is so much controversy around them especially when it comes to toxicity.
The bottom line is this: As long as you are using commercial products on your hair regularly then you need to wash it regularly.
If you use silicone and/or petroleum-based products often, sulfate shampoos will serve you better. If you choose to go sulfate-free, I recommend using a clarifying shampoo once in a while to give your hair an extra cleanse.
How often should you shampoo?
This is completely up to you and your lifestyle. If you are very active, swim a lot, build up sebum fast and/or use commercial products often , then you might need to wash your hair more often.
If you are not sure how often to do it, start off with doing it weekly then monitor how your hair feels. When I was a newbie natural , I would wash my hair every 7 to 10 days. Over time, I noticed that I have a ‘build up threshold’; when moisturizing products are not being absorbed into my strands as well they normally are , I know I need to cleanse. A clean head of hair is the best base for moisture retention and successful styling.
Like many other parts of your hair routine,it is all about trial and error and what works for someone else may not work for you . Pay attention to your hair and give it what it needs to thrive.
How do you cleanse your hair ? How often do you do it ? Drop a comment down below!
Thank you so much for reading my post!
“Always remember that your hair is your crown and your body is a temple; embrace it, love it and take care of it”.