Most commercial shampoos contain surfactants that are too harsh for our hair and tend to rob our hair of moisture. Curly hair tends to be more porous than straight hair, which makes rinsing out all traces of shampoo virtually impossible and causing frizz. Many conditioners also contain mild surfactants which, paired with a little manual friction, can lift off dirt, debris and excess oil from our scalp and hair.
To make a shampoo free routine work, you should eliminate the use of most silicones (‘cones for short) from your hair care routine since most can only be removed with harsh shampoos. Washing with a conditioner while using them would cause them to quickly build up on the hair, which results in dull, matted hair and poor curl definition.
Choosing a Conditioner
It is very important to choose a good conditioner if your going no shampoo. Here is what you should look for on the label:
· Emollients, which soften, smooth the hair and give it shine. There are hundreds of them, including such natural emollients as vegetable oils and nut butters. Widely used emollients include glycerides and liposomes.
· Proteins, which temporarily “repair” the hair and/or protect it. Occasionally proteins will build up on some people’s hair, especially on healthier hair. In this case, alternate with a protein-free conditioner. Examples of proteins include silk, soy, wheat, keratin or individual amino acids (components of proteins).
· Humectants, which absorb water and hold in moisture. They are absolutely crucial in a conditioner for curly hair. Panthenol, vegetable glycerin, sorbitol and honey are just a few humectants to look for on the label. Moisturizers soften and control to curly hair. Amino acids and aloe vera are two great moisturizers.
How to do a Conditioner Wash
- After wetting your hair thoroughly, pour a dime-sized amount of conditioner in your hand and, using the pads of your fingertips, apply to one spot of your scalp and massage well, just as you would with shampoo.
- Repeat until you’ve scrubbed all over.
- Rinse all the conditioner off with plenty of warm water, still gently massaging with your fingertips so the friction will dissolve any residue.
- Pour more conditioner into your hand (sometimes another richer conditioner is necessary for this step), rub your palms together and apply over the length as you normally did in the past.
- Try to detangle with your fingers or a very wide-toothed comb.
- For extra moisturizing, clip your hair up and continue with your shower. When you’re done, set the water as cool as is comfortable to you, rinse for just a second or two, and gently squeeze the excess water off.
Modified No Shampoo Routine for Wavies
The Curly Girl author concedes that some people may have to continue using shampoo (hopefully a lot less often than before) because of an oily scalp. This is usually more common in those with wavy hair. To avoid drying the hair, here’s the CG way to use shampoo:
- Wet hair under a gentle shower.
- Take a tablespoon of conditioner and using your fingers, lightly coat your hair from the ends to the mid-shaft. This hair has been around longer than the hair at the roots and needs more lubrication. The conditioner protects the hair by not allowing shampoo to penetrate and dehydrate the shaft.
- If you’re using shampoo, squeeze a half teaspoon* (no more) onto your fingertips and apply it gently to the scalp and roots only. Don’t use your nails. Start at the forehead and work around the scalp, then rinse thoroughly.
- Add a half teaspoon of conditioner to your hair and work it through with your fingers. Then rinse quickly, for just a few seconds. Now you’re ready to blot-dry your hair.
*Diluting this amount in an ounce of water or so makes it much easier to distribute and gentler to the scalp.