5 Methods & Products For Washing – A Quick Run-through!
Continuing on the series on Natural Hair Terms we now look into the different methods of washing. These are not really methods; perhaps more correctly they are three five different products for washing. Depending of the outcome you want to achieve you might find it useful to know that you don’t always have to use a shampoo to wash your hair.
The Upside: Good Clean
The shampoo is the traditional product used to wash hair. It is designed to do just that -clean the hair of oils, debris and dirt and it does a great job of it. The ingredient that allows the shampoo to do such a great job is from a family collectively known as sulphates or surfactants. These are excellent at stripping away grease and grime if you mainly use oil to anoint your hair.
The Downside: Cleans the Good Too
Our scalp secretes natural oils that protect and help our hair and scalp stay healthy. When we wash with sulphate-containing shampoo, it washes away our natural oils too, leaving the hair very clean, but also very dry after washing. And this is the main reason why a lot of naturals try to avoid these types of shampoos at all costs.
Verdict: Use in Moderation
There have been times (like after giving birth) that my hair just went for months without attention, hiding under a head wrap all day and night. The day I finally got time to attend to it, it really needed a good, good wash. So yes I’ve reached for sulphate shampoos when I’ve had to deal with heavy build-up.
Upside: Keeps Moisture
Co-washing is the method of washing hair with a conditioner instead of shampoo. It is great for those who wash their hair regularly or suffer a lot from dryness. As mentioned above, shampoos strip the hair of natural oils leaving the hair dry which is why we follow up with a conditioner to help restore some of that lost moisture. So you can follow the logic of washing with a conditioner then, as it will clean the hair without leaving it dry.
Downside: It Can’t Permanently Replace Shampoo
Build-up will still occur that will eventually need to be removed with something stronger than a conditioner (as it’s not really designed to wash with in the first place) and the over or improper use of some conditioners can in itself lead to the very dryness one is trying to avoid. So most people who shampoo and co-wash try to find a balance that works for them by alternating between shampooing and co-washing or if they wash weekly, say in a month shampoo once and co-wash 3 times.
3rd: Cleansers or Sulphate-Free Shampoos
Upside: They’re The Best
Finding a sulphate-free shampoo that washes as well as the usual shampoo without the harsh ingredients is just the best solution.
Downside: They’re Expensive
Expensiveness isn’t always a bad thing, but it is when it is attached to products that we use very regularly. Sulphate-free shampoos in South Africa can get quite pricey. I personally can’t afford to spend that much in something I use so often. But I’m always on the lookout for specials too J
4th: Natural alternatives
Natural cleansers are a great alternative, especially if you can find them at a reasonable price. These include apple cider vinegar, bentonite clay……and as with any product, natural or commercial, one needs to experiment with your own hair to find out what works.
5th: Dry Shampoo
I haven’t heard much about this in the natural hair circles, but I think it’s worth a mention for those who would like to give it a try. Those who observe Natural/Biblical laws will know that women during their menstrual period don’t emerse their body in water including the hair. So if your hair needs a quick water-less refresh, some women would use a dry-shampoo in the form of a powder applied to the scalp and brush it in with a tooth-brush to help cleanse the scalp until you period is done when you can wash your hair with water.
Do you have a special wash routine? Share yours with us in the comment section below and let us know what products you enjoy washing your hair with too.