Updated: Apr 14, 2020
During my first few months as a stylist I had a mother and daughter make an appointment. The Mom had straight hair, but the daughter’s hair was very curly. The Mom had read The Curly Girl Handbook and was adamant her daughter’s hair should never be shampooed. She had been using a drug store conditioner as a co-wash #cowash for about six months. I’d heard using conditioner instead of shampoo was a thing, but I’d never actually seen it in action. Moment of truth here…My gag reflex was engaged, and I just wanted this experience to be OVER!! Her hair was greasy, and her scalp was coated with a thick layer of natural oil and #silicone that smelled awful. I was embarrassed for them, when I should’ve been embarrassed by my own ignorance on the subject. Looking back, I know for sure that Mom was doing the best she could, she’d tried everything, and nothing had worked. We’ve all been there.
If that same Mother and daughter walked through my doors today here’s what I would help them understand. The scalp MUST be cleansed. It doesn’t have to be cleansed with a harsh #sulfate shampoo, but it must be cleaned. When you #cleanse the scalp some of the cleanser will rinse through the ends resulting in the removal of excess oils and debris. Regardless of the quality of products you use some build up #buildup is going to happen, whether it be from the environment, your water or your products, but less build up will occur with #organic, water soluble #watersoluable products.
I’m a fan of suds…I grew up watching Prell commercials where the models had a good 12 inches of suds coming off their hair in the shower. Curly hair doesn’t need that kind of cleansing, but I’m still a fan of some suds that let me know I’m breaking through the oil and product on the scalp. I often cleanse a client twice at the bowl because the first time through I’m not able to get much sudsing (is that a word?) which indicates there are more oils present. Not to mention it feels amazing to have your scalp massaged and cleansed…I have a few clients who need reminding that moaning makes the experience over! Because, come on, let’s not make it weird.
In some cases, a #detox is in order. For my own curls, I perform a detox every six to eight weeks. My detox consists of a hot shower, ascorbic acid mixed with Long Hair Don’t Care and a disposable shower cap. I gently massage the LHDC and ascorbic acid #ascorbicacid onto my scalp and hair shaft top it with the shower cap and go about my routine. After 10-15 minutes I cleanse and #hydrate like I normally would. The results are always amazing, which tempts me to detox every single time I wash, but that would be a mistake, more of a good thing is seldom a good thing, so I resist. A detox perks everything up; My curls are better defined; my scalp is refreshed, and my hair shaft absorbs #hydration and styling products better. Behind the chair, I assess every client’s hair and scalp and perform a detox as needed. A healthy scalp #healthyscalp is key to healthy hair. An occasional detox is basically a curly girl’s reset button.
So, what should you cleanse with? My weapons of choice are Inner Sense Organic Beauty #innersenseorgaincbeauty. Most of my clients do well with the Color Awakening Hairbath, it is a middle of the road product and while it is called “color awakening” it is good for hair that isn’t color treated as well. My other go to is the Hydrating Hairbath which is a much richer, and as the name implies, more hydrating version of the Color Awakening Hairbath. Both products will give suds due to the coconut oils in them…Suds without sulfates is a win-win!
Co-washes have their place and for that my go to is Long Hair Don’t Care #longhairdon'tcare (LHDC). It is the holy grail of co-washes and is not always easy to get your hands on. The creator sells it from an Etsy store, and it is in high demand, so it is often out of stock. I try to keep a few on hand, but it’s just as hard for stylists to get! I talked earlier about using LHDC as part of my detox routine, but it is amazing on its own as a co-wash. When you order it, you can request it with double #eucalyptus for more tingle. A word of caution though, the extra eucalyptus is not for folks with sensitive skin or scalps.
Find a cleanser you love and stick to it. Don’t buy into the commercial hype surrounding products and go deeper than what the front of a bottle promises. Read the ingredients and understand what each one will and won’t do for your hair. The curly girl journey is a marathon, not a sprint. Stick with me, it’s so worth it!