Remember the days when washing your hair meant just one thing: a bottle of shampoo and enough water to render a squeaky clean feeling? More recently, the wash regimen has evolved to:
- Two-in-one shampoos/conditioner
- Shampoo without sulphates
- Conditioner only washes (co-wash)
- Conditioners containing just a dab of cleanser lending some diversity to your cleansing world
Have wondered whether or not to shampoo or co-wash or which is the better end of the stick? Today, I give you the opportunity to delve into the world of shampoos and conditioners as I distinguish between the two and share with you some of my thoughts and tips!
Shampoos are mainly made up of cleansers which are used to rid the hair of dirt, dust, dandruff and even product build-up that accumulates over a period of time. The origin of shampoo dates back earlier than the 1900’s but it wasn’t until this time period that liquid shampoo began its circulation. Most shampoos consist mainly of surfactants and other ingredients such as preservatives, sodium chloride to alter viscosity, fragrances and even oils. Other shampoos that are marketed as sulphate free shampoos most often contain cocamidopropylbetaine (cocobetaine) which are less harsh to the scalp.
Do I need to shampoo?
Yes and No.
Shampooing is very essential to a healthy scalp as it rids the scalp of anything that can hinder normal hair growth. Continued use of our favorite moisturizers, conditioners and essential oils leave our locks well coated and protected. Unfortunately, this leads to inevitable build-up of gunk on the scalp which we NEED shampoo to wash away. Shampooing also aids in the removal of fungal growth (commonly seen as flakes on the scalp of someone suffering from dandruff) and suppresses its regrowth. However, for persons looking for a healthier way of getting rid of the gunk or opting out of commercially made shampoos, products such as apple cider vinegar and baking soda can be just as successful at removing build-up.
Won’t shampoo strip my hair?
Most shampoos containing sulfates such as sodium lauryl sulfate utilizes a mechanism of action that not only cleanses the scalp of dirt and unwanted products but also strips it of its natural sebum. Continuous removal of natural sebum, in my opinion, can lead to persons fighting the battle of dry, brittle hair.
My shampoo regimen
With natural, curly-kinky strands, it is very easy for my hair to become dry. Due to all the twist and turns of each curly strand, it takes a longer time for my natural sebum to reach the majority of my hair. Throw some sulphates in the mix and the chances diminish even more. However, because I get a lot of product build up, I’ve realised that my hair prefers to be shampooed at least once a week. I do however prefer to use sulphate free shampoos on a weekly basis. To mix things up a bit, there are weeks when I use apple cider vinegar to clarify instead of the shampoo (to clarify simply means to cleanse the hair completely of all gels, moisturizers, oils, conditioners and even deposits left behind from minerals present in water).
How can I distinguish between different kinds of shampoo?
Shampoos can be clarifying, moisturizing and even paraben free. Clarifying shampoos will contain sulfates and will completely strip your hair of all build up. A moisturizing shampoo on the other hand will contain less harsh chemicals such as cocobetaine that will not strip your hair, leaving behind a feeling of moisturized, soft hair. Paraben free shampoos do not contain the preservatives usually found in most shampoos and is the preferred choice for many persons concerned about the long term effects of some of these parabens.
Firstly, I would like to say that co-washing is not no-pooing! No-poo simply refers to a method of cleansing the hair without the use of shampoo (consider alternatives as mentioned previously). Alternatively, co-washing refers to washing (not cleansing) the hair with conditioner only. Conditioner can be used to wash the hair for several reasons:
- To add more moisture to tresses constantly dry.
- To change a style or maintain styles such as wash and go’s.
Is co-washing a replacement for shampooing?
No, co-washing the hair is not a replacement for shampooing/clarifying unless it contains an ingredient that has cleansing properties. In such a case, a shampoo would be recommended at least once a month.
Can co-washing and shampooing be included in the same hair regimen?
Yes, I usually co-wash during the week (at least twice) and shampoo at the end of the week.
- Paraben Free