What is a shampoo?
Shampoos belong to a category of substances called cleaning agents which are used to cleanse hair and is usually in liquid form. Shampoo creates a lather and dismantles debris and oil from the scalp and hair. This is then rinsed out leaving the hair refreshed.
Is shampoo necessary?
This is dependent on your personal views or your scalp’s needs.
- If you have a looser texture e.g straight hair, this means that the natural oils travels down the hair shaft quite easily and the hair will need to be cleansed regularly.
- Curly and kinky hair have a harder time getting natural oils to travel down the hair shaft and may need to be cleansed less regularly.
I wouldn’t say it is necessary to use shampoo to cleanse your hair, as in today’s society there are many different alternatives to shampoos, but it is necessary to cleanse your hair period to remove dirt, debris, oil and build up from the scalp which is important for overall healthy hair.
How often should I shampoo?
This is dependent on one’s sebum level and personal choice. For oily hair or people who produce sebum quite frequently you can cleanse your hair every day. For dry hair or people who produce less sebum cleansing your hair can range from 1 week to a month or more depending on your hair and scalp needs.
Different Types of Shampoos
There are many different types of shampoos’ on the market to suit one’s hair needs such as:
- Dry hair shampoos
- Oily hair shampoos
- Smoothing shampoos
- Volumizing shampoos
- Clarifying shampoos
- Colour treated hair shampoos
- Moisturizing shampoos
- Strengthening shampoos
- Sulphate shampoos
- Sulphate free shampoos
- Shampoos which control frizz
- Sensitive scalp shampoos
- Shampoos for processed hair
- Organic shampoos
Whatever you are looking for, you name it they probably made it. There are plenty of varieties and mixtures being sold on the market today. Selecting a shampoo would depend on what your hair needs and is feeling like at the point in time or maybe your preference to smell. As always when buying products check the ingredients list first.
Alternatives to shampoos
When mixed with water, this is an alkaline solution which is used to help cleanse the hair. It helps to remove the grease and can be effective in keeping one’s hair clean. It may be a bit difficult to rinse out of the hair so make sure you rinse thoroughly. As with everything research before you try it. Since baking soda can alter the pH of your hair, you must be careful when using this product.
Cuts through grease very easily, removes dandruff and solves itchy scalp.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Diluting apple cider vinegar with water helps to clean the hair as well as adds shine by removing build up and mineral deposits. It claims to make the hair feel soft, clean and shiny, though the smell may or may not disappear upon drying.
Balances pH of the scalp and hair, removes oiliness from the scalp, gives hair shine
Mixing lemon juice with warm water can be used to cleanse the hair. It claims to work if you have straight hair or to fight dandruff. The citric acid is what helps to be effective in lemon juice for getting rid of dandruff.
Fights dandruff and fungal infections, removes excess oil from hair, stimulates growth
Clay or mud cleansers can be used in place of a stripping shampoo. Rhassoul or bentonite clay can be used along with other mixtures. Some people like to add apple cider vinegar, essential oils, or use as is.
Removes impurities, removes excess oil, gives hair definition, nourishes hair follicles
This type of shampoo is usually used to absorb the oils which accumulate from the scalp or roots. It can be used especially in between hair cleansing or when you are not ready to wash your hair. The best thing about this shampoo is that it doesn’t require you to get your hair wet.
Using conditioner only to cleanse your hair is supposed to be a lot gentler on the hair than a stripping shampoo. However, if you are choosing this method make sure to purchase a clarifying or cleansing conditioner. A regular conditioner which does not contain enough cleansing agents may add moisture and clean somewhat but it won’t get all the dirt out of your hair. Be careful if you are co washing with a regular conditioner and you have low porosity hair which tends to build up easily.
Some naturals use water only to cleanse their hair. Massage your hair and scalp and use the pressure of the water to help push dirt and build up out of your hair. It’s a good option for people who have sensitive scalp. Installing a shower filter may be necessary to filter out hard water. I personally have never tried this, but from what I have researched water is the best moisturizer for your hair and it does wonders for moisture and definition.
Gentle cleaner, great for sensitive scalp, prevents hair loss, no product build up, easy and cheap
Shampoo bars can be used to replace liquid shampoos. They are generally friendlier with the environment than liquid shampoos, use less packaging, last longer and some are sulphate free.
This plant is a natural resource which is antibacterial and antiseptic as well as moisturizing. Studies have shown that it can enhance cellular regeneration. It can be used to improve the health of your scalp and also as a gentle cleanser for the scalp.
Benefits: Moisturizes and hydrates, great for sensitive scalp, improves health of hair
This is another herb which has anti-inflammatory properties which is ideal for sensitive skin. Use the dried flowers and cover with any type of unrefined oil like avocado into a jar. Store for 2 – 3 weeks in a dark place and shake every day for the first week. Strain the oil when the time is up and use like a regular shampoo.
Some people choose to make their own shampoos as they feel safer knowing what they are putting in their hair. There are numerous hair recipes online and you can also add or subtract ingredients based on your preference.
Detangling is the action of using the fingers or tools such as brushes or combs to take out knots and tangles out of one’s hair. This can be a daunting and tedious task but only if you use the wrong products.
Best tools to detangle
Can only be decided by you and based on your hair type. You would have to pay attention to what tools gives you less breakage and shed hair when used. Here are a few tools listed which help to detangle natural hair:
- Tangle Teezer
- Paddle brush
- Denman brush
- Wide tooth comb
How often you detangle would mainly depend on how easily your hair tangles and hair type. For type 4 hair, styles such as wash and go’s cause more tangles compared to stretched styles which will provide less tangles. Something to note is that when hair is tangled it is also likely to be dry and brittle which can possibly cause breakage. When detangling you can choose wet or dry depending on which is easier for you to perform or which gives you less breakage. You will have to experiment with the different techniques to find which one is best suited for you.
Best Methods for drying hair
Depending on your hair type there are many ways to dry your hair after washing. Some methods however may deem safer than others but may take longer for example:-
- Blow dryer
- Air drying
- T shirt
Key tips for detangling type 4 hair:
Part your hair in sections
This can be anything from 4 sections to 20 sections. The smaller the sections the less time you spend working out a tangle. When you are finished detangling each section, twist the section to prevent shrinkage and further tangles.
If you have to spend 2 hrs detangling your hair and it isn’t waist length, you are doing something wrong. Either your method of detangling is wrong or most likely your conditioner doesn’t have enough slip. I had this issue for some time then realised my conditioner just wasn’t working out.
Once your hair is not terribly matted, detangling shouldn’t be hard once you have a conditioner with loads of slip. You don’t know what slip is until you have found it lol. Also conditioner doesn’t have to be the only thing you can use. Try these:
- Leave in used for detangling
- Mixing conditioner with oil (coconut, olive oil..)
- Slippery elm
- Marshmallow root
Even if you have your detangling method down there is nothing you can do but be patient. Detangling will always take time. If you are using a comb work your way from the ends and work your way up slowly to the roots. Don’t force the comb through. If you’re using your fingers start parting from the roots and section slowly. I have found that this method works well for me and I have high density, thick strands.
Don’t overdo it
Depending on how you choose to detangle you could be just be causing more tangles. If you are finger detangling know that you can’t get all the tangles and shed hairs out. Even if you think you can, I am pretty sure if you pass a comb through your hair, you will still find shed hairs and tangles. If you are finger detangling then using a comb, there is no need to spend up to 2 hrs detangling.
Try different methods
Try wet or dry detangling before and after washing with different tools. Something is bound to work.
Last but not least I am going to be honest and tell you that you probably are going to experience breakage when you do or try these new methods. What I mean is that no one just gets it. They went through loads of breakage trying new products and new methods before they could have arm pit or waist length hair and at that stage they still get breakage. Don’t feel bad if you do, you just work at it and try different things and most important pay attention to how your hair is responding.
As always have a happy and healthy hair journey.