Reasons Why You Should Use Shampoo

by Ebony Clark-Bomani

There were so many things to learn once you were re-introduced to your texture again, right? So many rules! Don't do this. Stay away from that! One of the biggest phenomenons, in the texture world, is the "curly girl method!" Lots of women and men adhere to it strictly. The main thing is: stay away from shampoo. Instead of using shampoo, thousands of curlies, have opted to use conditioner ONLY to cleanse their tresses. This method is widely known as "co-washing." Conditioner washing, if done with the right conditioner, amplifies moisture. To co-wash, the hair is rinsed with warm water, then "cleansed" with a light-weight conditioner. This can be a very effective way to cleanse the hair and scalp. However, there is this huge obsession with "slip!" More often than not, conditioners that provide that glorious slip are the heavier conditioners that are laden with silicones and leave film on the hair and scalp. Add that to the products further used for moisturizing and styling. Over time, all of that will produce some serious buildup. So, what do you do? Shampoo!

Why shampoo? Shampoo was designed to prevent/minimize the development of folliculitis and dermatitis, and cleanse the scalp of excess sebum (oil). It was meant to remove environmental pollutants, styling products, perspiration, and oil from the hair, as well. Shampoo contains surfactants that dissolve the stubborn buildup that prohibits the hair and scalp from absorbing moisture and necessary nutrients. Buildup can have an adverse effect on the hair's natural luster, volume, body, and overall health. It can also slow down hair growth if the hair follicles are clogged---which usually results in a flaky scalp. Many times, you may find that your hair is excessively or just a little bit dry. Sometimes all you need is a clean slate to enable your hair to properly absorb those conditioners and moisturizers! Maybe your hair is limp and lacks luster. Liberate it from all of the excess dirt and debris. It is recommended that you shampoo at least once a week. Some can shampoo every two or three weeks. It depends on the individual and their environment. If you're skeptical about using regular shampoo, consider one that is sulfate free.

A sulfate free shampoo is a shampoo that does not contain sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). SLS is also known as sodium laurilsulfate or sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS or NaDS0). It is a popular chemical in commerical hygiene and cleaning products. The chemical is particularly useful in applications where the removal of oily residues is needed. While the sulfates used in hygiene products have not been shown to be carcinogenic, the chemicals can irritate the scalp, excessively strip essential oils, and cause hair to be dry.

People with sensitive skin, or who are allergic to sulfates, may want to avoid these chemicals. A sulfate free shampoo would be much gentler on the scalp, and not cause an allergic reaction — unless, of course, the user is not allergic to any other ingredients. Many people report that their hair is much softer and less dry when using a sulfate free shampoo.

Ingredients that are ideal in a sulfate free shampoo are glucosides and gylcerine. Glucosides are derived from plants like sugar cane. Glycerine, also an organic compound, is a byproduct of animal and vegetable oils and is a colorless, thick liquid. Baby shampoos use deyl glucoside because it is very mild. Coco glucoside, an additive derived from fruit sugar and coconut oil, is also a popular glucoside additive used in many skin care products.

Listed below are very strong ingredients that are added to most shampoos and can be quite harsh for delicate, textured hair. This is especially true for those with chemically processed or dry, damaged hair.

  • alkylbenzene sulfonate
  • sodium laureth, myreth, lauryl sulfate, lauryl sulfoacetate
  • ammonium lauryl and laureth sulfate
  • ammonium or sodium xylenesulfonate
  • sodium C14-16 Olefin sulfonate
  • sodium cocoyl sarcosinate
  • TEA-dodecylbenzenesulfonate
  • Ethyl PEG-15 cocamine sulfate
  • Dioctyl sodium sulfosucciante

Here are a few sulfate free shampoos that may be your new best friend:

Abba Pure Moisture Shampoo

Alba Botanica Daily Shampoo

Avalon Organics Nourishing Lavender Shampoo

Aveda Scalp Benefits Balancing Shampoo

Giovanni Smooth As Silk Shampoo

Giovanni 50:50 Balanced Shampoo

Jason Natural Aloe Vera Shampoo

Oyin Grand Poo Bar

Qhemet Biologics Egyptian Wheatgrass Cleansing Tea Shampoo

The Mane Choice Give It To Me Straight Moisturizing Shampoo

Trader Joe's Tea Tree Tingle Shampoo

Be sure to read the labels of products you plan to purchase for your hair, just as you would with food. Adding a quality sulfate-free shampoo to your regimen can change in the quality of your hair for the better.

Ebony Clark-Bomani