To Shampoo or Not to Shampoo??

         To Shampoo or Not to Shampoo??

Is that really the question?

Before we start, let’s address the pink bubbles in the room.  There is a major debate over the terms ‘Shampooing’ and ‘Cleansing’.  The No-poo community and the Yes-poo community have some major battles over these terms.   So let me give my two cents…

In my opinion,   Shampoo and Cleanser are the same things.  They just mean different things to different people.  Depending on the audience, the terms are completely interchangeable.   You don’t need a shampoo to cleanse your hair.  But you do need to CLEANSE your hair.  Please save your hairdresser the latex gloves by cleansing your hair regularly.

Now let’s get back on track…. 

As a natural, we often struggle with whether to shampoo or not to shampoo.  We search high and low looking for non-stripping remedies that will help cleanse our scalp and hair of buildup.  This can be a very challenging process.  Some of us find that holy grail the first time out.  Most of use walk out of the shower with Brillo pad hair after an epic product fail.   During my journey, I researched the “Why?” behind cleansing the hair and scalp. 

Why do we need to CLEANSE our hair and scalp?

Cleansing your hair and scalp is a basic step in hygiene. I have a found memory of my step-mother saying “Let me go wash my hair before someone calls the Health Department on me.”  She shaped my view on the importance of clean hair.  Even someone that doesn’t use heavy products still needs to cleanse their hair.  Your scalp secrets a natural conditioner called Sebum.  If you don’t cleanse your scalp and hair, this natural conditioner will cause a buildup on the hair and scalp.  If you include the environmental eliminates, styling products and natural secretions, you will need to cleanse your hair regularly to maintain basic hygiene.

How often should we CLEANSE our hair?

This would be a case by case bases.  You have to monitor your hair behavior and determine your cleansing cycle.  A good measure to use is the appearance of flaky, itchy or oily hair. For naturals, I recommend some sort of cleansing method at least one a week and a major cleanse once a month.

What do I recommend for cleansing?

For a light cleanse, I recommend a co-wash with a light sulfate free conditioner. It’s best to use a non-stripping cleanser that can restore moisture.  Since you will perform a major cleanse at the end of the month, I suggest sulfate free to limit the stripping effect on the hair. 

For a major cleanse, I recommend a natural clay rinse, an ACV rinse, natural lathering product, or your choice of shampoo (just add a moisturizing essential oil). I won’t say I don’t shampoo.  I believe sometimes the occasion may call for a lathering product. You have to determine what works best for your hair.  If you notice excessive dryness, discontinue use and try the next solution.  I switch my cleansing method by season.  Each season calls for a different level of love and attention.   With each major cleanse, be sure to perform a deep conditioning treatment

Will Shampooing/Cleansing dry out my hair and scalp?

If your hair is not working well with the cleanser, try a new cleanser or add a moisturizing essential oil.  Never continue using a product that leaves your hair brittle.  When and use a new product, take account of the ingredients and pay attention to the way your hair performs after the first use.  Most shampoos have similar ingredients that are necessary for creating the lather.  I would take note of the unique ingredients.   Beware of products that contains high levels of proteins?  If you experience dry, stiff and brittle hair after using a product high in protein, discontinue use.   If you find that your scalp is dry and itchy, you will need to check the pH of the cleanser.  To learn more about pH, see details about pH balance article--

The key is choosing the right combination of ingredients for your shampoo/cleanser.  You want a balance between removing dirt and impurities and removing nutrients.  Your scalp will determine the productivity of the cleanser.  If your scalp feels refreshed, clean and not stripped, this will likely but your Holy Grail cleanser.