Last week we talked about the first stage of the Wash Day procedure, and this week we are going to go right into shampooing. This seems pretty straightforward, right? Just put the soaps in the hair and rinse, right? WRONG.
As with everything I got to learn about natural hair, even shampoo is not as I thought it was supposed to be at first.
Here are the top 5 things I didn’t know about shampooing natural hair:
- Ingredients matter: The chemicals used to make your shampoo are mostly aimed at getting the most out of the product, that is to say, preservation, smells and latherability. Well, the thing is, many of those chemicals are (surprise surprise) not good for you at all. Sulphates and parabens are known to increase the levels of estrogen in your body to unhealthy intensities, and could be the cause of some forms of cancer. Look, what we’re not about to do is quit the relaxer only to leave our bodies in the same state of risk it was in in the first place. There are lots of shampoos on the market right now which allow for great smell as well as healthy hair. If you are heading out to shop on your own, look out for ingredients such as sulphates, fragrance, polyethylyne glycole, retinyl palmitate, generally too much science is bad for your body. ironically organic products are often more affordable.
- Warm to hot water: I used to think when they’d wash my hair with warm water it was just for making the customer comfortable. What a misconception. It is actually important to shampoo with warm water as it relaxes the pores enough to let moisture in without hassle. This is especially for my low porosity hair mamis. When you wash your hair with warm water you set the stage for a successful conditioning session.
- Softly please: Look, you know how OMO’s catch phrase is something about being tough on stains? Hehe. So that’s how I’d attack my scalp. I was some sort of Miss Dirt Remover Super-Heroine, keeping dirt off the scalp since 1996. That’s all trash. You don’t need to scrub your tresses like that pair of sneakers for it to get clean. The technique I learnt was to actually rub with the pads of the fingertips, just below your nail. Much as you will add pressure, there won’t be much damage done, and the hair will get squeaky clean. Apparently when you use your nail the hair is more likely to break. Who knew?
- Roots rather than shaft: I get it; the hair shaft gets lots of product build-up that needs to go away. But it’s not as much as the dirt party going down at your roots. You need to focus the majority of the shampoo on your roots, and then pass by the hair shaft as you continue along. Here’s another major reason why; shampoo strips the moisture out of your hair. this is MAJOR because you know us natural we need our moisture in full condition. Since the scalp is where some natural oil ducts live, it’s okay to go a little ham there rather than on your tips that solely rely on the moisture you provide them when you LOC.
- Not as often: Here’s another one. I thought I had to wash my hair like, every three days or so, and that wasn’t helped when I first big-chopped and realised I could dump water in my head with literally no consequence. You might need to take your washing down to once a week, although ideally, it would have to be on a fortnightly basis. Sounds yucky? Well DON’T YOU WANT YOUR HAIR TO GROW??? Notice how you wash less when you have a protective style in like braids, and how come your hair seems to grow much faster that way? Well, one of these days we’re going to talk about low manipulation of the hair and how it affects your mane positively.
Before I let you out into the washing world of the naturals, here’s a little something extra for you to try…
Bonus tip: DIY Shampoo Recipe.
If you don’t want to use product shampoo, you can make yours at home with very simple ingredients.
- African Black Soap
- Water, ½ cup
- Argan oil – 2 Teaspoons
- Jojoba Oil – 2 tablespoons
- Glycerin – 2 tablespoons
- Olive Oil (for super dry hair)
- Essential oils like:
- Tea Tree oil – 10 drops
- Rosemary oil – 10 drops
- Vitamin E oil – 10 drops
- Lavender Oil – 10 drops
Take a small piece of African Black Soap and break it up into very small pieces. Add very warm water to it, as much water as you would want for the shampoo. Let it settle so that the soap can dissolve. When that is mostly done, take the glycerine and oils and add them to the mixture one after the other and stir.
Let it settle for about 15 minutes and then put in a bottle you can use easily!
PS: You can stop at the stage of African black soap and water if you fail to get the rest of the ingredients, however, it is advisable to add oil because it will keep the hair in a well moisturised state. The essential oils do interesting things with encouraging hair growth (vitamin E, Rosemary Oil) and relieving tension (Lavender oil, Tea Tree Oil).