The first step in your curly routine is to cleanse. There are two main options, one is a non-lathering sulphate free cleanser and co-washing.
To clear the h’air, lets start off with what a co-wash is. Its simply a silicone free conditioner. There are no special ‘co-washes’ any and all conditioners should be considered. Keep in mind that not all silicone free conditioners are created equal and so some may preform better than others. If you experience buildup using this method, then something in your routine isn’t working for you.
There are a few guideline rules for ditching shampoo!
Your products must be silicone free(Including dimethicone, amodimethicone and PEG silicones). Silicone is plastic resin, it is commonly found in a wide variety of household products including but not limited too shampoos, conditioners, makeup, lotions, hand creams etc.
The job of silicone is to seal off the hair from the outside world and give it an artificial sheen. This spells trouble for all curl kind! Our hair needs to breath, just like your skin does, over time of using layer upon layer of silicone products, water- the only true hydration eventually is permanently sealed out of the hair and the strands begin to erode from the inside out causing the hair to become brittle and frizz.
The only way to wash off silicone is by using a harsh detergent like Sodium Laurel Sulphate(SLS) or Ammonium Laurel sulphate(ALS) which further dehydrate your strands however at times, silicone buildup can be so severe that the affected hair has to be removed before you notice a difference, this is especially common in ladies and gents to straighten their locks regularly or those who have had a Brazilian straightener which is essentially hair lamination!
Your products have to be water soluble. In order for this gentle method of cleansing to be effective, everything you use has to come off the hair without the use of harsh detergents.
In this sense, the chance of buildup is eliminated. Be careful however as some brands marked as silicone free may still cause build-up so keep an eye out! If you notice your hair become dryer for no reason, your hair feels tacky and gunky or your styles are no longer lasting, then you may be a victim of buildup, simply switching to lighter products will fix this issue. Curl Loves’ favourite remedy for light buildup is Sham-Free hair and scalp cleanser a zero lather, hydrating cleanser by Lorraine Massey creator of the curly girl method.
You need to be generous with your co-wash(a co-wash can be any silicone free conditioner used in place of a cleanser). Those bubbles that multiplied in the thousands(like fairy liquid in a sponge) are now gone so make sure you add more product than normal(a table spoon is a starting guide) and really work it in, scrub vigorously and thoroughly, its the friction that cleanses more than the actual product so simply applying and rinsing will result in buildup- think of a greasy pan, if you just dollop washing up liquid on it and rinse, nothing happens, you have to scrub with friction to effectively clean, the same is true for your scalp.
The great thing about the curly girl method is, its environmentally friendly too! You’re not rinsing harsh detergents down the drain which harmful for the environment, and you also use a third less water to rinse out the product! Curl Love’s favourite co-wash is Terms & Conditions an ultra hydrating multi-masking conditioner suitable for all your curly needs!
Want to share your experience of ditching the SHAMpoo? Leave a comment below!