Friday, September 11, 2009

Being “Squeaky Clean” The Truth About Shampoo.....

So in the past week I’ve had 2 convo’s in which I’ve explained to folks some of the issues with using shampoo.

Many traditional shampoos contain Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS) and/or Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate (ALS) which are cleansing agents a.k.a surfactants, found not only in shampoo but in detergent, household cleaners, body wash, you get the idea. The purpose of surfactants is remove dirt and oil build up. Some are mild and some are harsh. The problem with SLS & ALS as surfactants is that they end up stripping your hair of your natural oils and can leave your hair a dry and parched mess.

I remember being a teen and my mom telling me to wash my hair until it was “squeaky clean”. I would lather sometimes 2 and 3 x’s searching for that “squeak”, shoot sometimes I would hear the “squeak” only in certain parts and do it again until the whole head was “squeaking”. Needless to say I also remembered how tangled my hair would be afterwards. Of course I didn’t know anything about SLS or ALS back then and the effects also of over-shampooing your hair, but now that I do allow me to share some alternatives with you!

1st – Pre-Shampoo Treatment b.k.a Prepoo. This is where you apply conditioner and/or oil(s) to your hair prior to shampooing. This helps to saturate the hair shaft and protect it from harsh cleansers and stripping during the washing process. Prepooing also helps add moisture and can be done as little as 30 mins or done overnight, again prior to washing.

2nd - Consider using a sulfate free shampoo to wash your tresses. Sulfate free poos are way more readily available today than years ago. You should be able to find them at most beauty supply retailers. There are countless brands out there but here are a few:

Abba Pure Moisture/Pure Color Protect/True Shine, Brocato, Deva Curl No-Poo, Giovanni Direct, Kenra Platinum Color Care, Pureology, Treasured Locks HumiNature/Nothing but Nature

3rd – Only wash your hair 1x, that’s right I said 1x. A healthy head of hair begins with a healthy scalp. You are just trying to keep your scalp clean and your pores unclogged, there's no need to overdo it! Rinse your hair for a minute or 2 to help rid some of the oil or buildup off of the surface. Apply your SLS/ALS free poo to your scalp and begin scrubbing (do not use your fingernails please!! think of it as more of a massaging action, use your fingertips). You will notice the poo will trinkle down the strands on its own therefore you don’t need to manipulate the hair shaft itself with vigorous rubbing as this is also damaging. As you rinse, the poo will rinse away remaining dirt, oil etc from the hair as it glides down.

4th – Try Conditioner Washing b.k.a. co-washing. Co-washing is where you wash the hair with conditioner, usually a cheapie condish, and you get the benefit of cleaning your scalp while adding moisture. Conditioners typically have many of the same ingredients of shampoos minus the sulfates. Think of it as a moisturizing shampoo free of harsh detergents. There are cleansing conditioners also sold on the market for this purpose. Here are a few:

Wen Cleansing Conditioner, Hair One Cleansing Conditioner. Cheapies such as Suave Naturals Vo5 Moisture Milks and Herbal Essence are very popular for cowashing as well, of course you can use the condish of your liking!

Remember the lathering action or “bubbles” are all in the sulfates so don’t judge the effectiveness of the product based on the lack of that action. You won’t get it! You’ll get a mild sudsing at best, very mild. Don’t be alarmed, your hair is getting clean. Again you only need 1 wash to get your hair clean.

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