Many of our CharlieCurls customers and followers ask us about natural hair care and ways to improve the health of their hair. Over time, we have learned a lot about the science behind hair health and ways to keep it at its best. Here we share our knowledge and ask for your input if you have any additional tips!
One of the questions we get a lot is: “How often should I really be washing my hair?”
This question and related follow-up are actually very current talking points amongst hair stylists and those in the hair care industry, because as you’ll read below, recommendations and hair products have really changed over recent times!
However, each person’s hair is unique, so your care regimen and routines should be individualized to you personally; to your preferences and to the current state of your hair health.
The oils that originate at the scalp should be spread through the strands to keep them moist and sealed.
“Back in the day” the claim was that you should brush your hair 100 strokes every night. This depends widely on hair type, brush and bristle type, how recently you have washed your hair, and things as diverse as weather conditions, air quality and altitude. But the idea behind the claim is to get your hair’s natural oils spread throughout the hair’s length.
We suggest wooden combs and brushes or natural boar bristles in a paddle style brush to help spread the oils throughout and help with texture. The very best is a combo: boar bristles + wooden bristles in the same brush to easily get through depth of hair with wood while spreading nutrients with the soft boar bristles.
[Realted Article: Wood Comb Benefits: 9 Reasons Wood Over Plastic Is Healthier]
I’d like to start with an anti-shampoo recommendation: Conditioning Cleansers.
Most shampoos contain detergents which are the cleansing and foaming part of shampoo. But detergent strips the natural oils that you do not want stripped. That is the reason for conditioners following your shampoo, to replace the moisture and oils that were stripped along with the dirt.
Chemists have begun to understand how to extract dirt from the hair without disturbing most of the oils. And while we think we don’t want oily hair, really we don’t want the dirt that clings to the oils. We want to keep the oil sealant, removing the environmental “dirts” that have accumulated.
These products do not create SUDS like conventional shampoos. So they are harder to get used to and in our experimentation right now, we are finding that we are using too much, to compensate for the change in routine. But boy, does our hair feel softer after using one of these products over traditional shampoo. Google: “non detergent shampoos” for various brands. We will review many of these products in the coming year. Some choices are by New Wash, Shea Moisture, Matrix, L’Oréal, Pantene, Kérastase, Shu Uemura, Carol’s Daughter, Not Your Mother’s, R&Co, and Purely Perfect.
Most conditioning cleansers also contain a light amount of essential oil, so they condition as well as seal.
Massage cleansers or shampoos or conditioners into the scalp gently! Massage is great for stimulating blood flow and for loosening dirt, sweat and excess oil from the scalp area. BUT:
Use a leave in natural conditioner, anti-static or anti-frizz spritz or our favorite: a bit of argon, jojoba or coconut oil when hair is almost dry.
The “anti-shampoo” and “no poo” methods are becoming more popular as people embrace the oils that their hair naturally produces to try and maintain optimal moisture and lustre, and steer clear of having frizz issues (more on how to combat frizz coming soon from us). Some women are even washing with just water and conditioner, skipping shampoo altogether! (We suggest reading up on this before trying: Lucy AitkenRead or Ashlee Mayer are both great resources for more.)
The bottom line is to experiment and see what works best for you! Giving your hair extra loving through deep conditioning treatments, taking a gentler approach to drying and skipping the heat as much as possible when you style can really help to restore your hair’s natural health. And if you have not already done so, you might switch up the kind of products you’ve been using for more natural ones, like those that omit sulphates and other oil-stripping detergents. For more ideas, DIY recipes and brush examples, we have been adding to and compiling a collection of pins in one of our Pinterest boards called Hair Care—check it out!
Here’s to healthier hair!