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Do I really need shampoo to wash my afro hair?

In this article, we will tackle some of the myths that stop us from keeping our afro hair in great condition! Read on to find out what is myth and what is fact when it comes to shampooing our hair. 

The Myth

We love our aunties. We hate to admit that our aunties are sometimes wrong. But let’s be real, when it comes to afro hair, many an aunty have perpetuated the myth that we shouldn’t wash our hair with shampoo. So, aunties, now comes the time to tell you, sorry but you are wrong.

The last decade saw the #CurlyGirlMethod blaze through the internet. One of the issues with this trend was that its evangelists often told people with curly and afro hair to avoid shampoo like the plague. Now while we know that afro hair can benefit from a break from shampooing, that is a totally different thing to not shampooing your hair at all. Let us explain why.


The Truth

Ladies and gents, your scalp is an extension of your face. And just as washing your face to remove dirt and debris is important, the same goes for your scalp. Washing your afro hair is just as important as moisturising and protecting it. A balance between removing and adding afro hair care products will help you build a healthy hair care regimen and lead to hair growth Ideally,  you should shampoo your hair every 7-10 days even during protective styling.


Afro hair product


What is in Shampoo?

This is the technical bit. Read on – we find this fascinating!

Shampoos are usually oil-in-water emulsions which have tiny materials called surfactants (surface acting agents). They work to remove dirt from the hair and scalp when you wash your hair. Conditioners simply do not have cleansing properties to do this job. The surfactant ingredient used in Swish’s INCI list is Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI) – no reason to be afraid by the name, this surfactant is completely natural.

This is what Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate looks like:

Afro Hair Products


When using a shampoo like Swish, SCI is attracted to debris and build-up, and is pushed away by the surface of the hair. It's hydrophobic which means it rinses out easily with water, and takes dirt away with it, thus reducing chances of irritation. Conditioner cannot do this. 

The Hard Facts

A routine using shampoo and water will ensure your scalp is clean and healthy and that any flaky skin and product build up is washed away.

A gentle shampoo will cleanse your scalp without stripping its natural, protective, oily substance, called sebum. Too much sebum can cause more dirt to get attached to the hair. Too little sebum and your afro hair will be dry and unprotected.

Harsh shampoos can make hair dry and can cause a flaky scalp, product residue and irritation. This is often why so many afro folks end up rejecting shampoo. So make sure your shampoo is gentle and is made for your hair.


Top Tip – Trust Water

Water plays a huge role before and after shampooing. Shampoo application is easier on wet hair and creates more foam. Make sure you spend just as much time rinsing as you do lathering the shampoo on to ensure debris and dirt are thoroughly washed down the drain.

This reduces the chance of irritation and allows your afro hair care products to work your scalp and hair. It also gives the hair room to take up more water meaning that it stays moisturised!

Do you want stronger healthier hair? We're here to help: 

Why trimming hair won't make it grow faster 

How to effectively moisturise your hair

The ultimate guide to afro hair care 





Do you want stronger healthier hair? We're here to help: 

Why trimming hair won't make it grow faster 

How to effectively 
moisturise your hair

The ultimate guide to afro hair care 

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