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Do I really need shampoo to wash my afro hair?

by Stefanie Naseem |  | 3 comments

In this series, Stephanie from our research and development team blazes through the afro hair myths that prevent us from living our best natural afro hair lives! 


The Myth

Back in the day, we all had at least two aunties who insisted you shouldn’t wash your hair because it does "no good" for your curls. Well, sorry to say - Aunties, you were wrong. 

Nowadays, the #CurlyGirlMethod is sweeping the internet and convincing people with kinks and coils to avoid shampoo like the plague. It claims that using shampoo is damaging to your hair and unnecessary. In truth, afro hair may appear to benefit from this method for a short while, though in the long term it's detrimental to the health of your hair and scalp. We'll explain why...  


Why it is definitely a myth

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. To cleanse your hair and scalp of debris and dead skin you should shampoo your hair every 7-10 days (or more often if you are active) even during protective styling.

 

Afro hair product

 

Shampoos are usually oil-in-water emulsions which have tiny materials called surfactants (surface acting agents). They come in different shapes and sizes and they work to remove dirt from the hair and scalp during your wash cycle. When it comes down to it, conditioners do not have cleansing properties to do this job. The surfactant ingredient used in Swish’s INCI list is Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (SCI) - don't be afraid by the name, this surfactant is completely natural.

This is what 
Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate looks like:

Afro Hair Products

Source

When using 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 the dirt away with it, this reduces chances of irritation. Conditioner cannot do this. 

 

The hard facts

A routine with both shampoo and water will ensure your scalp is clean and healthy, washing away flaky skin and product build-up. The use of 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 from lice. Harsh shampoos can make hair dry and can cause a flaky scalp, product residue and irritation. This is often why so many afro and coily folks turn to the #CurlyGirlMethod.


Top Tip

Water actually plays a huge role before and after shampooing. Shampoo application is easier on wet hair and creates more foam. Rinsing the product away should take you longer than lathering/massaging in the shampoo because it means 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!

Now that you know the deal on why shampoo is necessary, enter code MINISHIP at checkout by August 17th to get a free travel-sized mini, with orders £25 and over, plus get UK delivery absolutely free! 

                   

 

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 

Comments (3)

  • Coby Stewart on August 26, 2019

    Greetings, very crucial information, I have 6 year old locs, am always confused how often I should wash it. Atm I wash once a month. Is that too long?

  • Rachael on August 16, 2019

    Hey Evelyn! Really glad it was useful. That’s what we aim for :) There’s a lot of misinformation out there on the web and we’re working hard to fight myths! Using a shampoo, like Swish, every 7-10 days will help with volume. Let us know how you get on.

  • Evelyn on August 16, 2019

    I found this really helpful and easy to read! I too have been told before that shampooing my hair is not the way forward, but only using conditioner and then product meant my hair would become greasy faster, and my curls sometimes lacked volume crispness. I’m so glad I don’t need to worry about that anymore.

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