Can washing curly hair too often actually do more harm than good? To shed light on this matter, we tapped Shari Harbinger, co-founder of The DevaCurl Academy. With over two decades of experience in the curly conversation, DevaCurl is passionate about understanding and celebrating the uniqueness of wavy and curly hair. Here, she gives us the lowdown on traditional shampoos–plus, a few expert tips on how to take care of our curly hair.
Shari Harbinger: Shampooing can mean different things to different people, depending on their product of choice. At DevaCurl, “shampoo” does not exist in our brand. We removed the “poo,” or the harsh dehydrating detergents from our products and refer to our sulfate-free, botanically infused products as “cleansers” and NOT “shampoo.”
D: What’s in most shampoos that are not good for the hair and scalp?
SH: Sulfate-derived ingredients are the main culprit. Any cleansing ingredient that strips the hair of its natural moisture balance is a no-no. This often leads to dehydration, itchy scalp, dry and lackluster hair.
Sulfate-free and conditioning cleansers like DevaCurl’s No-Poo and Low-Poo are gentle enough for daily use and are a great alternative to conventional shampoos. No-Poo and Low-Poo cleanses the hair and scalp while removing dirt particles and buildup, which is essential to hair health–all while keeping your natural moisture balance intact.
SH: If you opt for conventional shampoos, I don’t recommend shampooing every day since most contain dehydrating ingredients. Any formula with sulfates is too harsh on the gentle fabric of the scalp and curls and strips away moisture. When we refrain from frequent use of these shampoos, the hair and scalp have a chance to recalibrate and restore its natural moisture balance.
Hair type, lifestyle and the ingredients in your styling products will determine the frequency of how often you should cleanse your hair. With DevaCurl, cleansing is encouraged as often as you feel it is necessary. We really stress the importance of massaging the scalp when applying and rinsing out the cleanser.
Here are some general tips across curly hair types:
SH: Cleansing is the act of vigorously massaging the scalp and flushing the hair to remove dirt and buildup. Water and friction can cleanse. But water, friction and a sulfate-free cleanser cleanses while infusing additional moisture that textured hair craves.
Another tip is to check the ingredients in your conditioner and styling products, as silicone and heavy oils are buildup culprits that require you to cleanse more frequently. All DevaCurl products are 100% sulfate-, paraben- and silicone-free and we recommend looking for products that avoid these ingredients to best care for curls and extend the time between cleansing.
Need more ways to cleanse your hair without shampoo? Check out our favorite “no poo” products below!