Curly girls are all too familiar with messy, frizzy, curly hair. Using the wrong type of shampoo or conditioner can make your curls messy. Bad hair days are pretty common, but it should not be! There’s always a reason why your curls become frizzy and sulfate is the most common culprit.
Sulfate is present in many products women use today. It is found in soaps, shampoos, and conditioners. It is extremely drying and can cause irritation. Sulfate or sodium lauryl sulfate, in particular, can damage your curls as it gets rid of the necessary moisture keeping your hair soft, smooth, and shiny. Using products that contain sulfate make curly hair frizzy too.
Brands are making sulfate-free hair products perfect for curly girls. Avoid making a frizzy mess with this easy hair wash method. Go sulfate-free to achieve shiny, bouncy curls.
What Is SLS and How Does It Damage Your Curls
Sulfate is just one of the many ingredients curly girls avoid. However, there is a reason why it is on top of their list. SLS is an irritant that can make skin and scalp itchy. It is very drying for hair and scalp too. However, sulfate is an effective surfactant that gives formulas cleansing properties. It allows shampoos and soaps to produce foam used to wash skin and hair. Sulfate is used to make hair products and not only shampoos. Even your conditioner may contain a small amount of sulfate.
Sulfate helps remove dirt, oil, and flakes from hair. However, it strips the natural moisture from your hair, making it dry and brittle. Curly hair is already dry because the natural oil from scalp doesn’t reach the rest of hair strands. The small amount of moisture on your hair prevents it from getting dry and brittle. SLS removes the moisture from hair and lifts up layers of hair cuticles. This is how your hair gets frizzy. It allows air to pass through gaps of hair cuticle layers. This swells the strands and makes it frizzy. You can avoid this if you wash your hair the right way.
Sulfate-Free Hair Wash Method
You don’t need sulfate to wash your hair. In fact, it doesn’t help your hair at all. Your curls need moisture and more moisture. This hair wash method is perfect for curly girls. It focuses on retaining and providing moisture on hair. Here’s how to do it:
STEP 1: Apply pre-poo oils or conditioner. This protects strands from the drying effects of shampoo. It fortifies your hair’s natural barrier and smooths down hair cuticles so shampoo can’t dehydrate the strands. Apply the oil or pre-poo conditioner from the mid-lengths to the tips of your hair. Pay special attention to your hair ends. They are prone to damage and need more moisture. Rinse using cold water before you use shampoo.
STEP 2: Cleanse your hair properly. There’s a proper way to cleanse your hair. You should limit cleansing to once or twice a week. Use a suitable cleanser or gentle shampoo. You can use conditioners to cleanse your hair too. This method is called co-washing. Conditioners contain a small amount of surfactant that helps cleanse your hair. If you want to try co-washing, make sure that your conditioner does not contain SLS. Here are things you should avoid doing when you cleanse hair and scalp:
- Don’t use hot water. It strips moisture from hair.
- Don’t shampoo the tips of your hair. Cleanse and massage your entire scalp and avoid using shampoo on the tips of your hair where it is driest.
- Don’t brush your hair when cleansing. It can cause breakage and damage to strands.
STEP 3: Apply conditioner for long-lasting moisture. Use enough conditioner to cover entire hair. Apply it from the tips of your hair going upwards. Detangle as you apply conditioner. Applying conditioner starting from the tips help reduce breakage and hair damage. Leave the conditioner for 3-5 minutes before you rinse it off using cold water.
STEP 4: Dry your hair gently. Use an old t-shirt or microfiber towel to dry your hair. Regular towels can cause friction on hair strands, which lifts up hair cuticles. Never rub your hair. Blot or pat your hair in sections until it is not dripping wet. Avoid using heat styling tools as much as you can. If you must, make sure to apply heat protectant oils and conditioners before you use them. Attach a diffuser to hair dryer to prevent frizziness. Diffusers help define the shape of your curls too.
STEP 5: Style and moisturize more. Style hair any way you want and remember to apply another coat of leave-in conditioner. Use wide tooth comb to brush hair. Never use a brush or fine tooth comb. A moisturizer that has SPF is recommended too.
Choosing A Suitable Sulfate-Free Shampoo
You can still use shampoo if you want. Just make sure that it does not contain SLS. Sodium lauryl sulfate gradually wears down your hair until it is too damaged to repair. There are other surfactants used to create gentle shampoos perfect for curly hair. Below are some tips that will help you find the best sulfate-free shampoo for your hair type:
- There are various types of sulfate and not all of them are bad for your hair. SLS is one of the harshest types of sulfate so make sure you avoid it.
- SLS is not the only ingredient you need to avoid. Silicone should be on your list as well. This ingredient makes your hair shiny, but it doesn’t mean silicone is good for your hair. It has the same properties as rubber and plastic.
- Avoid using shampoos with artificial dye or hair color. They are very damaging to your hair.
- There are other cleansing agents that can be used instead of sulfate. Some of them are natural ingredients such as yucca extract and soapwort.
- No-poo shampoo has a formula that does not contain surfactant. It does not produce lather, but it cleanses your hair well.
- Consider what your hair needs most. Even if you have curly hair, it doesn’t mean that all sulfate-free shampoos are for you. You might have hair concerns that you need to address. Choose sulfate-free shampoos that target them. If you need moisture to soften coarse curls, use a hydrating shampoo. If you have oily scalp and limp hair, dry shampoo is best for you.
- Don’t be afraid to splurge or try drugstore brands. The brand doesn’t matter. If the shampoo is perfect for your hair, buy it. You need to invest in suitable hair products to get the results you want.
Free your curls and let them shine. Don’t let hair products damage your hair. Switch to this easy and clean hair wash method. Switch to sulfate-free shampoos that bring out the shine and volume of your hair. Don’t forget to use high-quality hair products that give you the hair you deserve!