Back in November, acting on the advice of a curly-haired acquaintance who gave me some very good advice (thank you, Leah!), I changed my entire hair regimen. Basically, I stopped shampooing. That’s not as disgusting as it sounds: I’m still cleaning my hair. I’m just not doing it with conventional detergent-based shampoos anymore. Instead, I’m using alternative products that are designed to cleanse curly and/or dry hair without stripping it of all its natural oils.
My hair (which happens to be shoulder-length right now) would be classified as “2C” in the NaturallyCurly typing system. (I’ve borrowed the above visual from the NC website.) It’s a mix of curls and waves, with the curliness concentrated on the outer and top layers. I finally have a stylist who knows how to cut it, and now I feel as though I’ve finally figured out how to care for it more gently and effectively.
There are plenty of articles about “conditioner-washing” and similar methods out there on the internet, but the main points to remember are: get your hair completely wet, work the product thoroughly into your hair, use your fingers to massage it into your scalp, and let it sit for a minute before you rinse it out. You can also use a small dab of conditioner afterwards, just to keep your hair’s ends extra-healthy.
DevaCurl, the product line of the DevaChan salon, is one of the original brands offering curly-hair products. I bought a trial-size bottle of No-Poo, DevaCurl’s sulfate-free, non-lathering hair cleanser and started using it every morning in the shower.
DevaCurl’s NoPoo has a light citrus-mint scent and a thick, almost lotion-like consistency. I had to use much more product than I would with a regular shampoo, but once I figured out what I was doing, I was happy with the results. After a week, my hair felt softer and more manageable than usual. And yes, it was clean; I’d even asked Mr. TC to warn me if he detected any, er, unpleasant odor emanating from my head, and he said that all was well.
The second non-shampoo I tried was Jessicurl’s Hair Cleaning Cream. The names and packaging for this line’s products can be a bit goofy, but it’s a small, independent brand, which is a nice thing. And I was very pleased with the performance of Hair Cleansing Cream, which I purchased in a sample packet (it’s great that these companies both realize the importance of sampling!).
Jessicurl Hair Cleansing Cream is more fluid than DevaCurl’s NoPoo and has more “slip,” which makes it even easier to work into the hair and scalp. I selected the Citrus Lavender fragrance, which is very light; something called Island Fantasy is also available. I found that after I’d tried this product for a couple of consecutive days, I could use less product. It lathers up slightly, but like DevaCurl’s NoPoo, it’s free of sulfates.
I enjoyed both products, and both of them made a positive difference to my hair. I think I prefer Jessicurl Hair Cleansing Cream over DevaCurl NoPoo, for two reasons. First, its more liquid-like texture was simpler for my clumsy morning-fingers to manipulate. Second, I was able to use it for a longer period of time without feeling like I needed to clarify my hair with a day of regular shampoo. With NoPoo, I wanted to do a traditional shampooing as a “reboot” after two weeks; with Hair Cleansing Cream, I was able to resist for a month.
So, yes, I’m still using conventional shampoo once or maybe twice a month, just to make sure that I’m removing residue from hairstyling products, etc., but I’m using something fairly gentle (like LUSH’s Curly Wurly) and following it with conditioner.
All in all, I’m glad that I took the plunge into non-shampooing or un-shampooing, and I think this routine has helped my hair to stay smoother and better moisturized in the harsh winter weather.
Have you ever tried co-washing or a similar method? What did you think?
Product source: I purchased sample-size packets/bottles of both products.