1) buy a natural shampoo with gentle ingredients or consider conditioner washing(co-washing). i must admit, at first the concept of “washing” my hair with conditioner was foreign. i was resistant, but i saw so many people trying it with success. i learned that hair is not meant to be “squeaky clean”, especially highly textured hair since it is usually inherently dry. squeaky clean means that all the natural oils have been removed (then we wonder why our hair is unmanageable). in turn, we take out our frustrations on our poor innocent kinks. the first time i co-washed i felt like i had a coating on my hair and scalp. it was several months before i tried again. then i learned not to co-wash with conditioners containing silicones. silicones coat the hair, keeping moisture from getting in. then i found the perfect conditioner to co-wash with. it didn’t happen overnight. it’s a process. sometimes a long one. stop using sulfate shampoos! it’s been stated over and over again that sodium lauryl sulfate and all of it’s “family members” are responsible for skin irritations and dryness. it may even cause hair loss by attacking the follicle! sodium lauryl sulfate is a detergent that cleans by corrosion which is why it is an effective engine de-greaser. why would you want to use that on your scalp or even your hands?
2) start clarifying: i cannot stress enough the role of clarifying in retaining moisture. in the last moisturizing post i presented the idea of clarifying by natural means. by clarifying, you remove product buildup so that you can let the moisture back in. then you seal the moisture in with a nutrient rich oil. you can use 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda mixed with conditioner, bentonite clay which absorbs toxins, or apple cider vinegar rinses to clarify. if your hair starts to look dull or “just doesn’t feel right”, clarify it. as you study your hair, you will start to pick up on when clarifying is needed. most naturals i know clarify once a month. when you remove product buildup from your hair, you’ll be surprised at the new characteristics your coils take on.
3) in the moisturizing masterbook, i also introduced the idea of purchasing a shower filter. you can get a great one like mine for $20-$30 from home depot, $10 for a replacement filter every 6 months. the trade off? shinier hair and softer skin without calcium and chlorine deposits that can cause irritation. say bye-bye to the ash we girls of color detest!