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Co-Washing Instead of Shampooing, No Flat-Ironing and 3 Other Natural Hair ‘Rules’ I’ve Ditched

• Sep 20, 2017

Ladies, how many times have you heard a new natural go down the list of natural hair don’ts like it’s the Bible? Now, how many of you were once that new natural? Don’t be embarrassed, I was once that natural too. I believed that everything I did to my hair while relaxed, was absolutely not allowed with my kinks, coils, and curls. Flat irons were the devil, blow dryers were a close second, and coloring/lightening my hair was out of the question. Now that I’ve been on this journey for a while, I’ve come to the conclusion that every natural hair commandment can be broken and nothing is ever set in stone. Here are 5 natural hair rules I’ve totally decided to ditch!

Co-washing is better than Shampooing

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this from both new and seasoned naturals. In fact, I was a sucker and fell for the co-washing, but I realized that my hair didn’t like it all that much. While co-washing was great for locking in moisture, my hair wasn’t clean. I have the kind of hair that traps everything that I put in it. So after a week of butters, oils, and gels, I need shampoo. Not just any shampoo, but shampoo with sulfates — think V05. Yes, I said it. I use shampoo with sulfates and my hair isn’t thirsty or brittle.

No flat ironing

This is another rule that should be ignored. I think it’s been proven over and over again that you can safely flat iron your hair without damaging your natural curl pattern. Of course if you flat iron every other day, damage will be a given. However, using a flat iron a few times per year shouldn’t create worry. As long as you prep your hair prior to flat ironing and use a gentle heat setting, you will be fine. Courtney Adeleye, CEO and creator of The Mane Choice, is famous for getting her beautiful natural hair flat ironed twice per year and her curl pattern always returns.



No tension styles for extended periods of time

Here is another rule that should be taken with a grain of salt. The theory is that if braids, weaves, or wigs are worn for an extended period of time your hair line will weaken. In theory, this is true. Pulling on the hair line excessively and constantly will weaken your hair line over time. However, I’ve been known to wear protective styles (braids, twists, crochet braids, corn rows, etc.) throughout the spring and summer, without a break. My hair line has never suffered because I always make sure that my stylist is aware of how important it is for me to keep my edges. I make sure that my styles aren’t too tight and have no problem asking my stylist to loosen a few braids. If you make sure that your hair isn’t so tight that it’s giving you a headache, then you should be able to rock your braids or weaves repeatedly.

No blow drying

I figured out a while ago that my hair thrives if I blow dry it before styling it. My hair actually ended up matted and tangled from styling it while wet. What works for one will not work for all, but it works for me. I talk heavily about my experience here.

No coloring

Most believe that if you are natural, then that means no color. For years I was afraid to lighten or color my natural hair due to fear of hair breakage and a change in curl pattern. But last summer I lightened my hair a little and put a rinse in it. Guess what? I still have hair! Of course you have to take care of your hair a little differently than before your color, but it really isn’t that difficult. It’s possible to have thriving hair after coloring.

Trimming Every 4 months is best

This is a rule that I started breaking years ago. I don’t believe that everyone needs to adhere to the 4 month trimming rule. I think how often you trim your hair should depend on how it grows. My hair grows at a normal rate, so I trim my hair once per year and that’s usually in the spring/summer. I once tried to trim it every 4 months and ended up cutting off hair unnecessarily. This is why it’s important to pay attention to your hair’s health and growth rate. You will easily be able to figure out when you need a trim if you’ve taken the time to truly get to know your hair.

What natural hair rules have you decided to ditch?

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15 Comments on "Co-Washing Instead of Shampooing, No Flat-Ironing and 3 Other Natural Hair ‘Rules’ I’ve Ditched"

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I have ditched co-washing. I have tried to stick at it but my hair loves shampoo or natural shampoo bars. I have an oily scalp so they work best for me

Glad it’s not just me


I go to the gym and sweat a lot. My hair accumulates DIRT from sweat and begins to stink. I’m not putting no Co nothing on top of that! I’m shampooing the dirt away first!


I agree! I go to the gym six days a week and look like I stood in a rain storm afterwards. By the end of the week my hair reeks. Sometimes I will cowash in the middle of the week especially during the summer months. I still shampoo at the end of the week though followed by a deep condition.

Andrea Simpson-Jones

Because different things work for different people, there is no such thing as “natural hair rules.” Whatever someone believes is good for THEIR hair is what they do and what they recommend to other people.


Co-sign. No rules except those that work for you and YOUR hair!


So true…I had to start washing my hair with shampoo again! My hair loves it! Thank you so much!


Uhmm. You have to know your hair and hair strand thickness plays a huge role on whether you can get away with these. People with fine low density hair should follow these rules (save for no shampoo must shampoo at least once a month) fine hair has to be trimmed often because it splits easier. Not just by feel or if needed.

Queen of The Blessed Queens

Ohhh I can never forget the cowash vs shampooing my hair! I did it in my early natural years but now being 6 years natural I’ve come to conclusion that my hair can survive with shampooing! Cowashing was great but I’ve put it aside for now and I’m just flowing with my hair ?


Yes! I’ve experimented since transitioning with blow drying (mostly to save some time during the wash — style process, but still). I would hope that the natural hair movement is simply a rebuilding of the (literally) toxic foundation our hair care practices were built on. It’s all about taking care of yourself and learning what works for you (and your hair). I’m not even mad at the girls who are relaxing their edges. If that’s their choice, I only care that it is an informed one.


I only use shampoo i ditched conditioner forever and my hair is happily growing


Yes! I ditched no-shampooing, I’ve got to cleanse. Sometimes with a chelating shampoo even. I also don’t trim every 4 months more like every 6 — 8, and I wear a lot of protective styles that I do myself, including extensions and crochet braids. My hair has grown to MBL now that I started doing my own thing, rules are meant to be broken I guess

Doreen Patterson
To be fair with the commandments of the Natural Hair Bible, we have been learning about our hair and of course were initially over cautious. Some rules we have stuck with, others we have cast aside. Some people have even gone back to greasing their scalp after washing their hair and using things like blue magic and apparently their hair is flourishing! And people ask is it ok? Of course it is, if your hair is flourishing and is happy. I fell for the ‘thou shalt use coconut oil with everything’. My hair didn’t grow.It took a while to work… Read more »
Summer Shoe
I use sulfate shampoo too. Namely, Head & Shoulders. Not because I have dandruff issues, but because the pyrithione zinc in it promotes a healthy SCALP, and that is where the magic happens for me. My hair loves it as long as I restrict it to my scalp only and moisturize properly. I highly recommend their 2-in-1 with oil infusions for naturals (my hair just went crazy for the Almond Oil one). It is very cleansing without the stripping properties of the regular shampoo. Actually my husband accidentally bought the regular Head & Shoulder dandruff shampoo (a BIG ASS BOTTLE,… Read more »
Jahkaydah Isaac

Hi Everyone, my name is Jahkaydah and I am a senior at Rollins College, doing a brand audit report on a hair care and beauty brand. I would really appreciate if you could participate in the following survey:


Ooh I’m loving this topic LOL! I’d say the biggest rule I broke was the usage of water. I wet my hair in the shower everyday and my hair loves it! I never have an itchy scalp nor does it get dry because I do weekly scalp treatments. The forbidden rule that all new naturals make is refusing to understand the importance of hair porosity. Hair porosity is arguably more important than hair texture. And as a person with medium porosity, my hair needs shampoo, which I do once a week.

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