Thursday, January 3, 2013

My Hair Routine Part 1: Cleansing

My Hair Routine Series
Part 1: Cleansing
Part 2: Conditioning
Part 3: Styling
Part 4: Honorable Mention Products
Part 5: Styling Tools

What do you wash your hair with?

Such a simple question. But curlies know, this short sentence hides a whole philosophical debate!  Maybe you are a true curly girl and use conditioner to cleanse because you don't use products that build up and all you need is a gentle conditioner wash. Maybe you use something a bit harsher like a no-sulfate or low-sulfate shampoo because you like some silicones in your products. Or maybe you like the full lather you get from sodium lauryl sulfate shampoos and the freedom to use anything you want, since it's all being removed by your sudsy shampoo. I've found that generally those who use traditional sulfate shampoos judge those who cowash, thinking their hair must be gross and greasy (not true of course!). Those who co wash sometimes have a hard time understanding how someone can like a sulfate shampoo, remembering how stripped and dry it made their hair.

Well, even though I used true CG conditioner washing for a long while with great success, I've fallen off that bandwagon and I'm ok with it!  I still pull out my cowash every so often (Suave Tropical Coconut of course) and give myself a good long scalp massage. I can't do this everyday because my holy grail hair product has silicone. But it's nice when my hair feels extra dry to give it a conditioner wash.

Most days, however, I use a sulfate-free shampoo. I alternate between the more gentle Organix Coconut Milk shampoo and the slightly more stripping (but still gentle!) Joico Moisture Recovery shampoo.  I have an oily scalp that combos with dry, fine hair. My goals are always to get my hair clean without drying it out more but getting rid of any weight from products. So sometimes I feel I need a little more elbow grease than others. Sometimes I just pick which one smells the best (the Joico to my nose). Sometimes I know my hair wants protein (more on this topic in a later post) so Joico wins that one.

I haven't used a sodium lauryl sulfate shampoo in years. So I can't offer any suggestions there, although I know many of my friends use the Herbal Essences Hydralicious line and love it. Can't vouch for it myself, as I find that my other cleansing products get rid of any buildup without needing to resort to that level of cleansing agents.

What are you all using to cleanse? I don't switch up products much so I'd love to hear your recommendations for sulfate free products!

Products mentioned in this post:
Suave Tropical Coconut Conditioner
Organix Nourishing Coconut Milk Shampoo
Joico Moisture Recovery Shampoo

My Hair Routine Series
Part 1: Cleansing
Part 2: Conditioning
Part 3: Styling
Part 4: Honorable Mention Products
Part 5: Styling Tools


Natural hair said...

Thanks for share your ideas..Look so great..

Adessa said...

Oh no :( now I'm confused with all these different methods. Is there any way you could describe what each of those mean and the pros and cons? Since I've been exposed to your blog i've been using the suave coconut conditioner and the garnier fructise triple nutrition. Currently I'm starting to get flaky and don't know why

Laura said...

Adessa, have you ever been on's forums? They are where this terminology comes from.

CG is what you're doing: no 'cones, conditioner washing, etc.

Modified CG is used by those who feel like they need a silicone product or two, or those who feel like they can't get enough cleansing power from conditioner washing alone.

Then there is just using regular sulfate shampoo like the majority of the population.

No one method is better than the other. The pros of CG are that you are being the gentlest with your hair. The cons are that you're limited with products. The pros of modified CG are that you are still being gentler than traditional sulfate washing but you have a bit more freedom with products.

Your flakiness could be a couple of things. It could be buildup, so you might try a clarifying apple cider vinegar rinse. Read about that here:

If it is winter where you are, it could also be because your scalp is dry. For this, I would try doing a brown sugar scrub. Make a paste using your Suave and a heaping portion of brown sugar. There's no real recipe, but think of it like an exfoliator, so you want to be able to scrub with the mix. Then just use the paste you've made to wash. I find that this is really effective at getting rid of flakes due to dryness.

kol said...

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Natural hair said...

Thanks for give some useful tips...

Anonymous said...

I'm new to your blog, but I like Dr. Bronner's peppermint castile soap(bar) for washing paired with an ACV rinse and suave tropical coconut for co-washing. I also use Dr. Bronner's leave in conditioning treatment for my leave in and styling, but I have yet to use a gel....
I really like your blog and appreciate the wealth of information you have to share. It's very helpful!

Diana @ Red Delicious Life said...

I've been CG for a month now and every time I think I understand what ingredients to look for/avoid, I get thrown. I was using a Giovanni shampoo (their tea tree one) but it seemed to harsh to use 2-3x a week which is where I'm at as far as eliminating shampoo so I decided to add the sulfate-free Organix Coconut Milk shampoo that you recommended. I really like it but when I was looking at the ingredients again I saw that it has Dimenthicone and another silicone! So now I'm confused. If it has silicones in it, then do I have to shampoo with another shampoo in order to get rid of the silicone that IT contains? Any advice or suggestions? I'm fine with switching over to modified CG, but I'm even more confused how to do that, especially if the Organix shampoo has the 'cones.

Laura said...

Diana: Ingredients can definitely be confusing!

Here's my best advice: if you use it, and you use it for a long period of time (more than a week), and you like how your hair looks and feels, then whatever you are doing to cleanse is removing the "bad" ingredient. For instance, I notice no issues with my hair with the Organix shampoo. I can use the Organix shampoo and silicone products for weeks at a time, and I notice that my scalp is getting clean, my hair has body and life, and I don't feel icky! So, I infer that the shampoo must not be leaving behind any silicone build up. You'll know when you've got build up, trust me. Your scalp will feel gunky, your hair won't feel clean, and it will be limp and lifeless.

Modified CG just means that I use what I want, and I use shampoos that I have discovered are less harsh than sodium lauryl sulfate shampoos (called "sulfate free" shampoos) but still remove any product buildup. It takes a bit of time to figure out which ones will and won't remove certain things. As you develop a sense of your hair, you'll be able to tell when something is "off" which might indicate that you've been using something that is building up on you.

So my advice is that if you like the Organix, keep using it. I'm betting that you won't notice any buildup issues with it, as I have very easily weighed down hair and I don't have issues. So I suppose the answer is, at least for me, the silicones in the shampoo itself are cleansed by the shampoo.

If you later notice issues, that Giovani shampoo which you've already discovered feels a bit more "stripping" in its cleaning power can likely help you out.

brit said...

confusing, one minute its don't use cones and now recommending product with cones :(

Laura said...

I'm sorry to confuse you. The overriding message here is that you should do what works for you. I loved the way my hair looked when I wasn't using silicones, but I love the no-fuss about using a sulfate-free shampoo because of the freedom it gives me to try more things. Ultimately, you should experiment and see what works for you, whether that is totally silicone and sulfate free or not.