Dry hair is a pain in the neck for most with natural hair, and many of the shampoos on the market further dry out the hair. Over the years, I have tried various shampoos that were supposed to be moisturizing, and I was disappointed time and time again! I was determined to find a shampoo that would cleanse my hair without stripping it of all moisture. So, what is a good shampoo for dry hair?
Read on to find out about the non-traditional cleansing option that is perfect for dry hair. Before we get into that, I want to share some information on a few cleanser types, their effect on the hair, and more.
Types of Cleansers
There are 3 main types of cleansers:
- Regular shampoos (with sulfates)
- Sulfate-free shampoos
- Cleansing conditioners (or cowashes)
We will go over each of these in a bit more detail.
Regular Shampoos with Sulfates
What are Sulfates?
The most common sulfates used in shampoos are Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate. Both are heavy-duty detergents that lift dirt and debris from the hair and scalp.
Made for Those With Straight Hair
Regular shampoos with sulfates have been around for a long time and they have one purpose: to cleanse the hair and scalp. The problem is that, in the process of formulating these shampoos, many companies focused only on those with straight hair.
People with straight hair don’t often have hair dryness issues since scalp oils can travel more freely down straight hair strands. So, they can use a sulfate shampoo every day if they like without drying their hair out. This will not work for our curly, kinky, or coily strands.
Why Curly Girls and Guys Should Not Use Sulfates Regularly
I am a strong believer that people with textured hair should not regularly use products that contain sulfates. Being that our hair is bendy, twisty, and curly, scalp oils have a difficult time traveling down the hair strands. This means that we are already predisposed to having dry hair. Knowing this, it would be wise not to remove the little oils that we have with harsh detergents.
Some of the most popular shampoos are full of sulfates. So, if you are looking to stop dryness, it’s imperative that you choose what’s best for you based on your own hair situation, instead of what’s trending.
When Is It Okay to Use Sulfate Shampoo?
People have varying opinions on whether it’s ever a good idea to use a sulfate shampoo on textured hair. My opinion? If you have lots of buildup on your hair, and you need a very deep clean, I believe that it is okay to use a sulfate shampoo every once in a long, long while.
The reason I believe it is okay for this purpose is that sulfates are great at cleansing, and whenever you need a heavy-duty clean, sulfates will most likely give you that clarifying cleanse you are looking for.
As long as you are not using sulfates as a regular part of your natural hair regimen, you are on the right track.
Unpopular opinion, I know – I’m sticking with it though.
Years ago, there was a sharp increase in interest in gentler shampoos for our hair. Thank goodness! In response to demand, sulfate-free shampoos hit the market at a very fast rate.
Sulfate-Alternatives in Sulfate-Free Shampoos
- Cocamidopropyl Betaine (coconut-based surfactant)
- Decyl Glucoside (glucose-based surfactant)
- Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (coconut oil -based surfactant)
These and other surfactants not mentioned are meant to be gentler alternatives to sulfates.
When I heard that I could purchase a shampoo without sulfates, I was SO happy! I went out and purchased WAY too many sulfate-free shampoos to try. I had mixed experiences. Some of the shampoos left my hair just as stripped and dry as the sulfate shampoos. Others did not strip my hair completely but still left my hair thirsty.
Not All Created Equally
Clearly, not all sulfate-free shampoos are created equally. Since there are several sulfate-alternatives and countless ways to formulate products, there is no telling whether you could get a good sulfate-free shampoo or a bad one.
Even after all of these years, sulfate-free shampoos are not my cup of tea for my weekly hair routine. They are usually better than sulfate shampoos for the hair, but I have not come across a sulfate-free shampoo that I have fallen in love with.
What is a Cowash?
You can think of a cowash as a cleansing product that also conditions the hair. “Cleansing conditioner” is another term used to describe cowashes. These products ensure that the hair is thoroughly conditioned and moisturized, as well as clean. THIS is what we need to combat dryness in our natural hair.
Say goodbye to those suds – cowashes generally do not have any. They also have the smooth consistency of a conditioner. This might be offputting to those who love suds and associate them with cleanliness. Truth is that you just don’t need suds to get clean hair.
Some Common Cowash Ingredients
You might see the following ingredients in a typical cowash:
- Cetrimonium chloride (conditioning and cleansing agent)
- Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine (a silicone replacement that adds slip to the hair)
- Stearalkonium Chloride (surfactant that assists with detangling)
These ingredients and more work to make sure that your hair is both conditioned and cleansed.
How To Use A Cowash
A cowash should be used just like a shampoo would. See the steps below.
- Wet your hair thoroughly.
- Apply the cowash and massage your scalp just as you would with a shampoo.
- Rinse the cowash out thoroughly.
- Repeat steps 2 and 3 if needed.
Why Cowashes are Best For Dry Hair
Cowashes are best for dry hair for several reasons. First, they are usually formulated with surfactants that offer a gentle but effective hair cleanse. They are also meant to moisturize just as much as they are meant to clean. As a bonus, they usually contain ingredients that assist in detangling.
A while ago, I was dealing with chronically dry hair due to over processing my hair with hair dye. It was around that time that I came across people singing praises about cowashes. I was skeptical because I didn’t think that a cleansing conditioner/cowash could actually get my hair clean, but I tried several cowashes for myself and my stance was changed completely. My hair was clean without being stripped. I strongly recommend cowashes for anyone who has textured or dry hair.
My Favorite Cowashes For Dry Hair
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Try It For Yourself
I encourage you to try co-washing for at least a couple of weeks and observe the difference in your hair. Without your hair being stripped by harsh cleansers on a regular basis, I expect that you will see an obvious difference.
I hope that this article has been helpful to you.
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Thanks for reading!