Cleansing & Conditioning Natural Hair

I know what you’re thinking, “Why is she doing a post on cleansing hair? Everyone knows how to  do that!”  While everyone may think they know how to cleanse, most people do it incorrectly.  Here are a few tips on how to properly cleanse the hair, what different products to use, and some FAQ in regards to cleansing.

How to Cleanse & Condition Properly:

  1. Rinse hair and scalp with warm water
  2. Apply cleansing agent to the scalp, not the hair
  3. Gently agitate the scalp using fingertips, NO NAILS
  4. Rinse hair with warm water and repeat.
  5. Apply conditioner to the hair
  6. Gently smooth and massage conditioner into the hair
  7. You may opt to detangle with wide-tooth comb or Denman brush
  8. Rinse hair with warm water then follow with cool water
  9. Squeeze or shake to remove excess water.
  10. Blot dry with micro fiber towel or old t-shirt

Types of Cleansers

  1. Sulfate-free Shampoo – no harsh sulfates to dry hair out: Yes to Carrots Shampoo
  2. Cleansing Cream – conditioner-like cleansers formulated to cleanse the hair without harsh ingredients: Curls Curlicious Cleansing Cream
  3. Shampoo Bars – similar to bar soap but formulated to cleanse hair: LUSH Solid Shampoo
  4. Co-washing – Conditioner washing.  Condish has mild surfactants which is why this works: Tresemme Naturals Conditioner
  5. Gentle Cleansers – dilute to your own liking, great for locs: Dr Bronner’s
  6. Clarify – strip and clean the hair removing build-up: Kinky Curly Come Clean
  7. Swimmer’s Shampoo – remove chlorine: L’Oreal Kids Swimmers Shampoo
  8. Shampoo for color-treated hair – designed to be gentle and keep color in-tact: Nature’s Gate Chamomile Replenishing Shampoo for Color-Treated Hair


  • How often should you cleanse? Whenever your hair is dirty.
  • How often should I condition? Every time you wash.
  • Can you over condition? Not really, it is possible to over condition the hair but because natural/curly hair can be prone to dryness it is difficult to do.
  • How do I know if my hair needs protein? Mushy, limp or lifeless curls.
  • How do I know if I have too much protein? Dry, straw–like or rough hair.
  • How often should I deep condition? Once a week or at least once every two-weeks.  Truly whenever you hair feels like daily conditioner is just not bringing life to your hair as it should.
  • How to improve drying shampoo or conditioner? Add a few tablespoons of oil.
  • Additives to improve hair health? Oil rinse for shine and moisture. Beer rinse for shine and strength. Tea rinses for hair and scalp issues. ACV rinse for extra cleansing, remove build-up or itch.
  • What are good and bad sulfates? Harsh (bad) sulfates to avoid: Sodium Laureth, Myreth, Lauryl Sulfate; Ammonium Lauryl and Laureth Sulfate; Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate; TEA Lauryl Sulfate.  Mild (good) sulfates: Sodium Cocyl Isethionate; Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate;Methyl Cocoyl or Lauryl Taurate.
  • Why is there sodium hydroxide in my shampoo? Because it is a cheap chemical used to pH balance products.  Hair has a pH balance of 4.5 -5.5 thermal styling, coloring, relaxing, harsh shampoos can all raise the pH balance of your hair resulting in raised cuticle, causing tangles, dullness and frizz. The raised cuticle will also expose the cortex of the hair shaft, making hair much more susceptible to damage. By using a low pH balanced product it helps restore your hair’s pH balance.

13 thoughts on “Cleansing & Conditioning Natural Hair

  1. “Can you over condition? Not really, it is possible to over condition the hair but because natural/curly hair can be prone to dryness it is difficult to do.” I strongly disagree, there are many people including myself who have fine hair, no matter how kinky it is, that can very easily become over conditioned. I personally avoid conditioners that do not have protein in it, because a single use of a protein-free conditioner noticeably weakens my hair in a bad way.

  2. “Why is there sodium hydroxide in my shampoo? Because it is a cheap chemical used to pH balance products.”
    Sodium hydroxide (NaOH) is sometimes used to balance pH in creams. However, it is the catalyst for making shampoo bars. Shampoo bars like any bar of soap needs an “emulsifier” to bind the fats water and this is why NaOH is used. A good shampoo bar will not strip your hair.
    Potassium hydroxide (KOH) is used in making liquid shampoo to bind the fats/oils.
    NaOH is sometimes used together with KOH in liquid shampoo to help thicken it. Since both these catalysts are alkaline, acids (citric, etc) can be added to balance pH although this really depends on recipe used.
    Shampoos normally consist of fats rich in lauric acid (coconut/babassu/palm kernel) as the cleansing agent.

  3. oh wow, Never heard of LUSH until now!! They look so yummy i wanna try them all!! Which one do you recommend????

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