Shannon of UK Curly Girl is a natural curly hair blogger, YouTuber and owner of 'O So Curly'. She's a huge fan of natural beauty and hair products, and a self-proclaimed 'product junkie'.
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Shannon of UK Curly Girl is a natural curly hair blogger, YouTuber and owner of brand 'O So Curly'. She's a huge fan of natural beauty and hair products, and a self-proclaimed 'product junkie'.
With a gorgeous head of curls herself, she's previously shared her favourite curly hair accessories and deep conditioners with us, so we thought we'd ask her to share some pointers to think about when buying a shampoo for curly hair, too!
What are sulfates, you ask? Sulfates are sufactants that give the bubbly, foamy feel to most shampoos as well as body soaps, facial cleansers and toothpastes. This lather makes it a breeze to wash your hair and helps to give it a squeaky-clean feeling. For people with normal hair, they can be great for getting rid of excess oil and preventing dandruff.
However, sulfates can also strip away natural oils, leaving hair dry, brittle, and prone to breakage. Curly hair, in particular, is prone to becoming dry as it takes such a long time for the oils your scalp produces to make its way down to the ends of curly hair.
I try to stay away from sulfates when purchasing and testing out new products. It's especially good to avoid sulfates if you are recovering from any kind of heat, chemical, or colour damage, as drying ingredients like sulfates can result in breakage.
They are a synthetic ingredient that work their magic by coating the strands of the hair, protecting the hair shaft and preventing frizz. However, this means that they can build up over time, weighing down curls and reducing definition and volume.
If you want to use a silicone conditioner, you should ideally be washing the silicones out each wash day with a clarifying, non-silicone shampoo. Using a shampoo that contains silicones will just add more build up, so be careful with the products you choose.
If you want to start your healthy curly hair journey, pay attention to the ingredients in the products you are using. Many silicones and 'bad' alcohols will weigh down and dry out your curls over time, making them dull and weak.
A top tip is to read the back label of the product to check out the ingredient list. The ingredients are listed in the order of weight, with the main ingredients in the formula featuring at the top of the list. It's a good sign when you see aqua (water) at the top of the list along with natural ingredients like cocoa butter, coconut oil, aloe vera juice and more!
Proteins inside the shampoo, such as hydrolysed keratin or hydrolysed wheat protein, can help to give strength to the hair, protecting it from damage. Shampoos with amino acids can also be fantastic for dry or damaged hair.
Plant oils such as avocado oil and coconut oil help to moisturise the hair as well as make it stronger, so it is less likely to break during the washing process. Other types of oils such as Jamaican black castor oil and peppermint oil are great for the scalp, with the former helping to prevent a dry scalp and dandruff, and the latter invigorating the scalp to prevent itching.
There are so many amazing natural ingredients from butters, foods and oils that can benefit your hair and scalp resulting in hair growth, shine, moisture and definition! My favourites are Aloe vera, shea butter and castor oil.
These types of products can be called co-washes, cleansing conditioners, or conditioning cleansers, confusingly. However, not everyone likes the feeling of rubbing a non-foaming shampoo onto their scalp, and others may feel that they don’t sufficiently cleanse the hair, so keep in mind that this kind won’t necessarily be for everybody.
If you're looking for the perfect conditioner for curly hair, we make sure to check out our best 10!
Cleansing with a conditioner sounds crazy, right? But it's actually a great way to both refresh and moisturise your curls at the same time! Most shampoos include harsh ingredients that create foam, which in hand drys out curly hair - and we curly girls need all the moisture we can get!
If you suffer from very dry hair, try introducing a co-wash or cleansing conditioner into your routine and notice the change in your curls' moisture retention.
Some foaming shampoos for curly hair are known as 'clarifying' shampoos, which are meant to be used occasionally in order to rid the scalp and hair of product and oil that has built up, giving your hair more volume and bounce.
Foaming shampoos tend to contain surfactants such as coconut-derived cocomidopropyl betaine which will make a lovely lather without making your hair as dry as sulfates. Whether labelled as clarifying or not, you may want to use your foaming shampoo in between washes with your co-wash when you feel your hair is getting weighed down.
I'm a curly that suffers with a very irritated scalp and am highly prone to product build up as I apply so much due to the thickness of my hair. This in hand means that I have to shampoo my scalp once a week to really remove that build up. If you too need something more try a foaming shampoo that is also sulfate-free to get the best of both worlds!
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Wave Hello Curl Defining Shampoo
A Nourishing Vegan Shampoo From a Trusted UK Brand
Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Shampoo
Stimulates Your Scalp While Strengthening Curls
Curl Quenching Conditioning Wash
A 2-in-1 Formula Containing Avocado Oil and Shea Butter
Bamboo Gentle Shampoo
Gentle Foaming Shampoo for Delicate Curls
As I Am
The Ultimate Cowash That Won't Strip Away Any Natural Oils
Come Clean Natural Moisturising Shampoo
A Foaming Formula That Removes Product Build-Up
Childs Farm - Coco-Nourish Shampoo for Dry, Curly & Coily Hair
A Gentle and Organic Shampoo Suitable For Kids
Be Curly Shampoo
A Natural, Eco-Friendly Shampoo With Gentle Sulfates
A Non-Foaming Cleanser That's Free From Sulfates and Silicones
Curvaceous High Foam Lightweight Cleanser
The Perfect Balance for Wavy, Fine Hair
With fatty alcohols and coconut oil, this co-wash is also very conditioning, so some may find that they don’t need to use conditioner afterwards- although we personally would use a conditioner or deep conditioner to help with detangling.
Although this product has a variety of great ingredients and is also vegan and cruelty free, its coconut fragrance may not be for everyone.
As with all non-foaming cleansers, this product may take a while to get used to, and some curlies may find it to not be strong enough for their scalp and curl type. However, buyers who frequently use the product praise its gorgeous smell and ability to reduce frizz!
My perfect clarifying routine for curls is to co-wash mid week, which refreshes the curls for the remainder of the week.
Then I will cleanse my hair with a sulfate-free shampoo at the end of the week, starting fresh with a clean scalp ready for the week ahead! Don't forget to always deep condition after cleansing to restore moisture and softness.
Written and researched by Brigid Bernard
No. 1: Noughty ｜Wave Hello Curl Defining Shampoo
No. 2: Shea Moisture ｜Jamaican Black Castor Oil Strengthen & Restore Shampoo
No. 3: Curlsmith｜Curl Quenching Conditioning Wash
No. 4: MopTop ｜Bamboo Gentle Shampoo
No. 5: As I Am ｜Coconut CoWash
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