In order to properly care for your hair and scalp, they should be cleaned regularly. It’s a personal choice how often to wash your hair. But if you find yourself scratching a lot, or tapping your head under a weave or braids because your scalp is itching (y’all know what I mean), you’re probably not washing often enough. I think once every other week at a minimum is good... more often if you have scalp issues or work out often.
Before I dig in, I want to mention that there are many shampoos marketed specifically to Black women. In most instances, that’s just marketing tactics more than an ingredient issue. Keep an open mind when making your selections. Don’t limit yourself just to the products marketed to you. As you will see below, some of my picks were probably not “meant” for me.
Whether you’re at the grocery store, an expensive boutique or a beauty supply store, the choices can be tremendous and sometimes confusing. All shampoos contain two basic ingredients: a cleanser and conditioner. I will go into detail on other ingredients in a future article.
So… what kind of shampoo do you need? The best thing to do when choosing is ask yourself what you’re trying to accomplish. Is your hair extra dry? Do you have product buildup?
Below is a short list of the most common types of shampoo, along with Adrienne's Picks:
Moisturizing: should be used as your regular shampoo. These are usually very gentle and contain extra conditioners and usually don’t contain sulfates. No matter what shampoo you use, don’t skip the conditioner if your goal is long, healthy hair.
- Suave Professionals Moroccan Infusion Shampoo
- Keracare Hydrating Detangling Shampoo
- Elucence Moisture Benefits Shampoo
Clarifying: should be used if you have product buildup. How can you tell you have product buildup? Your hair and scalp feel coated, or you are experiencing breakage despite regular conditioning. With buildup, products are not penetrating the hair shaft. Use these sparingly because clarifying shampoos can strip the hair of natural oils. Also avoid use after getting your hair colored because it may strip the color. Also be sure to follow up with a deep conditioning treatment.
Color-Treated: no matter whether you color your hair at home or pay for it at the salon, you definitely want the color to last as long as possible. Products marketed for this claim to have ingredients that are gentler (including no sulfates). They not only extend the life of the color but also contain ingredients that can restore moisture lost during the coloring process.
No Poo (Conditioner Wash): Contrary to popular belief, shampoo is not required to cleanse the hair. And the easiest way to retain moisture is to use conditioners instead of shampoo. Because I have psoriasis, I MUST use shampoo. So I have little experience with conditioner washing. My mother bought me Wen for Christmas. I did try it, but my scalp punished me for it the next day. So I consulted a friend who has conditioner washed for years. Below are her recommendations.
Thinning Hair: Many shampoos market themselves for hair loss. However, unless a product contains Minoxidil (the only topical product approved by the FDA for hair loss), chances are it’s not as effective. I know of no shampoos that contain Minoxidil. But some shampoos do contain ingredients that stimulate the scalp and remove DHT, which is said to cause baldness in men and women. I use this shampoo when I feel like my hair is shedding excessively.
A word about Adrienne’s Picks: Aside from the ones mentioned, these are the shampoos that I’ve personally had success with in the past. I only mention them because people always ask, but if you already have shampoos that give the results that you need, keep using them. I’m definitely an advocate of, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” If you do use any of the links above, I will earn a small commission (at no cost to you).
If you have any questions, please post them below, or email me at adrienne@precioustresses.