Hair Growth Tips Series Part III: Shampooing

July 19, 2011 Oyibo Princess
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Sorry everyone.  It has been soooo long since I have written for my hair growth series.  I have been busy doing the job search thing, but that is no excuse.  To make up for it, after writing this post, I will bring you a bonus post on hair growth and swimming/sports.

This post is about washing the hair.  From my knowledge, washing the hair does not help the hair to grow, but it is essential to a hair care regimen and there are a lot of mistakes that one can and that I have made that can prevent the hair from acquiring length.  Let’s take a look at my past mistakes.

Mistakes I used to make when washing my hair:

  • I did not finger-detangle or pre-poo the hair before washing.  =( Back when I had no idea what I was doing and my hair would get dirty, as most hair does, I would just start shampooing without any preparation which is the hair equivalent of diving into the shallow end of the pool head first. When I just shampooed without any preparation, I created more tangling and made the detangling process, which would happen later, much more difficult than it had to be. What I do now, which I have explained before, is  “pre-poo” the hair which means that I apply an oil (cocoa nut, olive, or vatika)  and don a plastic cap and towel on the hair and allow it to sit for one hour or more.  After allowing the oil to sit, I remove the towel and plastic cap and then I take the tangles out of my hair in four sections with my fingers (not a comb!) to ensure that I do not get a lot of tangles when it is wet.  There is a demonstration video way below.
  • I lathered and gathered the hair when shampooing like those white ladies on the Herbal Essence commercials.   X( When I stopped allowing my mom to do my hair at the age of 11, all of my long hair care role models for washing hair were the ladies on the Herbal Essence commercials. Come to think of it, the beauticians at the black hair salons also washed their client’s hair this way, including my hair. This does not promote hair growth (length retention). Why? Because kinky hair is more prone to tangles and more tangles equals more breakage, as I have been emphasizing. Although this mashing method is fun, when one mashes kinky-curly hair and swivels it together, more tangles form in the hair.   Instead, it’s better to…I will get to that later.

This is looks fun but please resist the temptation to wash your hair like this

Actually I am not sure that it is even good for naturally straight hair because I saw a Pantene commercial where the straight-haired white woman was washing her hair the way I recommend. Tangles are pretty much not wanted all around unless you have dreads I guess, but in that instance you don’t have to get rid of tangles anyway.

  • I shampooed the hair every time I washed.  =( Sounds silly but when you wash your hair, you do not actually need use a shampoo.  Shampoos, especially those with certain kinds of sulfates, dry the hair overtime and dryness leads to more breakage.   You can actually use a conditioner, usually a cheaper one, to wash. Strange? I know. haha.  Additionally, shampoo is really for the scalp, so as I was about to say earlier, it’s better to shampoo the scalp, because the scalp is what is more prone to getting oily and getting pimples on the scalp are not fun.  When you use a shampoo use a sulfate free shampoo or shampoo that lack certain types of sulfates such as ammonium laureth sulfate or lauryl sulfate.
  • Co-washed or shampooed the scalp only every time.  This seems to go against my most previous point, which is that you should only use conditioner or only shampoo the scalp.  Most of the time, I would say that you should either one of these things, but you also do not want product build-up on the hair.  This tip is not really for hair growth, but rather for preventing frizz which can be annoying.  Product build-up can be the cause of frizz.  In order to get rid of product build-up, use a clarifying shampoo that is sulfate free or lacks certain sulfates.  Most hair experts recommend using a clarifying shampoo once per month or one every other month.  When choosing a clarifying shampoo, be careful about the ingredients.  Which brings me to my next point.
  • I did not look at the labels on the shampoos I used. As I have been hinting before, the ingredients in your hair products are important. For shampoo, one of the most common ingredients that you want to avoid are certain kinds of sulfates.  Some hair experts say that all sulfates are bad for your hair, but sometimes it is not economically possible for everyone to avoid all sulfates. Certain ones are okay.

The following sulfates can dry the hair over time:

  • Ammonium Laureth Sulfate
  • Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate
  • Tea Laureth Sulfate
  • Tea Lauryl Sulfate
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

The following sulfates are gentler and less likely to dry the hair:

  • Polyoxethylene Fatty Alcohols
  • PEG 80
  • Sorbitan Laurate
  • Decyl Polyglucose
  • Cocamidopropyl Sulfate
  • Sodium Myreth Sulfate

I do not have a long list right now but, you may want to check out these shampoos:

Contains No Laurel/Laureth Sulfates:

  1. Trader Joes Tea Tree Tingle (from Trader Joe’s of course)
  2. The Whole Food’s 365 Brand Shampoos

Sulfate Free (Completely):

  1. Anything by Aubrey (Whole Foods)
  2. Anything by Burt’s Bees (Whole Foods and Walmart)
  3. Organix Nourishing Cocoa nut Milk Shampoo (Kroger, Walmart) –although it has protein which I would be careful with and I will talk about that later.
  4. Organix Tea Tree Mint Shampoo (Kroger, Walmart)
  5. Anything by BeeCeauticuls

Sulfate Free Clarifying (I recommend using these once in a while, like once per month every other week, but honestly listen to your scalp and hair. If there’s a lot of product build up then clarify)

  1. Aubrey Green Tea Clarifying Shampoo (I am using this now, but have not used it long enough to comment.  It is very fast acting so far and warm for some reason)
  2. Pure and Simple Clarifying Shampoo (Online I think)
  3. Cristophe Beverly Hills Purely Natural Clarifying Shampoo (CVS)
  4. Kinky Curly’s Come Clean

Okay let me know how this goes for you.  I hope you can find some that are economically sustainable for you.  I know how organic products can be expensive. Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Tingle, The Whole Food’s 365 Brand Shampoos

For my 9ja peeps, I wish I knew what shampoos are sold down there, but I do not so you will just have to look at the ingredients, sorry.  If I am ever down there again, I will look in the stores and markets for you.  Although unfortunately, some of the shampoos may have Arabic writing on them.

I will explain the best way to wash the actual hair below.

  • I did not stretch the hair when shampooing. So this is what I was going to get to earlier.  This is the tip we’ve all been waiting for.  The great bambino! Okay.  Here it is. Sorry for drawing this out. Hehe. Okay. When you finally do get around to shampooing the actual hair, which I do not think should be often, stretch the hair.  To do this, shampoo in four sections, meaning divide the hair into four sections (or more, I would say around 8 is good up to 11 is fine) before you wash.  Then take one section at a time and rub the shampoo down the hair from root to tip.  Do this for every section. I would not recommend shampooing the ends, the driest and oldest part of the hair, because shampoo dries the hair and this part of the hair is more sensitive.  The shampoo should travel down to the ends when you rinse so you really do not need to focus on shampooing the ends.  When applying conditioner, use the same stretching technique, but focus on applying conditioner to the ends, because that is where conditioner is most needed.

This is a great example of how to wash the hair in order to maintain length:


  1. Pre-wash. Use olive oil, cocoa nut oil, avocado oil, vatika oil, etc. to give yourself an oil
  2. Use a sulfate free shampoo if economically possible or use a shampoo that I recommended.
  3. Decide whether you really need to shampoo every time you wash or if you can utilize co-washing (washing with a conditioner)
  4. Decide whether you need to wash the scalp only to prevent drying the hair or if you need to wash your hair to prevent product build-up. Some natural hair experts never actually wash their actual hair, but only wash the scalp.  Some was their hair every month or two months
  5. Stretch the hair as you apply a shampoo, conditioner, or deep conditioning treatment.
  6. I do not recommend using a clarifying shampoo every time.  Only use when you have product buildup.
  7. Be careful with the ends
  8.    Dryness = breakage

That is all for today. I hope to have some styling videos up soon.  I am not sure when I will post next, because I am going to be really busy with job searching.  If I do find time, the next posts will be on deep conditioning, styling, your ends or/and understanding damage.  If you have any questions please leave a comment or email me at Okay o. Ẹ se! O dabọ. (That’s thank you and good bye in Yoruba).


Entry Filed under: Breakage,Hair,Hair Growth,Shampoo

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