A common hair blunder among women with thick, textured hair is failing to wash it often enough, according to Will Williams, Director of Education at M&M Products Company, maker of Sofn’free GroHealthy hair care products. “For hair to thrive, the scalp and strands have to be clean, regardless of hair type, curl structure, or degree of dryness.” The introduction of  Sofn’free GroHealthy’s new sulfate-free moisturizing shampoo gives Williams the opportunity to set the record straight on how to cleanse textured hair, natural or relaxed. Here, he explains what to use, what to avoid, when to use it, and why.

Be Hands-on like a Pro
Use lukewarm to warm water at the start and finish. Using the balls of fingertips, massage in circular motions onto thoroughly wet hair for 1 to 3 minutes to enable the shampoo to work its way throughout the strands and scalp. Afterward, towel-blot the hair by laying the towel on the hair and pressing to remove water.  Do not rub, because rubbing can cause frizzies by splitting the cuticle and disrupting the complexion of the strand. Next, untangle the hair with a wide-tooth comb, starting at the back of the head and working up to top making small partings. At each section, start at the ends and work toward the scalp. At the temples, work inward to the crown.  At the front hairline, comb hair forward and work back to crown.  Rub a dollop of conditioner between the palms to warm it before apply it to the hair. Start from the roots and finger-comb it to the ends of detangled hair. Slip on a cap or baggy for the duration of the shower. Rinse well, towel-blot, and comb again gently.

Come Clean and Triple Up

Buildup of sebum, styling products and everyday dirt could hinder hair growth and manageability. To ensure hair is clean but not stripped of moisture, Williams recommends upgrading the shampoo experience by alternating three cleansing formulas throughout the month: 1) sulfate-free shampoo, 2) clarifying shampoo and 3) conditioner.  

Purge Sulfates
Consumers have become increasingly wary of sulfates in shampoos, the foaming ingredient that can strip hair of natural oils, causing damage and dryness. Yet some women still want suds in the cleansing process. The new Sofn’free GroHealthy Sulfate-free Moisturizing Shampoo satisfies both sets. It contains gentle surfactants, not sulfates, that loosen and suspend oils and debris in lather.

Science Lesson: At the microscopic level, one end of a surfactant molecule draws to water, the other repels it and attaches itself to oils in dirt. These opposing forces create a back and forth motion that loosens dirt and suspends it in the suds, ready to rinse away with warm water.  

Aim to Clarify

Every hair type, relaxed or natural, requires at least monthly clarifying washes, even dry hair, as long as deep conditioning follows to replace the conditioners. A deep cleanse removes product buildup, heavy minerals and salts, medications and chlorine. Curls worn with true curl definition that require multiple layers of holding, molding or curly-enhancing products could require up to bi-weekly clarifying. Just as with a moisturizing shampoo, avoid shampoo formulas containing sulfates that could strip natural hair oils and affect color.  Always follow clarifying with a deep conditioner.

Condition Unconditionally
Condition after each shampoo, but also consider conditioner washing, also known as co-washing or no-poo, on days hair is relatively clean but needs refreshing or taming. This involves no shampoo, just a conditioner that acts as a light cleanser while it coats the hair cuticle.
Science Lesson: Each strand has a light negative electric charge called an anion. That anion requires a neutralizing conditioner to decrease static electricity and to smooth down the outer layer hair cuticle. Even after a rinse of water, some conditioner remains on the hair due to the strong positive-negative charge attraction.   The cleaning part comes into play when the conditioner’s surfactants surround dirt, dislodge it, and rinse away.  

Sofn’free GroHealthy Really Deep Conditioning Treatment with menthol is also an invigorating co-wash. It rinses easily, leaving just enough olive oil, omega 3 and milk protein to strengthen and protect strands.  

For more about how often to wash African-American hair, click here.