Updated: Jan 24
Hi, I'm Teri, The Natural Hair Specialist. for taking the time to read my post! Before you continue please be advised that as a licensed stylist, this post is based on my personal experiences & my own research. This information is not subjective to all beliefs.
If you have ever spoken with a professional regarding the traditional process of shampooing your hair in a salon setting, then you probably have a general understanding of the 3-step shampoo process.
But what most professionals don't tell you (usually because we fall victim of having salon routines) is that over washing your 4c natural hair with clarifying shampoo can sometimes cause you more harm than good, especially if your hair type is one that is normally and naturally really dry. Here's why:
CLARIFYING SHAMPOO VS. 4C NATURAL HAIR
Clarifying shampoos are high-foaming cleansers that produce a lot of suds. They have strong cleansing agents, such as sulfates, that can strip your hair of its natural oils & other products such as your moisture sealants. Therefore the 1st step is most ideal as a deep cleansing shampoo, since it's aimed to remove the excessive dirt, dandruff, build-up, etc. from your hair and scalp. Because of it's thoroughness though, clarifying shampoos can leave your natural hair in a very vulnerable state.
Naturally dry hair types, 4c hair in this case, can't really be treated in the same context that you would other hair types. Unlike other hair types, which typically seem to produce more natural oils, 4c hair does usually not distribute natural hair oils evenly throughout the hair strands. This is because of tight coils, kinks, and shrinkage. This is also why 4c natural hair is prone to more dryness.
Using a clarifying shampoo too often can be damaging to those who have dry & brittle hair. In fact, the ultimate goal for 4C natural hair is usually to keep the scalp & hair as nourished and hydrated as possible! So in a way, the clarifying shampoo is consistently reversing the moisture process for naturals by removing previous products, oils, & moisture agents from your hair. In a way you ARE having to work twice as hard to regain proper hydration into your hair & scalp again after wash day (if you are clarifying). Sure, you can definitely replenish and restore moisture with product but what good does that actually do when you are consistently stripping it all away again each wash day? 😩
Step 2 of a traditional salon process, is to follow-up with a moisturizing shampoo, but keep in mind that sometimes even that just isn't enough. In order to hydrate your hair properl, 4c natural hair would need to be followed with a ton of other processes such as deep conditions, hair mask, and LOC methods, etc to be fully replenished. Improper hydration can lead to a more dry, irritated, & itchy scalp in addition to dryer, more brittle hair.
So Teri, are you saying that I should NEVER clarify my hair?
What I am saying is clarifying shampoos should definitely be limited to at least once per month. Unless your hair is extremely dirty or possess extreme build-up you may NOT want to clarify your natural hair on a regular basis. In my opinion, the only time you should really be clarifying your hair is after a protective hairstyle, if you have chlorine or other harsh chemicals in your hair, or if you’re just the type who is drowning your hair in heavy products consistently.
So what SHOULD I be doing to my hair then, Teri?
I highly suggest using a mild cleansing agent that is free of sulfates to prevent any additional (and unnecessary) stripping of moisture. Moisturi