So I’ve been through more than my fair share of hairstyles, hair products and treatments. Finding shampoo that can help dry afro hair can leave you wanting to pull your hair out, trust me I’ve been there! But fear not my search has not been in vain, I’ve discovered how you can find the best shampoo for your hair.
When starting out my natural hair journey there was not a lot of information on the internet. My search has brought awareness and understanding on so many levels, even my partner now knows to look out for sulphates and parabens in his Head & Shoulders. But why should we be aware of these things and what they do to our afros? There have been reports linking both of these compounds to increased incidents of cancer, however, this has not yet been backed up by any scientific evidence. The information that is currently out there has been enough for me to make the switch to paraben and sulphate free shampoos.
Parabens are preservatives; synthetic chemical compounds that are included in over half the beauty products on the shelves in shops today. Okay, I understand that this sounds like quite a good thing to add to your face cream and shampoo as ain’t nobody got time to smear and lather mouldy or gone off liquid all over our bodies and in our locks. However, a study of women in Britain from 2004 found traces of 5 different parabens in the breast tissue of 19 out of the 20 subjects. Parabens are also thought to disrupt our hormones by mimicking oestrogen, which as you can imagine can lead to all sorts of problems. So parabens can end up lodged in our bodies, and they have also been found in the bodies of marine mammals. These pesky little particles are surviving our plug holes, sewer systems and the outside elements to pollute on the micro and macro level. They’re like a bad smell that won’t go away and they don’t seem to prolong our lives in the same way that they do our face cream.
Sulphates are cleansers: surfactants that help detergents cleanse more effectively. Again, this sounds like a great thing to put in our shampoos as they allow the cleansing process to happen almost as soon as the shampoo hits your afro. I don’t even mind that sulphates are also found in laundry detergent and washing up liquid, if it helps cut down my time in the shower then I can overlook that. However, I only noticed how harsh sulphates were on my hair when I started using sulphate free shampoo; as Janet almost said you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone… and then come back again. Sulphates do such an effective job of facilitating the cleansing of your afro that they help to remove excessive amounts of your hair’s proteins and oils – the stuff that’s needed in the days after washing to keep your hair healthy, moisturised and fro-bulous.
I’m not going to kid you and say I’ve tried every single brand and type of shampoo out there and then give you the ultimate shampoo for you to use. Even if I had tried every single one and found the absolute ultimate bottle of hair cleansing product, there is no guarantee it will be as good for you as it is for me; all our heads of hair are individual, unique and beautiful. That is why my discovery is a process rather than a product. You will need to discover your own best shampoo for your dry afro hair. Get samples, get a generous friend to gift you a wash’s worth of their shampoo, or try to find travel sized bottles of types that caught your eye and then try them out and make a hair diary of how your hair feels in the days after washday. Keep every other process unchanged, only change your shampoo (I realise that weather can have an effect etc. but you should be able to get a good idea if the shampoo is good or bad for your hair). Soon you should be able to work out what works and what definitely doesn’t. Through a process of elimination you can start to figure out which specific ingredients you think might be good or bad for your afro and then build up a bank of knowledge that should help and stay with you for the rest of your happy hair life!
Fro stay strong and you stay safe x