By Fran of

I’ve explained in other posts that although I’m a product junkie, when it comes to applying product I prefer taking a more minimalist approach. I’ve come to understand that my scalp is at it’s healthiest when there’s less product on my hair and my strands seem to thrive with more simplified techniques. I even completely removed shampoo from my beauty regimen over a year ago because it seemed an unnecessary step (and purchase). Those detergents were way too drying for my hair. Even the healthy, all natural ones still left my hair feeling squeaky clean. Problem was, I wasn’t a fan of that squeak because it meant my hair had been stripped of much needed natural oils. That completely defeated the purpose of a healthy hair regimen, didn’t it? Losing moisture? Now I simply cleanse with all natural conditioners that are nutrient-rich, aiding in scalp and hair health as well as moisture. The best part of healthy ingredients is that pretty much all of them contain nutrients that are natural cleansing agents, so they definitely get the job done! If you’ve tried co-washing and didn’t feel “clean”, I would suggest giving it another shot with a healthier product.

My two absolute favorite conditioners for co-washing are the Raw Shea Butter Restorative Conditioner by Shea Moisture and the White Camellia by Aubrey Organics. I have a few others but these two are my holy grail. I always come back! They’re easy to find (Whole Foods and Duane Reade), affordable and loaded with healthy, all natural ingredients. I always start off my wash process by finger-detangling my hair with organic virgin coconut oil (Spectrum is my fav brand) in small sections. If I jump into the shower and detangle my hair while it’s wet (even if loaded with conditioner) I end up losing a lot of it. However, with the coconut oil pre-wash finger-detangle, I end up retaining a lot more hair during the wash process. Once detangled, I twist my hair in four super chunky twists. I jump into the shower, cleanse my scalp with one of the conditioners mentioned above, and then gently finger comb through each twist, with conditioner, to make sure my strands are cleansed as well. The process takes me no more than 5-10 minutes! Pre-detangling is a true time and hair saver.

Since I don’t use shampoo, I clarify my hair once a month with all natural products. Considering I use oils and heavy moisturizers throughout the month, it’s important to implement a deep cleanse at some point in my regimen. My two favorite go-to natural remedies are filling a spray bottle with Apple Cider Vinegar or using Clay mixed with distilled water. Most people dilute their ACV but I use the raw-unfiltered kind made by Braggs and have found it to be perfect for clarifying. Unfiltered means it carries all of the full health benefits, no processing, so I never dilute it. I want those nutrients! I simply wet my hair with warm water then spray it all over. Including a nice scalp massage for buildup maintenance! Once my hair and scalp are fully saturated, I let it sit for 20 min. Then I rinse with cold water to remove the ACV and close the cuticles. This process rids my strands and scalp of all product buildup so I can start the new month with a fresh (hair) slate.

The second option I mentioned was using all natural clay. My favorite brand is the Aztec Healing Clay sold at Whole Foods and Amazon. I mix 5-6 spoonfuls into a bowl and pour distilled water until it turns into a soft, muddy clay. I then saturate my hair from root to tip, scalp massage included, and let it sit for 30 min. Then I rinse it off with cold water. A few of my readers have mentioned mixing both the ACV (instead of distilled water) with the Clay as their clarifying mixtures. I watched a few YouTube videos and have seen awesome reviews on that combination, as well. All options are affordable, effective and best of all, completely natural!

The only debate I’ve yet to figure out is whether one should co-wash before or after clarifying. I’ve read that co-washing afterwards is pointless because the cuticles are closed due to the pH levels and cold rinse. But I’ve also read that because the process strips your hair, you need to re-apply moisture by conditioning. I’ve tried both methods and haven’t felt much of a difference. Either way works for me!

What’s your order and why?

Fran is the author of Follow her on Twitter @heyfranhey.

I'm a natural hair, nutrition and fitness blogger from New York City. Battling a kidney related illness that doctors couldn't seem to fix, I became obsessed with alternative medicine. After months of researching and finally curing myself, it became quite evident that healthy resources in our urban communities were lacking. I began my health & wellness tumblr in Dec of 2010 as somewhat of a journal, hoping to shed some light on my journey to health as well as our disconnection with healthy living. It's been my goal to create a safe haven where our wellness concerns could be shared and hopefully cured, as naturally as possible.

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17 Comments on "Fran’s 3B/3C Cleansing Regimen"

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Michelle @Radiant Brown Beauty

I don’t typically co-wash. I just use SLS free shampoo and it works pretty well so I figure why change anything.

I agree with what you said about the coconut oil pre-poo helping you retain more hair during the wash. I use the Vatika coconut oil and love the stuff!

Bentonite clay is alkaline in nature and adding ACV to it helps bring the pH level to an acidic one. However, I suspect adding AVJ (aloe vera juice) may be the most beneficial as its pH level is closer to that of hair’s. I watched a video on it not that long ago as I was researching how to make my own mud wash that might mimic the Terressentials Mud Wash. Here is the video I watched. As you like AVJ to seal Fran, you might like mixing it with your bentonite clay! The picture below are my results… Read more »
Lillian Mae

That Aztec Clay is the Truth! I use it once monthly to clarify.

Bi-Weekly, I use raw, unfiltered ACV on my scalp, massage it in and rinse it out. I do dilute it slightly, but it does an excellent job cleansing my scalp!
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Lillian Mae

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I have been using the clay with ACV the co washing daughters 4c hair for a couple of weeks now and I can’t describe the love I feel. Her hair is very porous and since I started using the clay her hair is retaining moisture for the first time. I would highly recommend it to anyone with porosity issues.


Her hair is GORGEOUS, though I, personally, prefer to wash my hair with shampoo-Aubrey Organics, to be exact, and once every 7-10 days. Certain shampoos CAN dry out your hair, but a great conditioner, followed by sealing is an easy fix. It’s the same as rinsing with ACV and then conditioning and sealing, right? Lol

But whatever works! Her hair is clearly benefiting from her method.


Keyana, which AO shampoo do you use? I just purchased the Green Tea Clarifying because I used the AO Honeysuckle Rose to deep condition on dry hair before washing and it is THE TRUTH!! I also ordered the AO GPB Conditioner and used it to DC overnight (I mixed it with Vatika oil) and think it is amazing as well!! So, I can’t wait to try the shampoo. I think my PJ ways may be over if everything in the AO line works as well as those two conditioners!!

I co-wash first then clarify with the ACV. Co washing with White Camellia by Aubrey Organics (a tip I got from Fran!) gets my hair very clean. Squeaky even. But by the end of the month I know I must clarify cause even with squeaky clean hair I can feel build up on my scalp. After I rince the ACV out (which I dilute with filtered water) I seal with deep conditioner (Giovanni’s) and some kind of oil. Starting to notice that my hair (which is on the fine side) LOVES avocado oil over lighter oils like jojoba … so… Read more »

Wow! Your brave for using straight, undiluted ACV! I would be concerned that it would dry by hair out, not to mention the smell. But whatever works for you is working, your hair is gorgeous!

Mrs. Ebonee
when I do my daughter’s hair I prepoo and detangle with coconut and olive oil mix. Wash with either Kinky-Curly’s Come Clean or Curls Curly Q ‘poo, depends on how dirty her hair is. I put in Curls Curly Q coconut dream condish (love that stuff) and let sit for 5-20 mins…however long she is in the tub. Rinse then do a diluted acv rinse. Apply KC Knot Today and style. I do the acv rinse last because it helps seals in all the moisture and goodness of the condish because her hair is high porosity. Following this routine has… Read more »

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