By Jc of The Natural Haven Bloom
In the natural world, we talk a lot about using gentle methods and gentle products because in general, hair that is curly or kinky curly responds well to these two processes. Many people avoid clarifying products at all costs and this is actually a good thing as these type of products are designed to fully strip off any oil on hair. This is not say that clarifying products do not have their uses, they actually are quite useful in getting rid of build up and creating a clean surface on hair. Here are 5 instances when a clarifying shampoo may come in to play:
1. You intend to switch to using milder products (sulfate free/silicone free)
If you have made a decision to start using milder products such as sulfate free shampoo or silicone free conditioner, you may get a better result with these milder products if your hair is completely clean to start with. This is especially true if you have been a regular user of silicone based styling products (serums, gels ). Using a clarifying shampoo to get rid of any deposits on your hair from your previous styling products and any dirt attached to the oil allows your hair to be able to work more effectively with the mild products. Immediately starting to use a mild shampoo may not be a good idea as it may not be able to effectively clean the hair to allow the mild conditioner to work well.
2. Build up: Your see residue (whitish) on your scalp after washing
A very clear sign of build up is a whitish residue on the scalp (usually clear at the temple/forehead area) immediately after rinsing off shampoo and conditioner. This residue is a sign that the wash has not been effective and therefore a clarifying shampoo would help to ensure that the scalp and hair gets properly clean.
3. Build up : Your hair is getting progressively drier and no longer responds to conditioning or moisturising products
Another sign of build is that hair no longer responds to conditioning/moisturising products AND it is getting drier. The reason for the AND in capitals is that some people can experience a switch where their hair stops wanting moisturising products as it can stay moist on its own. This is often due to adopting products and a washing routine that suits the hair. However, the case for build up is made when you are following your normal routine (for example 1 weekly shampoo and conditioner and a mid week co-wash) and that work for months but suddenly you find yourself needing to co-wash every other day for the same result. It is possible that a clarifying wash may help to get rid of any build up that may hinder your products from getting their full effect as happened several months back.
4. You have been strictly co-washing
If you have been strictly co-washing for a while and you use styling products such as oils, moisturisers and gels, you are at risk of getting build up as conditioner is not really an effective long term cleanser. Performing a clarifying wash every so often helps to prevent build up formation.
5. You are a heavy oil user
If you are using a lot of oil (oiling hair daily, regularly using heavy butters and oils e.g shea butter, castor oil, doing regular oil rinses/hot oil treatments etc) or have naturally oily hair, you may find that mild shampoos simply are not able to clean your hair sufficiently. Some people are able to skip out on using conditioner as a result and therefore avoid build up. However, if your hair needs conditioner, you may find that without the occasional clarifying shampoo, you may develop build up issues.
Ladies, how often do you do clarifying shampoos? How do you know when your hair needs one?