Ten Ways to Wash Your Natural Hair Without Shampoo

(Last Updated On: May 9, 2018)

Looking for an alternative way to cleanse your natural hair without shampoo? Look no further!  Below, I have listed 10 different products that can be used to wash your natural hair in case you’re thinking of replacing your shampoo.

1. Sulphate Based Shampoo

This is the most widely available and cheapest type of hair cleansers that you would find in the market.
Examples: Herbal Essence, Tressemme, Ausie Moist and any other shampoo with Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) or Ammonium Lauryl Suphate (ALS) as the active ingredient.
Plus: It cleans the hair really well by removing dirt, grease and any build up
Minus:The harsh sulphate can often leave the hair stripped of its natural oils, which can lead to dry hair.
When it should be used: This type of shampoo shouldn’t be a part of your weekly regimen. It should only be used as a clarifier to remove the layers of products in your hair.

2. Reduced Sulphates Shampoo

This is a great alternative as the sulphates in these shampoos are more gentle and they don’t leave the hair feeling too dry. It’s also a great alternative for those who like to see their hair foam up when washed.
Examples: Shampoos with Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES) or Ammonium Laureth Sulphate (ALES) as the active ingredient.
Plus: It gently cleans the hair by removing dirt, grease and any build up.
Minus: Though the sulphate in this shampoo is gentle, it’s still sulphate and it may leave your hair feeling stripped, though it may not be as stripped as ALS/SLS based shampoos.
When it should be used: It should only be used as a clarifier to remove layers of products in your hair and it shouldn’t be used more than twice a month. 
It can also be used by those who use silicone, mineral oil and petrolatum based products in their hair.

3. Sulphate Free Shampoos

This is a type of shampoo that doesn’t foam up as much as the other two listed above.
Examples: Jason Naturals, Giovanni
Plus: It’s not harsh and it doesn’t leave your hair feeling dry after a wash.
Minus: It doesn’t foam up like a regular shampoo would, so there’s a tendency to keep washing until the hair foams up. It also doesn’t leave the hair feeling squeaky clean, which is actually a plus because your hair shouldn’t be 100% clean each time.
When it should be used: It can be used on a weekly basis, The absence of sulphates in these shampoos makes them gentle and friendly enough to be used often.

4. Clarifying Shampoos

I call these shampoos super shampoos because they leave the hair 110% clean!
Examples: Kinky Curly Come Clean and any other shampoo which says “clarifying or clarifier”
Plus: Removes mineral deposits from hard-water and swimming pool water, dirt, oil and other impurities from the hair.
Minus: This is a very strong shampoo which can leave your hair feeling hard and brittle.

When it should be used: not more than once a month. It’s also a good shampoo for those who swim regularly, have hard water in their homes, use silicone, and petrolatum based products.
It’s crucial that you follow clarifying shampoos with a good moisturizing deep conditioning treatment in order to restore the hair’s elasticity.

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5. Shampoo Bar

A solid form of liquid shampoos. These type of shampoos comes in different varieties, colors, and flavours to meet different hair needs.
Examples: Raw African Black Soap which can be used on a weekly basis by those who feel like they HAVE to wash their hair weekly.
Plus & Minus: Similar to liquid shampoos

6. Castile Soap

A multipurpose soap which can be used to wash just about anything. Be it your skin, hair, clothes, plates, teeth, carpet and anything washable.
Plus: Less harsh on the hair, only if diluted with water.
Minus: It doesn’t foam as much and you may be tempted to use up an entire bottle. It is also highly alkaline and so I would advice mixing it with water to reduce its pH level.
When it should be used: Castile soap is highly basic, which is contrary to the hair’s natural acidic pH level, and so I wouldn’t recommend using it so often.

7. Baking Soda

This is a common cleanser used as a face scrub, body scrub and even as a tooth scrub. It’s no surprise that baking soda can also be used to clean the hair.
Plus: none, in my opinion
Minus: Like castile soap, baking soda has a high pH level and shouldn’t be used often. I also wouldn’t recommend it because baking soda is a great scrubbing powder which can be used to remove tough grease from a hard surface.
When it should be used: Whenever you feel like experimenting with products, so proceed with caution.

8. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)

Plus: less harsh only if diluted with water
Minus: not an effective cleanser in my opinion. To prove this theory, I poured undiluted ACV into a greasy bowl and waited a few minutes to see if the bowl would be clean, well, my bowl was still as greasy as it was before I poured vinegar in it.
When it should be used: it must be diluted with water and used as a final rinse after washing and deep conditioning to balance the pH level of your hair and scalp. ACV can also be used to ease any scalp issue such as flakiness.

9.  Clays

This is probably the most effective, organic and environmentally friendly way to clean your hair.
Example: Bentonite clay, Moroccan clay and the like
Plus: Mother Nature’s gift to us, so you know it’s great
Minus: It’s not a soap and it can get messy during application

10. Conditioner

Conditioners have some cleansing agents in them to remove dirt from your hair.
Plus: hair is left clean, soft and moisturized after use
Minus: it doesn’t leave the hair squeaky clean, so there’s a tendency to believe that the hair hasn’t been cleansed yet. It also doesn’t completely remove impurities from the hair like a regular shampoo would, so it’s best to still shampoo every once in a while in order to remove heavy products from your hair. 

What do you use to cleanse your hair?

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