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How to Properly Wash Curly Hair

We know what you’re thinking, “I’ve had curly hair my whole life, I think I know how to wash it.” But hear us out, it’s not as simple as you may think.

If you’re using a sulfate-free cleanser (like the Deva cleansers), washing your hair is a little more work. But don’t worry, it’s totally worth it.

Scrub in, scrub out

If you’re using a low or no lather cleanser, this is the most important piece of advice we’re going to give you, so listen up.

Traditional shampoos are formulated with harsh detergents that make it easy to move through your hair, so naturally they wash out easier too. This isn’t the case with sulfate-free, low/no lather cleansers. This means it’s going to take a little work to make sure your curls and scalp are properly cleansed, and that your cleanser is fully rinsed out.

To work Low-Poo or No-Poo into your scalp, drench your curls with water first and then apply the cleanser by scrubbing it on your scalp with your fingertips. Remember to always use your fingertips and not your nails as doing so can leave tiny little scratches on the scalp which can cause more problems than it solves.

Then, when you’re rinsing your cleanser out, do the same exact thing! Put your head under the water and scrub the cleanser out of your curls. Some people even like to flip their head over under the water to ensure they’re rinsing out the cleanser from all parts of the scalp.

Not rinsing out your cleanser can lead to oily scalp and buildup, and no one has time for that!

Taylor Tugman, stylist and educator at our Devachan salons says this, “To drive home the importance of using friction to cleanse, I love to use the analogy of washing clothes. If you were to put your clothes in the washing machine, fill it with water and detergent but not turn on the agitator, would the clothes get clean? No, so product + friction = a clean scalp and happy curls.”

Taylor shares these other cleansing tips:

  • Flipping your head upside down is amazing because the hair pulls away from the scalp and makes it easier to slide your fingers into the hair.
  • Use circular motions at the roots rather than at the top canopy layer to prevent creating tangles.
  • Apply Low-Poo or No-Poo to the scalp, disperse through the head, and then quickly go in and out of the water. This helps to move the cleanser around easier.
  • When rinsing, try to “pre-detangle” with wide fingers. This jumpstarts the detangling process by using some of the slip from No-Poo.
  • For denser hair, scrub the cleanser off of the scalp by rotating the head side to side and upside down in the shower stream.

Always follow with a conditioner

Although Low-Poo and No-Poo are moisturizing cleansers, that doesn’t mean you can skip conditioning your curls. Conditioning not only provides moisture to your strands, but it also makes detangling that much easier.

Some wavies and curlies with fine hair think that conditioner is going to weigh their hair down or make it oily. Let us tell you, this isn’t the case. Traditional conditioners are packed with silicones (which is essentially plastic) that can provide slip and make detangling a breeze. In truth, silicone just coats the hair strands and doesn’t actually provide any moisture to the hair. By using conditioners with silicones in them, the strands are actually weighed down and this is what causes the misconception that conditioner can be too heavy. DevaCurl conditioners are silicone-free to moisturize without weighing down your curls.

If your hair is feeling extra dry, try leaving a bit of conditioner in and then apply your styling products.

What are your top cleansing tips? Sound off in the comments section!