Curly Girl 101: Do you “no poo”?

25 Nov 2009


No, no, I’m not being fresh, just wanted to enlighten you all with one of my newly discovered curly girl terms.  Chances are, if you are natural, you’ve heard the terms ‘no poo’ and ‘low poo’.  For those of you who are not following, I’ll catch you up.  No poo is a term that was coined by Lorraine Massey who wrote the book “Curly Girl” – the ultimate curl girl’s handbook – it refers to the act of using conditioners to cleanse the scalp as opposed to using shampoos.  Low poo refers to shampooing less frequently and with gentler ingredients.

The rationale for eliminating shampoos from a curly girl’s routine is that it’s believed that sulfates which are found in most shampoos can be drying on hair, especially on curly hair which is typically more porous and thus drier than the average straight-haired individual.  So, how does one cleanse their scalp without shampoo, you ask?  Massey suggests that washing with conditioner and friction is sufficient enough to clean the scalp as most conditioners contain a mild sulfacant.  The key to this routine is to avoid products containing silcones.  Generally, silcones will cause a build-up that can only be removed with traditional sulfate-based shampoos.

When I first learned of this method I had to see what all the hype was about.  I must admit that my hair felt more moisturized, but I still experienced build-up. Currently, I’m on a modified curly girl routine; I conditioner-wash my hair three times a week and I use a mild sulfate-free shampoo once every other week.  I have not totally eliminated silicone products, but the silcones found in the products that I use are water-soluble.

I highly recommend reading “Curly Girl” for both my fellow naturals and for those of you that are searching for answers to combat dry hair.  Pay attention to the ingredient list on products that you purchase and do your research.  Remember to listen to your hair, as no two heads are alike.

Wishing you all healthy hair vibes!

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