This Is Your The Ultimate Guide To Curl Care From The Pros


Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) are common cleaning ingredients in shampoos. There is lots of debate about the “toxicity” of the ingredients, but that’s a conversation for another time. Those with curly hair should avoid them for one very simple reason: They’re very harsh and drying! 

Curly hair is naturally dryer and more prone to breakage, so you need to pick very delicate cleansers. Think of it like your skin: If your skin was prone to irritation, you’d switch to a gentle cleanser, right? Well the same applies to your strands!

The good news is there are many excellent sulfate-free shampoos on the market. Look for options that are further buffered with hydrating ingredients like botanical oils and butters: excellent options include shea butter, coconut oil, oat oil, and so on. 

Co-washing (or conditioner-washing) can also help keep the hair clean—while also hydrating in the process.

“The idea is to use conditioner, though not just any conditioner, as a replacement for shampoo. An ideal co-wash very gently cleanses the hair using mild surfactants while a typical shampoo uses more concentrated surfactants that really work to deeply cleanse the hair,” says Sunny, owner of Lumiere Vive Salon.

If you decide to incorporate co-washing (an excellent idea), do so alongside the occasional shampoo session for a deeper clean. This can help you avoid buildup and scalp irritation. “It’s very important to deep cleanse your hair; it’s just that many times it may not be necessary as frequently,” notes Sunny. 


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