Proper Hair Care Routine for Low Porosity Hair

What is Hair Porosity?

Hair porosity is the term used to describe the hair’s ability to absorb moisture, nourishing products, or chemical treatments. There are three degrees of hair porosity: high, medium (normal), and low.

Overly porous hair has damaged cuticles that have lost their tightness due to excessive usage of thermal appliances or frequent chemical processing. Highly porous hair can absorb excessive amounts of water but is not able to retain its internal moisture.

Low porosity hair, also called resistant hair, refers to cuticle scales that are tightly sealed, not allowing moisture or chemicals to easily enter or leave the hair shaft. Low porosity hair generally looks healthy and has lots of sheen because of the smooth cuticle layer. Another advantage of having low-porosity hair is that color doesn’t tend to fade quickly.

Hair that has medium porosity falls in the middle of the spectrum and is considered ideal as it responds well to styling products and chemical treatments. The cuticle of normal porosity hair is flexible, allowing the right amount of moisture to pass into the cortex.

hair porosity test

If you find it hard to saturate your hair with water in the shower, that may be a good indication of its low porosity level. A simple strand float test can be performed to determine your hair porosity, but the hair products you use can lead to inconsistent results. It is best to do the strand float test after using a clarifying shampoo when your hair is freshly clean.

It is advisable to have your hair examined by a professional to get more reliable results. Knowing your hair’s porosity level, you can adjust your hair care regimen and select products that are compatible with the condition of your hair.

Why is Lower Porosity Hair So Frustrating?

Although considered healthier than high porous hair, low porosity hair is not ideal when it comes to the absorption of moisture and responsiveness to hair treatments. When deprived of moisture, hair strands can become inelastic and fragile.

If your low-porosity hair becomes dehydrated for some reason, you need to put in additional effort to infuse your strands with moisture.

Low-porosity hair is more susceptible to product build-up, because hair products don’t pass the cuticle layer, but rather sit on the hair shaft making your locks feel greasy.

Hair with low porosity is more resistant to chemical processing, such as perming or coloring than hair with normal or high porosity. If you are dealing with resistant hair, keep in mind that it will take longer for chemicals to penetrate the cuticle to work.

a beautiful dark-skinned woman with low porosity hair

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Low Porosity Hair Regimen

Lower porosity hair requires a different approach than the hair of medium or high porosity. You need to learn some tips on how to get hair treatments absorbed into the hair shaft and how to keep your strands healthy and beautiful.

Deep conditioning treatments: Deep conditioning, at least once a month, is crucial for infusing low-porosity hair with necessary moisture. To get the most benefit, apply the product to clean, damp hair. Also, apply mild heat to make the treatment more effective.

The best way to help moisture enter the hair shaft is to incorporate a steamer or a heated gel cap into your hair care regimen. Using a hair steamer for 15-30 minutes helps loosen up tightly closed cuticles, allowing the conditioning ingredients to penetrate the hair shaft and infuse your strands with moisturizing nutrients. If you don’t have either of those tools, sit under a hooded dryer with a plastic cap on for 10-15 minutes. Wait for about two hours if you are using a plastic cap and your body heat.

Deep conditioner for low porosity hair: Jessicurl Deep Conditioning Treatment is an intense protein-free and silicone-free deep conditioner that infuses dry and curly hair types with much-needed moisture. This thick and creamy conditioner uses cocoa butter and shea butter to hydrate dry hair, leaving it soft, shiny, and easy to detangle. It has either citrus lavender or island fantasy scent while for fragrance-sensitive people an unscented option is available.

Clarifying: Buildup can prevent hair from absorbing water when a moisturizing treatment is applied. Use a clarifying shampoo once or twice a month to remove old, lingering products from your strands. Follow with a protein-free rinse-out conditioner.

Bentonite clay is a great natural deep cleanser for low-porosity hair. It has strong absorptive properties that attract impurities and remove excess product buildup. A bentonite clay hair mask softens resistant hair, making it more manageable and receptive to styling products.

Wash your low-porosity hair with warm instead of cold water to help the cuticle open a bit, allowing moisturizing ingredients from the conditioner to enter the hair shaft. After conditioning, rinse with cool water to close the cuticle and seal the moisture inside the hair.

Use a water-based, leave-in conditioner on damp hair after every shampooing. Liquid-based leave-in conditioner, which contains little to no protein, will infuse your non-porous hair with hydration and lubricate the hair shaft, without coating the hair with too much product.

To meet the requirements for low-porosity natural hair, Shea Moisture has created a new, porosity-based product line. Shea Moisture Low Porosity Hair-Line includes Low Porosity, Protein-Free Shampoo, Tea Tree Oil Low Porosity Protein Free Conditioner, and Leave-In Detangler.

Another brand that caters to the needs of low-porosity hair is TGIN (Thanks Good It Is Natural).

Rose Water Smoothing Leave-In Conditioner for Natural Hair is a light, protein-free leave-in conditioner that leaves thirsty low porosity hair soft and moisturized.

Also, consider Rose Water Sulfate-Free Hydrating Shampoo.

Charming African-American girl with curly hair holding a notebook

What Products Should You Avoid?

There are some products that your non-porous hair won’t like:

Silicones: Avoid using products containing water-insoluble silicones because you already have a compact hair cuticle layer and don’t need anything that can coat the hair shaft. Water-soluble silicones are easily washable with a mild shampoo. To remove the residues of water-insoluble silicones, you need to use sulfate-containing or clarifying shampoo.

Protein-rich conditioners: Avoid heavy and creamy, thick conditioners that can weigh down your hair. Use a lightweight or diluted rinse-out conditioner to provide good slip for smooth detangling.

Protein-enriched styling products: Protein-rich leave-in products may not be beneficial for low porous strands because there are not many tears or gaps in the cuticle layer that need to be filled. Protein particles that bind to the hair can block already tightly closed cuticles preventing the absorption of moisture and products.

Heavy oils: Avoid using heavy hair oils for styling purposes, as these can’t be absorbed and will sit on the hair’s surface. Use hair oils in small quantities, preferably lightweight moisturizing formulas such as jojoba, argan, baobab, and sweet almond oils. These oils can easily penetrate the hair shaft. However, heavier oils work well for hot oil treatments because they can be absorbed when warmed up.

Co-washing: Washing your hair with a cleansing conditioner will lead to build-up over time. If you stick with the co-washing method, you need to regularly cleanse your non-porous hair with a clarifying shampoo.

charming African girl with low-porosity hair

How to Apply Chemical Treatments to Hair with Low Porosity?

A disadvantage of lower porosity hair is that the compact cuticle layer doesn’t allow chemical treatments to enter the hair shaft. Chemical services such as coloring or permanent waving can be difficult to perform or processing time may take longer than normal. A clarifying treatment before processing will make the hair more receptive to the perm service.

Low porosity hair absorbs color at a slower rate than high porous hair because the hair shaft repels chemicals. Since such hair resists chemical services, color absorption may take longer than stated on the box.

Make sure to apply hair dye to perfectly clean hair because dirty hair is more resistant to chemicals than clean hair. Crystal Clarifying Treatment by Ion is designed to remove hard water and product build-up to prepare hair for chemical services.

Dying low-porosity hair may slightly increase the porosity level and make hair less resistant to penetration of hair products.

a beautiful young woman applying treatment to her low porosity hair

The Amazing Benefits of Jojoba Oil for Scalp and Hair

People with oily scalps and hair are often reluctant to use hair oils. This could be a mistake, especially when it comes to Jojoba oil. This oil can help balance sebum production and solve a problem with oily scalp. Jojoba oil is a miracle remedy for people with oily scalps and dry hair.

When applied to your scalp, jojoba oil rapidly soaks into the skin and sends a message to your oil glands: “Stop unnecessary sebum production, there is already enough moisture!” At the same time, jojoba oil keeps your scalp moist and nourished while preventing sebum accumulation in the pores.

If your hair is dry, you can use jojoba oil as a leave-in conditioner before blow drying to keep your hair moisturized, healthy, and lustrous. Unlike most commercial personal care products, this miracle oil doesn’t contain any chemicals that can harm your skin and hair.

a young woman applying jojoba oil to her hair

Uses of Jojoba Oil

In its purest form, jojoba oil has a wax-like structure, light golden color, and a subtle nut-like smell. Refined and bleached jojoba oil is a clear and odorless liquid that may have less active compounds. Jojoba oil is a rich source of potent nutrients that are highly beneficial for your skin and hair. Those nutrients include essential fatty acids, vitamin E, biotin, niacin, ferulic acid, silica, zinc, copper, and many other important antioxidants. Thanks to its amazing moisturizing and nourishing properties, this oil is one of the most important natural oils used to make beauty products.

Jojoba oil is highly resistant to oxidation and has less tendency to become rancid than other plant oils. It can be stored for at least 2 years before starts to degrade. Jojoba oil in a dark amber bottle has a prolonged shelf-life of up to five years.

1. Jojoba Oil for Hair Growth

Excessive buildup of sebum on the scalp can clog pores and block the opening of the hair follicle. This can cause hair to fall and interfere with normal hair growth. As a scalp cleanser, jojoba oil dissolves sebum deposits and removes the buildup created by hair products, leaving the pores clean. Clean pores allow nutrients to enter hair follicles to improve their functionality and stimulate hair growth.

Jojoba oil also may help with conditions that can cause hair fall such as scalp dermatitis, psoriasis, and eczema.

Jojoba oil closely resembles human sebum which gives it the ability to penetrate the scalp deeper than other oils and cleanse the blocked follicles that prevent hair from growing.

A scalp massage with jojoba oil boosts blood circulation in the scalp area. Increased blood supply to the scalp rejuvenates hair follicles and stimulates hair growth. Rub the oil between your palms, then apply it to the scalp and massage gently for several minutes, focusing on the areas with thinning hair. Leave the jojoba oil sitting for about 10-20 minutes before shampooing. You can also leave it in the hair overnight. Repeat the massage at least twice a week.

Add a few drops of jojoba oil to your regular shampoo to fight dullness, reduce breakage, and stimulate hair growth.

a cute girl applying jojoba oil to her long hair

2. Remedy for Dry Hair

Jojoba oil can be used to compensate for decreased sebum production due to aging, preventing hair from becoming dry, brittle, and dull. Jojoba oil forms a thin, protective layer around the hair shaft to help your hair retain moisture. This gives your hair a smooth texture and instant shine. Since jojoba oil is very similar in composition to human sebum, it is readily absorbed by the skin, which keeps your scalp from drying out.

This oil can be used as a leave-in conditioner when applied to clean, towel-dried hair. If your hair is dry and damaged by repeated coloring and bleaching, put a few drops of Jojoba oil into your hands, before blow drying, and run your fingers through your hair. Turn your head upside down and apply 1-2 drops to the ends of your hair. This will mend split ends much better than silicone-based serums, while adding shine and a velvety feel to your hair.

3. Jojoba Oil for Healthy Scalps

In addition to shampoo or lotion prescribed by your doctor, Jojoba oil can help with common scalp problems. This oil is often used to moisturize dry scalp, balance sebum production, and relieve problems related to clogged pores and blocked hair follicles.

Jojoba oil is non-allergenic and non-comedogenic, which means that it will not irritate your scalp or clog the pores. Due to its anti-inflammatory and mild antiseptic properties, this oil has a soothing effect on the irritated scalp.

If you suffer from a dry, itchy, and flaky scalp in the winter, massage the oil into the affected areas. To control scalp acne, massage jojoba oil into your scalp and leave it in for 10-20 minutes, and then clean it with shampoo.

a woman applying jojoba oil to the scalp

Jojoba oil helps balance sebum production and can be used to eliminate oily scalp problems. When applied to the scalp, it balances the level of sebum on a dry, as well as on an oily scalp. Due to its similarity to human sebum, the application of jojoba oil to the scalp causes overactive oil glands to produce less sebum.

The most common cause of “greasy dandruff” is excessive sebum secretions and accumulation on the scalp. Since jojoba oil is similar in structure to sebum, massaging the oil onto the scalp can effectively dissolve and clear the encrusted scales created by sebum over-accumulation, providing relief from dandruff.

Since Jojoba oil is an excellent scalp cleanser, people with psoriasis benefit from using this oil as a remedy for an itchy and irritated scalp. Putting the oil on scaly patches of skin helps clear the layers of dead skin cells, providing relief from soreness and itching.

4. Jojoba Oil for Beard Care

Jojoba oil is the perfect addition to a man’s beard routine. It helps the beard grow, keeps it soft, and eliminates dry, flaky skin. This oil also helps soothe painful, itchy feelings during early beard growth after a shave.

Apply a couple of drops of oil to your beard after showering to keep your beard feeling healthy and soft and to give it a nice shine.

How to Buy the Best Jojoba Oil?

Select 100% pure, unrefined, cold-pressed oil, because in such form it retains all the vital nutrients and beauty benefits. A dark bottle helps preserve the product for a very long period. The presence of the dropper will make the application easier and more hygienic.

The bottle of Jojoba oil

Proper Sun Protection for Your Hair

Human hair is very susceptible to damage when exposed to the sun. If your hair is dry, fine, or chemically treated, it will be more sensitive to sun damage than healthy hair. The chance of serious damage is more likely if your hair has been soaked in salt water and dried in the sun.

The pigment known as melanin, located in the hair cortex acts as a natural sunscreen. It protects the hair by filtering out the harmful sun rays. However, long periods of sun exposure can oxidize and degrade melanin granules, leaving your hair without its natural defense. That is why you must protect your sun-sensitive locks.


How Does the Sun Damage Your Hair?

Cute girl wearing a hat

The common unwanted effects of prolonged sun exposure on your hair include dryness, weakened structure, and color fading.

Dryness: Harmful sun rays destroy the protective coating of natural oils, making the hair look dull, dry, and porous. Sun damage is particularly noticeable on the outermost layers of the hair, called the cuticles. This layer receives the most damaging sun radiation. Once damaged, cuticles lose their ability to keep moisture inside the hair which results in excessive dryness.

The weakened protein structure: Lifted cuticles lead to increased porosity, split ends, and brittle strands. A damaged cuticle layer can’t protect the inner part of the hair shaft from external damage. The external aggressors, then, could reach the cortex and weaken protein bonds that are responsible for hair strength and elasticity. The outcome is an increased risk of hair breakage.

Color fading: Healthy hair cuticles reflect light and prevent UV rays from penetrating the pigment-containing inner cortex. A damaged cuticle cannot block UV rays from bleaching pigments in the hair cortex. The results are color fading and a lighter appearance of your hair.

Sun exposure reduces the color vibrancy of dyed hair as well as virgin hair. Gray hair is even more susceptible to damage when exposed to sunlight because white strands completely lack melanin in the follicle.

9 Simple Rules to Avoid Sun Damage to your Hair

1. Avoid exposing your hair to intense UV light. The sunlight is the strongest between 11 AM and 3 PM. When you’re going to spend the day outside, shield your hair and scalp from the sun by wearing a sun hat or a scarf. A quality sun hat creates shade to provide UV protection, but it still allows the hair and scalp pores to breathe.

2. When you plan to spend a day in the sun, wear protective styles such as braids to reduce hair exposure to the sun.

a girl with blonde braided hair

3. After each swim, use fresh water to remove the salt or chlorine from your hair.

4. Use sulfate-free color-safe shampoo and conditioner.

5. Use the lowest heat settings when drying and styling your locks to avoid further damage.

6. Apply a deep-conditioning treatment at least once a week to restore moisture levels and keep your hair strong and elastic.

a woman applying a deep conditioner

7. Use natural oils such as coconut, castor, or olive oil to provide gentle protection to your locks during periods in the sun. You can also purchase sun protection spray for hair made from UV protective oils such as AVEDA Sun Care Protective Hair Veil.

8. Avoid coloring your hair shortly before the summer holidays because the coloring process will make your hair more susceptible to sun damage. Also, because of sun exposure, you won’t enjoy your new color for a long time.

charming girl wearing a hat in the park

Sunscreens for Hair

UV-absorbing filters or sunscreens are infused into hair care products to neutralize the harmful effects of the sun’s rays on hair and to protect color pigments from fading.

To shield hair from sun damage, many companies offer complete product lines with sunscreens in their formulation. Their shampoos, rinse-off conditioners, masks, leave-in conditioners, and hairsprays contain UVA/UVB filters to provide a high level of sun protection.

To get full protection, use a wide-toothed comb to distribute the product evenly throughout your hair. You also need to re-apply it regularly throughout the day.

a woman applying sunscreen

Leave-in conditioning products with UV filters offer good sun protection and help retain moisture inside the hair.

Paul Mitchell Color Protect Locking Spray is made to protect your locks and prevent color fading when you are out in the sun.

A woman wearing a hat to protect the hair from the Sun

Scalp Sunscreens

Your scalp is quite sensitive to sun rays. Lack of protection from excessive sun exposure can cause dryness and sunburn. Make sure to apply a sunscreen spray to the sun-exposed areas of your scalp to prevent sunburns. 

Related product: Organic Scalp & Hair Sunscreen Mist by COOLA (SPF 30) is formulated with plant-based antioxidants and sunscreen to protect and nourish your hair and scalp.

After-Sun Hair Care

graceful blonde woman standing on sunny beach

1. After-Sun Shampoos

After-sun shampoos are designed to wash the hair after long sun exposure. These shampoos help to replenish lost moisture and wash out salt and sunscreen residue from your hair.

Some of the most popular brands include Redken Color Extend After Sun Shampoo, Kerastase Soleil Bain Apres Soleil After Sun Shampoo, and Bed Head Tigi Totally Beachin’ After Sun Shampoo.

2. After-Sun Hair Sprays

After Sun sprays are formulated to condition your hair and soothe your scalp after a long day in the sun. These sprays temporarily repair split ends, reduce breakage, and leave your hair soft, shiny, and manageable.

Related product: Sun Bum Revitalizing 3-in-1 Leave-In Conditioner Spray

How to Refresh Hair Color after Summer Holidays?

The best way to refresh your hair color after the summer holidays is to apply a hair gloss/glaze treatment. This treatment will impart shine and restore the tone of your original color until the next regular coloring service.

If you have blonde or gray hair, use a nourishing purple toning mask to get rid of brassy tones and keep your color bright.

A stunning woman using a hat to protect the hair

How to Properly Untangle Your Hair

Tangled hair can be frustrating, especially if you have naturally wavy or curly hair. Long, dry, and fine hair can also get tangled easily. High-porosity hair has a rough surface, so you are more likely to have matted hair if your hair is overly porous due to regular coloring and other chemical treatments. Dry porous strands rub against each other and become intertwined, forming tangles in your hair.

Simply put, detangling is the process of working tangles or knots out of your hair. Untangling matted hair can be a painful and time-consuming task. However, you must resist the urge to use too much pressure or rush through the process as this can lead to breakage, split ends, and damaged hair. When done properly, untangling makes styling easier, reduces the possibility of breakage, and helps to retain hair’s length.

hair types

The ideal frequency of hair detangling varies on hair type and texture. A good practice is to untangle your hair on washing days to get rid of shed hair caught within other hairs and also release tangles.

What’s the Best Way to Detangle Your Hair?

First, let me say that there is a good way to detangle your hair and a bad way to detangle your hair. What makes the difference is how much damage or breakage you cause as a result of doing it. If you’re being rough with your hair, and you’re ripping the brush through your hair, then then you’re causing a lot of damage to your hair, especially the ends. This will cause your hair to break off and will make your hair even more prone to tangling.

Finger combing or finger detangling is, by far, the best method since it causes the least breakage and makes it nearly impossible to be rough with your hair. Its biggest downside is it takes the most time to do, but if you’re willing to put in the time, I promise you it’ll be worth it.

A dark-skinned girl combing her matted hair

Here’s how to finger-comb your hair:

Start with wet hair with some conditioner in it. Take out a small section of hair and work from the ends, slowly trying to run your fingers through the length of your hair. When they snag, stop and try to pull apart the individual strands that have combined to form the knot. Try to loosen the hair around the knot and unravel it gently. To avoid putting too much stress on your scalp, hold a section of the hair with one hand while finger-combing your hair with the other hand. Once that section is detangled, twist, braid or pin it away.

a woman checking her tangled hair

Another really helpful way to work tangles out of your hair is to grab right under the tangle with one hand, making sure that you hold your hair taut. Then, use your other hand to split the hair above the tangle into two sections and use your fingers to push the sections in opposite directions. As you feel the tangle start to loosen, move the hand that was gripping the hair further away from the tangle, and hold your hair taut. Use your other hand to keep pushing the sections above the tangle apart.

Detangling Hair Care Products

Make sure to use the best detangling tools and products to manage knots without pulling or breaking off your hair.

Detangling Shampoo and Conditioner

Harsh, sulfate-based shampoos can cause dryness and increase porosity, resulting in tangle-prone hair. So, avoid sulfate-containing shampoo and use a mild, moisturizing shampoo to increase moisture retention and keep your hair feeling soft and silky.

Gently massage the scalp with the pads of your fingers and let the lather run down your hair. Try not to scrub your hair while washing it to prevent post-shower knots.

After rinsing out the shampoo, saturate your hair with conditioner and leave it on for a few minutes. The conditioner will decrease friction between hair strands and make your hair more slippery and easier to comb. Use a conditioner that has lots of slip for easier detangling and to provide silkiness and manageability. Consider products that are specifically designed to untangle knotted hair.

Detangling Leave-in Conditioners

Leave-in detanglers are formulated to moisturize and smooth your strands, unravel the knots, and prevent breakage.

When you apply a leave-in conditioner to towel-dried hair, comb through it again, to ensure that all the knots are out. If you meet resistance, gently work the tangle out. On days that you don’t wash your hair, apply a leave-in detangler before styling to give your hair more manageability. Select a product that will not coat your strands with chemicals or leave your hair feeling greasy. For your convenience choose a detangler that can be used on both wet and dry hair. 

Quality leave-in detanglers you should consider include Kinky-Curly Knot Today Leave-in Conditioner/Detangler, ENJOY Conditioning Spray, ORIBE Priming Lotion Leave-In Conditioning Detangler, Revlon Uniq One All in One Hair Treatment, and Cantu Care for Kids Conditioning Detangler.

Detangling Tools

Even though finger detangling is the preferred method, understandably, you may still want to use combs and brushes to detangle.

2. Wide-tooth combs. Fine-tooth combs, such as rat-tail combs should never be used for detangling. Opt for wide-tooth combs that are a lot gentler on wavy, curly, and coiled hair types. A sandalwood comb is another great tool to make the detangling process easier. It smells pleasant with a hint of sandalwood, so rest assured; it is 100% natural without any synthetic ingredients that could lead to underlying harm. The comb smoothly glides through the hair and tackles tangles, knots, and messes efficiently, reducing hair breakage.

2. Detangling brushes. These are brushes specially designed for women with curly hair to make detangling easier, faster, less damaging, and a lot less painful. Everybody and their mother has heard of the Tangle Teezer, EZ Detangling Brush, or Felicia Leatherwood Brush, and there’s a good reason for that: these brushes do work!

dark-skinned giirl doing finger detangling

Tangle Teezer The Original Detangling Brush is ideal for hair that gets knotted easily. It is suitable for all hair types and can be used either on wet or dry hair. It is conveniently sized to fit comfortably in your hand. Two-tiered bendable teeth allow the brush to glide through your hair and make it knot-free with minimal damage. The longer bristles gently remove tangles and knots while shorter bristles smooth the hair cuticle to provide extra shine.

How to Prevent Tangled Hair

  1. Try pre-shampoo treatments. If your hair is prone to knots and tangles, consider including a pre-poo treatment in your hair care regimen. An oil-based pre-shampoo treatment will create slip that helps reduce friction, minimize tangles, and lessen hair breakage.
  2. Use conditioner regularly. Use conditioner after every shampoo to smooth the cuticle layer of your hair. Properly conditioned hair is silky and pliable and is less likely to get knotted.
  3. Do deep conditioning. Deep condition your hair at least once a week to help restore natural moisture and oils and keep your hair smooth and easy to style.
  4. Consider changing your sleeping habits. Sleeping with your hair down causes it to easily get tangled, especially if you have long hair. To prevent hair strands from knotting while you sleep, loosely braid your hair or tie it up in a ponytail before you go to bed. Also, opt for a silk or satin pillowcase to lessen friction between your hair and the pillow to minimize knots and tangles.
  5. Protect your hair from windy weather. Cover your hair with a satin scarf or a hat on windy days to reduce exposure to wind and prevent your tresses from getting messed up. Braids are a good option during windy weather. You can let your hair down when you arrive at your destination.
  6. Trim your hair regularly. The roughness of dry and split ends contributes to knotty hair. Keep your strands healthy by trimming off split ends every 2-3 months.
  7. Use only quality hair accessories. Wear your hair up using only safe, non-damaging hair accessories. Avoid using uncovered elastic bands, and hair accessories with sharp edges, as they can cause damage, making your hair more prone to matting and knots.
a dark-skinned girl sleeping on a silk pillowcase

How to Reduce Heat Damage from Flat Ironing Your Hair

Flat irons are an extremely popular styling device that helps you get straight glossy hair without leaving your home. However, this styling tool that gives you that glamorous look can cause irreversible damage to your hair. The chances for hair damage increase if you use the appliance inappropriately, or when your hair is not adequately protected. Hair straighteners use extremely high temperatures (up to 450°F), which can fry your hair if you don’t use a heat protectant.

Signs of Heat Damaged Hair

The high heat from straightening irons can damage the cuticle layer, making strands porous and prone to frizz and split ends. Frequent heat straightening can deprive the hair of the vital moisture that keeps your strands elastic and strong.

The high temperatures during flat ironing can also weaken the hair’s internal protein structure, leaving your strands weak and prone to breakage.

Heat damage is hard to undo, and heat-destroyed hair cannot recover from the damage. Cutting it may be your only option to get rid of the damage.

A girl straightening the section of the hair with a flat iron

How to Prevent Heat Damage to Your Hair

Since heat-induced damage is irreversible, it is advisable to take proper precautions to prevent the damage from occurring. Here are some tips on how to use a flat iron without compromising the integrity of your hair.

1. Make Sure Your Hair is Completely Dry before Straightening

Your hair is most fragile and susceptible to damage when it’s wet. Flat ironing wet hair can lead to “bubble hair” unless you use a wet-to-dry flat iron. To reduce the amount of heat, consider letting your hair air dry instead of blow-drying it before flat ironing.

If you are busy and need to blow-dry your hair, make sure to thoroughly towel-dry it after washing using a highly absorbent towel. It is recommended to use an ionic hair dryer that helps lock in moisture, reduces drying time, and tames frizz. Blow-dry in a downward motion to make hair as straight as possible before starting the flat-ironing.

Wet & dry flat irons are designed to have an option for styling damp hair. The plates have holes or steam vents that remove water from your hair. An additional benefit is that drying and styling your hair at the same time can be less time-consuming than the traditional heat straightening method.

2. Do not Flat Iron your Hair Daily

Flat irons should be used in moderation. Less frequent heat straightening helps reduce the risk of heat damage and gives you healthier hair in the long run. For very fragile hair such as fine, color-treated, or relaxed hair, it is not advisable to use a flat iron more than once a month.

3. Flat Iron Clean Hair

Make sure your hair is clean and properly protected before you start heat straightening. When you apply heat to unwashed hair, styling product residue and dirt could fry your hair. Before you begin the straightening process, wash your hair using a moisturizing or smoothing shampoo and conditioner. Moisturizing ingredients help protect hair’s natural oils while smoothing components seal the cuticles and make it easier to achieve a straight, sleek style.

Also, make sure to clean your appliance regularly to remove dirt and product buildup from the plates.

A beautiful brunette using a flat iron to style her long hair

4. Purchase Quality Appliances

It’s worth investing in a quality appliance that can give you sleek hair without causing noticeable damage. High-quality flat irons require fewer passes to achieve the look that you are aiming for.

A professional-grade flat iron with tourmaline-infused ceramic plates is designed to evenly distribute heat and provide faster styling. Tourmaline-infused ceramic produces negative ions that seal the cuticle and protect hair from drying out. Be sure that your device is equipped with multiple heat settings, so you can control the heat level to be compatible with your hair type.

Vibrating flat irons use a combination of heat and vibration to glide smoothly over the section of the hair. Tiny vibrations reduce pulling and snagging, allowing for easier release of hair. This makes the heat straightening process faster and reduces the possibility of heat damage or breakage. This type of flat iron works best on thick, coarse hair.

Steam flat irons release steam from a built-in water tank to moisten the hair during straightening, so they are less likely to burn your hair than regular straighteners.

5. Select Appropriate Heat Settings

Use your flat iron moderately and adjust the heat level according to your hair texture and condition. Fine hair requires lower temperature settings than thick or coarse hair. If your hair is fine, select a temperature below 325°F. For medium hair texture and fairly healthy strands, the temperature should range between 300°F to 375°F.

Color-treated and chemically processed hair is more prone to heat damage than healthy hair. Thicker hair can handle temperatures ranging from 360 to 410 degrees. For curly hair, it is advisable to stay below 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hairdresser holding a hair straightener

6. Use Heat Protection Products

To minimize heat damage, always use a heat protectant before straightening your hair. These products fortify the hair with moisture and form a protective layer to defend hair against heat damage. Select a product formulated with natural and organic ingredients, as it will stay in your hair.

A heat protector should be applied to clean, damp hair to be absorbed into the hair shaft. Comb your hair with a wide-toothed comb to remove tangles and to evenly spread the product from the roots to the ends. This will enable the plates to glide smoothly and prevent the hair from getting caught.

If you have fine or oily hair, select a lightweight heat defender spray that will leave your hair feeling weightless. The quality nozzle is crucial for even spreading and avoiding product waste or build-up.

7. Use Bond Building Products

Bond Building treatments help to repair hair damage from heat styling and chemical treatments. You can go to the salon to get a stand-alone reparative bond multiplying treatment or you can use at-home bond reinforcing products that are designed to maintain the result achieved by the salon treatment. You can also purchase bond-reinforcing products in the form of shampoos, conditioners, leave-in masks, and smoothing serums. Incorporating these innovative products in your hair care routine helps your hair to recover from previous damage and become more resilient to future damage from hot styling tools, chemicals, and environmental stressors.

8. Section your Hair

For an easier and more efficient straightening process, divide your hair into sections and twist them up using large clips. Divide those large sections into smaller, easy-to-manage portions, based on the size of your plates. Clip up all the sections of hair except the one you have released to work on. Begin from the lower sections of your hair, sliding the iron down the section, and continue to the top focusing on one piece at a time. The section you work on should be small enough to pass between the plates easily. Straightening too much hair at a time may require extra passes which will increase the possibility of heat damage.

9. Keep your Straightening Iron Moving

Keep your hot appliance in constant motion. Don’t let the appliance sit in one spot for more than 3 seconds, as keeping the iron in one spot or running it too slowly will increase the likelihood of heat damage. Try to straighten each section in a single pass. If you need to go through the same section more than once, take a small break between passes to reduce the chances of heat damage to a minimum.

a fashion woman with heat straightened hair

Using Clay for Washing Your Hair

Is Clay Good for Hair?

Clay has been used for cosmetic purposes since ancient times. The cleansing and soothing properties of clay and the absence of chemicals have made it increasingly popular among people who prefer natural beauty products. Today, clay is a must-have product in any nature-inspired beauty regimen.

This nature-made material is rich in minerals and nutrients, which makes it beneficial for all skin types. Cosmetic clays have clarifying properties and can remove excess oils, dirt, and chemicals from the skin and hair.

This powerful detoxifier is negatively charged, so it can attract positively charged ions, toxins, and product build-up in the hair and scalp. When mixed with water, clay draws out impurities and excess oils from the skin and hair.  It helps to unclog pores and gently exfoliates the scalp, relieving dandruff and hair loss issues.

Clay also softens hair, helps with detangling, and enhances curl patterns, which makes it a favorite product for women with natural hair.

Cosmetic clay in bowls

Clays for Washing the Hair

Washing hair with clay is a growing trend, as many people are switching to a natural hair care regimen to avoid the toxic chemicals you can find in commercial hair care products. There are various types of clay on the hair care market, but Bentonite, Rhassoul, and Kaolin clays are the most commonly used for cleansing natural hair.

1. Bentonite Clay

Bentonite Clay Sliding Down Rocks

Bentonite clay is formed by volcanic activities and was first found in Fort Benton in the USA.  This is a great therapeutic clay that may be consumed for detoxing and revitalizing the entire body or applied topically to cleanse and detox the skin and hair.

Bentonite clay is highly absorbent and has a strong attraction to positively charged chemicals, toxins, and impurities. This property makes it perfect for cleansing and detoxifying skin and hair.

Bentonite Clay Hair Mask

Here is a simple recipe to create your own bentonite clay mask:

  • 1 cup of bentonite clay
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar

You can add a tablespoon of your favorite hair oil for extra benefits. Add more water to get the desired consistency. Leave the mask on for 5-20 minutes, then rinse it thoroughly.

Bentonite Clay Benefits for Hair

  • It thoroughly clarifies the hair and takes away product buildup, excess oil, dirt, and everything bad from your scalp and hair.
  • It keeps follicles clean and strengthens hair. It also hydrates the scalp and relieves dandruff.
  • High levels of mineral elements, such as calcium, silica, iron, and potassium, help condition and soften the hair.
  • Bentonite clay makes detangling easier, reduces frizz, increases curl definition, imparts shine, and makes hair more manageable.

2. Rhassoul Clay

Rhassoul clay, also known as ghassoul clay or Moroccan red clay, is a reddish-brown clay that originates from Morocco. This nutritious mineral clay has been traditionally used in Morocco for skin and hair care. Moroccan red clay is a highly regarded beauty product, due to its strong purifying and cleansing abilities and therapeutic benefits.  It blends easily with water, forming a smooth, silky paste, which is an excellent cleanser for the skin and hair.

Rhassoul Clay Benefits for Hair

  • Moroccan red clay gently cleanses the hair, without depleting protective natural oils from the hair and scalp. It also conditions your hair, leaving it moisturized and soft after washing.
  • Rhassoul clay soothes the scalp, due to its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. It reduces dryness and flakiness and provides relief from dandruff and psoriasis.
  • It removes excess oil, unblocks clogged pores, and creates the optimal environment for healthy hair growth.
  • Due to its high mineral content, this clay eliminates the need for deep conditioning after washing hair. It acts as a detangler for natural hair and helps define and soften waves and curls.

3. Kaolin Clay

White kaolin clays deposits

Kaolin clay, also called China clay, is widely used in the cosmetic industry. Kaolin clay has the lowest pH and has the gentlest cleansing action among all clays.

It gently removes impurities from the scalp and hair, without stripping natural oils, and is ideal for people with dry or sensitive skin. Its absorptive capacity is not significant. However, if you have dry hair, this clay may be the right choice.

Kaolin clay is available in several colors, based on the mineral constituents.

Kaolin Clay Benefits for Hair

  • This clay gently cleanses hair and scalp, without excessive drying.
  • It stimulates blood circulation and gently exfoliates the scalp while cleansing.
  • Kaolin clay strengthens hair, improves elasticity, and helps repair damaged hair.
  • It soothes the scalp, helps treat dandruff, and encourages hair growth.
Black woman with curly hair and bright red lips

Clay Wash Vs. Hair Shampoo

  1. The strong ionic negative charge gives the clay its ability to draw out impurities from the hair. Many cleansing and conditioning properties make it a great alternative to commercial hair shampoos. Clay is rich in minerals and nutrients and can offer benefits that regular shampoos can’t provide. Clays can be used for washing hair regardless of hair type.
  2. If you are fed up with chemical-laden shampoos, incorporate clay into your hair care regimen. Clay washes are natural and free of harsh cleansing agents, preservatives, fragrances, mineral oils, and other synthetic ingredients.
  3. If you are going no-poo, you need deep cleaning, occasionally.  A clay mask will clarify and detox your hair and scalp, without the excessive drying associated with clarifying shampoos.
  4. Some clays will clarify and condition your hair at the same time. Clay provides a nutrient boost to your hair and leaves it feeling soft and easier to detangle.
  5. Washing with some clays makes the scalp healthier, offering relief to people who suffer from itchiness, dandruff, and psoriasis.
  6. Clay is naturally biodegradable and will not pollute water systems and rivers.

The Downsides of Washing Hair with Clay

Washing your hair with clay is less convenient than using regular shampoos. The process can get really messy. Plus, it can be hard to thoroughly wash out clay from the hair, especially if you have high porosity hair.

two bowls with clay masks for hair

How to Wash Your Hair with Clay

Mix 1-2 tablespoons of clay powder with water in a non-metallic container. For long or very curly hair, you need to add more clay and make the mixture thinner, but not runny.

Wet your hair as you do before shampooing, then apply the mixture to the hair. Saturate hair thoroughly and make sure to reach your scalp. Massage the scalp for a few minutes. Rinse hair thoroughly, using plenty of running water; otherwise, the tiny clay particles can remain in your hair.

Helpful Tips

  • Use only non-metallic utensils and bowls when mixing clay with water, as the metal may interact with clay lessening its effectiveness.
  • Make sure that the clay doesn’t dry on your hair; otherwise, it will be difficult to get it out of the hair.
  • Add a few drops of argan oil to the mixture to help impart shine or add some other oils of your preference for conditioning benefits.
  • Most clays have much higher alkalinity than your hair. Use apple cider vinegar rinse to restore your hair’s natural pH balance after washing it with clay.
Dark skinned woman with coiled hair

What Is The Best Leave-in Conditioner for Your Hair Type?

Leave-in conditioners come in a wide variety of formulas to meet different individual needs. The right leave-in conditioner can make combing and styling hair easier, calm down frizz, and add luster to your locks. When purchasing a leave-in conditioner, look for a product formulated with natural ingredients and one that will suit your hair type.

Look for Key Ingredients!

When you’re picking a leave-in conditioner for your hair, take a look at the ingredient list on the product label. You may need to do a little research to be able to recognize ingredients that are unsafe and ensure that the product you have chosen is good for your hair and overall health.

Opt for a leave-in product that is made of natural and organic ingredients because the product will stay in your hair for a while. Your leave-in conditioner should be formulated without sulfates, parabens, or silicones. Parabens can cause allergic reactions while sulfates can cause skin irritation and strip away the color from your hair.

Be careful with products that have the term “fragrance” in the ingredient list, as it may hide highly toxic ingredients like dimethyl phthalate, which is often added to fragrances. Opt for a product that states “phthalate-free” on the label. Also, stay away from products that contain mineral oil, propylene glycol, and drying alcohols.

a young woman using a leave-in conditioner

Determine Your Hair Type!

Before purchasing a leave-in conditioner, it can be of great help if you know your particular hair type. Choose a product that is compatible with your hair type and is designed to combat the problems associated with your hair.

If your hair is more on the oily side, consider a lightweight leave-in treatment that can make styling easier without leaving your hair looking greasy. Using a rinse-out conditioner after every shampooing can make your strands appear even greasier. If you have a greasy scalp, but dry hair at the ends, focus on the parts of your hair that need conditioning.

Leave-in Conditioner for Fine Hair

If you have fine or thin hair, avoid creamy leave-in conditioners as they can add weight to fine hair. Consider a lightweight leave-in spray that provides the right amount of moisture without making fine hair look lifeless and flat. Opt for a lightweight conditioning spray that gives your hair more body and adds glossy shine. Make sure that you use an appropriate amount of the product, as using too much can weigh your hair down.

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Evolvh SmartVolume Leave-In Conditioner is a lightweight, water-based hair spray that helps strengthen fine hair strands and acts as a detangler and volumizer for fine hair. It reduces frizz and flyaways and gives the appearance of thick, fuller hair without adding weight. The formula is 100% vegan and is not tested on animals.

Leave-in Conditioner for Dry Hair

A leave-in conditioner is a miracle product for someone with dry and frizzy hair as it can replenish dry hair with moisture and provides all-day nourishment and hydration. Dry hair responds well to creamy leave-in conditioners, that could be too heavy for other hair types. Moisturizing leave-in treatments with natural oils and emollients add luster and shine to dry hair and provide relief for dry scalps.

AG Hair Fast Food Leave-On Conditioner is a lightweight leave-in product formulated for frizzy, thick, or coarse hair. The product also gives body and volume to thin fine hair. Despite having a thick, creamy consistency, it doesn’t leave hair greasy or oily looking.

AG Moisture leave-in conditioner contains humectants and ultra-light Abyssinian oil that work to moisturize dry, lifeless hair. Silk amino acids and hydrolyzed keratin add strength and elasticity while cetrimonium chloride helps neutralize static. The product prevents knotting, mends split ends and tames frizz during humid summer days. It helps reduce breakage, giving your hair a chance to grow longer. This leave-in product works best when you apply it to damp hair. It is formulated without parabens, salt, PABA, DEA, and gluten. The entire AG product line is cruelty-free.

Leave-in Treatment for Over-Processed Hair

If your hair is severely damaged by excessive use of heat styling tools and chemical treatments, a leave-in treatment with argan oil, Shea butter, or coconut extract will nourish hair and help repair damaged strands. Some keratin-infused leave-in treatments are formulated to restore keratin proteins and rebuild the strength and elasticity of damaged hair.

Briogeo Rosarco Milk Reparative Leave-In Conditioning Spray is formulated to add gloss and life to damaged, dry, breaking, or lifeless hair. This formula is made up of 95% naturally-derived ingredients. The spray is enriched with a unique complex of argan, coconut, and rosehip oils and offers protection and nourishment without weighing hair down. It protects the hair against free radicals and sun damage and acts as a barrier against heat. This ultra-lightweight leave-in spray doesn’t contain parabens, silicone, phthalates, gluten, synthetic fragrances, and dyes. It is cruelty-free and vegan-friendly.

Leave-in Conditioner for Curly Hair

a dark-skinned girl with leave-in conditioner in her hair

Leave-in hair conditioners can work miracles for curly hair because, by nature, this type of hair requires a lot more moisture than straight hair. Curly hair is extra sensitive to damaging influences, so it needs constant hydration and requires specific care to stay healthy. Leave-in treatments for curly hair work to soften unruly hair, remove tangles, and provide optimal curl hydration.

If you have curly hair, go for a thicker, creamier leave-in product that will soften and smooth hair strands. A leave-in treatment for curly hair contains moisturizing and lubricating ingredients as well as sealants to lock moisture and reduce friction. Apply your leave-in product after regular hair washing and conditioning and enjoy long-lasting, soft, and perfectly defined curls.

Wet N Wavy Tangle Free Leave-in Conditioner can be used as a detangler for synthetic and human hair weaves or a daily leave-in conditioner and curl-definer. This lightweight formula provides good slip, making combing a breeze.

This product is formulated with a special blend of conditioning agents and emollients to lock in moisture, add softness, and revive dry and lifeless curls. It tames dry ends and makes hair shinier and more manageable.

Leave-In Treatment for Color-Treated Hair

A woman with conditioned color-treated hair

To keep your color-treated hair looking shiny and vibrant, use a leave-in conditioner designed specifically for color-treated hair. Look for products advertised as “color safe”, “color extending”, or “sulfate-free”. These products contain SPF as well as other color-protecting ingredients capable of preserving the integrity and brightness of your color for a longer period of time.

Pureology Colour Fanatic Hair Treatment Spray with 21 Benefits is a lightweight, UV-protecting leave-in hair spray formulated with plant extract and enriched with powerful antioxidants and anti-fading agents. It eliminates tangles, protects hair from environmental damage, and helps slow color fading.

Leave in Conditioners for Men

One of the features that make the main difference between the woman’s and man’s leave-in conditioner is the scent. Leave-in conditioners for men either have a masculine scent or have no scent at all.  A scented leave-in conditioner usually has notes of pine, sandalwood, cedarwood citrus, and vanilla.

Some of these leave-in products contain hair growth ingredients to help with hair thinning. Many leave-in conditioners can also be used on beard hair.

a man with healthy hair nourished with leave-in conditioner

What is Leave-In Conditioner and What It Can Do for Your Hair?

A leave-in conditioner is a hair care product that is supposed to be applied to freshly washed hair before styling. Unlike a regular conditioner, a leave-in conditioner stays on your hair until the next wash.

A leave-in conditioner conditions every strand of your hair to restore moisture and softness and prepare your locks for styling. People with all types of hair can benefit from using leave-in conditioning treatments but the best candidates are those with dry, frizzy, and over-processed hair.

This product comes in different forms, such as liquids, creams, or sprays. Some lightweight formulas can also be used on dry hair between washes to restore lost moisture and increase hair manageability.

Brunette hair nourished with a leave-in conditioner

Benefits of Using a Leave-In Conditioner

1. Moisturizes Dry Hair
The main purpose of leave-in conditioners is to provide intense moisture and hydration to your hair. These products are great for kinkier hair types, that need more moisture than a regular conditioner can provide. Leave-in conditioners typically contain humectants that help hydrate and soften dry strands and make them more elastic and stronger. Water-based leave-in conditioners penetrate the hair strand easier than oil-based products and leave hair feeling hydrated and nourished for longer.

2. Detangles Knotted Hair
A good leave-in conditioner contains ingredients that add slip and softness to unruly hair and makes detangling time shorter. If your hair tangles and knots easily, this product helps to release knots and makes hair brushable and easy to style. This helps reduce breakage and retain hair length.

woman styling long hair with hair dryer round brush

3. Makes Hair More Responsive to Styling
A leave-in conditioner can improve the manageability of your hair, making it easier to style with a blow dryer or a flat iron. It contains ingredients that add texture to the hair and enhance the styling results. This product provides a flexible hold to curly hair and adds that beautiful bounce to your curls. You can reapply it throughout the day to re-moisturize your curls and refresh your style.

4. Protects Hair from Environmental Damage
Too much sun exposure and frequent swimming in chlorinated pools can dehydrate hair, causing color fading, brittleness, and split ends. A generous application of a leave-in conditioner before swimming will keep the chlorine and salt from damaging your hair.

Extreme winter cold outside, followed by dry heat indoors can raise the cuticle and leave hair rough and dry. Leave-in conditioner coats every strand to protect your hair from cold and dry air.

5. Acts as a Barrier Against Heat
Before blow-drying or using hot irons, you need to use a heat protectant to protect your tresses from the damaging effects of heat. Many leave-in conditioners act as heat protectants, providing an extra layer of protection against heat damage. Apply a leave-in conditioner before styling to keep the moisture in your hair and prevent split ends caused by styling.

a woman flat ironing her hair after applying a leave-in conditioner

6. Adds Luster to Color-Treated Hair
A leave-in conditioning treatment revitalizes and smoothes damaged color-treated hair and protects it from harmful sun rays and other environmental factors that can lead to dullness and discoloration. It increases the vibrancy of hair color and leaves your locks with a gorgeous shine. There are special leave-in conditioners formulated for colored hair, that help to seal the color in and make it last longer.

7. Combats Frizz
If you’re dealing with dry and frizzy hair, there is a good chance that you will benefit from adding a leave-in conditioner to your hair care regimen. A good leave-in conditioning treatment provides lasting frizz control by locking moisture in the hair shaft. This product also helps tame flyaway hair caused by static electricity during dry winters.

To keep frizz under control, use a rinse-out conditioner with humectants and apply a leave-in conditioner either to damp or dry hair according to the directions on the bottle.

Differences between Leave-In and Rinse-Out Hair Conditioners

Both types of conditioners help retain hair moisture and soften hair texture for easier combing and styling. Although both products serve the same basic purpose, a leave-in conditioner is not the same as a rinse-out conditioner. It is formulated differently and should be used differently. Here are the primary differences between these two types of conditioners:


Rinse-out hair conditioner is used in the shower just after you rinse out your shampoo and it is supposed to be left in your hair for a couple of minutes. After that time, the product should be rinsed out thoroughly. Otherwise, it can weigh hair down and cause product build-up in your hair.

A leave-in hair conditioner is supposed to stay in the hair for a significant time without rinsing. It is usually applied to towel-dried hair, but there are also lightweight leave-in spray conditioners that you can spray onto dry hair between shampooings. A leave-in conditioner is generally used in smaller amounts than a regular conditioner.


Rinse-out conditioners coat the hair’s outer layer, add softness, and help repair damage done by harsh shampoos. They provide moisture by replacing the vital oils in your hair that are lost during the shampooing process. These products also make detangling easier and help tame frizz.
Leave-in conditioners moisturize dry hair and make it softer, smoother, and shinier. They serve as detanglers, styling products, and heat protectants. A leave-in conditioner is one of the most widely used hair products to protect curly hair from dryness.


Regular conditioners are thicker and heavier than leave-in treatments. They coat the hair strand with a thick layer that sticks to your tresses after rinsing it out.
Leave-in hair treatments are designed to be more watery and lighter compared to rinse-out conditioners.


Typical ingredients in rinse-out conditioners include fatty acids, surfactants, fatty alcohols, proteins, silicone, plant oils, and high molecular weight silicones.
Leave-in conditioners contain a high level of humectants that attract moisture into the hair. They often contain glycerin, which keeps hair hydrated and lubricated, and volatile silicones, which give your hair shine and smoothness.

How to Use a Leave-in Hair Conditioner?

A leave-in treatment is commonly applied after hair washing. This product works best on damp hair, providing your strands with all the benefits it can offer. You only need to apply a small amount focusing on the ends and other dry areas. A leave-in conditioner also can be sprayed onto toweled dry hair and then combed through the ends. If you have very fine hair, apply a nickel-sized amount on the ends only. After applying the leave-in conditioner, you can style your hair as usual.

Lightweight leave-in sprays are suitable for applying to dry hair between washes to restore moisture and revive the hairstyle.

If you use leave-in hair treatments with silicones, use a good clarifying shampoo occasionally to remove any unwanted residue left behind.

Blonde woman with long curly hair

Is Co-Washing Good for Your Hair?

What is Co-Washing?

Co-washing is short for conditioner-only washing and basically means washing your hair using conditioner instead of shampoo.

Too frequent shampooing can seriously dry out the scalp and hair. Dry hair is prone to frizz and breakage, especially if it is texturized or color-treated.

Co-washing helps to improve the natural moisture balance of dry, frizzy, and chemically treated hair. Conditioner washing makes thick, and coarse hair softer and easier to style.

Co-washing can be done in addition to your current hair shampooing routine, or it can be used in place of shampooing with the occasional use of a clarifying shampoo.

What are the Benefits of Co-Washing?

a beautiful African girl with co-washed hair

Here are a few of the benefits that will go with co-washing:

  1. Conditioner washing is much gentler on the hair than shampooing and can be performed more frequently.
  2. Prevents the depletion of your hair’s natural oils, keeping hair soft, more manageable, and less frizzy
  3. Allows for better hydration of your hair and scalp, so your hair stays moisturized and nourished
  4. Makes hair softer and easier to detangle, which means there are less tension and breakage during the combing
  5. Helps create beautifully defined curls and waves
  6. Co-washing is gentle on color-treated hair and keeps hair color looking fresh and vibrant between coloring services.


Even though co-washing can be really beneficial, it’s not advisable to only co-wash for extended periods of time. You need to use an actual shampoo (sulfate-free or not) to cleanse your scalp and strands every so often. Try to use shampoo after every 2 co-wash wash days. If you don’t use any shampoo, you’ll likely experience product buildup, which will make your hair feel dry and keep it from being able to absorb products properly, making your products ineffective.

How to Co-Wash Your Hair?

Before you start with your co-washing routine, clarify your hair and scalp by using a sulfate-free shampoo to remove dirt, excess oil, and product buildup.

Completely soak your hair with water before applying conditioner, because wet hair better releases debris and other impurities. Apply a generous amount of a moisturizing conditioner in the same way you would apply your shampoo. Use your fingers to massage the conditioner into your scalp, and then scrub your strands working evenly through your hair in a downward motion. Use a wide-tooth comb to distribute the conditioner from roots to ends.

Apply more product on the ends, which tend to be the driest part of your hair that needs additional moisture. Let the conditioner sit on your hair for three to five minutes before rinsing (five to 10 minutes for extra curly and frizzy hair). It is important to thoroughly rinse your hair to remove the co-washing product because the conditioner residue can leave your hair looking dull and lifeless. Use warm water to rinse. Hot water can be damaging to hair.

Adding co-washing into your hair care routine once a week will be just enough to reduce the drying effects of over-washing. Be sure to clarify every few weeks to remove product build-up, mineral deposits, debris, dirt, and other impurities.

a dark-skinned girl with co-washed hair sitting in a park

Hair Types that May Benefit from Co-Washing

1. Dry and Brittle Hair

If your hair and scalp are on the drier side, co-washing will soften your hair and keep your scalp moisturized. If your hair is very dry, you can use a cleansing conditioner in place of regular shampoo, every time you wash your hair. Be sure to use sulfate-free clarifying shampoo once a week to remove any buildup that can accumulate on your hair and scalp.

If you have moderately dry hair, alternate between co-washing and shampooing.

2. Curly Hair

Conditioner washing is a great solution for textured hair, as too-frequent shampooing can strip curly hair of much-needed natural oils.
Washing with conditioner helps refresh your curls without stripping hair of its precious natural moisture. In addition to infusing curly hair with moisture, co-washing helps with detangling and combing. It makes curly hair more manageable and helps create beautifully nourished waves and curls.

3. Colored Hair

Conditioner washing keeps the colored hair from over-drying and slows down the fading process. Using conditioner for washing instead of shampoo prevents stripping away pigments and leaves your hair shiny and healthy-looking.

A beautiful African girl with colored hair

4. Relaxed Hair

Co-washing is an excellent way to restore the moisture in your hair and scalp after chemical treatments like relaxers. Co-washing keeps relaxed hair from drying and falling off.

Not Suitable for Everyone’s Hair

The following are some hair types and conditions when co-washing is not the best choice:

1. Fine and Straight Hair

If your hair is thin and fine, co-washing will make it appear flat and oily. If your hair is fine and dense you can try alternating first. Apply conditioner to the mid-shaft and the ends. When applied close to the scalp, the conditioner can weigh your hair down.

2. Oily Hair

You may not see the full benefits of co-washing if you have oily hair. Oily hair needs shampoo to remove excess oil, and co-washing won’t do it.

3. Product Build-Up

If you regularly use styling products with silicone, mineral oil, and petroleum, occasional shampooing is essential to thoroughly cleanse your hair and prevent product buildup.

4. Scalp Problems

If you are experiencing scalp issues, co-washing may worsen existing problems. If you’re prescribed a shampoo that is designed for severe scalp conditions, stick to your regular shampooing routine and consult your doctor before you start experimenting.

 blonde woman playing with her fine co-washed hair

Should You Be Using Silicone-Free Shampoo and Conditioner?

Silicone is a plastic-like material that works as an emollient providing slip and silky feel to hair. Silicone-containing hair products can make dry, lackluster hair look and feel smooth and shiny. The silicones form a waterproof coating around the hair shaft that repels humidity, reduces frizz, and tames unruly strands.

You can spot silicones on a product label by their name ending in “cone,” “conol,” “col,” or “xane,”. The most frequently used silicones in hair products are cyclomethicone and dimethicone. Silicones are commonly used in hair conditioners and slightly less frequently in hair shampoos, and styling products.

Brunette beautiful woman touching long curly healthy hair

What do Silicones Do to Your Hair?

Silicone in hair products acts as a filler and forms a thin film around the strands. This coating reduces porosity and prevents internal moisture from escaping. This way, silicones help to tame frizzy hair, giving it a silky softness and shine. Silicones also reduce friction and make hair smoother, easier to comb, and less prone to tangling.

Silicones can be beneficial for some hair types, but they are not suitable for everyone. They work best for people with frizzy, overly porous, and unruly hair. Silicones make unruly hair softer, less frizzy, and more manageable.

However, individuals with naturally curly hair should be more conscious when choosing their hair products. The film that silicones form around the hair may prevent the moisture and active ingredients in hair products from entering the hair shaft. This can reduce the effectiveness of nourishing hair treatments that are essential for dry curly hair.

People with fine hair also should avoid silicone-containing products because this ingredient can weigh down fine hair.

Brunette beautiful woman long curly smooth hair

The Dark Side of Silicones in Hair Products

The positive effects that silicones have on hair are just aesthetic and temporary. Despite giving the temporary illusion of healthy hair silicones can do more harm than good in the long run.

As noted above, the waterproof film around the hair strands blocks moisture and nourishing ingredients in conditioners and hair treatments from penetrating your hair shaft. Hair that lacks moisture and conditioning treatments can become dull and brittle.

Some silicones can build up in the hair over time leaving your strands weighed down and heavy. The polymer film also tends to attract dust and dirt, leaving your hair feeling greasy and “dirty.”

Some silicones can’t be removed by mild shampoos or co-washing which has become a trend among curly-haired people. Using strong shampoos that can strip silicones deposited in the hair can dry out delicate curly locks.

Which Silicones Are Bad for Your Hair?

Bad silicones are not soluble in water and tend to build up in the hair. They can be removed from the hair only by using shampoos that have strong sulfate-based detergents. The group of non-water-soluble silicones includes Dimethicone, Cetyl Dimethicone, Cetearyl Methicone, Dimethiconol, Stearyl Dimethicone, Bis-Phenyl Propyl Dimethicone, Propyl Dimethiconestearyl Dimethicone, Behenoxy Dimethicone, Stearoxy Dimethicone, Cyclomethicone, Dimethiconol Hydroxy Stearate, Amodimethicone, Trimethylsilylamodimethicone, Polysilicon-18 Cetyl Phosphate, and Cyclopentasiloxane.

Sulfate- and Silicone-Free Shampoos and Conditioners

A young woman washes the hair with a silicone-free smoothing shampoo

If you opt for a silicone-free hair care routine, start with selecting hair shampoo and conditioner formulated without silicones. If your goal is weightless and bouncy hair, this is a good start. Also, make sure that your shampoo is sulfate-free, so it will cleanse your hair without stripping its natural moisture.

The following is a list of sulfate-free and silicone-free shampoos and conditioners that have a temporary smoothing effect on the hair.

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1. ALTERNA BAMBOO Smooth Anti-Frizz Shampoo

This gentle formula moisturizes and strengthens hair while keeping frizz at bay. It is designed for all hair types but is especially suitable for chemically processed and frizz-prone hair. This ultra-caring shampoo makes your hair more resistant to humidity and leaves it with a smooth, frizz-free finish.

Bamboo extract keeps hair strong and helps reduce breakage, while organic kendi oil locks in moisture and tames frizz and static.

This shampoo is color-safe and free of harsh sulfates, parabens, silicones, and sodium chloride.

2. Living Proof No Frizz Shampoo and Conditioner (available at Walmart)

A team of biomedical scientists based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, invented and patented new molecules that create an invisible shield around each hair strand to lock in moisture-proof smoothness.

Healthy Hair Molecule (OFPMA) blocks humidity, repels dirt and oil, and creates healthier hair over time. This molecule polishes hair strands and eliminates frizz-causing surface friction.

PBAE molecule creates a microscopic pattern of thickening dots on every hair strand which helps build body and volume without stiff, sticky resins. This new frizz-taming technology is clinically proven to be 70% more effective in reducing frizz than silicone- and oil-based hair care products. If you live in a very humid climate or spend a lot of time in humid areas, this duo will make your hair look better than usual in these places. In combination with leave-in conditioner and styling gel, they can produce even greater results. 

3. Devacurl No-poo Cleanser & One Conditioner

This combo is designed for curly hair which tends to be drier and more susceptible to damage than straight hair. These products are formulated with natural ingredients and are free of silicone, parabens, and sulfates. They have a pleasant minty smell.
The shampoo doesn’t create a rich lather but it effectively removes dirt, without stripping natural hair oils. It also makes hair softer, silkier, and more manageable. The conditioner keeps hair hydrated and tangle-free.

4. L’Oreal Paris EverSleek Sulfate-Free Smoothing System

This sulfate and silicone-free shampoo and conditioner duo is designed to smooth unruly, frizzy hair. It is formulated with natural argan, sunflower, and olive oils that help to improve texture and control frizz. Both products are safe for colored and chemically straightened hair.

This system gently cleanses hair leaving it softer, shinier, and tangle-free. It controls frizz for up to 48 hours.

5. Aveda Smooth Infusion Shampoo

This daily cleansing shampoo is formulated with plant ingredients to soften hair up to 60%, leaving it feeling smooth and silky.  It works great on unruly, curly, frizzy, tangled, and uncontrollable hair.

For hair that is naturally straight, it minimizes flyaways and adds shine.

Aveda shampoo makes curls soft and frizz-free. It also makes it easier to straighten hair.

smiling brunette woman with long curly hair

How to Properly Use a Clarifying Shampoo

There is a time when your hair feels lifeless and weighed down even if you’ve washed it. No matter what you do, it still looks untidy. Well, then it’s probably time to clarify.

All of the mousses, gels, hairsprays, and even your regular shampoo and conditioner can leave residue on your hair and scalp over time. Some hair products contain silicone that isn’t water-soluble. This type of silicone can’t be washed away by regular shampoo and tend to coat your strands.

Clarifying shampoo is formulated to remove dulling residues that can cause bad hair days. Clarifying shampoo dissolves the layers of products sitting on the surface of hair strands and gives your hair a healthy-looking fresh start.

a woman with buildup in her hair

Hard water in your area and the chlorine in swimming pools can deposit hard water minerals and chlorine residue in your hair. To remove buildup from minerals and chlorine, you need to use a chelating shampoo, which is a bit stronger than conventional clarifying shampoos. Chelating shampoos are formulated to remove minerals such as calcium and magnesium that can build up on your hair

How Do Clarifying Shampoos Work?

Clarifying shampoo contains a higher proportion of cleansing agents than your regular shampoo and doesn’t contain conditioning agents. The majority of clarifying shampoos on the market contain acetic acid, a mild, acidic chemical compound that is known for its descaling capabilities. Acetic acid is also contained in vinegar, which is used to de-scale household appliances, etc. In the same manner, the acetic acid in clarifying shampoo helps remove the buildup in hair that makes it feel oily, heavy, and unmanageable.

When to Clarify Hair?

young pretty woman massages her hair with a clarifying shampoo

If you use a lot of hair care products, your hair will benefit from using a clarifying shampoo. The following are the four most obvious signs that you have lots of buildups:

  1. Your favorite shampoo doesn’t seem to be cleaning your hair as well as it used to. Your hair doesn’t look fresh and bouncy after washing.
  2. Your strands are breaking/splitting more than normal. Your strands lose elasticity because the water/moisture can’t penetrate inside.
  3. Your hair is hard to style no matter which styling product you use.
  4. Your hair has turned green after swimming in chlorinated water.
Woman after washing the hair with a clarifying shampoo

How Often Should You Clarify your Hair?

The optimal frequency of clarifying depends on how many styling products you use, the quality of water in your area, and how often you go swimming.

If you use a lot of styling products, go swimming regularly, and/or live in a hard water area, you should clarify your hair more than twice a month.

If your hair gets oily fast, (in addition to the previously mentioned reasons) you should consider using a gentle clarifying shampoo on a weekly basis.

If you live in an area with soft water and use hair products in small quantities, you only need to clarify when your hair starts to show signs of product build-up. The majority of people only need to use a clarifying shampoo once a month. 

How to Clarify Color-Treated Hair?

beautiful woman with clean color-treated hair

If you color your hair you shouldn’t use a clarifying shampoo more than once a month and never within the first few weeks of coloring. Clarifying color-treated hair too often will make your hair color fade faster. Also, make sure to use a clarifying shampoo that is safe for colored hair

However, if you want to get rid of a bed hair dye job, a harsh clarifying shampoo can help you fade unwanted hair color in a few washes.

Always use a rinse-out conditioner after washing your hair with a clarifying shampoo to restore lost moisture and make detangling easier. However, if you clarify your hair prior to receiving a chemical treatment you may need to skip the conditioning step, depending on the treatment you are going to receive.

beautiful smiling woman with long color-treated hair

Use Appropriate Clarifying Shampoo

Ordinary clarifying shampoos contain strong sulfate surfactants that can strip away the natural oils, that keep your hair and scalp well-moisturized. If your hair is fine, dry, or chemically treated, make sure to use a gentle sulfate-free formula that is appropriate for your hair type.

Gently massage the shampoo into your scalp by doing circular motions of your fingertips to avoid damaging the skin.

Scalp Clarifying Shampoos

Using a deep cleansing shampoo is a good method for clarifying your scalp. By removing dead skin cells and residue from dry shampoos, scalp-purifying shampoos unclog the pores, renew hair follicles, and create a healthy environment for hair growth. Scalp cleansing shampoos in common contain antiseptic and soothing ingredients to calm itchiness and skin inflammation.

Scalp clarifying shampoo should cleanse without redness or irritation, so make sure to get quality formula and use it per instruction. Consider formulas developed by trichologists and gentle sulfate-free clarifying shampoos.

beautiful young woman in white dress with long colored hair

Uses of Shea Butter for Hair

Shea butter is a solid fatty oil that is extracted from the nuts of the Karite tree. The shea tree is most common in the western and central regions of Africa. Shea butter has been used in beauty regimens since ancient times. This versatile product has gained popularity in the last decade due to the increased demand for natural and organic products for Afro-textured hair.

Shea butter has a high content of beneficial fatty acids such as oleic, stearic, and linoleic acids. It is also a rich source of vitamin E, which is known as a powerful antioxidant, and Vitamin A which protects the skin against UV damage.

Thanks to its wide array of benefits, Shea butter has many uses. When used topically, this product can protect, moisturize, and heal your skin. It works great when used as a lip balm to keep chapped lips at bay. It also helps heal cuts, and scrapes and reduces wrinkles and stretch marks.

African-American woman with curly hair moisturized with shea butter

Shea butter is an essential ingredient in chocolates and a vegan-friendly substitute for regular butter. When used as a spread, it makes baked goods wonderfully brown. In many households, it is considered a staple that must be kept in supply. 

Those who struggle to protect and maintain healthy hair should consider adding Shea butter to their hair care regimen.

Benefits of Shea Butter for Hair

Unrefined Shea butter is loaded with healthy fatty acids and other phytonutrients that can provide many benefits to your hair and scalp. One of the greatest advantages of using Shea butter as a hair treatment is that it can be used in its most natural form without any further processing. Shea butter nourishes the scalp and hair without exposing your skin to potentially harmful chemicals. Many hair care products include Shea butter as an ingredient, but why not enjoy all benefits that unrefined Shea butter can provide? Here are several of the benefits that may come from the use of Shea butter for the hair and scalp:

1. Keeps moisture in the hair: People with curly and coarse hair textures use Shea butter as an emollient to seal in the moisture and keep it inside their hair. Afro hair is the driest hair type due to its curly texture. Shea butter soothes dryness and has restructuring effects on dry and fragile curly hair. When applied to the strands, it forms an outer protective coating that protects hair from moisture loss. It absorbs quickly without leaving the hair feeling greasy or heavy.

Shea butter acts as a sealant on the hair, not as a moisturizer. That means that moisture must be present so that the Shea butter can seal it in. If the hair is dry, applying Shea butter may result in hardness and dryness. Instead, be sure to wet the hair first. It is best to apply Shea butter directly after washing the hair, while your hair is still damp.

2. Supports hair growth: Studies have found that Shea butter possesses remarkable anti-inflammatory properties. It can penetrate deeply into the skin to help reduce inflammation. It helps restore weakened hair follicles, providing a healthy environment that supports hair growth. When applied to the scalp twice a week Shea butter has been shown to improve overall scalp health.

3. Tames frizzy hair: Dry and coarse hair tends to get frizzy, especially in humid weather.  Shea butter coats your strands, creating a thin, non-greasy film. This helps smooth down flyaway hair, reduces frizz, and gives your hair a mirror-like sheen.

The application to the hair is very simple. Just put a tiny amount of the product onto the palm of your hands and rub your hands together until it melts.  Then you can easily apply it to your hair.

A girl with curly hair nourished with Shea butter

4. Protect hair from the elements: Prolonged sun exposure can dry out your hair and reduce its natural elasticity and strength. Too much sun can also damage hair follicles and cause hair color to fade. The cinnamic acid found in Shea butter has the capability to absorb some of the harmful ultraviolet radiation. With its natural SPF of 6, it provides mild to moderate protection from sun damage. When applied to the hair before swimming, Shea butter protects your locks from the damaging effects of salt and chlorine. It also acts as a barrier against air pollutants.

5. Soothes scalp irritation: Unrefined Shea butter is loaded with fatty acids and phytonutrients that are needed for healthy hair and scalp. When applied to a dry scalp, it helps replace natural oils lost due to washing hair with harsh, sulfate-based shampoos.

Shea butter has soothing properties that provide relief from annoying scalp conditions such as dandruff, itchy scalp, dermatitis, eczema, and flaking due to dryness.

The product is easily absorbed into the scalp without clogging pores or leaving your hair greasy. Another convenience is that it can be easily washed off afterward.

Rub a quarter-sized amount of Shea butter on your hands and massage it into the scalp and hair. Cover the hair with a plastic shower cap and wrap your head in a towel to lock in the heat. Wait at least one hour before washing or leave overnight to refresh your scalp and keep it free from infections. Shea butter can be mixed with coconut oil and other hair oils to make this scalp treatment even more effective.

While shea butter is quite safe it is not recommended for people who are allergic to nuts.

How to Buy a Quality Shea Butter?

It is important to understand the difference between refined and unrefined Shea butter, as this greatly impacts the benefits received.

For maximum benefits, it is best to choose a natural product over the bleached and de-scented one. Raw or unrefined Shea butter is processed without using chemical solvents and it is preferred over refined one, regardless of intended use. Since unrefined Shea butter has been extracted by pressure, it is not deprived of bioactive nutrients and its natural healing properties. Raw Shea butter has a yellow or ivory color and comes either in blocks or in jars.

Unrefined Shea butter in a metal bowl

The refined Shea butter has been extracted using high heat and chemicals to make the color and texture more appealing and to eliminate its characteristic smell. The process often involves adding additives, such as perfumes or chemical preservatives to maximize product shelf-life. However, chemical processing affects some beneficial properties of Shea butter. The refining process adds chemicals while removing vitamins, fatty acids, and other bioactive nutrients.

Raw Shea butter has a strong earthy scent that many people find irritating. However, this characteristic smell is actually a sign of a good quality product. The product is categorized into grades labeled from A to F. Class A is the purest form of Shea butter, with a high content of healing ingredients, while class F is pure quality butter that may be also contaminated with harmful ingredients. To ensure that the product has passed proper safety and quality laboratory testing, purchase only certified premium A-grade Shea butter.

To receive all healing benefits, make sure that you use the product before the expiry date. The shelf life of raw Shea butter is about 24 months. Its healing power declines with time, so a very old product is not as beneficial as a fresh one. To avoid it going rancid, it is advisable to buy Shea butter in small quantities.

a beautiful dark-skinned girl with natural curly hair