Photo by Andriy Onufriyenko

How To Properly Shampoo Any Curl Pattern

Ouidad Educator Chadwick Pendley shares his pro-tips for cleansing the right way. 

Washdays can be a drag. If you’re anything like me, you try to procrastinate for as long as possible because it’s just a lot of work.

One thing I’ve learned during my curly journey is how important it is to give strands a refresh. While some curly girls avoid shampoo like the plague, I embrace it because I know with the right formula, it keeps my hair healthy and looking its best.

So before you chuck your bottle of shampoo into the trash bin, ponder on these 3 tips to make sure your cleansing routine is as effective.

Why Do I Need to Shampoo?

Shampoo is often overlooked because it’s known to be drying, stripping and everything in between. But it’s actually a very important step.

According to Chadwick Pendley, Ouidad Educator, “when you shampoo your hair, it removes sebum, dirt and debris from the scalp.”  After applying a cocktail of styling products to get the curl definition or a sleek blowout, those products begin to build up on the scalp until your next cleansing session.

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Once build up begins, styling products don’t work as effectively. Hence, most directions that emphasize the importance of applying to clean hair. Basically, shampoo gives strands a clean slate.

How Do I Apply Shampoo?

Shampoo is used for cleansing the scalp and hair. You want to get rid of the gunk, but scrubbing like you’re cleaning a dirty tub is not going to do the trick. For some reason, we tend to apply shampoo in a circular motion. Maybe it’s because we constantly see this on TV when models are making shower time seem oh so glamorous.

At Ouidad's curly hair salon in New York City, stylists use a piano method to rid hair of dirt and debris.

“It’s a back and forth movement with the fingers and it helps avoid additional tangles and knots in curly hair,” shares Pendley. This gentle movement does just enough to cleanse effectively without making your next step (detangling) even more of a hassle.

Should I Use Shampoo or Co Wash?

This is a major question that depends on the person, hair type and just pure preference.

“If you shampoo once or twice a week, using shampoo is fine. If it’s more than that, consider a co-wash," Pendley suggests. Co washing is great when you want to add in extra moisture, but a good shampoo is a must to rid strands of all impurities or dirt.

My suggestion: if you don’t want to go 100% shampoo, alternate between the two. You’ll notice a major difference in the bounce and definition of your curls.

Shop three of our favorite shampoos and co-washes below: