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Don't scrimp on washing natural hair

Image: Getty Images

There are many myths around shampooing natural hair, such as "the more you wash your hair, the coarser it becomes" or "shampooing will ruin my braids, relaxed hair or weave", but not washing your hair as often as you should could be doing more harm than good.

When it comes to a shampooing routine, the critical aspect to keep in mind is hydration. Curly hair is susceptible to breakage due to moisture loss as the cuticle is exposed at every bend in the hair shaft.

The hair can be stripped of moisture during shampooing, and dryness can be aggravated when the hair has been left in a protective style for too long.

"Women tend to neglect their hair when they're wearing braids, resulting in dry, brittle, and breaking hair - and no woman wants that!" says Thomas Tseola, hair expert at Darling Hair.

If you're not starting your shampoo routine with a pre-poo, your hair is missing out on some serious goodness.

Pre-poo usually involves applying an oil before shampooing or an oil-conditioner mix to damp or wet hair.

It prepares hair for the shampoo process and protects it from being stripped of moisture. Plus, it adds slip to the hair, allowing it to be easily detangled, especially after removing braids.

Co-washing refers to washing with conditioner only, so no shampoo. It's a great way to cleanse the hair frequently, removing oil, sweat, and product build-up, without risking moisture loss as with shampoo. You can alternate co-washing and shampooing.

Cleansing shampooing is essential to remove dirt or excess oil, regardless of whether the hair is loose or in a protective style.

Minimise moisture loss and protect your scalp by using a sulphate-free shampoo every two weeks. Sulphates can strip the scalp and hair of natural oils and cause irritation or scalp flaking. Shampoos that contain sulphates can also cause the overproduction of oil on the scalp to compensate for oil loss, resulting in greasy hair.

When working shampoo into the hair, rub with the finger tips. Always follow up with a conditioner and cover the head with a cap to deep-condition the hair, smooth out the hair cuticle, and seal in moisture. Finish off with a water-based, leave-in conditioner on towel-dried hair to help soften and aid in detangling before styling.

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