What I am about to tell you might sound bizarre, weird or damn right disgusting. It goes against what the pretty girl in the ad tells you and it certainly goes against what you read in the bottle of the stuff I am about to discuss. For all I know, I am about to tell you something which goes against what you may have ingrained deep inside your brain. But, and this is a big BUT, Manly Curls is here to rehash the notion of curly hair, so I will break it down to you right here, right now.
You don’t need to shampoo everyday.
There, I have said it. What is more, say NO to her!
Ok, I am being a bit “overly” dramatic. Let’s be realistic here folks, just say no to how she is lathering her hair.
Stop shampooing those curls so much!
Of course, I inserted the above picture to deviate the attention from what I have just said. I am going to take a guess and say that it caused the desired effect of making you forget about the stuff of not shampooing everyday. Instead, you are quite probably thinking how fruitful a conversation with the shampoo girl would be on the topic of applied mathematics in the field of macro-economics. I mean, she certainly looks more Smithsonian than Keynesian, right?
Back on track. If you have curly hair, you don’t have to shampoo everyday and you should not use too much lather. Yes, I am aware the bottle says use everyday and lather till the cows come home but curly hair has enough of an issue retaining moisture to have to fight the anti-moisturizing effect of shampoos. Moisture is what keeps your curls looking good so unless you want to sport curls like those of internet’s classic cutebob33 below (real username on Craiglist and specifically looking for a young female roommate to share his cozy condo with), then you better continue reading.
Sir, no young and nubile female will want to live with you if you shampoo so much!
You see, shampoos work to remove anything that is coating your hair, from dirt and what not down to the much needed sebum which is secreted by the sebaceous glands in your scalp. By default, curly hair is predisposed to being dry because sebum, an oily substance that coats the hair (shaft), has difficulty traveling from the scalp all the way through to the tip of the hair shaft. This same sebum is what helps avoid the hair become dry and fragile, and is imperative for having healthy-looking curls.
Commercial shampoos contain certain ingredients, most notably sodium lauryl sulfate, which act as detergents, that is, they have cleaning and anti-grease propertie, so, by applying shampoo, you remove all substances coating your curls and, if done with enough frequency (i.e daily), you limit the ability of sebum to coat the whole length of the hair shaft. Moreover, the constant removal of sebum makes the sebaceous glands produce more sebum and the detergent effect of the shampoo on the scalp can produce irritability. Certainly not a win-win situation for those of us wanting good looking curls.
What is more is that shampoo should only be applied to the scalp and not to the entire hair length, as a common occurrence in those with curly hair is an excessive build up of sebum in the proximity of the scalp as opposed to little sebum coverage on the hair shaft towards the tip. This means that you should use as little lather as possible, making sure to massage the scalp and avoiding any spreading of lather into the remaining length of the hair. In other words, the little lather that you produce should only be on your scalp.
Frequency of shampoo can vary substantially. Back in the day before shampoos were all over the place, people used to shampoo a few times per month, which doesn’t say much because back in those days people used to also think that being voluntarily exposed to X-rays was fun and akin to an experience with happy unicorns and smiling rainbows. What is true, though, is that the whole shampoo revolution was started as a lucrative means in the 60’s which had nothing to do with hygiene but, instead, took advantage of the hippie movement and its negative image it had among mainstream society, associating the use of the shampoo with cleanliness and not being a hippie.
Going back to the frequency of use, it generally boils down to the length of your curls:
Short length: you can shampoo every other day (i.e. 1 day on, 1 day off). On the days that you do not shampoo, run your fingers through your hair to spread the secreted sebum evenly along the length of your hair.
Medium length: shampoo once every 2 to 4 days. Again, prior to the shampoo, spread the secreted sebum.
Long length: shampoo once to twice a week. If hair is still dry, reduce to a lower shampooing frequency (e.g. once every 10 days). It is imperative to use a leave-in conditioner or some other form of conditioner after shampooing (as is for the other lengths too). Make sure to have the lather on your scalp and not on the length of the curls.
Again, let me reiterate to use as little lather as possible and leave it on your scalp and not the whole length of the hair.
Running your fingers through the hair on your non-shampooing days is enough most of the time to remove any dirt or foreign substances that you may have accumulated throughout the day. If you are still hesitant to not shampooing everyday, you can squeeze a lemon in a glass of water or use some diluted baking soda and vinegar in water (use baking soda first, then vinegar) to wash your hair on those days that you do not shampoo. The smell of vinegar is easily removed with running water so you don’t have to worry about smelling like a salad after you leave the shower.
That is all gentlemen.
All the best