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Shampoo Tips and Essentials for Relaxed African American Hair

Updated on April 6, 2014

Relaxer-Treated African American Hair


Shampooing Relaxed Hair

The major areas where African American women are likely to prevent themselves from maintaining healthy hair come from some of the most essential points of care, one of them being shampoo care. One thing that can guide African American women with relaxed hair to upholding the most healthy and stylish tresses is remembering that the relaxer treatment used on this same hair is one the harshest chemicals that can be applied to the roots and scalp.

Keeping this in mind, get into the mindset that everything else you do to your hair or put on your hair has to strike a balance between the harsh chemical relaxer and other care decisions. Shampoos can be harsh on the hair as well, so finding a product that moisturizes, prevents breakage, and leaves your hair feeling truly luxurious is paramount to maintaining healthy hair.

All African American hair differs greatly – even those to whom we are closely related. Most African Americans are mixed with a variety of other ethnicities and it certainly does show in our hair. With that said, how often you shampoo your hair will vary greatly, but for most women with African American hair usually every 4 to 7 days is adequate. The best way to know the frequency of needing to cleanse your hair is paying attention to signs like too much oil buildup, hair becoming very dry, your hair starts to “act up” and is hard to style, or it’s simply accumulating dandruff or itchy.

Is Your Shampoo Ruining Your Hair?


Shampoos to Avoid

With so many shampoos available on the market, the key thing to weigh in is the main qualities of your hair. Most African American women have thick hair strands and need moisture, restoration (especially after a relaxer re-touch) and balanced vitamins and nutrients (nothing too stripping). Avoid shampoos with labels that promise to add volume, body or are thickening shampoos, as you already have thickness and this will likely leave your hair unruly; shampoos that stress “clean” – these shampoos are harsh and will strip the necessary oils from your hair; or all-in-one shampoo and conditioner products – it’s simply best to condition with a product designed for your hair after you shampoo.

Again, even though you now know what not to buy, even some shampoos that are absolutely fantastic for many women with hair like yours may not seem to work for you. Finding the right shampoo involves a lot of trial and error. If you can try out a sample before buying an enormous container, I highly recommend it. Overall, you want a shampoo that after a thorough rinse feels soft and does not leave your hair feeling brittle or nearly impossible to comb. And you definitely don’t want to see wads of hair in your hands and comb after a wash.

Coconut Oil: A Hair Savior


Shampooing Dry Hair

Having extremely dry hair can make it difficult to style and leave you susceptible to breakage. Search for shampoos that mention anti-breakage, hydration, moisture or have essential oils like Argan, Avocado, Coconut and the like.

The Organix line is a premium line for taking care of your hair and it reasonably priced. Just refrain buying shampoos with the wording mentioned in the “Shampoos to Avoid Section.” The great thing about Organix is it is sulfate and paraben free. The fewer harsh chemicals and stripping chemicals you can add to your hair when cleansing the better.

Shampoos for Itchy Scalps

Sometimes the problem is too much build-up. As mentioned before, going for an overly cleansing and stripping shampoo may simply reverse the issue too far in the other direction leaving your hair dry and brittle. Search for a shampoo that is not too oily or that specifies specific ingredients that are good at banishing dandruff and irritated scalps like tea tree, mint, rosemary, and lemon.

Doo Gro Tingling Scalp Shampoo helps hair grow, stay healthy and relieves the scalp. And, considering how inexpensive it is, this shampoo is absolutely worth a try. On the higher end, Abba Moisture Sensation Shampoo is packed with mint, eucalyptus, and other nutrients which and has a great creamy texture that’s perfect for most African American hair and scalps.

In addition to the shampooing, you can also treat your hair with lemon juice. Click here to see all the things you can do with lemon in your daily beauty regimen.

Abba Moisture Scentsation Shampoo and Conditioner

Shampoos that Enhance Curls

Some women relax their hair and like to wear it curly. Maintaining those romantic curls requires washing with products that do just that. Queen Helene’s Royal Curl is gentle, moisturizing and great for when you want to leave your hair curly after a wash. Pantene Pro-V Curly Hair Series is another great product for curls and certainly easy on bank account.

You may also find that many moisturizing shampoos and anti-frizz shampoos can do the same job. This is because curls tend to not look their best when there is not properly hydrated.

Frizz-Free Curls


How Many Shampoos to Buy

Throughout the year, many African American women experience various hair symptoms. Menstruation may leave our hair dry and brittle or dandruff may build up in extreme temperatures like summer and winter. It’s wise to use a different shampoo each week to keep your hair reacting positively to the shampoo. Using the same shampoo over and over again (even really good ones) does not yield the same great results and your hair simply becomes “immune” to the ingredients.

Try to rotate with 4 to 5 shampoos. A variety is also helpful such as different brands and different ingredients. For example, if your focus is hydration, don’t only buy all shampoos with coconut oil. Whatever you choose, pay close attention to how your hair reacts. Is it still fairly easy to comb through after rinsing out the shampoo? Does it feel relatively soft? Does your scalp feel clean, but not bare? Are you shedding fewer strands of hair? If your hair and scalp feel good, chances are you’ve found the right shampoos.


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    • mbusley profile image

      Mekia Busley 3 years ago from Bay Area

      You're welcome, Sue. I really hope your hair improves from this!

    • profile image

      Sue 3 years ago

      Thanks a lot!! That was very informative