The Best Shampoo for African American Hair

Authored by Alana J. Tutwiler in Hair Care 
Published on 06-29-2009

There are hundreds of shampoo products on the market, and all of them promise shiny, healthy, gorgeous hair. However, it’s really important to do your research before you select a shampoo to make sure that it is the best one for your hair. African Americans often have special hair needs, especially if they are using chemicals to straighten their hair. This makes the selection of the right shampoo for African American hair especially important.

African American Hair Needs Moisture

The biggest thing that an African American person needs to consider when selecting a shampoo is making sure that the product provides enough moisture. African American hair tends to be dry, especially if the hair is naturally curly. The use of chemicals to straighten and/or color the hair can dry your locks out even more. Therefore, finding a shampoo that contains a good moisturizing oil such as jojoba, olive oil or tea tree oil is recommended for African American hair.

Another tip is to find an organic shampoo that does not include sodium lauryl sulfate. This ingredient acts as a detergent and is what makes shampoo lather. While it is good at cleaning, it can also strip the hair and scalp of natural oils, making the hair dry and even causing dandruff. Because of increased interest in natural products, it isn’t difficult to find natural shampoos that don’t contain sodium lauryl sulfate. Your local health food store is one great place to look for organic shampoos.

Other things to keep in mind when selecting a shampoo for African American hair is to find one that is ph balanced. Too much alkaline in shampoo can damage hair, especially hair that is chemically treated. It’s also a good idea to avoid shampoos that have alcohol in them. Alcohol is also very drying.

Since African American hair tends to be dry, it’s a good idea not to wash your hair everyday if you are an African American. Washing once or twice a week is usually sufficient. People of other ethnicities should understand that this does not mean that African American people have dirty hair. If African American hair is washed too often, it will dry out.

Hair Care Tips for African Americans

Before shampooing, you may choose to use a hot oil treatment on your hair. This will protect against losing too much moisture while washing your hair. After shampooing, follow up with a hydrating conditioner and let it sit on the scalp and hair for a few minutes before rinsing thoroughly. If you have time, you can even sit under a hair dryer for ten or fifteen minutes to allow the conditioner to really penetrate. Finally, follow up with a cold water rinse. While it might feel uncomfortable at first, the cold water will help seal in the moisture in the hair shaft.

Following these tips and choosing a moisturizing shampoo that does not contain ingredients that will dry the hair out, will help African American hair look and feel its best.


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