Nubian Hair Series - Cleansing Tips

We get top tips from Dr. Crystal Aguh on keeping your hair healthy and strong all year round!

Crystal Ugochi

Naturally curly hair requires special attention to keep it looking its best at all times. Whether you’re natural or relaxed, here are tips to keep your hair healthy and strong this year:

Use a sulfate-free shampoos

Generally speaking, while shampoos containing sulfates are the most effective at removing dirt, oil and product build-up, they often leave the hair too dry and prone to damage. Naturally curly hair and chemical processed hair are especially prone to dryness which can lead to breakage and damage. If you’re looking to grow your hair to new lengths, then a gentle shampoo is a must!


Always follow shampoo with conditioner

Unlike shampoo which has the potential to damage hair, regular use of a conditioner helps protect your hair strands from future damage by improving elasticity and strength. Conditioners can be so nourishing to the hair that some people opt to wash their hair with conditioner alone. This is fine to do, particularly during the cold winter months, but shampoos are recommended at least monthly to remove any unnecessary build-up.

Deep condition regularly

Deep conditioners, which are meant to be applied to the hair for at least 10 minutes, do an even better job at moisturizing the hair and keeping it soft than rinse out conditioners. This is another must for those with naturally curly or chemically processed hair. I recommend deep conditioning at least weekly during cold winter months and at least monthly during warmer months for best results.


Apply oils to your hair before washing

The hair shaft undergoes rapid swelling during cleansing, termed hygral fatigue, and this can put the hair shaft at risk of damage. Applying an oil to your hair, such as coconut oil, before washing can protect the hair from this damage. Using coconut oil after you wash has also been proven to help prevent damage to the hair which leads to stronger, healthier hair.


Use protein treatments

Protein is critical to maintaining the strength of your hair. Over time, as the hair is exposed to heat, chemicals and damage from routine grooming, the hair shaft develops holes, which weaken the hair. Protein treatments can temporarily mend these holes and prevent further damage. Keep in mind, however, that the benefit of the protein treatment washes away with your next shampoo, so if you have severely damaged hair, using conditioners that contain small amounts of protein on a regular basis can be beneficial.

By Dr. Crystal Aguh

Dr. Crystal Aguh is an Assistant Professor of Dermatology at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD. You can find her on Instagram at CrystalADermDoc

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