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    Excerpted from
    Hair Rules! The Ultimate Hair-Care Guide for Women with Kinky, Curly, or Wavy Hair
    By Anthony Dickey

    Myth: Many women have been raised to believe that hair should be shampooed frequently.

    The good news is that there are many more products available than ever before to work with curly, kinky, and so-called frizzy hair. Let's start with shampoos. Shampoo is probably the most overrated product on the market, particularly for nonstraight hair. First, and this may come as a big surprise to you, dear reader, shampoo is for the scalp, not the hair; conditioners are for the hair, not the scalp. As I mentioned before, your scalp produces oil to moisturize and give luster to the hair. The scalp, as the "manufacturing site," is what gets truly dirty. (If you've ever walked through the streets of a hot. humid, heavily polluted city and bathed afterward, you know' what I mean.) And were it not for your hair, you could use your favorite body cleanser on your head. Why? Because whatever works to clean the rest of your skin would be just fine, a fact that bald-headed folks learned a long time ago. When you shampoo your hair, you're removing vital oils from it and drying it out. It's your scalp that you should be shampooing and your hair that you should be protecting.

    Shampoo is pH balanced so that it won't wreck your hair. But shampoo will promote big, frizzy, dry, dull hair if not used property. Nevertheless, I'm sure you've heard numerous shampoo ads touting the importance of pH balance as if that alone were the secret ingredient for fabulous, fuller, and hands-down-healthier hair. Marketers know' what they're doing, but the down and dirty of it is that shampoo was, is, and always will be for cleaning your scalp. It's just formulated in such a way as not to ruin your hair in the process. All that I'm really saying is that choosing a shampoo for many of you is about finding a gentle, effective scalp cleanser that doesn't unduly affect your hair by drying it out or leaving a residue.

    You can overshampoo your hair regardless of what texture it is, i.e., whether your hair is fine or thick. Remember, it's your scalp you should be shampooing. Washing and scrubbing the hair itself dries your hair out. I can understand the temptation to vigorously scrub your hair if you're using products that have a wax base, such as pomades, greases, or other products that build up on the hair. They make the hair dull, and attract dust. If I could get you to wean yourself of those kinds of products and instead switch to water-soluble styling products. I'd be happier.

    You actually can clean your hair a smart way by rinsing rather than shampooing it. If you like, you can even rinse hair six times a day. There's no harm done, and it does some good if this gets you to condition your hair every time you rinse. This way you can get your hair as clean as you need to without putting shampoo on it.

    Remember when you had a pimple, back in the day, and they told you alcohol would make it go away? But what swabbing the pimple with alcohol really did was overactivate the oil gland, causing it to produce more oil, which, ta da! made an even bigger pimple. The same concept holds true with shampooing oily hair. Each time you shampoo, the oil glands go into overtime and that results in oily, flat hair with dry ends. You end up with just the opposite of what you wanted. Talk about a vicious cycle!

    The shampoo you choose should be based on low detergent content and how the hair feels immediately after shampooing (and before applying conditioner). Having the hair squeaky clean is not necessarily the best objective. It can mean that too much oil has been stripped away. This often happens when you use a shampoo with a high detergent content. If your hair (and scalp) have a lot of waxy buildup, it might be reasonable to alternate shampoos. Shampoos vary in the amount of detergent they contain. If you want to continue to use a high-detergent shampoo such as a clarifying shampoo. I recommend that it be used sparingly-once a month, or once every two months, depending on how naturally dry your hair is, just to remove any buildup. During other washings, use a milder shampoo.

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