How to Choose the Right Shampoo for Curly Hair

It can be an immense struggle finding the right shampoo for your curls! If you're sick of the endless trial and error, then this is the article for you.

We're going to go over how to choose the right shampoo for all types of curly hair and end your hair care struggles.

Define Your Hair Type

Knowing what shampoo to use depends greatly on what type of hair you have. When you have curly hair, it means that your hair is unique. Curls are beautiful, but they also require special care and consideration.

Let's get started by going over how to determine what type of curls you have.

Hair Porosity

Porosity refers to how your hair allows oil and moisture to pass through the cuticle, the outermost layer of your hair. There are three types of hair porosity:

  • High Porosity: Cuticles are spread apart
  • Medium Porosity: Cuticles are evenly spread
  • Low Porosity: Cuticles are closed/tightly together

Porosity is largely affected by genetics; however, harsh styling methods such as bleaching, heat treatments without using a heat protectant, and using harsh surfactants can cause your hair cuticles to become damaged and spread apart.

If you'd like to test your hair's porosity, wash and dry your hair, then follow these steps:

  1. Fill a glass with clean water
  2. Drop a single strand of hair into the glass
  3. Watch to see if the strand sinks or floats

If the strand sinks, you have high porosity hair. If it floats, your porosity is low, and if it floats in the middle of the glass, you have a normal porosity level.

Curl Type

There are three types of curls — wavy, curly, and coily. These three types are then broken down into subtypes (A, B, C) depending on your curls' shape and diameter. You'll want to look at photos of curly hair to match up your curl type, but here are descriptions of each type to get you started:

Waves:

  • 2a: tousled waves, minimal volume
  • 2b: more defined, slight volume
  • 2c: define' S' shape, more body and volume

Curls:

  • 3a: Defined loops about the size of a wine cork
  • 3b: Ringlets approximately index finger size, more volume
  • 3c: Corkscrew curls approximately the size of a drinking straw, lots of volume

Coils:

  • 4a: Tight' S' corkscrews approximately the size of a crochet hook
  • 4b: Very tight, bend in 'Z' angles, reminiscent of a pen spring
  • 4c: Tightest curls, 'Z' shaped, tighter and denser due to shrinkage

The Best Shampoo for Curly Hair

Now that you have a good idea of your hair type let's talk about what shampoo you should be using for your gorgeous curls.

Avoid Sulfates and Alcohol

Many shampoos rely on a cleaning agent known as sodium lauryl sulfate. While it produces a great lather, this cleanser is far too harsh and strips your hair of the natural oils that protect your hair and scalp.

Unfortunately, sulfates aren't the only ingredients we need to worry about. Alcohols in shampoo can be drying as well. It's best to avoid both sulfates and alcoholic ingredients to keep your curls moisturized and healthy.

Hydration and Natural Ingredients

Speaking of moisture, curls love to be hydrated! Depending on how tight your curls are, you may find the ends of your hair drying out much quicker than the strands closer to your scalp. This is due to the curves of your hair strands. As the natural oils from your scalp travel down your strands, they can have a tough time reaching your ends.

That's why hydrating shampoos with natural moisturizers like coconut oil are the best for curly hair. Natural ingredients add moisture without disturbing the natural PH of your hair.

If you're ready to try the best shampoo for curly hair, check out our products here at Wild Curl. You'll find options for every curl type and the best part? All of our products are 100% natural and vegan!


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We want to create a 100% natural hair care line without any added toxins specifically designed your curly hair.

Vanessa Martins, Founder TheWildCurl