#ThickHairTips: Get Your Hair Really, Really Clean

I have very thick hair and it took me years — decades, really — to learn how to manage it well. In fact, I’m still learning. In the hope that I can save some of my fellow thick-hair-havers from learning things the slow, hard way like I did, I’m sharing some of my survival tips for life with thick hair. Be sure to follow me on Instagram for more #ThickHairTips.

Washing your hair less often might be the key to sanity when you have thick hair — but that doesn’t mean you want to be running around with filthy dirty hair. Getting your hair all the way clean can be tricky when you’ve got a lot of it. Here’s what I do to get my hair as clean as possible when I do wash it myself.

Upgrade your shower

I’m not suggesting you do major plumbing work just to get your hair clean. But you know and I know that when you have thick hair, good water pressure isn’t just a luxury — it’s a necessity. Even if you’re a renter, though, you can level up your shower’s effectiveness by replacing the old shower head with something that offers a range of pressure options. I’ve lived places where the maximum targeted massage setting was the only way to get my scalp completely rinsed. Replacing your shower head is a non-damaging, 100 percent reversible way to improve your cleansing capacity.

Swap your shampoo order

I talked about reverse conditioning in a previous post; catch it here.

Use a buildup-busting shampoo

There are some great shampoos out there that will cut through the dirt, product and oil to get your scalp squeaky clean. Real residue-busters often aren’t recommended for daily use, but since you’re only washing your hair once or twice a week anyway (right?), you should be fine.

My favorite readily-available drugstore option is Neutrogena Shampoo. Clear and clean-smelling with a healthy lather, this shampoo will absolutely zap every last molecule of dirt off your head.

If you want to spend a little bit more and get a mini scalp massage along with your wash, check out Big shampoo from LUSH. I love this one for winter when my scalp gets dry and itchy. It’s made with chunky sea salt, so you get a real scrub in as you get squeaky clean.

One thing to note if you have chemically treated hair: These supercleaning shampoos are not sulfate-free, since lather is a big part of how they work.

Pay someone else to wash your hair

I’m only mostly kidding. If I could go to the salon every week, I totally would. Here’s how I make those blowouts last.

Listen for the squeak

When you think your hair is clean enough, place your fingers against your head, apply gentle pressure, and try to run them through your hair. You should feel some resistance and even hear a low squeaking sound. That’s the feeling of clean. If your fingers slip silently along your hair with no trouble, you’ve probably still got some shampoo in there. Keep rinsing!

Got thick hair questions? Send them my way!

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