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Ella Fitzgerald once sang that she was going to "wash that man right out of my hair," which probably would have required a pretty heavy-duty shampoo. Unless you're trying to get rid of a man hibernating in your locks, you can simply purchase a shampoo that moisturizes and hydrates your strands. African-American women's hair is often coarser and curlier than other women's hair, and is thus more prone to breakage and dryness. So choose a shampoo that helps your hair retain maximum moisture.
Go natural. Choose a hydrating shampoo and conditioner containing natural ingredients like bamboo extract or plant oils. Avoid those that contain petroleum. That greasy stuff seal moisture out, rather than keeps it in. Your instant conditioner should contain ingredients like lanolin, cholesterol and vegetable oils.
Limit your lather. Lathering properties in shampoos resulting from an ingredient called lauryl (or laureth) sulfate can dry your curls out, leaving your hair dull and lifeless. Instead, look for a low-lather (sulfate-free) shampoo for your locks. While washing your hair with fewer suds may be an adjustment, you hair will thank you for it later.
Avoid alcohol. Sulfates and alcohol are the worst enemies of curly or coarse hair as they strip hair of moisture and lead to breakage. So check the ingredient list on the bottles and just say no to alcohol in your shampoo and conditioner.
Condition, condition, condition. In addition to an instant conditioner you use every time you wash -- whether it's a rinse-out or leave-in formula -- at least once per month, if not once per week, use a deep conditioner that contains keratin or animal proteins.
Remove buildup. Every four to six weeks, reach for a clarifying shampoo instead of your regular one, especially if you regularly use a leave-in conditioner. It will rid your strands of the icky stuff that builds up when you regularly use styling products such as gel and creams.